Synopses & Reviews
Who's that? Is someone there? A whisper of air brushes your cheek. Then all is still. Maybe it was just the wind. Or maybe it wasn't. . . .
Maybe you've just been visited by the late Ida Day lurking in the basement of Hutchinson's public library or the widow Tarot staring forlornly from an upstairs window at Fort Scott, or the phantom Earl floating behind the scenes in Concordia's Brown Grand Theater. And maybe the horrific Albino Woman truly does haunt Topeka, turning romantic nights into nightmares. . . . maybe.
Pursuing the stories behind these and other spectral manifestations, Lisa Hefner Heitz has traveled the state in search of its ghostly folklore. What she has unearthed is a fascinating blend of oral histories, contemporary eye-witness accounts, and local legends. Creepy and chilling, sometimes humorous, and always engaging, her book features tales about ghosts, poltergeists, spook lights, and a host of other restless spirits that haunt Kansas.
Heitz's spine-tingling collection of stories raps and taps and moans and groans through a wealth of descriptions of infamous Kansas phantoms, as well as disconcerting personal experiences related by former skeptics. Many of these ghosts, she shows, are notoriously linked to specific structures or locations, whether it is an eighteenth-century mansion in Atchison or a deep—some have claimed bottomless—pool near Ashland.
The evanescent apparitions of these tales have frightened and at times amused Kansans throughout the state's long history. Yet this is the first book to capture for posterity the lively antics of the state's ghostly denizens. Besides preserving a colorful and imaginative, if intangible, side of the state's popular heritage, Heitz supplies ghost-storytellers with ample hair-raising material for, well, eternity. Maybe that person breathing softly behind you has another such story to share. Oh, no one's there? Perhaps it really was just the breeze off the prairie.
Have you seen Ida lurking among the books? Perhaps you've tangled with the Albino Woman on a dark and deserted night in Topeka. Pursuing the stories behind these and other disembodied dignitaries, Lisa Heitz traveled the state in search of ghostly lore and narration unique to Kansas. What she unearthed is a fascinating blend of mystery and menace -- a rich lode of ominous oral histories and local legends. Kansas ghosts, Heitz shows, are notoriously linked to a specific structure or landscape, whether it be an eighteenth-century mansion in Atchison or a deep -- some have claimed bottomless -- pool near Ashland.
Heitz's intriguing collection raps and taps and moans and groans through many an oft-whispered fable of infamous phantoms -- sometimes headless, sometimes hanging -- as well as disconcerting personal experiences related by the previously skeptical. In one such case, a south-central Kansas family called the police after seeing a strange man sitting in the car in their closed garage. No one was found yet the garage door was never opened.
Many of the illusive apparitions of these tales have terrorized, and at times amused, Kansans for decades. Yet this is the first book to capture them -- if only on paper -- and record their alleged antics for posterity. Besides preserving a popular, if often intangible, sliver of the state's lively heritage, Heitz supplies sinister storytellers with ample hair-raising ammunition for, well, eternity. Maybe that person breathing softly behind you has another such story to share. Oh, no one is there? Perhaps it was just the wind.
Table of Contents
House Ghosts (Haunted Houses and Buildings
-The Old Stone House
-The Haunted Farm
-The Blue Handkerchief Ghost of Carey House Square
-Herbie the Bakery Ghost
-The Ghost of Ida Day
-The Emporia Country Club Ghost
-The Haunted Duplex
-The Watching Widow
-The Haunted Teddy Bear
-More Frontier Ghosts
-The Ghost of Father Fred
-The Ghost of Catherine Sutler: The Lost Children
-The Lady in Black
-The Ghost of Custer
-The Ghosts of the Rookery
-The Face in the Fire
-And the Rest
School and Theater Ghosts
-The Oxford Middle School Ghost
-The Ghostly Trumpeter of Paola High School
-Death Takes a Holiday: The Salina Central High Stage Ghost
-George and the Night Nurse: Kansas State University
-Virginia the Ghost of Sigma Nu: University of Kansas
-The Musical Ghost of McCray Hall: Pittsburg State University
-Earl, the Brown Grand Theatre Ghost
-The Albino Woman
-The Blue-Eyed Monster of Clearwater Cemetery
-The Demonic Church
-The Caretaker Ghosts
-The Glowing Tombstone
Ghosts on the Range
-The Ghost of the Cimarron
-The Hamburger Man
-A Ghostly Sisyphus
-Kate Coffee and Her Ghouls
-The Legends of Witches Hollow
-The Holmes Ghost Light
-St. Jacob's Well: The Cowboy Ghost and His Ghost Horse
-Mystic Cow Lights
-The Phantom Cat
-Angel over Greensburg
-The Haunted Mattress
-The Haunted Hayloft
-The Singing Ghost
The Most Haunted Town in Kansas: Atchison
-The Ghost of Sallie the Man-Hater
-The Haunted Villa: The Ghost in the Tower
-The Tea-Making Ghost with a Toothache
-The Skirt-Tugging Ghost
-The Ghost of Anna
-The Suitcase-Throwing Ghost
-The Ghost of the Bride Trapped in the Trunk
-A Quartet of Ghosts
-The Legend of Molly's Hollow in Jackson Park
Notes and Sources