"Deliciously eerie.” —Leslie Rule, Bestselling Author
From the notorious Lizzie Borden to the innumerable, haunted rooms of Sarah Winchester's mysterious mansion this offbeat, insightful, first-ever book of its kind from the brilliant guides behind “Boroughs of the Dead,” featured on NPR.org, The New York Times, and Jezebel, explores the history behind America’s female ghosts, the stereotypes, myths, and paranormal tales that swirl around them, what their stories reveal about us—and why they haunt us . . .
Sorrowful widows, vengeful jezebels, innocent maidens, wronged lovers, former slaves, even the occasional axe-murderess—America’s female ghosts differ widely in background, class, and circumstance. Yet one thing unites them: their ability to instill fascination and fear, long after their deaths. Here are the full stories behind some of the best-known among them, as well as the lesser-known—though no less powerful.
Tales whispered in darkness often divulge more about the teller than the subject. America’s most famous female ghosts, from from ‘Mrs. Spencer’ who haunted Joan Rivers’ New York apartment to Bridget Bishop, the first person executed during the Salem witchcraft trials, mirror each era’s fears and prejudices. Yet through urban legends and campfire stories, even ghosts like the nameless hard-working women lost in the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire —achieve a measure of power and agency in death, in ways unavailable to them as living women.
Riveting for skeptics and believers alike, with humor, curiosity, and expertise, A Haunted History of Invisible Women offers a unique lens on the significant role these ghostly legends play both within the spook-seeking corners of our minds and in the consciousness of a nation.
"A Haunted History of Invisible Women looks beyond the legends of maligned female ghosts and gives us their real histories. It is both a meditation on the misogyny of a ghost-hunting culture that capitalizes on false narratives of sex and death, and a fascinating look at the flesh-and-blood women behind the ghost stories. This book is a long-overdue search for historic truth, yet it recognizes that “When it comes to ghosts, truth is as elusive as the spirits themselves.” —Chris Woodyard, Author of The Victorian Book of the Dead.
Afterword by Bram Stoker Award-winning author Linda D. Addison