Haunted Girl: Esther Cox & the Great Amherst Mystery by Laurie Glenn Norris
|April 2, 2014||Posted by Sherry Lambert under Mystery, Non-fiction|
In 1878, Esther Cox of Amherst, Nova Scotia, was the subject of numerous unexplained occurrences. These events took place for the most part at her sister and brother-in-law’s family home. While living there, something or someone was knocking and banging on walls throughout the house, moving furniture around, hiding various household items and, at times, setting fires. Esther herself even experienced mysterious fevers, fatigue, and swelling, and on one occasion an actual stabbing. The strange occurrences followed her when she moved to other family homes in the Amherst area. These manifestations continued until Esther finally ended up in jail after being charged with robbery and mischief and then these unexplained occurrences stopped.
At the time of these so called phenomenal or paranormal events, Esther was something of a public spectacle. She became known as a celebrity of sorts in her time — there were stories in newspapers and public shows were organized in hopes that the public would be a witness to these events.
The first part of the novel sets the stage for what life was like for Esther in Amherst during 1878. She was a so-called normal young lady who had lived her life in a normal town with her family. It describes how relationships and roles of people in the community were viewed back in that era. After some time, the novel takes a turn and gives accounts — both witnessed and documented — of things that were seen or heard while being in Esther’s presence. The novel includes actual writings and newspaper articles from that time as well.
Just over halfway through the novel the gears switch in the storyline. It then presents contrasting interpretations as to why these events happened around Esther Cox. The authors of the book present their stance and also present a viewpoint. These interpretations vary from paranormal activity to magnetism to witchcraft to hoaxing and even to an altered mental health state. No matter the reason, over a hundred years after her death, her story is still told over and over and, to this day, she still remains a “celebrity” in Amherst, Nova Scotia.
The storyline itself is intriguing and especially so for those readers who have an interest in the “paranormal”. However, for those who want just a lighthearted read and what to quench their minds with a ghostly tale, this may not be the book for you. The last third of the book is purely factual and interpretative and some may find it daunting….but I did get through it and it somehow pulls it all together and provides some insight into the life of Esther Cox and the Great Amherst Mystery.
To learn more about Haunted Girl, click here!