Traumafessions :: Reader Chuckles on “All About Ghosts”

it's all about ghosts

Chuckles here. I previously submitted a traumafession concerning my apocalyptic childhood viewing of the film THE RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD. However, reader Carly’s post concerning a book called “Horrible Histories” dredged up another horror that I had nearly forgotten. The culprit this time was the slim, heavily illustrated “All About Ghosts”, 1977, Maynard, Usborne Publishing. It was sort of a Time-Life book for kids about ghosts and hauntings and presented the topic in a very matter-of-fact fashion, noting the various phenomena associated with ghosts and documenting many ghostly tales.

This amusing and informative kids book scared the sh*t out of me. I really can’t remember what it was that freaked me out so much – it must have been some of the illustrations. I also recall a spread showing a bunch of alleged ghost photos – I think that there was one of the Brown Lady of Raynham Hall in there. Here was photographic PROOF that ghosts existed!

In order to rid myself of the accursed book, I “loaned” it to a friend down the block and conveniently forgot to ask for it back. Years later, when I was in my teens, this neighbor moves away but before she does, she comes by and returns the book! Talk about a sense of accountability! I recall that she was a Mormon – are they really good about returning stuff? Anyhow, I immediately went through the book and I simply could not figure out what it was that I had found so terrifying – it all seemed very innocuous.

Anyone else remember this book? Anyone else up all night after reading it when you were a tot?

AUNT JOHN SEZ: For more amazing imagery from “All About Ghosts” be sure to check out our brother from another mother, Brother Bill at THE HAUNTED CLOSET! Now as for books that did an elementary school number on me, I was obsessed with Seymour Simon’s “Ghosts,” “The Thing at the Foot of the Bed,” and anything by Daniel Cohen.

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11 years ago

wow! major flash-back! I used to loan this from the library all the time growing up. another book in the series was about monsters and was just has good

11 years ago

YES! YES! YES! I used to have this as a kid and loved it, but what I really loved was the one about monsters that MAGIRED mentioned. I think there was some kind of sea serpent on the cover (?) and it dealt a lot with sea creatures and mummies etc. Any images of that one available…?

11 years ago

craig head on over to The Haunted Closet they have a review of the Ghost book and the Monster book

11 years ago

Oh man, I wish I had come across this one as a kid! I, too, read all the Cohen books, and was obsessed with Nancy Garden’s “Weird and Horrible” series. After spending my childhood reading about the vicious, bestial (and often disgusting) vampire and werewolf legends of Eastern Europe and China, is it any wonder that today’s glamorous vampires and hunky werewolves seem more than a bit twee?

11 years ago

I devoured everything by Daniel Cohen that my local library carried.  “Ghostly Terrors” was so scary to me that it might as well have been possessed by the devil…Which of course meant that I checked it out more often than any of the others.

8 years ago

Was this a reprint of the Scholastic FunFacts Ghost book? The artwork above is very similar to it. Such a good book!