One of the more popular posts on this blog is my coverage of 1977's All About Ghosts from Usborne Publishing's World of the Unknown series. I guess there are a lot of folks out there like me who were captivated by this series as a kid after having checked it our repeatedly from the school library.
Usborne followed that up in 1979 with Haunted Houses, Ghosts & Spectres, part of a new series of Supernatural Guides (the other titles were Vampires, Werewolves & Demons and Mysterious Powers & Strange Forces. All three volumes were compiled in a fourth book, Usborne Guide to the Supernatural World, and like the World of the Unknown series, they were all reprinted in the early 90s with new cover art but identical content.)
This is a much smaller sized publication than the World of the Unknown books, and is labeled an "Usborne Pocketbook", because it is tiny enough to fit in your pocket... well, that is if you wear clothes with freakishly large 7" x 4.5" pockets!
And don't assume as I did that this book is merely a Cliff Notes digest version of All About Ghosts . Its actually all new material, illustrations and all. Here are some samples of what you'll find within.
Before we can delve into the world of supernatural hauntings we need to agree on terms. What exactly is a haunted house, anyway?
Don't leave out the haunted castles!
Different types of ghosts are described and defined.
Everyone knows the best ghosts are missing their heads, and this book has a whole spread devoted to them!
In a story reminiscent of The Golden Arm, a ghost returns to retrieve a ring that was stolen from her corpse.
The Lord Dufferin story, in which a ghostly premonition warns "Room for one more!" is covered here but for some reason the author chose to leave out the signature quote from this telling. (This famous ghost story was also covered in the Scholastic classic Strangely Enough by C.B. Colby!)
Did somebody say poltergeist?
The Usborne Supernatural Guides are out of print, but can be found on the second-hand market for reasonable prices.
6 months ago