Ghosts of the Old West: Desert Spirits, Haunted Cabins, Lost Trails, and Other Strange Encounters

Earl Murray, Author McGraw-Hill/Contemporary $8.95 (165p) ISBN 978-0-8092-4642-7
Murray, a writer of historical novels and westerns who resides in Montana, relates oral histories of people's alleged encounters with ghosts and spirits in the Old West. The author discusses myths surrounding the spirits of pioneer settlers and their prime haunts, as well as Native American legends, including those about the small and powerful protective beings known to Montana's Crow Indians as the ``Little People.'' He explains how supernatural occurrences often revolve about old houses, hotels, forts and battlegrounds, but his accounts are not convincing. Many, such as ``The Phantoms of Fort Laramie,'' are cliched and melodramatic: ``The remains of one of the West's most important military posts will always tell its stories in one form or anotherand often from the lips of the dead.'' Others, such as incidents centering on the Fort Hays historic site in Kansas, are more absurd than intriguing. For example, a college student living in an officers' quarters-turned-dormitory ``returned to her apartment to see soldiers in full military dress sitting around her dining-room table playing cards.'' Disappointingly, the narratives are similar and lack the tension and vigorous language necessary to sustain interest. Photos not seen by PW. (September)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1988
Release date: 09/01/1988
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 208 pages - 978-0-312-86795-9
Mass Market Paperbound - 256 pages - 978-0-8125-3527-3
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