Spooky tales derived from Wasatch history

Sunday , June 15, 2014 - 12:00 AM

By Doug Gibson

“Tales From Wasatch and Beyond ...,” released on June 13, is the fourth in a series of spooky story anthologies published annually since 2011. This volume includes 13 short stories that revolve around unique histories and legends of the Wasatch Front.

This is an anthology that can be read over a long weekend, or if the reader so chooses, over a long night until dawn draws near. Most of the authors reside in the Top of Utah or have connections to the area. Several have contributed to the other three volumes in the series. (A note of disclosure: I have a short story in this collection, and it will not be discussed in this article. I also have no financial interest in the book’s sales.)

The short stories, concise, well-written and edited, are crafted to reflect on historical associations with the settings. Several Top of Utah locations are included. In “Nemesis,” Ogden author Drienie Hattingh, who also edits the anthology, relates one hunter’s quest to kill the largest bear in the wilds near Logan. The massive bear, which seems to have the best of its pursuer, has three toes. In Christy Monson’s tale, “Flyin,” Promontory Point is the setting in which an embittered young man, lame, hopes the railroad can be his ticket to a healthier life.

I particularly liked a Huntsville-related tale, “Starry, Starry Night,” by Sherry Hogg, that has an Ogden Valley ne’er do well, escaping his wife’s wrath, encounter a frail, yet strangely attractive girl/woman in a saloon. As his lust increases for his mysterious partner, he joins her for an ill-fated adventure in the reservoir. In Vicki Droogsma’s story, “Standing Guard,” one woman’s trip to a Brigham City antique store turns into a nightmare when she’s kidnapped by satanists intent on using her for a blood sacrifice. In a sinister twist, the bad guys receive a supernatural visitor.

Even Roy is a setting for one story. In Jodi Brown’s “The Girl Upstairs,” a new family to an apartment complex are entertained by the sounds and shadows of a little girl who can’t quite be seen in full. In “Allison,” author Patricia Bossano takes the readers to 1924, as the Peery’s Egyptian Theater is being constructed in Ogden. Allison, a 12-year-old girl, is excited to bring her father lunch. Tragedy ensues, but a peaceful permanence also results for young Allison.

Other settings for stories include Randolph, Fort Douglas, Heber City, Echo Canyon, Park City and Mount Timpanogos. The epilogue to the anthology relates each story’s relationship to a particular history or legend to the location. What’s learned may provide motivation for readers to try to contact some of the dead whose antics are recollected in the stories. Frankly, though, that may be a tad dangerous for mortals. A better solution is to sit comfortably in an easy chair, sip some hot chocolate, and let your imagination be adventurous. The stories’ pace are set with care and readers are easily drawn into the tales, all of which provide an ending that supports the plots.

The four series are “Tales From Huntsville Eden Liberty” (2011), “Tales From Two Bit Street and Beyond” (2012), “Tales From Two Bit Street and Beyond Part II” (2013), and the collection being reviewed. They can be bought at local bookstores and via amazon.com. They are also sold as Kindle ebooks. All four of the anthologies are for sale as a gift set. Bulk sales can be inquired at DrienieM@aol.com.


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