Have you seen Ida lurking among the books? Perhaps you've tangled with the Albino Woman on a dark and deserted night in Topeka. Pursuing the stories behind these and other disembodied dignitaries, Lisa Heitz traveled the state in search of ghostly lore and narration unique to Kansas. What she unearthed is a fascinating blend of mystery and menace -- a rich lode of ominous oral histories and local legends. Kansas ghosts, Heitz shows, are notoriously linked to a specific structure or landscape, whether it be an eighteenth-century mansion in Atchison or a deep -- some have claimed bottomless -- pool near Ashland.
Heitz's intriguing collection raps and taps and moans and groans through many an oft-whispered fable of infamous phantoms -- sometimes headless, sometimes hanging -- as well as disconcerting personal experiences related by the previously skeptical. In one such case, a south-central Kansas family called the police after seeing a strange man sitting in the car in their closed garage. No one was found yet the garage door was never opened.
Many of the illusive apparitions of these tales have terrorized, and at times amused, Kansans for decades. Yet this is the first book to capture them -- if only on paper -- and record their alleged antics for posterity. Besides preserving a popular, if often intangible, sliver of the state's lively heritage, Heitz supplies sinister storytellers with ample hair-raising ammunition for, well, eternity. Maybe that person breathing softly behind you has another such story to share. Oh, no one is there? Perhaps it was just the wind.