Grave’s End is another “true account” ghost story. Only unlike The Amityville Horror, this story was not handed over to a professional writer for “touching up”. It is written in a straight-forward, journalistic style – this is what happened, this is who it happened to, this is how we all felt about it, and this is how it stands right now. Dull stuff compared to the sensationalized, and sensationalistic, Amityville Horror we just read! However, it can be claimed, too, that unlike The Amityville Horror, this ghost story might actually have happened.
When we compare the two incidents we see many differences:
- Intense cold, devil pigs, green goo and ghostly marching bands in Amityville Horror
- Feelings of paralysis, suffocating dreams, fleeting shadows and ghostly orbs in Grave’s End
- Amityville Horror was a vacant, murder house on the market at a bargain price
- Grave’s End was partially occupied and remained so for over 18 months after Elaine and her husband bought it
- George and Kathy Lutz abandoned their haunted house in less than a month’s time
- Elaine and her family are still living in their haunted house as of the book’s publication (2001)
- The Amityville Horror was a hugely successful book and was adapted into several movies over the years
- Grave’s End went unnoticed by nearly everyone, even people with a strong interest in the subject (like me!)
- George and Kathy turned to a priest for help when things got really scary, but never felt like they could confide in any close family
- Elaine had a strong ally in her brother, Ron, and turned to a famous parapsychologist, Dr. Hans Holzer for help
- The whole Lutz family was terrorized by what went on and they all wanted to escape
- Elaine and her daughters all felt the effects of their haunting, but Elaine was the only one terrified by it – the girls just thought it was interesting, and they were upset when the house was finally “cleansed” and most of the hauntings stopped
The extremely low-key handling of the events that happened in Grave’s End may have been due to a fear of a media backlash, such as occurred after The Amityville Horror was published. It may also have been the result of having an R.N. for an author, and not a Hollywood writer. And it may be so non-sensationalized because it was all true, and that’s how real hauntings look.
It certainly feels that way, in large part because there were no invisible pigs with red eyes, or cold, winter rooms full of flies. If my own ordinary experiences (and those of countless TV ghost-hunting shows) are any indication, that’s about the most anyone can expect from a real-live haunting – a few orbs, some funky shadows seen out of the corner of one’s eyes, and some weird, unpleasant nightmares.
One thing that Grave’s End showed me is that truth is just as strange as fiction – despite all the crazy crap that went on, and despite how thoroughly miserable Elaine felt for years – people have to be just about thrown out of a house they own, no matter how haunted it is, because they just refuse to leave!
Mercado, Elaine, R.N. Grave’s End: A True Ghost Story. 2001. Minnesota: Llewellyn Publications, 2006, Print.
5 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW: Grave’s End: A True Ghost Story, by Elaine Mercado, R.N.”
You’re right about people being reluctant to leave a home they own. I live in my 1908 fixer-upper dream house, and if I became a multi-millionaire I’d stay right here.
And if there were ghosts in my house, I’d stay right here.
But if one of those ghosts threatened my kid, I’d send that MFer into another dimension faster than you can say “Ghostbusters.”
And then I’d stay right here.
I guess I just haven’t found MY “dream house” yet, because I would be on Zillow immediately. Of course, I would feel EXTREMELY guilty about selling the haunted house to some poor unsuspecting schmuck!
Gwendalyn, good point comparing the two novels. I like the story to The Amityville Horror better, but I enjoyed reading Grave’s End more. I agree that Mercado played her’s in such a subtle low-key way, like it was no bid deal, that it made me feel as if everything actually happened word-for-word. And who’s to say it didn’t? That’s what I love about the what-if possibilities of it all. While I myself would be terrified if my house was haunted, I can’t deny how jaw-dropping and interesting it would be to interact with an actual ghost. Friendly that is. Like Casper. None of this Insidious stuff. Lol.
One thing I know for sure: you can bet your arse that I’m fleeing the moment my house ever gets haunted. No, sir. Unless it’s a pretty girl that I can flirt with (is it weird I said that?) I’m out! Lol.
Chris, I think it’s already been established that you’re weird. But that’s ok. I like that in a writer.
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Gwen, Great points in your comparison of the books. In reading both I believed the outlandish accounts in AH over GE. Maybe the way Mercado described the events didn’t capture my interest and imagination. The entire book read as insignificant. At least the Lutz’s left after 28 days, not 2 decades!