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Museum Store Reads: Tales of Mystery, Terror, and Imagination

October days grow shorter and shadows linger, growing ever more mischievous. Embrace the season with tales of mystery, terror, and imagination. As All Hallow’s Eve approaches, dare you delve into the dark mysteries of hauntings and the afterlife? Check out these terrifying tomes and other haunting reads at Oakland’s online museum store today.

Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places
Colin Dickey is on the trail of America’s ghosts. Crammed into old houses and hotels, abandoned prisons and empty hospitals, the spirits that linger continue to capture our collective imagination, but why? His own fascination piqued by a house hunt in Los Angeles that revealed derelict foreclosures and “zombie homes,” Dickey embarks on a journey across the continental United States to decode and unpack the American history repressed in our most famous haunted places. With boundless curiosity, Dickey conjures the dead by focusing on questions of the living—how do we, the living, deal with stories about ghosts, and how do we inhabit and move through spaces that have been deemed, for whatever reason, haunted? $17.00. See title in store.

The Apparitionists
In the early days of photography and the death-strewn wake of the Civil War, one man seized America’s imagination. A “spirit photographer,” William Mumler, took portrait photographs that featured the ghostly presence of lost loved ones alongside his living subjects. At a time when artists like Mathew Brady were remaking American culture with their cameras, Mumler was a sensation: the affluent and influential came calling, including Mary Todd Lincoln. It took a circus-like trial of Mumler on fraud charges, starring P. T. Barnum for the prosecution, to expose a fault line of doubt and manipulation. And even then, the judge’s stunning verdict suggested no one would ever solve the mystery of how Mumler did it. This forgotten puzzle offers a vivid snapshot of America at a crossroads in its history, a nation in thrall to new technology while grasping desperately for something to believe in. $15.99. See title in store.

Beyond the Dark Veil
This haunting and poignant collection of post mortem and mourning photography from The Thanatos Archive is a compilation of more than 120 extraordinary photographs and related ephemera documenting the practice of death and mourning photography in the Victorian Era and early twentieth century. Supplemented with original newspaper articles, clippings, funeral notices, memorial ephemera and more, the collection will take us on a journey through a fascinating, moving, and melancholically beautiful part of our past. The images in Beyond the Dark Veil speak to us: they speak of love, loss, lives cut short, brave final hours, shattered families, and the depths of the human spirit. $29.95. See title in store.



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