Tales of an October Moon

Cranberry bogs, moonlit graveyards, reticent old codgers,,,The four ghost stories on Tales of an October Moon are crammed with every New England cliché imaginable. But in a post-Poltergeist world, where trendy horror-in-the- suburbs movies proliferate, can anything this quaint be scary?

Author/narrator Marc Joel Levitt tells his stories well. Two turn on the Poltergeist theme: Progress without respect for the past will be punished by vengeful ghosts. In ”The Scituate Reservoir,” a businessman floods seven towns to build a reservoir and gets his comeuppance: dead fish in the bathtubs, mud in the sinks, ”and now, from the statue in front of the dance hall, where water once danced with angels, now came blood.” The story ends in a nightmare sewage vision, which Levitt moderates with humor: ”When I’m in Providence, R.I., I check my glass of water very carefully…” ”The Old Man of the Stone Walls” turns geography into horror: ”The land of New England falls off of these walls much the same way as the skin and the muscle fall off the bones of the human body.” ”The Little Skeleton Girl” is a predictable past-haunts-the- present story.

Introducing ”The Purple Bishop,” a story about disappearing children, Levitt uses the power of suggestion: ”Some people have asked me not to tell the following story,” he says. ”They think it’s too scary.” Is it? Depends on experience. If your children are under 8 or so and impressionable, expect a few sleepless nights and the thrill of being scared. A-

Tales of an October Moon
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