Think back...think way the those hazy warm primary school days when having mastered the rudimentary ABC's and 1+1=2 equations we were trundled into a hushed cavernous sanctuary known as the library and were expected to choose one book that would hopefully expand our prepubescent horizons in the week before we repeated the ritual.

This classic work by Mrs. Roberts reanimates a lost childish fearful thrill and a secret loving pride in ghosts...but not just any ghosts...oh, no, these are "our" ghosts...home grown, tragic, spooky, larger-than-life, doomed-to-wander-f
orever, true-blue Carolina ghosts! The stories within made me yearn to see those wondrous places described, not for the beauty of the Carolina countryside, nor for the hallowed, historic battlegrounds where blood was shed in the founding of our nation, nor for the world-famed architecture lining moss-draped, ocean breeze swept, cobblestone avenues. I wanted to see every one of those ghosts in all of their romantic, tragic glory. Ah, childhood!

In the library this book was already well-worn and dog-eared, with smudged little thumb prints lining the edges of the pages, and I added my grimy set as well. I checked this text out so many times in a row, that I was forbidden to check it out for the rest of the semester. Either my teacher felt that I was becoming too deeply enamored with a morbid topic or else I was dumber than dirt, not being able to completely read a very thin text in twelve weeks. Thanks to her mandate I discovered my admiration and respect for Presidents Lincoln and Kennedy both of whom died tragically...then it was back to my beloved ghosts!

The copy I purchased recently is not dog-eared nor the pages stained by a multitude of little fingers but still haunting within are my familiar old friends from a by-gone era. The prophetic Gray Man of Pawley's Island, the fearsome Hound of Goshen, murdered pirates guarding a fortune in gold on Folly Island and poor beautiful Alice of the Hermitage are the stuff of legend and still inspire legions of modern day investigators. The Witch Cat, House of the Open Door, the Ring and City of the Dead while not showcasing a historic ghost still present a parable for those who delve too deeply into the paranormal realm. Be careful of what you wish, for you just might get it!

Written for youthful readers, gory descriptions are non-existent in these short eighteen tales, yet in its simplistic style, one learns the basic tragedies of some of South Carolina's most famous long lingering residents. Black and white photographs staged by the author's husband illustrate many of the tales, undoubtedly aiding many burgeoning young imaginations in determining exactly what a ghost is supposed to look like. If an inanimate object could truly become haunted, then this book would surely be a candidate, for it held between its covers countless spell-bound youngsters transformed by its tame tales of the supernatural, but there are no nightmares in these dear old pages...just a sense of innocence and nostalgia well worth visiting when the real world becomes too gruesome and scary.

5***** of 5*****/LADYJEM/2-8