Green Mountains, Dark Tales

Joseph A. Citro, Author
Joseph A. Citro, Author University Press of New England $26 (256p) ISBN 978-0-87451-863-4
Reviewed on: 03/01/1999
Release date: 03/01/1999
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-1-58465-134-5
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A hybrid of journalism and legend, this wide-ranging, well-researched collection of Vermont folklore consists of 31 tall tales, peculiarities, stories of the supernatural and modern mysteries. Spanning from the early 1700s to contemporary times, the book is divided into three categories--""People,"" ""Places"" and ""Things""--all of which Citro, author of five suspense novels (The Unseen, etc.), classifies as Vermont's ""dark tales."" Straightforward, brief sketches feature such unique Vermont residents as James Johns, a newspaper publisher of the 19th century who put out his own hand-lettered, one-copy-only newspaper five days a week for over 40 years, or the ""Queen of Cupidity,"" mean, niggardly Hetty Green, who ""railroaded"" her husband into a poorhouse yet died at age 81 worth over $100 million. Among the haunted places Citro covers are the University of Vermont, where ghosts have allegedly been sighted in 11 of the buildings; the Vermont Police Academy in Pittsford, once a tuberculosis sanatorium that is now said to be haunted by one of its former nurses; and the Inn at Long Last in Chester and Manchester's grand Equinox Hotel, both hosts to ghosts, including one suspected of being Mary Todd Lincoln. Accounts of witches, mirages, eccentrics, monsters and mysterious creatures, such as Northfield's Pigman (a being with a man's body and a pig's face) are, like all the tales in this book, carefully detailed short pieces told in the same accessible, if at times bland, style. Some of the segments are engrossing, others patchy and incomplete; overall, Citro's rugged morsels make for quirky amusement. (Apr.)
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