Academic journal article Storytelling, Self, Society

On Brown's Ghosts along the Mississippi River

Academic journal article Storytelling, Self, Society

On Brown's Ghosts along the Mississippi River

Article excerpt

On Brown's Ghosts along the Mississippi River

Ghosts along the Mississippi River, by Alan Brown. University of Mississippi Press, 2011, 238 pp. ISBN 978-1-61703-144-1.

Alan Brown, professor of English at the University of West Alabama, is the author of numerous books on ghost lore. His works include Ghost Hunters of the South, Haunted Places in the American South, Stories from the Haunted South, and Shadows and Cypress: Southern Ghost Stories. In his current work, Brown traces the legends and tales of ghosts up and down the Mississippi River. Brown states that "ghost stories should be enjoyed, and valued, because they preserve the history and values of the people who pass them along" (6).

This is not a volume of "scary bump in the night" ghost stories that a reader might find in a traditional collection. Brown gathers oral narratives from people he meets in his travels to towns, large and small, in Southern and Northern states that border the Mississippi River. The author draws on personal experience from his visits as well as from others who are involved in paranormal research and ghost tours. He includes historical facts about the towns as well as the places, public and private, where he has discovered paranormal activity. The firsthand accounts of encounters with ghosts are integrated into the text about the place. Brown also includes information gleaned from other authors such as Kathryn Tucker Windham and Troy Taylor.

While the author includes the historical information about both the town and the building or site, the encounters that are recorded are primarily from the twentieth century, and many seem to be associated with buildings that are undergoing or have undergone renovation. For example, the Franklin House in Alton, Illinois, is the home of a child who continues to haunt the building from the time it was a hotel in the nineteenth century through its present incarnation as upscale apartments. …

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