Other Worlds

Barbara Michaels, Author
Barbara Michaels, Author HarperCollins Publishers $23 (217p) ISBN 978-0-06-019235-8
Reviewed on: 03/01/1999
Release date: 02/01/1999
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-694-52082-4
Hardcover - 978-0-7862-1769-4
Hardcover - 280 pages - 978-0-7838-8556-8
Hardcover - 978-0-7862-1770-0
Mass Market Paperbound - 304 pages - 978-0-06-109749-2
Paperback - 280 pages - 978-0-7838-8557-5
Ebook - 304 pages - 978-0-06-194546-5
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 304 pages - 978-0-06-194544-1
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-088895-4
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-088896-1
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-0-06-194540-3
Ebook - 304 pages - 978-0-06-194541-0
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In an unusual blend of mystery, suspense and the occult, veteran suspense novelist Michaels (The Dancing Floor, etc.) recounts two classic American ghost stories: the Bell Witch of Tennessee and the Phelps haunting of Connecticut. A unique mix of historical and fictitious crime experts with an avid interest in spiritualism (and fakery)--among them Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Harry Houdini, Frank Podmore of the Society for Psychical Research and a mysterious woman who may be the author herself--gathers over the course of two evenings to hear of the two legends, sift evidence and render judgment. As retold here, both hauntings boasted various manifestations, from frivolous to life threatening, over a period of many years--the Bell Witch in the early 19th century and the Phelps case in the 1850s. Both were observed and investigated by a number of persons outside the families that played host to the unwelcome poltergeists, and both had disastrous consequences for those families. This novel isn't a mystery by any strict standard, but Michaels's fans won't care, as the telling is adept, suspenseful and appropriately spooky. Most readers are likely to echo Houdini's opinion that the replay of the hauntings, though still shrouded in ambiguity, makes for ""an entertaining evening."" (Feb.)
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