When I was in late elementary school Kathryn Tucker Windham’s ghost books were BIG hits. We all checked them out of the library, read the spooky stories, traded our own scary stories… These books are a Southern staple and even if you haven’t read them, you probably know who Jeffrey is.
KTW first wrote 13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey in 1969 after experiencing some haunting happenings at the Windham house in Selma, AL. She nicknamed the “ghost” Jeffrey. One night several kids played with a Ouiji board trying to contact Jeffrey and a picture was taken. When the film was developed, a human-like shadow was seen next to one of the girls.
13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey not only tells the tale of its namesake ghost, but also focuses on 13 other Alabama ghosts and the places they haunt. Each story explain the “background” of the ghost and some of the hauntingly spooky happenings that have been reported.
As a kid, reading scary stories was exciting, but knowing these were REAL places made it even better. What I loved most about this particular book was that there were places that I visited, one in particular Sturdivant Hall in Selma – which, BTW, creeped me out when I was in 4th grade!
Now for the cool part of this week’s Retro Read! We are in the process of moving my grandmother into my parents’ house, so over the past couple weekends we’ve been at her place packing her up. My grandmother, long time reader, literally had hundreds of books for us to pack. So in the process of cleaning off a bookshelf, I noticed an old OLD copy of 13 Alabama Ghosts!
Opened it up and OMGOMGOMGOMG! IT’S FREAKIN SIGNED BY KATHRYN TUCKER WINDHAM! I had to restrain myself for finding this treasure and pointed it out to my mom and grandmother. Mom said “Oh yeah, she and Grandmama used to be friends.”
Um, really? Why was this left out of my family history?! Needless to say, how cool is it that not only does my grandmother own a first edition of one of my favorite childhood books, but it’s signed?!