On Friday the 13th, Kestrel Publications is terrified to announce publication of The Ghost Wore Black: Ghastly Tales from the Past, a new all-American collection from Ohio ghostwriter Chris Woodyard.
Have you ever heard of the horrifying Women in Black of the Pennsylvania coal country? The fiery devils of Bracken County, Kentucky? A ghost entered in a bicycle race? The Wild Man of Stamford? These and many more strange tales have been long buried in the aptly named newspaper “morgues.”
“These stories were written by the Dead,” says Chris Woodyard, author of the 7-volume Haunted Ohio series and the Ghosts of the Past series. “Many of these accounts haven’t seen the light of day since they were first published over a hundred years ago.
Drawing on newspaper archives, antique books and journals, and county histories, Woodyard has unearthed a treasure trove of all-new tales that should find favor with fans of ghost stories, folklore, and history, and steampunk aficionados alike.
“Although I’ve done some editing and added notes, these are presented as the original newspapers printed them, often with a striking lack of political correctness,” says Woodyard. “Some of the reporting is quite heartless and gory.
“I was surprised by the many strange types of ghosts described—well beyond the traditional white-sheeted ghost. There were giant ghosts carrying clubs, black-cloaked attackers and Men in Black, fiery devils, phantom gnomes, and several completely unclassifiable Things. One thing that struck me is how modern some of the stories are: a dead man mysteriously appears in a family snapshot, poltergeists throw things and bang on walls, just as they are said to do today, and faces appear mysteriously on window panes—just as people in Florida saw the image of the Virgin in a window several years ago. There is even the story of a wild man that could be taken from a Bigfoot hunting TV show.”
The book contains over 130 true stories of ghosts, monsters, hoodoos, evil entities, road ghosts, omens of death, and Fortean mysteries from 32 of the 50 U.S. states. Future volumes in the series will include stories from additional states.
“I was able to uncover some horrifying tales, like the “Ghostess” in San Francisco who left behind bloody handprints, the serial killer ghost of Ridgeway, Wisconsin, and the veiled apparitions of women in mourning clothes that terrified people across the country.”
The Ghost Wore Black is the third in Woodyard’s Ghosts of the Past series. The next volume, entitled When the Banshee Howls, includes historic accounts of ghosts, monsters, and oddities from around the world.
“The Ghost Wore Black is a look at the ghosts who haunted our ancestors,” said Woodyard. “It’s a window on the paranormal obsessions of the past.”
The Ghost Wore Black: Ghastly Tales from the Past, Chris Woodyard, 2013, 6 x9,” 256 pp., $16.95. www.hauntedohiobooks.com. Available in PB and for Kindle.
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