________________ CM . . . . Volume XI Number 16 . . . . April 15, 2005


Haunted Cemeteries: True Tales from Beyond the Grave.

Edrick Thay.
Edmonton, AB: Ghost House Books/Lone Pine Publishing, 2004.
200 pp, pbk., $14.95.
ISBN 1-894877-60-8.

Subject Heading:
Haunted cemeteries.

Grades 7 and up / Ages 12 and up.

Review by Meredith MacKeen.

*** /4


The War of 1812 was a conflict between the United States and the United Kingdom that lasted for almost three years. The war was driven by an American desire to annex the British colonies in North America and fulfill its dream of westward expansion. Britain, of course, did not take to the idea. The Canadian colonies were still British, after all and Britain still had its own interests to protect on the North American continent. The United States declared war on June 18, 1812. (p. 27.)

According to many ghost researchers and eyewitnesses, Drummond Hill cemetery is haunted by not just one set, but two sets of different soldiers. When they appear, one might be fooled into thinking that reenactors have taken to the field. Of course, reenactors do not fade from the earth without a trace of their passing. One set is a troop of five soldiers, dressed in the uniform of the Royal Scots. They appear hurt, limping and lurching their way across the former battlefield. Once they've made their way towards the horizon, they fade from view. The other group is composed of three British soldiers, clad in their distinctive red uniforms, slowly making their way up the hill towards Drummond Hill Cemetery. Once there, they settle into a steady march before disappearing into the ether. While the Ontario Ghost and Hauntings Research Society has written on the cemetery and is more than familiar with the accounts of Drummond Hill cemetery, the society has yet to conduct a complete and thorough investigation of the site. (p. 35.)

Edrick Thay, the author, researched 19 cemeteries, two in the Niagara peninsula of Ontario, the Valley of the Kings in Egypt and the rest in the United States, including Greenwood, resting place of Confederate soldiers and various women. He recounts popularly held beliefs that they were haunted or cursed. In summarizing the curse of King Tutankhamen, the author notes that "it is a fascinating and grim story that speaks to our darkest and deepest fears concerning death and the afterlife. Its appeal is timeless and universal, regardless of whether people believe in the mummy's curse, it has been a boon to Egyptologists and country itself." In these stories, evidence is, of course, anecdotal or recorded via blurry film from camcorders. Thay is careful to note that many of the theories about the ghosts and hauntings may not be anything more than speculation.

     The information provided about each of these cemeteries is the kind that local tour guides would find useful. Where appropriate, descriptions of key personalities or the horrors of war add flavour to the local stories about ghosts, and so a lot of local history is been covered. Those wanting more specific evidence will have to accept the reality that ghosts are invisible and that reports of mysterious lights flashing on the horizon may have a practical explanation. Black and white photos add to the documentation concerning the ghosts described in the chapters.

     Most of the stories are from 5 to 10 pages long, a reasonable pace for students reading at a grade 7 or higher level. The subject matter is of interest to certain students who will be glad to learn that there is a whole body of research concerning ghosts and who may wish to contact various organizations mentioned in the introduction, although no addresses are provided. The book is recommended because the topic has enormous recreational reading appeal.


Meredith MacKeen is a teacher-librarian at Glen Stewart School in Stratford, PE.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.