Volume 80, Number 41 | March 10 -16, 2011
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

KINGS: THE SIEGE OF TROY
Adapted by Christopher Logue
Adapted for the stage and directed by James Milton
Through April 3
At the Workshop Theater
312 W. 36th St., btw. 8th & 9th Aves., 4th floor)
For tickets, call 212-868-4444 or visit workshoptheater.org

THE GHOST HUNTER’S FIELD GUIDE
By Rich Newman
Published by Llewellyn Publications (llewellyn.com)
413 pages. $17.95 U.S.; $20.95, Canada.
For info on the author, visit paranormalincorported.com

Ghostly guidebook features five Manhattan haunts
995 other spooky sites await, from Arizona to Wyoming

BY SCOTT STIFFLER

Have you ever sat back and watched the glut of horrendous paranormal investigation-themed shows that clog the cable airwaves and thought “I could do better than that”? Of course, you have — and, of course, you can. But unlike your TV counterparts, you don’t need cheesy night vision cameras and a crew of jumpy cohorts who see every temperature fluctuation as evidence that We are Not Alone.

All you need, it turns out, is Rich Newman’s “The Ghost Hunter’s Field Guide” — a state-by-state listing of over 1,000 haunted places ready and waiting for exploration. What makes this book unique is the fact that all locations listed are open to the public — and public scrutiny. The destinations include battlefields, theaters, saloons, hotels, museums, resorts, parks and other sites (“all of which are safe and accessible”). This public access ethic also sets the book apart from seen-on-TV investigative teams trying to coax a reaction out of spirits who dwell in private residences or locations we’ll never be allowed into (abandoned hospitals, cemeteries and jails — places where the lingering residents aren’t exactly tourist-friendly).

Before its Alabama through Wyoming alphabetical mystery tour, author Newman wisely includes a one-page Activity Key of terms — some and occasionally all of which you’ll find listed at the end of each location’s description. “A,” for example, denotes the fact that an Apparition is in residence. “T” for Telekinetic Activity…and so on.

Preceding the Key page is a “How to Use This Guide” section which covers the most basic of ghost hunting tips (make reservations when visiting restaurants or B&Bs and “Respect the Location”). This is all very helpful — but beginners will be left in the dark, so to speak, if they expect this book to take them through the correct protocol for conducting a responsible investigation. What readers will get, however, is an enormously helpful “Sources” section, which gives state-by-state information on paranormal groups scattered throughout the country.

The 1,000 listings are brief affairs — one-paragraph descriptions of each location’s history and reputation, followed by the address, a website and a listing of what sort of paranormal activity the place is known for. In the New York section, you’ll find an inexplicable concentration of activity between Ithaca and Rochester (courtesy of a dotted map of the state, a smart technique repeated throughout).

Good news, too, for Manhattan snobs: We’ve got five places to choose from: The Algonquin Hotel, Bridge Café, the Chelsea Hotel, Hotel Thirty Thirty and the Merchant’s House Museum. Happy hunting!

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