Spotlight on Haunted States of America

Every state has its own spine-tingling stories of ghosts and mysterious hauntings grounded in its regional history. The Haunted States of America series uses real-life ghost lore as jumping-off points to new, chilling tales. An author’s note provides historical origins and fascinating facts, but beware: sometimes real life is stranger than fiction. Check out all the titles for a spooky, middle-grade delight!

Curse of the Dead-Eyed Doll

Alejandro Padilla isn’t superstitious and he doesn’t believe the stories that an old sailor doll in a Key West, Florida, museum is haunted. Robert the Doll might look creepy, but that doesn’t mean the doll is cursed. So Al ignores the tour guide’s warning to ask Robert’s permission before taking the doll’s photograph. But it isn’t long after Al’s field trip to the museum that strange things start happening. Al is quick to dismiss the odd occurrences as coincidence and bad luck…that is until they become more frequent and more sinister. Is the doll tormenting Al? And if so, what will Al have to do to get him to stop?

 

Phantom of the Tracks

According to local lore, the town of Chester, New Jersey, has a resident ghost. But neither Kara nor her best friend (and newest Chester resident) Natalie have ever heard of these stories. Yet it isn’t long before the girls discover the legend of the Hookerman, a railroad worker who was in an accident and lost his hand. Some say he still wanders at night looking for his missing hand. But that was a long time ago. There isn’t anything Kara and Natalie can do to help the ghost now . . . is there?

 

Swamp of Lost Souls

Manchac Swamp in New Orleans, Louisiana, is rumored to be haunted, but Josh Athens doesn’t believe it. It certainly didn’t affect his decision to take a job with Bayou Boat Tours. But while trying to reach a stranded boat of tourists, Josh’s coworker, Carter, crashes their airboat and suddenly their rescue mission turns into one of survival. The boys find the swamp is not only teeming with insects and other wildlife, but also the souls of a long-ago town. And the ghost thought to be at the center of it all, Aunt Julia Brown, has taken a particular interest in Josh. Will Josh and Carter find their way out, or will they join the lost souls of Manchac Swamp?

 

A Starlet’s Shadow

Isabella Rodriguez is thrilled that she and her sister get to spend a week with their aunt in sunny Los Angeles, California. A budding photographer, Isa keeps her camera at the ready to capture all the iconic sights—especially those of the historic Hollywood neighborhood where her aunt lives. After one of Isa’s photos shows a mysterious shadowy figure, she learns that Hollywood Hills is haunted. Now the ghost in the photo won’t leave Isa alone. She’s trying to communicate with Isa . . . but what does she want?

 

Beware the Bell Witch

Miles Watley is pretty sure he’s going to die of boredom when his family moves to the small town of Adams, Tennessee. The only thing that is remotely interesting to him is the Bell Witch Cave that local lore claims is haunted. While exploring the cave, he and his brother, Ryder, spot a young girl who simply vanishes into the darkness. Shortly after, weird, ghostly things start happening in his family’s new house, the most perplexing of which is Ryder’s strange behavior and his dad’s mysterious illness. It becomes clear that the Watleys have something the ghost wants. It isn’t their house, is it?

 

Ghostly Reunion

City-boy Robby Warner is spending the Fourth of July holiday in the small town of Hibbing, Minnesota, where the only thing that’s happening is his large, chaotic family reunion. It isn’t long before he and his cousins decide to escape the crowd to explore all that the town has to offer. But while visiting an outdated bus museum, strange things start to happen, like bus windows closing on their own. When Robby plays back a video he took at the museum, he hears a ghostly voice whisper to him. The ghost is looking for something he’d lost. Will the ghost find what he’s looking for, or will he keep searching for eternity?

 

Spirits of the Storm

Sara Leung is prepared for a long, quiet night when she tags along on her mom’s overnight inventory shift at a discount store in Galveston, Texas. But it isn’t long before the night turns spooky when Sara spots ghostly children playing in the aisles of the store. She hears their laughter in the toy section. They send her messages. Sara quickly finds there are children everywhere in the store who want her help. But what do they need? And are they stuck in the store forever?

 

Trapped in Room 217

Jayla Walters isn’t sure what to expect when her father’s job uproots her and her brother, Dion, to Estes Park, Colorado. But right away, something doesn’t seem right with their hotel. Jayla soon discovers that their home for the week, Room 217 of the Stanley Hotel, is the most haunted place in all of Colorado. Barely asleep the first night, Jayla watches a ghostly woman walk toward her bed. And the ghost visits her room every night. What does the ghost want? And what happens when Jayla and Dion get in her way?

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