A Haunted History of Invisible Women

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A Haunted History of Invisible Women: True Stories of America’s Ghosts

by Leanna Renee Hieber and Andrea Janes
Read By: Linda Jones
Published by: Tantor Media
Publish Date: September 2022
Genre(s): Audiobook, NonFiction, Ghost Stories, Paranormal
HB&W Rating: 4
View on Goodreads
Buy on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Synopsis

From the notorious Lizzie Borden to the innumerable, haunted rooms of Sarah Winchester‘s mysterious mansionthis offbeat, insightful, first-ever book of its kind explores the history behind America’s female ghosts, the stereotypes, myths, and paranormal tales that swirl around them, what their stories reveal about us–and why they haunt us… 

Sorrowful widows, vengeful jezebels, innocent maidens, wronged lovers, former slaves, even the occasional axe-murderess–America’s female ghosts differ widely in background, class, and circumstance. Yet one thing unites them: their ability to instill fascination and fear, long after their deaths. Here are the full stories behind some of the best-known among them, as well as the lesser-known–though no less powerful.

Tales whispered in darkness often divulge more about the teller than the subject. America’s most famous female ghosts, like New Orleans voodoo priestess Marie Laveau, and Bridget Bishop, the first person executed during the Salem witchcraft trials, mirror each era’s fears and prejudices. Yet through urban legends and campfire stories, even ghosts like the nameless hard-working women lost in the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire –achieve a measure of power and agency in death, in ways unavailable to them as living women.

Riveting for skeptics and believers alike, with humor, curiosity, and expertise, A Haunted History of Invisible Women offers a unique lens on the significant role these ghostly legends play both within the spook-seeking corners of our minds and in the consciousness of a nation.

Synopsis source: Goodreads

Review

Thank you to Tantor Audio and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this audiobook in exchange for my honest review.

This title is quite a loaded one, isn’t it? But, it sets the tone for this haunting compilation.

Going into spooky season, I’m always looking for books to get me in the haunting mood, usually light-hearted witchy tales, thrillers or other paranormal fantasy or some such. I was browsing Netgalley and saw this cover and title and it intrigued me. Real life ghost stories?! Sign me up!

It didn’t take long for me to get through this book, I listened compulsively, earbuds in at every possible opportunity, followed by rounds of “did you know…” with my husband.

What I loved most about this book wasn’t just that I was listening to ghost stories, though they were entertaining enough. I loved that the authors took the time to look into the verifiable facts (or sometimes the lack thereof) surrounding these stories to get to the heart of why they so captured people’s fascination. Ultimately, the authors simply present the reader with what they’re able to find out and let the reader make the decision what to believe (or not).

This book seeks to shine a light on women who history would eschew as undesirable or “other” for various reason and lets their story be told with plausible insights into what was really going on. The stories in this book share stories of love, loss, murder, and suicide by women who were mothers (good and bad), spinsters, “mad” women (crazy or institutionalized because they were inconvenient), prostitutes, widows, and more. There are women who had no agency over their life when they breathed, but who found it in death, women who had reputations (good or bad) preceding their deaths that only flourished more afterwards, women from high positions and low…just, women.

The authors clearly did their research and are very knowledgeable about that which they speak and present these women’s stories in a thought-provoking, insightful, and sometimes eerie way. Whether you believe in ghosts or the paranormal or not, this book makes for a great spooky read for this October.

Until next time, happy haunting!


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