Sunday, October 11, 2015

Booknotes: Tales from the Haunted South

New Arrival:

Tales from the Haunted South: Dark Tourism and Memories of Slavery from the Civil War Era by Tiya Miles (UNC Press, 2015).

From the publisher: "In this book Tiya Miles explores the popular yet troubling phenomenon of "ghost tours," frequently promoted and experienced at plantations, urban manor homes, and cemeteries throughout the South. As a staple of the tours, guides entertain paying customers by routinely relying on stories of enslaved black specters. But who are these ghosts? Examining popular sites and stories from these tours, Miles shows that haunted tales routinely appropriate and skew African American history to produce representations of slavery for commercial gain."


  1. I would be very interested in reading this, but wish it had been released at the beginning of October rather than on Halloween itself, as I do most of my "supernatural" reading during this month. Also, I live between two "hot spots" (or "cold spots," depending on your level of belief in "ghost detection") of ghost tours, The Myrtles in St. Francisville and the many ghost/vampire tours of New Orleans, and would like to see how the author presents her thesis. I took a Myrtles ghost tour in 2000 or so, and don't remember it skewing the slavery narrative or anything of that nature.

    Joel Manuel
    Baton Rouge

    1. The word "troubling" is used twice in the book description but I don't see myself ever getting worked up over how history is presented in ghost tours.


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