________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 9 . . . . December 22, 2006


Ghosts of the World: True Tales of Ghostly Hauntings. 

Susan Smitten.
Edmonton, AB: Lone Pine Publishing, 2006.
232 pp., pbk., $14.95.
ISBN 1-894877-65-9.
Subject Headings:
Ghost stories.
Haunted places.

Grades 8 and up / Ages 13 and up.
Review by Elizabeth Larssen.
*** /4 


You rarely hear of stories of entire cities being haunted, but Niger's capital is apparently so besieged by evil spirits that its mayor went public with the problem. Niamey's mayor, Jules Oguet, told a major international news agency in May 2004 that he ordered "qualified" sorcerers to chase away the nasty entities that have been terrorizing his city's residents. 

The sinister specters make their appearances at night. Late night frolickers have filed several complaints of a woman who materializes out of thin air, utters threats and vanishes. Witnesses say it was as if the spirit evaporated right in front of their eyes. 


Ghostly apparitions and fearsome phantoms haunt the pages of Susan Smitten's latest work, Ghosts of the World: True Tales of Ghostly Hauntings. Her collection of stories of ghosts from around the world will delight readers both young and old who crave tales of the paranormal. No stranger to the world of apparitions, Smitten has also penned other books on the same topic, including Ghost Stories of New England, Ghost Stories of Oregon and Canadian Ghost Stories, Volumes 1 and 2. She is also known for her work as a documentary filmmaker and television producer for the CBC and the Discovery Channel, but she focuses her keen interest in the paranormal into her books. Her latest work is not divided by region or country. Instead, each chapter focuses on ghostly sightings in a particular type of building: castles, government and public places, homes, hotels and inns, odd places, prisons, pubs and restaurants, roads and theatres. 

     Readers will be fascinated by the diverse accounts of ghosts from around the world, including a Chinese empress and her servants who continue to stay at the Yun Shan Fan Dian Hotel in Chengde, as well as the phantoms who haunt the White House and the Palace of Versailles. In terms of Canadian content, there are two entries on ghosts located in British Columbia – a lady in red who reportedly haunts the Hotel Vancouver and phantoms in the Oakalla Prison in Burnaby, which was shut down in the 1990s. The book includes interesting black and white photographs throughout, although pictures do not accompany every entry. This book makes for ideal recreational reading material for those attracted to stories about ghosts and the paranormal, and may work especially well as a choice for reluctant readers with an interest in the subject matter. With Halloween fast approaching, public librarians will want to consider Smitten's work for their collection as ghost stories remain some of the most often requested titles. 


Elizabeth Larssen divides her time between her information services position at a local public library and her studies at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC, where she is pursuing a degree in Library and Information Studies. 

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

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