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The Black Hope Horror: The True Story of a Haunting Hardcover – May, 1991


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In 1980 the Williamses, middle-aged parents of three married daughters, bought a lot and built a house in the Newport subdivision of Houston. Soon after they moved in, odd things began to happen, involving not only Ben and Jean Williams but most of those close to them. Besides what could be called poltergeist activity (e.g., the repeated flushing of a toilet), there emerged more serious troubles. Every time they came to visit, the Williams daughters and their husbands, presumably happily married, would quarrel; all three marriages ended in divorce. Five family members died. The Williams' pets behaved strangely, and the family weathered virtual plagues of ants and snakes. Their neighbors, without exception, encountered similar freak events. When it was discovered that their homes were built over a cemetery, some members of the community sued the developer and lost, but the case was recently reopened. For their part, Ben and Jean Williams stayed until 1987, then moved to Montana. Writing here with freelancer Shoemaker, they recreate a bizarre tale that only credulous readers will respond to. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

YA-- Strange sinkholes opening in the backyard, severe storms confined to one neighborhood, toilets flushing by themselves, televisions turning on while unplugged, poisonous snakes and shadowy images appearing in the darkness--events usually supporting a horror novel but that were daily occurences in the lives of Ben and Jean Williams. At first they loved their newly built retirement home but as the months passed, they became more and more aware that things weren't normal. Marriages in the neighborhood deteriorated, pets died mysteriously, and plants failed to flourish. Most tragically, the Williamses lost three members of their immediate family to cancer and one daughter to a massive heart attack at age 30. Then the couple discovered that their community was built over the Black Hope Cemetery, and they became convinced that spirits were retaliating for the desecration of their graves. The Black Hope Horror is a fascinating and enlightening glimpse into the supernatural--made all the more terrifying because it is a true story. Even the most skeptical readers will be convinced of its authenticity and feel great compassion for these people who survived hell here on Earth. --Katherine Fitch, Thomas Jefferson Sci-Tech, Fairfax County, VA -
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 239 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow & Co; 1st edition (May 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688051766
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688051761
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #289,301 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Kevin on November 1, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The tales are true. poppets way is actually one of the highest spots in the subdivision throughout this district and the black slaves from the cotton plantation in barrett were buried where the "poltergeist house" actually sits. families usually tend to stay there from 6 months to a couple of years and leave becuase of the tales and things theyve experienced while living there. the house is up for sale right now actually. the house next to them dug a underground pool and actually found bones of human skeletons. i recently went to the water plant right next to these houses and there are 8'x3' depressions in the ground where the old graves have sank throughout the years. they have been filled up and have sank time and time again. no lights stay on out there becuase they always burn out. this creepy feeling just comes to me when i see go to the fence. this stuff is true so if u really want to know more about this grab the book and watch house on hauting lane or just ask movie store about the movie made on the newport subdivision in newport.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
There's nothing like a good ghost story, especially when it's a true one, but I must say that The Black Hope Horror is a rather unusual tale full of untraditional, poltergeist-type events. Ben and Jean Williams were the first couple to move into the new Section 8 subdevelopment, but the home of their dreams soon became the home of their darkest nightmares. At first, strangeness came in the form of material things: snakes, many of them poisonous, all over the place (not necessarily unusual), freak rainstorms leaving behind large numbers of huge worms, invasions of giant ants oblivious to hot water cycles of dishwashers, toilets which flushed themselves at all hours of the day and night. Members of the family also often had the feeling they were being watched by someone or something, footsteps began to haunt the halls, and the older and younger members of the family changed significantly in terms of their personalities. Cold spots manifested themselves quite often, and electrical malfunctions of an inexplicable sort began happening. One night, Ben encountered two black forms whose icy, enveloping touch sent him to the hospital with something akin to an asthma attack. Similar events influenced the lives of neighbors as the new community began to grow, although no one communicated their experiences with one another until two decomposed bodies were found buried beneath one neighbor's backyard, thus confirming the Williams' fears about the sinkholes in their own property. The family is shocked to learn that the development was constructed above an old black cemetery.Read more ›
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By MICHELLE LLORENS on May 16, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Okay, this book actually had me spooked! I watch tons of horror movies, and read alot of horror fiction. This is one of creepiest books I've ever read. It's well written and works as a biography of a simple family living in a haunted house. If you are interested in the supernatural in any capacity this is an excellent read.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Danny Matthews on July 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is very good and will give you the creeps!

I do believe this story to be true.

I saw the movie on tv and patty Duke did a great job playing Jean Williams. This is a story about houses built over a graveyard but the people that bought these houses did not know it at the time.

A lot of very scary things happen to them.

I read this book over the weekend and could not put it down.

anyone that wants to read a true ghost story this is it.

A very good read.the movie is called Grave Secrets and it is very good also!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 21, 1997
Format: Hardcover
This chilling true story of a haunting will change the way you look at life, death, and life after death. The Williams' family shares their experiences with the supernatural, from the mildly annoying (toilets flushing by themselves) to complete terror. Read this book with the lights on!!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By sunny94 on May 27, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This one is guaranteed to frighten you!!! I not only read the book, I saw the movie, and the segment on Unsolved Mysteries. I truly believe this is a very true story. This is one that I may even read again.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Briana on April 9, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I loved this book!!! You know a book is good when you can't put it down and you bug everyone you know to read it. :) This book hits home for anyone who has experienced similar situations or know of someone who has. Now that I've purchased the book, I am trying to find the t.v. movie that was made..... Thanks!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By K. Raudive on August 21, 2008
Format: Hardcover
First, let me say that I love that so many of the reviewers for this book were actually local to this area and could contribute additional information. I think that's pretty cool.

Quality-wise, Black Hope certainly ranks up there (and probably exceeds) the gold-standard haunting book, The Amityville Horror. It is full of suspense and excitement, full of terrifying detail and nervewracking uncertainties. Read late at night, it will have you turning all the lights on on the way to the bathroom. Family relationships can get a little confusing at times, as they are introduced in large blocks at once, but persistence in reading will help straighten that out.

I think the book deserves a somewhat skeptical approach, however. The story is set in the early 80's. During that time, the Houston economy was dying its own grizzly death as the "Oil Bust" killed off jobs and crushed the local real estate market. The author mentions the family's heavy debt load - it's not hard to imagine the family taking a unique approach to getting off the hook for an upside-down mortgage. Also, even after the family is seemingly convinced that the evil spirits are able to produce cancer in family members, their daughter brings her infant to the house for daily daycare? It seems she would keep the baby far, far away from the house, no matter what.

Like all good ghost stories, Black Hope Horror provides plenty of chills and thrills while serving as a great critical-thinking exercise.
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