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Book Review: The Iowa Road Guide to Haunted Locations

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Title: The Unexplained Presents—The Iowa Road Guide to Haunted Locations
Authors: Chad Lewis and Terry Fisk
Published by Unexplained Research LLC, 2007
Amazon Purchase Information

One of my favorite things about the annual Mothman Festival is the abundance of paranormal non-fiction books available for purchase!  I always walk away with a least a few, most of which whose authors are actually at the festival, ready to chat and sign copies of their work!

This year, I showed an extreme amount of self-control with the purchase of only two books.  I picked up The Unexplained Presents: The Iowa Road Guide to Haunted Locations and also the South Dakota Road Guide to Haunted Places.  That second one will be reviewed at a later date; for this blog post, I want to concentrate on the Iowa book.

So, admittedly I picked out the Iowa book from quite a few available selections because I honestly thought I did not have any books on Iowa hauntings.  As part of my personal paranormal library goals, I’m trying to collect at least one book of regional ghost stories/hauntings from each state.  However, like most people who have too many books, I totally forgot I already had an Iowa book.  But, it was no big deal, because this book was totally different…and a lot of fun to read!

The Iowa Road Guide to Haunted Locations was inspired by the authors’ own ghost hunting exploits throughout the state.  During their quest to visit certain locations with a haunted location, they found that a lot of the directions they were given were pretty much useless, causing them to waste hours driving around in circles.  So, they created a handy lil’ guide for future legend trippers. This book is packed full of easily accessible haunted hot spots from every corner of the state.  That means that you’re going to find a LOT of cemeteries, highways, bridges and parks. There are a few public buildings, such as museums and retail locations, added in as well. 

Each chapter features detailed directions to the location, including any admission and/or contact information where applicable.  There is a Ghost Lore section that gives a quick overview of the alleged hauntings, followed by a timeline of important historical events related to that location.  The basics are followed up with an Investigation section where the authors expand on the legends and ghost stories, talk to witnesses, and explore the authenticity of the claims.  Where applicable, there is also a small ‘Dare’ section, sharing urban legends you can try for yourself, such as kissing cursed cemetery statuary.

Chapters generally run just a few pages long, so at a total length of 262 pages, you’re really getting a TON of different locations.  That format also makes this a fairly quick read, which you can read straight through, skip around, or use as an actual road guide out on road.

I really enjoyed the fluff-free style of this book and think its perfect for anyone who just wants to go out legend tripping—exploring spooky areas and testing out the silly stories passed down generation after generation.  As someone who has never even been to Iowa, I also still found value in this book as a fun introduction to Iowa’s many cemetery legends, some of which get right down WEIRD.  However, I’m not entirely sure how useful this format would be for a seasoned investigator working in Iowa.  Each entry, while offering an adequate overview, didn’t go too deep into the historical research of the featured location, nor did much evidence was explored or collected.  In fact, for the majority of featured locations, it was pretty clear that there was far more fiction than fact behind the alleged paranormal associations.

Still, this was a really fun read and I definitely recommend it becoming a part of YOUR own paranormal library.  However, if you just have no interest in the ghosts of Iowa, there are plenty of other books in the Unexplained series; check out their website at Unexplained Research for more titles! 


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