REVIEWED: THE HAUNTED MANSION – YEAR ONE BY RAIN GRAVES
THE HAUNTED MANSION PROJECT – YEAR ONE by Rain Graves / Damnation Books (March 2012) / 196 pages / Trade Paperback and eBook
I’m a sucker for a good ghost story. I’ve had a lifelong fascination with the occult and the paranormal. I formed a ghost hunting group when I was in the third grade, the Monster Club, and my friends and I rode our bikes all over our little farming community seeking out abandoned houses and graveyards in our quest to dance with the corporeally challenged. But that was just the start of it. In 1983 I formed the Nightstalkers of Indiana and we have been investigating the paranormal now for just shy of thirty years. I know a thing or two about hunting ghosts. I also know a thing or two about writing about them.
Let’s get right down to the meat of it — The Haunted Mansion Project is a fascinating read. Hell, Rain Graves introduction is worth the price of admission alone.
So, what is the Haunted Mansion Project? Simple, in the fall of 2010, the lovely and talented Rain Graves hosted a group of horror writers and paranormal investigators in an honest to goodness haunted mansion for four days. Part writer’s workshop / part ghost hunting 101, this rag-tag group of novelists, poets, and ghostbreakers came together in the beautiful isolated location and had, by all accounts, the time of their lives.
The book itself is divided into three parts, each equally captivating. I was especially taken with Part One, The Findings, an investigation narrative chronicled by Nichole Boscia of GhostGirls. This was one thorough investigation, well managed by a seasoned team of professionals and the account is bloody brilliant, guaranteed to kindle your interest and desire to visit the place for yourself.
The second part of the book, The Facts, is a collection of thoughts, ruminations, and journal-like entries by various attendees, while the third part, The Fiction and Poetry, is comprised of an anthology of writings by those who braved the weekend, including Bram Stoker Award Winners Rain Graves, Weston Ochse, and Yvonne Navarro, among others.
The writing is solid, as you would expect from such lauded individuals, especially E.S. Magill’s “Not a Drop to Drink”, which was delightfully atmospheric and captured the essence of the weekend’s theme.
This is a book that I cannot recommend highly enough. There’s a little bit of everything here for you — terrific prose, thrilling recounts of things doing a bit more than just bumping in the night, and an honest and thorough accounting of what a paranormal investigation is all about.
One thing’s for sure, after reading The Haunted Mansion Project I desperately want to join Rainy and the gang for a long weekend somewhere out there where the dearly departed simply aren’t. Departed, I mean.