Ghost Hunter’s Handbook

Posted in Age-o-Meter: 6-12, Scare-o-Meter: 5



An Excerpt from The Ghost Hunter’s Handbook

How To Tell a Good Ghost Story
base_pack35What could be better than sitting around a fire with some of your good friends trying your best to scare the living daylights out of each other? Having a few good scary stories in your repertoire is a great way to keep a party lively. And to be a good storyteller, you have to know your audience. As with any ghostly activities, there is what I like to call “the fear-o-meter.”

Some of your friends might be 100% comfortable with getting spooked while others might have nightmares. It is always a good idea to gauge your friends’ reactions on the fear-o-meter as the night of ghost stories progresses. I often have kids use their hand as if it is a dial to show where they fall on the scale between terrified and not scared at all. And I always remind people that at any time, they are free to leave and go back to their perfectly boring, unscary books. Just kidding.

The first step in telling a ghost story is to choose a really scary time to tell it. Here are what some kids I know suggest for setting the stage. Tessa suggested telling stories during a power outage by candlelight. Finn mentioned having friends come to a creepy place like an attic. Ava said that sleepovers late at night are perfect for ghost story telling.

base_pack35Once you have the when, you can focus on the how; how to tell your story to give it the creepiest effect. Obviously, when telling your story you don’t want to try to sound overly happy like you are reading a nursery rhyme. Instead, you can “sound like a creepy dead guy” as Mitch suggested. Basically, the idea is to talk more quietly than you normally do so everyone has to lean in and listen harder.

You also want to pause to let the tension build while also providing some good asides, like “You wouldn’t know this, but five years before there was an attack in this house by Big Foot.” The tone should be rather matter of fact so that the audience trusts you and will believe the story you are telling. To add to the creep factor, put a flashlight under your chin while you tell the story.

There are countless ghost story books at the library. Reading a few of these is a good way to start learning about what makes a good scary story and what they have in common but it can be even more fun to create your own. The following is a list of things to include in your story to really grab your readers. Note: I say you in the following list but it also can be a made up character.

  • Think of a good setting. An insane asylum, a haunted church, your middle school, or a haunted telephone booth.
  • Think of a good “what if” that makes the situation scary. For example, what if you are trapped in the haunted basement of your school.
  • Brainstorm all of the scary things that could happen, such as noises, lights turning off and on, strange smells, etc.
  • How did you end up in this scary situation?
  • What is going to happen? And what problem do you need to face?
  • How are you going to get out or resolve the scary problem?
  • Make up a scary and surprising ending that might shock your audience.

So get out your pens and paper and start to write that creepy tale that has been forming in your head. Aim to hold everyone’s attention at the next sleepover or campfire. I know you will scare the pants off people!




9781608935703Ghost Hunter’s Handbook: Supernatural Explorations for Kids
By Liza Gardner Walsh
Published by Down East Books
ISBN-13: 9781608935703
Age Range: 6 – 12 Years

Kids love ghosts, and this handy guide will help them explore the world of the supernatural. The fascinating range of ghostly lore will keep kids enthralled for hours and includes:

  • What is a ghost, and how do you know if you’ve seen one?
  • Famous ghosts and haunted houses
  • On the hunt with real-life ghost trackers
  • Ghost-hunting equipment
  • Where to look for ghosts
  • How to tell a good ghost story


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KEEP TRACK OF GHOST SIGHTINGS in this Ghost Hunter’s Notebook


lizagardner-web-img_7721-croppedLiza Gardner Walsh has always had an interest in ghosts. She lived in a haunted house growing up and constantly felt eyes on her. Given what she now knows about ghost hunting, this house would’ve been the perfect site for a hunt. It was formerly a doctor’s office and when people, um, perished, they would be kept in the basement until they were buried. Yikes. Rather than trying to pretend this wasn’t happening, Liza eagerly embraced the spooky world that surrounded her, spending hours in the graveyard, reading local history, and taking notes on the bumps in the night. Through all of this, Liza developed a love of storytelling which has led her to continue investigations of all kinds. She has written fifteen books on a variety of subjects including; Fairy House Handbook, Where Do Fairies Go When it Snows?, Treasure Hunter’s Handbook, and Muddy Boots. She lives in Camden, Maine with her family, only three houses away from a cemetery.