These books can be fun companions if you're intrigued by paranormal places not too far away.
- "Ghosts of the Triangle: Historic Haunts of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill" by Richard and William Jackson (History Press; $17.99) is long on places to see, but short on placed where you can spend the night. Some sites are outdoor (Forest Theatre at UNC Chapel Hill, the Haunted Woods in eastern Durham County), and some are public places (N.C. Capitol - icy hands, mysterious footsteps and shadows late at night). Entries are brief - each no more than two pages - and breezy, though short on how-to info.
The cover is appropriately eerie, as are other titles in the publisher's Haunted America series. It was published this year, as was their "Ghosts of the North Carolina Piedmont" (Frances Casstevens, $17.99).
Other series titles include "Asheville Ghosts & Legends" (Key Traylor and Delas House; $17.99), "Ghosts of Atlanta" (Reese Christian; $19.99), "Charleston Mysteries" (Cathy Pickens, $14.99), "Haunted Hills: Ghosts and Legends of Highlands and Cashiers, North Carolina" (Stephanie Burt Williams; $12.99) and "Haunted Richmond" (Scott and Sandi Bergman; $19.99)
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- Utterly on the campy side is "Weird Carolinas: Your Travel Guide to North and South Carolina's Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets," by Roger Manley (Sterling; $19.95). It's in the Weird USA series and is a miscellany of short items. Spooky legend/incidents worked in among snippets celebrating Ripley-style goofiness (such as the Great Goober peanut statue near Pelion). It's a very visual hardback that will add an odd touch to your coffee table. Slight, but fun.
- "Haunted Inns of the Southeast," by Sheila Turnage (John F. Blair; $12.95) may be what you need if you're actively seeking a haunted room for the night: It has write-ups on 100 such places between Lafayette, La., and Norfolk, Va. Each tells the eerie tale associated with the resort, inn or hotel and, when possible, pinpoints the affected room. The entries are well-written and brief (a page or two). The intro goes over some basics and offers tips (bring a camera, relax, etc.). Cities with three or more entries include New Orleans (with 10!), Vicksburg, Miss., St. Augustine, Fla., Savannah, Ga., and Asheville.
Bad news: It was published in 2001, so rates, Web sites and some phone numbers need double-checking.
Check the publisher's Web site (www.blairpub.com) for word on other supernatural titles dealing with the Southeast, including the two series - "Piedmont Phantoms and Haunted Halls of Ivy Ghosts of Southern Colleges and Universities" - authored by folklorist/historian/politician/attorney Daniel Barefoot of Lincolnton.
- Charlotte writer Nancy Roberts was the top chronicler of ghostly things in the Carolinas - a solid storyteller whose compilations - "Ghosts from the Coast," "North Carolina Ghosts & Legends," "Civil War Ghost Stories & Legends" and others written from the 1960s to 1990s (various publishers) - hold up well as folklore. She died in 2008.
- "Lowcountry Voodoo: Beginners Guide to Tales, Spells, and Boo Hags," by Terrance Zepke offers a guide to spooky places in the Lowcountry along with Gullah recipes, spells and charms.