The Wilmington Star News Reviews Ghost Tales


The Wilmington Star News reviews Ghost Talesby Ben Steelman | May 19, 2010

Micheal Rivers dropped by the Star News office the other day to leave a copy of his book, “Ghosts of the North Carolina Shores” (Schiffer, $14.99).

He’s almost a book in himself: a native of the Cherokee, N.C., area, a Vietnam-era Marine, a former EMT in Chicago and a longtime lead investigator for the Smoky Mountain Paranormal Society of western North Carolina. Before this, he’d written a novel, “Voyage of the Black Witch.”

Rivers and his wife happened to be in these parts on vacation, and they’d just placed a few copies with Pomegranate Books.

I had a delightful time thumbing through the book, with just one quibble — none of Rivers’ ghosts were from around here. His stories centered on the northeastern counties, with forays as far inland as Halifax and Wilson — but nothing much farther south than New Bern. Oh, well, maybe the Rivers will pick up some material while they’re in town.

For what it is, this is a fun little volume, of terrific “Believe It or Not”-style yarns. Nitpickers might object that Rivers is slim on documentation, although some of his tales are clearly based on first-person experiences. (As a paranormal investigator, he’s tried to record the ghostly, disembodied voices frequently heard in the National Cemetery up in New Bern.)

Most of Rivers’ specimens are relatively fresh, not written to death: The Confederate sentry, shot on duty, who’s still seen standing guard by the old oak near Winton, N.C. The tourists who thought they’d wandered into a re-enactment at the Bentonville State Historic Site near Newton Grove — but may have walked into a time warp instead. The beautiful lady in blue who crashed a high school party at an old Georgian manor house up in Halifax.The ghostly pool player who still plays every night in what had been the Cherry Hotel in Wilson. The exceedingly well-motivated drill-press operator who didn’t let Death interrupt his work at a Tar Heel steel plant.

Fans of the Maco Light might be intrigued to know that another ghostly, glowing ball follows the railroad tracks at Earley Station near Ahoskie. And not all ghosts are malevolent, or indifferent to us — a ghost with a shovel led a poor but hardworking couple to a hidden jar full of money back during the Depression.

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Stop by Micheal's store to check out his supernatural thrillers.

“Be the host to your ghost"

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