Everyone loves a good scary story, especially if it is said to be based on a true story. Unfortunately, nowadays it appears that with all of the "paranormal" programs on television, books, and even movies, people will do anything to make a buck, even going so far to sensationalize or literally make up false history to profit off of it. When these sorts of stories pick up steam and start to be spread, there are some people out there who are lurking in the background, watching, listening and waiting. Waiting for a chance when they can expose these charlatans, these false stories and debunk the lore surrounding it, to give the public the factual story. One of these people is Shannon Bradley-Byers, and her book is "Paranormal Fakelore, Nevermore."
I met Shannon a few years back, after finding out that she had written an in-depth investigation about the story of Bathsheba Sherman. If anyone knows my writings, they would know that I debunked the false story that had been unfairly spread about Bathsheba Sherman, no thanks to Andrea Perron and Lorraine Warren who started the whole "Conjuring" mess to begin with. You see, it only takes a person ready and willing to search the records and get to the facts, to find the truth. Sadly though most people today are too lazy and unwilling to do the legwork to get to the truth, so it remains buried alongside the very dead they are writing about. That goes against everything that both Shannon and I stand for as historians.
Once I read Shannon's chapter on Bathsheba, and found that she had uncovered the same information that I had, I realized that she was a kindred spirit and that she was a truth seeker. Not only does Shannon cover Bathsheba Sherman's story in her book, she also covers and debunks many stories that anyone intrigued with urban legends or paranormal lore would be interested in reading. By scouring the old archives, public records and newspaper microfische of the time period, Shannon unveils hidden facts and documentation that exposes the hallowness of many myths, urban legends and local folklore that had been taken as gospel for far too long.
Let's take the Myrtles Plantation as one prime example of her expert sleuthing skills. Not only does Shannon give you a break down of the history of the property, she also skillfully and with such precision dissects the ghost stories that have been promoted or spread over the years, by comparing the facts to the "fakelore," as she puts it. After reading this one chapter, you will never again believe the stories you may have heard about the Myrtles Plantation before.
Besides the Myrtles Plantation, she also successfully debunks the story of Pearl Bryan and the alleged connection to Bobby Mackey's Music World in Wilder, Kentucky. Then she takes you down to Louisville, to the Waverly Hills Sanatorium, again using facts over fantasy, and giving her readers the truth behind this massive hospital's history. Shannon also covers the story of Lavinia Fisher & the real history behind the movie "Cold Mountain," as well as several other legends and tales that she has investigated over the years.
Shannon Bradley-Byers' work shows her commitment to searching for and shining a light on the truth. That is a quality in a journalist that is often rare to find these days, as so many have proven themselves to be more interested in fabricating or embellishing a story, just to make their work more entertaining. Shannon needs no sensationalism in her tome, as she proves with her veracity that fact is always stranger than fiction. Another thing Shannon does without even meaning to, is she deflates all the paranormal television shows' investigations and exposes them for their (a) lack of real research, or (b) intent to over-embellish a story for higher ratings. You see, once you know the facts to a story, you can no longer un-see it, or un-read it and that is a good thing.
So, folks, if you want to read a book with substance and truth, one that not only opens your eyes but pushes you to question things moving forward, a book that not only provides answers to some of the most interesting stories of places and people but also a book that is concise enough to read in one sitting, I strongly suggest you order a copy of Shannon's book today. You won't be disappointed! I wasn't.
Happy History Hunting!
(Copyright 2019 - J'aime Rubio. www.jaimerubiowriter.com)