In this monthly segment, I will provide a list of books I think anyone interested in folklore, ghost stories, the unusual & the paranormal would enjoy. Most of these can be found on Amazon.com (often at discounted rates) or at your local library. Each list of books will be arranged by topic and will be accompanied by a short description highlighting some themes and commonalities. Enjoy!
- Higdon, Hal. Leopold and Loeb: The Crime of the Century. University of Illinois Press, 1999.
- Lindberg, Richard. Return to the Scene of the Crime: A Guide to Infamous Places in Chicago. Cumberland House Publishing, 1999.
- Linedecker, Clifford. The Man Who Killed Boys: The John Wayne Gacy, Jr. Story. St. Martin’s Paperbacks, 1993.
- Possley, Maurice. The Brown’s Chicken Massacre. Berkley, 2003.
- Schechter, Harold. Depraved: The Definitive True Story of H.H. Holmes. Pocket Books, 2008.
- Taylor, Troy. True Crime: Illinois. Stackpole Books, 2009.
Since many ghost stories begin with murder or suicide, it only makes sense that those interested in the paranormal are also interested in true crime stories. Troy Taylor is one example of an author who started out writing about ghost stories, but who has since transitioned into the true crime genre. Often, famous murder cases generate rumors of supernatural activity. For example, after John Wayne Gacy’s home was torn down, many visitors noted that nothing seemed to grow on the empty lot. It was thought that the souls of the dead had consecrated the ground, or that the memory of what had happened there was so horrible that it scarred the land. Likewise, locals whispered stories of strange noises and cries in the dry cleaners that opened up at the site of the Brown’s Chicken Massacre. Anyone interested in the dark side of Illinois history would do well to read the books listed above.
Interested in the ghostly legends and lore of Illinois? Check out Michael Kleen’s book Paranormal Illinois. Paranormal Illinois presents in-depth and original research on some of Illinois’ most unusual tales, including the phantom lady of Kennedy Hill Road, the headless horseman of Lakey’s Creek, and the ghost of Ange Milner. Chapters on Archer Avenue, Manteno State Hospital, Ashmore Estates, Airtight Bridge, Devil’s Gate, and other infamous places present information and interviews never before seen in print. Fun, informative, and greatly entertaining, this painstakingly researched book leaves no ghost unturned.