Saturday, February 2, 2013

A House Remembers--Reviewing Sharon Day's "Growing Up With Ghosts"

Early on in Growing Up With Ghosts Sharon Day recalls an incident when her family was awakened by a tremendous boom. After digging in the basement, Day's father Stanley, discovers a cannonball. Revealing to the children the cause of the nighttime blast, the children still don't quite understand.
"How did it make a boom blast last night if it was shot a hundred years ago?" Kathy finally questioned.
As always, we siblings all turned to stare her down for ruining the fun with her questioning nature.
My father squatted down and brushed the trowel across the mortar in the pan. "I'm thinking the house remembers that hit."
Kathy frowned and couldn't seem to come up with a reply to that one.
That particular descriptive really struck me as a poetic way to describe this haunting.

This field of paranormal literature is made up almost entirely of haunted house stories of varying lengths. Among the first book length works in this genre are famous works like Harry Price's The Most Haunted House in England in 1940 about the infamous Borley Rectory and Jay Anson's 1977 The Amityville Horror, both books dealing with horrific and frightening hauntings. While both accounts end with the families fleeing in terror, Day's account ends with her family sadly leaving the haunted plantation and the house seemingly responding in sorrow.

As the youngest of four children, Sharon Day spent her formative years growing up in the family's historic mansion in Fairfax, Virginia. Located not far outside of Washington, DC, the Fairfax area has been at the heart of American history for centuries. Built in the mid 18th century, Aspen Grove, has born witness to the tide of history as its flowed through the area.

Perhaps it was the Civil War that left the biggest of impressions on the home. As many structures throughout the South, the home served as a hospital and was left with bloodstained floors, artifacts littering the grounds and spirits. But unlike the tortured and possibly demonic spirits of 112 Ocean Boulevard in Amityville, New York, the spirits of Aspen Grove seem to be kindly and protective. Just as the spirits and the house seem to adopt the family, the family adopts the spirits in turn in an almost symbiotic relationship.

Through the years, Sharon Day begins to understand her psychic abilities. She and her family witnesses a remarkable amount of activity from odd sounds, booted footsteps, wisps of smoke arising from the cold top of a marble topped table and the apparitions of soldiers. Regarding the spirits with more of a sense of curiosity and little fear, the family adjusted to their spirit compatriots.

The book is a lively coming of age memoir with a spirited cast, living and dead. Day's memories of her rather ideal childhood is rendered in lively and lush prose. It's an engrossing and delightful read that does produce some metaphysical questions. I would also highly recommend it for people beginning to explore the paranormal world for the first time or perhaps dealing with a possible haunting of their own.

The book is available in paperback and Kindle ebook editions.

Growing Up With Ghosts by Sharon Day, CreateSpace Publishing, 228 pages



1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this review. I appreciate you reading the book and I hope it brought to life the reality of growing up with ghosts.