The best books on the paranormal to scare up myths and legends from the safety of your armchair

Why am I passionate about this?

Long before I began writing my first fictional story and way before I researched for my first nonfiction paranormal book, I gave up ignoring the voices in my head and began writing horror, fantasy, and six nonfiction books on the paranormal in Virginia. Besides learning a new piece of history or legend I never knew before, the research for my nonfiction books and articles inspired me to incorporate it into my horror or fantasy fiction. I enjoy writing fiction, but I believe I learn as much as my readers when I write nonfiction. 


I wrote...

Haunted Virginia: Legends, Myths, and True Tales

By Pamela K. Kinney,

Book cover of Haunted Virginia: Legends, Myths, and True Tales

What is my book about?

Like every state in the Union, Virginia has unique myths, legends, and yes, even true stories that sound much like legends, but aren't. Read the urban legend of the Bunnyman and what happens to mortals at his Bunnyman Bridge at midnight on Halloween. Discover the myths surrounding Edgar Allan Poe and other famous Virginians. See why Natural Bridge is a haunted tourist attraction. What makes the Great Dismal Swamp so creepy: Is it the ghosts or Bigfoot? Meet the Witch of Pungo in Virginia Beach and find out that Mothman and the Jersey Devil visited Virginia. Read Virginian stories of witches, demons, monsters, ghosts, pirates, strange animals, and soldiers from the Civil War. Visit an amazing and frightening Virginia that you never knew existed.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Haunted Virginia: Ghosts and Strange Phenomena of the Old Dominion

Pamela K. Kinney Why did I love this book?

Before other authors (including me) published books on Virginia’s ghosts and legends, it was L. B. Taylor who’d written many spooky tales that haunted the Old Dominion in a long span of books, including this one. Not just Virginians, but as someone who moved here in 1985, I learned about the state’s many ghosts, monsters, and legends that taught me a new view of the state. No one needs to live in Virginia to enjoy reading this book.

By Jr. Taylor, L. B.,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Haunted Virginia as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Old Dominion has been one of the nation's most embattled states. Serving as center stage for both the American Revolution and the Civil War, it is also one of the most haunted. In addition to the sagas of the tragic spirits from these wars, this volume includes stories on the female stranger of Gadsby's Tavern in Alexandria, the mysterious stone showers in Newport, the ghost hound of the Blue Ridge, Mad Lucy of Williamsburg, and the spirits of native sons Thomas Jefferson, Robert E. Lee, and Edgar Allan Poe.


Book cover of Virginia Legends & Lore

Pamela K. Kinney Why did I love this book?

For centuries, Virginians have told, retold, and embellished terrific stories of their history, some based on truth, others more folklore than reality. As someone who has written her own myths and legends book, it was refreshing to read about them from another author’s viewpoint. Plus, I got to learn some new angles about the lore of Virginia.

By Charles a. Mills,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Virginia Legends & Lore as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For centuries, Virginians have told, retold and embellished wonderful stories of their history. Legends such as the "wild Spanish ponies" of Chincoteague, General Braddock's lost gold, the Mount Vernon Monster and the Richmond Vampire tug at the imagination. Revolutionary War heroes, Annandale's Bunny Man, the enslaved woman who became a Union spy in the White House of the Confederacy and many others left imprints on the Commonwealth of Virginia. Explore secret societies, hidden knowledge and the mysteries of the universe with author Chuck Mills.


Book cover of Virginia Folk Legends

Pamela K. Kinney Why did I love this book?

This book is a collection of legends and folklore gathered by field workers of the Virginia Writers Project of the WPA that languished for decades in the libraries of the University of Virginia. It took folklorist Thomas E. Barde to put them in a book endorsed by the American Folklore Society. It helped me discover the witch stories told in the past until the 40s in the western part of Virginia, as I researched for the witch chapter of my own book. I enjoyed these tales and believed other armchair folklorists would enjoy them, too. 

By Thomas E. Barden,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Virginia Folk Legends as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What do devil dogs, witches, haunted houses, Daniel Boone, Railroad Bill, "Justice John" Crutchfield, and lost silver mines have in common? All are among the subjects included in the vast collection of legends gathered between 1937 and 1942 by the field workers of the Virginia Writers Project of the WPA. For decades following the end of the project, these stories lay untouched in the libraries of the University of Virginia. Now, folklorist Thomas E. Barden brings to light these delightful tales, most of which have never been in print. Virginia Folk Legends presents the first valid published collection of Virginia…


Book cover of American Indian Myths and Legends

Pamela K. Kinney Why did I love this book?

There are more than 160 tales from eighty tribal groups in this book. They are various tales of creation and love, heroes and war, animals, tricksters, and the world’s end, many from contemporary Indigenous voices. Hopefully, these stories enable others who are not Native American but still want to read what many indigenous tribes taught to their children as a reason for the history of their peoples.

By Richard Erdoes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked American Indian Myths and Legends as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

More than 160 tales from eighty tribal groups present a rich and lively panorama of the Native American mythic heritage. From across the continent comes tales of creation and love; heroes and war; animals, tricksters, and the end of the world. 

“This fine, valuable new gathering of ... tales is truly alive, mysterious, and wonderful—overflowing, that is, with wonder, mystery and life" (National Book Award Winner Peter Matthiessen). In addition to mining the best folkloric sources of the nineteenth century, the editors have also included a broad selection of contemporary Native American voices.
 


Book cover of American Monsters: A History of Monster Lore, Legends, and Sightings in America

Pamela K. Kinney Why did I love this book?

As I was working on a new nonfiction book, this time about werewolves, dogmen, and other types of shapeshifters in the United States, I read many books on the subject out there. One author. Linda S. Godfrey, had written many stories connected to the American Dogman/werewolf, beginning with the Beast of Bray Road. In this book, she also wrote about other American creatures, not just the dogman. She covers pre-Columbian to modern sightings. I believe, whether a fantasy/horror writer looking for their next monster for their short story or novel to the amateur cryptid hunter happy to explore these beasties from the safety of their seat, anyone will enjoy this book. I did. 

By Linda S. Godfrey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked American Monsters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From pre-Columbian legends to modern-day eyewitness accounts, this comprehensive guide covers the history, sightings and lore surrounding the most mysterious monsters in America—including Bigfoot, the Jersey Devil, and more.

Bigfoot, the chupacabra, and thunderbirds aren’t just figments of our overactive imaginations—according to thousands of eyewitnesses, they exist, in every corner of the United States. Throughout America’s history, shocked onlookers have seen unbelievable creatures of every stripe—from sea serpents to apelike beings, giant bats to monkeymen—in every region.

Author, investigator, and creature expert Linda S. Godfrey brings the same fearless reporting she lent to Real Wolfmen to this essential guide, using…


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Interested in Virginia, the paranormal, and legends?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Virginia, the paranormal, and legends.

Virginia Explore 108 books about Virginia
The Paranormal Explore 229 books about the paranormal
Legends Explore 29 books about legends