Ghosts of the Connecticut River
by Loretta Vandivier Rea
Trafford Publishing

"I pulled open the heavy, black, iron gate. It screeched a rusty song, then closed, slamming behind me."

Ghost stories wind and weave around particular locales, mesmerizing tourists and readers alike because they know that one day, they could actually visit the specific region where the tales of woe occurred. In Ghosts of the Connecticut River, Loretta Vandivier Rea has established an undercurrent of creepiness that trails alongside historical and geographical facts, an accomplishment usually reserved for the longtime residents of a region who hope to scare, enlighten, and entertain tourists. Some of Rea's ghosts save children's lives, some just want people to know they exist, and yet others want to return a young woman's much needed paperwork. One of the most entertaining vignettes regarded a ghost who liked to moonlight as a docent.

Most of these brief stories take place in the 1950s, when a ghostly helper lends a hand, then relates back to a much earlier timeframe in order to gain perspective on the ethereal advice. Rea succeeds in emphasizing the scary factor is by listing the dates mentioned and specific places where the ghost story happened within the table of contents. The ghost who likes to give tours can be found at Old Newgate Prison in East Granby, Connecticut. His death was recorded in 1873 but according to the short story, "What Is Old Is New Again at Old Newgate Prison," he was a practicing tour guide in 1961 (although most likely unpaid). The research undertaken and shown on the page lends credence and a high rating on the creepy scale to Ghosts of the Connecticut River.

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