Local author introduces readers to ghosts of the Rockford area

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Have you ever felt uneasy chills upon entering an old house or cemetery? Sensed someone watching you from the dark at the top of the stairs, when you knew you were alone? If so, then dim the lights and stoke up the fire. These stories will thrill and bewitch you, and unveil the hauntedness in us all. Read them and be scared…

With his first book, Ghost Whispers: Tales from Haunted Midway, local author William Gorman journeys deep into what modern master and Illinois native son Ray Bradbury called the “October country”; that dark, unseen region where the natural and the supernatural worlds touch and sometimes bleed into each other. Only this time, it’s right here in our own back yard: Rockford and her nearby environs.

Within these pages you’ll meet the ghost of a murdered girl who still wanders her former Haight Village neighborhood on rare, dread occasions; a Southern-born taxidermist who lived as strangely as he died, and whose moody soul now will not rest until he finds his lost burial casket; the spirit of an old woman from Belvidere named Nellie, who donned her faded wedding dress one night and walked into the river like vapor; the vengeful phantom of an infamous Freeport assassin, who once killed a U.S. president and was hanged for his crimes; and lingering ghosts of a Rockford gone by, as three young boys take a coming-of-age midnight stroll through their fair city as it was in 1905, a burgeoning place filled with fleeting shadows and with a present already sadly becoming past. Plus many, many more.

At times unsettling, at other times lyrical and life affirming, and at times just plain frightening, there’s something here for everyone in this macabre collection of spooky tales. True or not, folklore or fact, strangers who visit this upper Midwest region—after reading these chilling accounts—will arrive from now on with a new appreciation of its spirited history and its somewhat haunted landscape. And local residents will never pass by and look at their own Gothic architecture or tree-shrouded graveyards in quite the same way again.

Ghost Whispers: Tales from Haunted Midway, newly released this month, is available from Helm Publishing, Inc., 3923 Seward Ave., Rockford, IL 61108; or www.publishersdrive.com. ISBN: 0-9769193-2-X. Retail price is $12.95.

From the Oct. 26-Nov. 1, 2005, issue

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