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Spooky California: 05/09/07
Spooky California is one of a series of "Spooky" tales from each of the 50 states. I picked up a copy because I'm a native Californian and have visited many of the places pointed out on the map at the front of the book. To see the entire set of books, check out the author's website.
The book contains a mixture of ghost stories and folklore. The first half of the book is devoted to the ghost stories. The second half contains the stories that defy categorization.
Of the stories my favorites were "Vengeance" about a vengeance demon, in this case the ghost of a murdered wife. I liked it because it reflected the strong Japanese cultural influences in San Francisco. The "Ghost Ship" story reminded me of Inca Gold by Clive Cussler and I have to wonder if the folk tale wasn't inspiration for his novel. The story of the ghost bells brought back memories of tales we were told about the San Diego mission. For San Jose, the book includes a brief history of The Winchester Mystery House (a place I still want to visit).
While the stories were interesting to me as a Californian because I've visited most of the places listed and have heard versions of most of these stories, the writing was at times rather dry. I had to read a story or two and put the book aside and then pick it up again later.