'Ghostly Tales from Southwestern Pennsylvania' published for adults and youth

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Arcadia Children’s Books has published the ghoulishly gruesome, fantastically phantasmic stories of our nation’s undead souls. Adapted from the bestselling Haunted America series, the "Ghostly Tales of Southwest Pennsylvania" is adapted by author Karen Miller for younger readers, from "Ghosts of Southwest Pennsylvania" by Thomas White for adults.

Rewritten by Miller for the middle-grade audience, these terrifying tales bring local history to life — even if the main players are dead. Ghosts, hauntings, legends and unexplained phenomena keep readers rapt, and celebrate local history and lore.

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Spooky Southwest Pennsylvania is where ghosts lurk around every corner. Even the most unexpected places might be haunted by wandering phantoms.

Did you know that there’s a road so spooky that it’s called Shades of Death road? Or that there’s a haunted living history museum where former area residents are still living? Saint Vincent College was covered in the original source material, so can you believe that Saint Vincent’s campus is haunted with multiple ghosts?

Pulled right from history, these ghostly tales will change the way the readers see Southwestern Pennsylvania. Thomas White is the university archivist and curator of special collections in the Gumberg Library at Duquesne University. He is also an adjunct lecturer in Duquesne's history department and an adjunct professor of history at La Roche College.

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Besides the folklore and history of Pennsylvania, his areas of interest include public history and American cultural history.

"I did not attend St. Vincent’s but my brother and some friends went there," White said in an email. "The College has a lot of good ghost stories. I’ve also written about Duquesne University, La Roche University and the University of Pittsburgh ghosts at various times (Pitt and La Roche are in "Ghosts of Southwestern Pennsylvania," the book from which Ghostly Tales is adapted). I attended La Roche and Duquesne. Most colleges have at least one good ghost story.

"As a professional historian/archivist/folklorist I’ve been researching regional and state folklore and legends for almost 25 years, so I have had several interesting experiences in places throughout the state. Though most of the time when I visit sites it's relatively quiet."

White said so far he has written 11 books, all of which deal with Pennsylvania folklore, history, crime and legends. His most recent was "The Witch of the Monongahela: Folk Magic in Early Western Pennsylvania."

Others include "Legends and Lore of Western Pennsylvania," "Forgotten Tales of Pennsylvania," "Forgotten Tales of Pittsburgh," "Forgotten Tales of Philadelphia" (coauthored with Edward White), "Gangs and Outlaws of Western Pennsylvania" (coauthored with Michael Hassett), "Witches of Pennsylvania: Occult History and Lore," "Supernatural Lore of Pennsylvania: Ghosts, Monsters and Miracles" (editor), and "Haunted Roads of Western Pennsylvania" (coauthored with Tony Lavorgne). The two books on historical witchcraft contain some stories from Somerset County.

"I do plan on writing at least one more book on ghost stories and supernatural legends, though I have ideas for several," he said. "It was very nice to see 'Ghosts of Southwestern Pennsylvania' adapted for a younger audience."

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Miller has been writing about strange creatures since she was 6, so writing about the paranormal is a perfect fit. Writing for and about children is something Miller is truly passionate about. Turning every day calamities and mishaps into humor inspired her to write stories for the Chicago Tribune and special interest magazines. Funny stories of her family, edited and embellished, have appeared in several children’s magazines.

A former school teacher and bookseller, Miller has never strayed far from her childhood love of books. Her children’s interest in nature sparked nonfiction pieces in magazines like National Geographic World.

Miller is a tutor for the Yancey County Literacy Council, a member of the Author’s Guild, American Library Association, National Council of Teachers of English, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and the North Carolina Writer’s Network. She serves as the children’s literature coordinator for the Carolina Mountains Literary Festival in Burnsville, North Carolina.

She has also been a judge for the Writer’s Digest Annual Writing Contest (the self-published picture book category) and the Rebecca Caudhill Award (an award given by the children of Illinois for the best in Children’s Literature.)

Miller has lived in a number of cities. As she says, “I am originally from Milwaukee. I lived in Naperville, IL then moved to the mountains in NC. Now I'm in Iowa City and staying put.”

This article originally appeared on The Daily American: Southwestern, PA, ghostly tales told for adults and youth