|By Leslie Rule|
When The Ghost Screams: True Stories of Victims Who Haunt is a book about the supernatural. It's a collection of stories about the ghosts of victims of murders and other tragedies. The author, Leslie Rule, seems to fancy herself to be some sort of psychic, medium, or otherwise sensitive person. I couldn't quite figure out what it is she claims to be. I wasn't quite a fan of her personality or at least the way it came through her writing. We will get into that later.
The book starts off beautifully. In the introduction the author puts into perspective who ghosts are. Not by names or who they were personally, but how they were once people with real lives just like you and I.
"It wakes us because it was once as we are- snuggled in our beds with the night shut safely outside. It had a body, too, and perhaps nice shiny shoes lined up in the closet or maybe just one tattered pair of sneakers tossed carelessly in the corner. It had an alarm clock and someplace to be. Eventually. For every living person has somewhere to go. School. Work. Or downstairs for a piece of toast with marmalade and butter."It's chilling to me to think that an ordinary day could result in me dying suddenly and becoming something morbid and grotesque like a specter in the night.
The rest of the book continues with stories where things just like described above happened. Just regular people dying suddenly and unexpectedly and possibly lingering around and not moving onto whatever lies beyond the veil. Sadly, for the most part I found most of the stories to be boring and not scary at all. Reading this book for October, I hoped it would be a bit more frightening. I'm in the mood to be scared. It's that season. I think a lot of this lack of spookiness is credited to the authors writing style. It's very short and to the point. The book is sort of written in a fashion similar to a newspaper article. It seems more like the author is simply reporting the events. It almost seems like she's not even into the stories either.
There were a few more chilling stories. I have two favorites.
1. A report of actress Sharon Tate having a premonition of her own death. Seeing herself murdered at the bottom of her staircase.
2. The story of the Donner Party who reportedly engaged in cannibalism. There was a photo submitted by a a man hiking in the area where the group camped. He stopped to take a photo of what he considered to be a beautiful day to send to someone back home. He was totally alone on the trail, but oddly the image of a young boys face appeared on the bottom of his picture. You can see that picture for yourself here. There were a few young boys known to pass away while camping there.
Other than those stories I didn't enjoy the book very much. The author also seemed a bit pompous. Whenever someone had a theory or a theory that made sense she had to throw in her own two cents and contradict whatever is believed and ruin the whole story. She also seems to have some sort of grudge against psychic medium Sylvia Browne, most famous for her weekly appearances on The Montel Williams Show.
"The fact that a psychic is featured regularly on television does not necessarily mean that they are particularly gifted. One famous psychic, who will remain unnamed, charges hundreds per hour and has so many fans that they have to wait over a year to give her their hard-earned cash. Yet, her predictions have rarely been validated. Buyer beware!"Meow! Hiss! It's obvious that the psychic who shall not be named is Sylvia Browne. She's been featured regularly on TV, charges an arm and a leg for a session, and her waiting list is over a year. Maybe the author is jealous because most people familiar with New Age culture know who is Sylvia Browne is, but don't know who Leslie Rule is. It seems like she's trying to ride her own mother's coattails anyways, who is a true crime author who had one of her books turned into a made-for-TV movie starring Farrah Fawcett. The line "Yet, her predictions have rarely been validated" is a line that oozes supreme pretentiousness to me. Lady, you're writing a book about ghosts and you want to talk about the validity of ones claims or beliefs? All your book boils down to is speculation.
Moving on, the book also seemed to have no direction. It seemed like someone tried to organize it into chapter and categories, but it just seemed like aimless writing to me. On that note, I'm giving When The Ghost Screams 3 out of 5 stars.