"Thirteen Ghostly Encounters at Wirsing Manor," by Sindy Smith of Belleville is a short book, about two pages per ghost, but fun.
Smith, the author of six children's books with another about to come out, details some of the strange things she encountered while trying to live in and rehabilitate the old house at 507 Mascoutah Ave. in Belleville she named Wirsing Manor after the family which built it in the 1840s.
"I can't keep these things inside," she said. "I have to write about stuff that touches my life."
Everything in the book happened while she was there -- the rattling doorknobs, the self-closing doors, the invisible but audible footsteps. It changed her from a skeptic to a believer.
"I didn't believe in ghosts before I had that house," she said.
Smith said she had the house investigated by people who do that sort of thing.
"They said it was one of the most active houses they had seen, but nothing malicious," she said.
Her favorite story is about the plumber they had working in the basement. The old house only had a couple of circuits and Smith was trying to cook dinner in an electric skillet when the power went out.
In the pitch black, she and her former husband could hear the plumber screaming. They went running to help and found him shaking and pale.
He said he had been talking to himself and told himself he needed a cardboard box to help out. In the sudden darkness a cardboard box appeared to float across the basement to him.
He quickly finished his job and never came back, Smith said.
Smith will be talking about her book and signing copies at several regional libraries in the months to come.
She also has a book signing at Papa Vito's at 318 E. Washington St. in Belleville on Oct. 28. The restaurant has a reputation as haunted and the original Vito the restaurant is named after was one of Smith's grandfathers.
Smith may have cleared out the Wirsing Manor ghosts before she sold it some years ago.
She said a psychic she had come in told her to buy a smudge stick, light it and in front of the windows make the sign of the cross and instruct the ghosts to go into the light.
"I guess it worked, there was no more activity," she said.
The book is available at bookstores and online retailers.
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