I picked up "Louisiana Ghosts: They Are Among Us," hoping to read one of two things: 1) Fun ghost stories to tell friends or 2) Actual stories of possible haunts. Based on the back cover of the book, I was expecting the latter. The back cover coaxes the reader into believing that they are getting stories based on legitimate people, places and events by mentioning Jean Lafitte, the HMS Nelson and Arcadia.
What really lies in store for the reader is a collection of fifteen tales penned by author Amis O'Bryan who, according to the "About The Author" section is a writer, professor, poet, and, most importantly, a "successful consultant on interpreting spectral occurrences." O'Bryan writes these tales from a number of viewpoints. In some of the stories, the ghost is the one actually telling the story. In others, a "famous" ghost hunter is tracking down restless spirits. O'Bryan appears to be telling many of these stories as well.
A number of famous tourist hot spots, all of which happen to be in or around New Orleans with a couple from St. Francisville, are referenced in the stories, giving a tad bit of legitimacy to the them. However, just a quick Google of any of these people and/or places mentioned will turn up very little solid proof for these tales. Of all of the stories that I checked on (which weren't many due to the lack of evidence I could find), only one, "The Axeman," had a legitimate basis for it.
The other stories all appear to have their basis in the author's mind, with actual historical accounts, people and places thrown in for legitimacy. While there is nothing wrong with "making up" stories, I do wish that the author would have noted that these stories are fictionalized.
With that fact revealed, what you have in "Louisiana Ghosts" is a collection of campfire tales that may or may not send a chill down the spine of young campers. None of the short stories have a "BOO!!!" moment or end with the oft-used campfire line of, "...and he's RIGHT BEHIND YOU!!!" In other words, if you want to really scare someone with these stories, you'll have to stretch the truth even farther than it has already been stretched.
In short, "Louisiana Ghosts" isn't really a collection of Louisiana ghost stories at all. It's a collection of fifteen so-so ghost stories written about and inspired by a few southeastern Louisiana ghost stories and drawn almost entirely from the author's imagination.
Recommended to pre-teens and the parents of younger children who might enjoy a mediocre scare.
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