Haunted by History: Separating the Facts and Legends of Eight Historic Hotels and Inns in Southern California

Craig Owens. Sad Hill, $50 (410p) ISBN 978-0-9976881-0-8
Photographer Owens distinguishes fact from fiction in this stimulating, heavily illustrated account of the supposed hauntings of eight historic Southern California hotels. Pulling together historical photographs and original documents as well as firsthand accounts, the author attempts to verify the ghost stories associated with each inn, dissecting their origins (often in the late 19th and early 20th centuries) and recreating the ghostly encounters in glamorously staged vignette photos. Owens’s research reveals that each hotel survived financial hardships and frequently changed owners, yet in many cases the reported sightings continued. There have been numerous sightings over the years of a young woman in Victorian-era clothing roaming the Hotel Del Coronado, believed by some to be the ghost of Kate Morgan, a hotel guest who killed herself in 1892. Owens suggests that the ghosts said to be in the Alexandria Hotel in downtown Los Angeles may be connected to a series of bizarre deaths that occurred there between 1913 and 1922. Owens’s gorgeous photo stagings recreate the romantic and heady days of each lodging while adding dashes of visual humor, subtle sensuality, and haunting atmosphere. Lavishly illustrated and handsomely produced, the book’s entertaining and informative narrative dwells on the documented facts while dispelling most of the colorful myths. Photos. (BookLife)
Reviewed on: 02/19/2018
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