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  • Writer's pictureEmily

Scary books, fall 2021

Garcia Moreno, Silvia- Certain Dark Things

Montell, William Lynwood- Tales of Kentucky Ghosts

Strong, Anthony M- The Haunting of Willow House

This isn't much for me for October, but I listened to two scary audiobooks in September to prepare for spooky season. I may dip into a book of ghost stories as well.

Certain Dark Things- This was fine. Not scary. Best part was descriptions of different sub-species of vampires, esp. the Aztec ones. Basically, it's set in Mexico City. In this book, vampires are real and everyone has known about them for years. Mexico has been fairly welcoming, but Mexico City is a vampire-free zone. A young female vampire whose family was at war with another group of vampires has fled there.

Tales of Kentucky Ghosts- This was actually my non-fiction book for the month. It's a collection of oral histories of ghost stories from all around the state. Most of the time they are very short, just a description of a sighting. Lots of them go something like this: "we lived right by a graveyard, and everyone knew that it was haunted and that we shouldn't go out there at night, but we went out there at night. Then a headless man chased us until it disappeared at the edge of the graveyard." That kind of thing. Most of them begin with murders. (These were supposed to be the good old days, I think.) At first, I thought that it wouldn't be scary, but it keeps putting me in mind of stories my grandmother used to tell us. And they have a cumulative effect. When I read them at night, I start hearing things. So, this became a lunchtime book, and I read something else after sundown.

The Haunting of Willow House- At first, I was loving this. A family moves to a big old colonial-era house with a creepy tree. Hearing things, lights turned off by themselves, a disconnected phone rings. So far, so good.

***Spoilers all the way down after this***But about 3/4 of the way in, a teenage girl character, Becca, was possessed by the vengeful spirit of a witch and she is up in the middle of the night, taking off her nightgown, once to seduce an older man and then a teenage boy. She actually says "I turned 18 last month" and "I know how you look at me" and "I've wanted this for a long time." It's like a pantomime seduction without the consent of the seducer. It was so creepy.

It made me think about the book Imaginary Friend, in which there are two teenage girls involved in a mass mania. One of them is pretty so she's walking around naked. The other is pure, so she's possessed into going down on her boyfriend even though she's never done anything like that. There's alot of craziness going on, A LOT, but I'm pretty sure that everyone else was allowed their clothing. I liked that book up until then.

It also made me think of Only Good Indians, in which a teenage girl is tough and strong and keeps her clothes on for the duration.

Also, Becca is kind of all over the place. She's called the voice of reason, but she's also the first to think that the place is haunted and bring in a spirit board. Then, she's victimized, then she comes back and basically saves the day? A victim could do that, but she acts differently in each scene, and it isn't all down to the possession. In the end, we really know very little about the villain- the dead witch. It was scary enough, but I can't really forgive it for what it did to Becca.

Oh, and for awhile, it looked like there were maybe two ghosts? Or something bad that had followed the daughter of the family back after her suicide attempt? And then that was just dropped. Weird.

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