By Janet Cameron
Amberley publication £12.99
Janet Cameron is a recently retired lecturer in creative writing for the University of Kent. She has had several books published including Brighton and Hove Murders and Misdemeanours. She lives in Hove……
It’s usually a good sign when an author is based in the location in which they are writing about - in my opinion.
Janet Cameron is based in Hove and stretches the net a little wider than the usual suspects of Poltergeists, Nuns, Grey ladies, White ladies and Monks (although those favourites are still included) by adding such subjects as Witchcraft, UFO’s/Crop Circles, Psychic Surgeons, Spiritualists and Excorcism, a section on Police matters of a Paranormal kind - and amongst other unworldly matters, there is even a story about a Magical Manga woman living in Newhaven!
As well as Brighton and Hove, the author covers smaller more obscure locations in the area and tells tales that have possibly never been told before, notably in her chapter on Personal Paranormal Experiences by local people.
Cameron sources quite a lot of her material from the archives of the local rags, mainly the Brighton Argus and the Herald (amongst others).
As well as sinister tales of witchcraft and murder, there is an amusing chapter on Retail Spectres - like the friendly ghost who liked to do the washing up at the Zodiac coffee bar in Brighton and the cheeky poltergeist who liked to throw shampoo about and make a mess in a ladies hair salon!
The author says she has never seen a ghost herself but has had some weird experiences and keeps an open mind as to whether the stories are truly paranormal or scientific.
The author concludes with some spooky sayings and quotations from some very famous people - the likes of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and JM Barrie being amongst them.
She adds that if you have been too spooked by the contents of the book, that perhaps you ought to seek out some ‘ Lucky Stones’ from one of the many beaches in Sussex.
If you place a lucky stone under your bed, it can stop witches from jumping on your stomach at night!
My only real criticism is that perhaps the book relies a little too much on the accuracy of the local rags. When detailing a story regarding one of the most important and prolific witches in Britain, they managed to spell her name incorrectly.
However, I enjoyed this publication and would recommend it as a guide and companion to the area. It is well illustrated with a mix of archive and current pictures, some of which have been taken by the author herself.