Have you heard the legends of the “Cursed Forest of Massachusetts?” Shortly after the birth of America, the small, secluded community of Andonville, Massachusetts, rested on the border of a forest steeped in legend and rumors. People start disappearing, and Abigail loses everything. She wants nothing more than to abandon Andonville and the terrible forest, putting the past and the problems of the city behind her. Fate has other plans, however, and she gets sucked into the mysteries around her.
Unlike most who read this, I went in completely blind. I never listened to the podcasts before reading this book, so I wasn’t sure what to expect other than the subject material. I saw previews for the Amazon Prime series and decided to buy the book on a whim when I saw it in the bookstore.
This subject matter is something that has always fascinated me, especially once I had experiences of my own with the unknown. I chew up material like this constantly, in the form of TV shows like A Haunting. Therefore, many of the stories within the book were familiar to me. The tale of Robert the Doll is one example of the stories found within its pages. Lore tends to capitalize on paranormal stories that have been told from dozens of other sources before. Even those who don’t read or watch paranormal documentaries have probably heard at least half of the accounts. While the material is still interesting, the lack of personal stories that were uncommon was a bit of a disappointment to me. However, that wasn’t something completely unexpected, nor did it spoil the read for me.
Since the paranormal and supernatural are sensitive topics that some people not only disagree with, it angers them, I appreciate it when the channel in which the tales are told remain neutral and allow the audience to form their own opinions. I don’t like it when the author or narrator gives their opinion or tries to explain the event. I’m more than capable of doing that myself. This was something Aaron Mahnke did throughout the book which drove me nuts. Look, I know that not everyone who claims to have a paranormal experience, actually experienced what they believed took place. I’m more than capable of looking into things myself and seeing possibilities the claims might be debunked. Mahnke’s explanations and attempts at debunking some of the claims were distracting and annoying.
Overall I found the book interesting and entertaining. Despite the lack of new content, there were a handful of fresh tales that I hadn’t known about before. If you like reading about true stories of the paranormal I would recommend this book, despite its flaws. Overall, I give it a 3.5/5.
Throughout history people have claimed to see the unexplained and the mysterious. Some things have been explained by science. Where superstition has filled the gaps we now can test and come to concrete answers. With the dawn of the scientific age, knowledge is no longer hidden in the shadows. Not only has science blown the lid off superstitions but it has provided better medicine and knowledge of biology, the earth, and universe. Science has become such a powerful tool of discovery that some proclaim all mysteries will one day become answered through this process. However, this powerful tool has made some become arrogant.
Some assume things like ghosts, angels, and demons are nothing more than silly superstitions. The things that people see that they cannot explain are their imagination, illusions, or hallucinations. I find this to be incredibly arrogant. It lacks nuance, and is frankly dishonest with some of the evidence presented. Now, I do acknowledge that some cases, maybe most, can be explained by natural phenomenon. An unknown breeze, alcohol, or drugs are all possibilities. The easiest way to not think is to completely dismiss or believe all these stories. Those who claim it is all nonsense fail to take into consideration there are many spiritual encounters that have incredible consistency. For example, those terrorized by demons often exhibit claw marks of three in places they cannot reach or are terrorized at 3:00 AM. That of course isn’t hardened scientific proof, I do acknowledge that. However, mass hallucinations do not exist, and if multiple people report the same thing with detailed accounts, I believe they should be considered.
Speaking from experience, those who have encounters with the supernatural often feel isolated, that we cannot talk to anyone or they will think we are crazy or superstitious nuts. I’m one who is knowledgeable of science, what the mind is capable of and the tricks it can play, and look for other explanations before jumping to conclusions. However, in this world there is evil and sometimes that evil defies naturalism. In spirit of the holiday, if there is someone you know that shares a paranormal encounter, listen. You can choose what to do with the information, but at least listen. Maybe just maybe they aren’t crazy and there is a reason you are hearing this story.
This is a fictional short story I wrote and narrated. If you are feeling generous you can listen to it on YouTube and follow me on there too. You can watch it here. Otherwise the audio is below. This is something new I wanted to try and my goal is to do a story narration every 1-2 weeks.
My latest book Crystal Moon is now published! You can purchase it here.
Here is a little more about it:
Gerald’s life suddenly changed, leaving him moody, hungry and scared. He lives in terror due to his own wife! For reasons Gerald cannot fathom, she has become a witch bent on hexing him. While attempting to survive his wife’s curse and its side effects, he discovers a new friend and a town that feels like it was made just for him. As Gerald’s plight grows worse, he begins to document his experiences, but little does he know, his wife has been keeping a record as well, and not all is as it seems.