Ever since the age of twelve I have had an unhealthy fascination with the paranormal, ghosts, spirits and all kinds of things ‘undead.’ Despite the fact that I am one of the world’s biggest cowards; my excessive fear can be paralysing enough to have me sleep with a light switched on all night, I still love to read creepy books and watch those nail-biting movies.
On a recent spook-desired whim, I searched for books related to hauntings and after having always being fascinated with the 70’s classic ‘Amityville Horror’ I wondered whether there were anything similar out there.
And of course there is!
Grave’s End is very similar to Amityville, in that it deals with a house that has a problem and the narrator and new occupant, Elaine, guides her readers through a journey of the horrors which she and her daughters’ endured during their twelve year residency in the home.
Almost as soon as Elaine and her family move into their new home, she begins to feel watched, and most particularly, it seems to happen only in certain areas and rooms of the house. Not only is she affected by these bizarre events but her eldest daughter is affected too. Typical events would include strange floating balls of lights, frightening dreams and sensations of being ‘crushed’ into the bed. Elaine also explains how she felt ‘sexually’ abused to some extent after having the sensation of someone brush her inner thighs.
These events seemed to occur on and off but progressively for years, and Elaine often remarked how terrified she felt, yet was powerless to do anything for fear of humiliation.
I found this rather odd. Who in their right mind wouldn’t pack a suitcase and run away screaming at this point, never to return? Not the intrepid author of this book! Uncannily, even after suffering endless sleepless nights in fear, and even when driven to ‘avoid’ the washer/dryer room (where most of the weirdness occurred,) lugging her haul down the street to the laundromat, she persisted in continuing on as normal with a fervent hope that it would all just stop or go away.
During the story we wonder what Elaine’s husband has to say about all this, as he is portrayed as a rather serious and self-absorbed individual who, despite also witnessing some strange events himself, has an irrepressible ‘meh‘ attitude to the whole affair. Even after the author and her husband separates, she continues to live in the house alone with her daughters despite the frightening presence of these meddling and angry spirits.
At some points in the book I found the author contradicting herself by expressing a real desire to have these ghosts ‘extinguished’ yet in the same breath she seemed reticent to initiate any change in her situation at all. Even at the end of the story when the ‘paranormal team arrive at her home (some twelve years later) she and her daughter ultimately felt ‘cheated’ by their unexpected ‘ghostbusting’ ritual and consequently the house being completely ‘cleansed’ and ghoul-free. I somehow found it hard to believe that Elaine and her daughter actually felt some remorse at the house being free of not very likeable ghosts!
To this end the book did feel slightly disjointed in its constant switch of desires. However reading along and imagining the scenario itself was quite frightening, and I can only say that I could not have endured twelve years of living with spirits that had, at points, attempted to harm my children. Indeed, these spirits were frustrated and angry.
I would recommend the book to those with an open mind as it is, after all, a personal account. For those who possess a complete modus scepticus on the subject of the paranormal, I doubt it would be anything other than a waste of time.
I downloaded GRAVESEND – A TRUE GHOST STORY ebook for Kindle. Priced at $11.97
(187 reviews) and average 4 star rating.