From Publishers Weekly
A hybrid of journalism and legend, this wide-ranging, well-researched collection of Vermont folklore consists of 31 tall tales, peculiarities, stories of the supernatural and modern mysteries. Spanning from the early 1700s to contemporary times, the book is divided into three categoriesA"People," "Places" and "Things"Aall of which Citro, author of five suspense novels (The Unseen, etc.), classifies as Vermont's "dark tales." Straightforward, brief sketches feature such unique Vermont residents as James Johns, a newspaper publisher of the 19th century who put out his own hand-lettered, one-copy-only newspaper five days a week for over 40 years, or the "Queen of Cupidity," mean, niggardly Hetty Green, who "railroaded" her husband into a poorhouse yet died at age 81 worth over $100 million. Among the haunted places Citro covers are the University of Vermont, where ghosts have allegedly been sighted in 11 of the buildings; the Vermont Police Academy in Pittsford, once a tuberculosis sanatorium that is now said to be haunted by one of its former nurses; and the Inn at Long Last in Chester and Manchester's grand Equinox Hotel, both hosts to ghosts, including one suspected of being Mary Todd Lincoln. Accounts of witches, mirages, eccentrics, monsters and mysterious creatures, such as Northfield's Pigman (a being with a man's body and a pig's face) are, like all the tales in this book, carefully detailed short pieces told in the same accessible, if at times bland, style. Some of the segments are engrossing, others patchy and incomplete; overall, Citro's rugged morsels make for quirky amusement.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
Vermont is a region of enchantment for these several dark tales collected by Citro (Shadow Child, 1998, not reviewed) from every county in the state. The author declares his stories to be strange but mainly true, though theyre taken from older Vermont collections, archives, libraries, journals, periodicals, and newspapersand thus are recycled, or even paranormally refurbished, yet Citro tells us that many are seeing print for the first time. His first alone is enough to make you a doubter of the rest: in 1887, five elderly Vermonters, crippled and past the age of usefulness, were drugged, stripped naked, frozen for the winter in a big wooden box, then revived the following May and fed a hearty meal. Implied is the idea that their infirmities were somehow overcome. Retold also is the story of Hetty Green, wicked witch of Wall Street, who enjoyed destroying people and who, as a result of her obsession with money, became the richest woman in the world. Too tight to rent an office, Hetty worked out of a pile of crates and boxes on the floor of New York's Chemical and National Bank. Vermont also produced a great mental oddity in Truman H. Safford, who once correctly computed in his head a 15-digit number multiplied by itself. Citro narrates his own overnight stay in ``The Dickens Room''of the Inn of Long Last in his hometown; he was kept awake, he says, by what may have been the scraping of Marley's chains. Other tales concern digging for Captain Kidd's long-lost silver, and the Green Mountain States cryptozoological jungle provides for other curious encounters. Deserves an ad in National Enquirer, where there must be an audience waiting for it. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.