Sunday, November 15, 2009

Your Neighborhood Gives Me the Creeps

Your Neighborhood Gives Me the Creeps by Adam Selzer is a book that actually gave me the creeps. Not only is it full of ghost stories, primarily set in Chicago, but these are recorded by a self-proclaimed nonbeliever.

Adam Selzer is a skeptic who accidentally ended up doing ghost tours around Chicago, after he couldn't find a different "real" job and needed the money. While he is usually able to dispel ghost stories or explain away bizarre phenomena, such as orbs in photographs, he will admit to having a few of his own unexplained adventures in the supernatural realm. Some of these occurred when he was yet a child. Honestly, a scientifically-minded person who gets scared in certain situations is more likely to convince me of the plausibility of a ghostly encounter than someone who routinely finds spirits.

Adam Selzer is good at telling stories, a skill probably enhanced every time he goes out on the bus with his company Weird Chicago Tours, founded in 2006. He has published numerous other books and has a degree in English. He is well-versed in the history of numerous supposedly haunted locations, and has thoroughly researched any story he shares. He tries to scientifically explain away sightings, but will admit when he has no explanation. Particularly creepy is the story of a ghostly encounter with a former coworker who unexpectedly succumbed to an early demise after receiving bodiless threats from voices in the walls.

Locations covered throughout the book are notorious in the Windy City. Odin Tatu (now Old Town Tatu) is a former funeral parlor that is now a tattoo parlor. The Biograph Theatre, a.k.a. "Dillinger's Alley" is where John Dillinger met his demise. The St. Valentine's Day Massacre site and the Eastland disaster site can boast numerous tragic and simultaneous deaths. And of course, there is Hull House, and the stopping point for Lincoln's funeral train, amongst several others.

At the end of the book, Selzer provides information for wannabe ghost hunters about different kinds of equipment available. He also outlines a few rules for ghost hunters. Most importantly, remember to be skeptical enough to look for the scientific explanations of the weird, yet open-minded enough to be open to any possibilities. And don't be a jerk.

It is a thrilling read for anyone who is remotely interested in ghost hunting and/or ghost stories. I recommend reading it at night for full effect.

Visit Adam Selzer's websites at and

Purchase Your Neighborhood Gives Me the Creeps: True Tales of an Accidental Ghost Hunter

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