Books to Raise Spirits and Rattle Coffins


Abandoned towns, sorrowful ghosts and a strangely compelling graphic novel featuring a boy who dies a thousand deaths. Keep the lights on, people; this round-up of Blurb books is scary good.

Holy Spirits and Haunting Souls

In “Ghosts of the Faithful Departed,” Irish photographer David Creedon takes us into the abandoned homes of those who stayed behind in rural Ireland during the twentieth century while others – family members and friends – left to seek their fortunes in cities and abroad.


As much a study of Irish Catholic iconography as it is a glimpse into lives of the past, the book showcases Creedon’s keen sense of color, composition, and detail. The book has been called “one of the most significant collections of photography in contemporary Ireland” and images from the collection have been used as CD album covers and as the cover image for “Autumn of the Patriarch,” a book by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the Nobel prize-winning author.

Step inside the book and take a look – we think you’ll agree that Creedon’s skill as a photographer creates an intriguing and poignant time capsule.

Give it up for Ghost Towns

Who doesn’t like a good ghost town? We’re fans, that’s for sure and that’s why we had so much fun flipping through Edward Clark’s comprehensive photo book (ten years in the making) featuring Bodie, California, a small mining town in the Eastern Sierra that went from boom to bust to dust – and is now a California state park (minus the gift shops and theme rides).

While some of the book’s spreads are a little crowded for our taste, a deeper dive into the back of the book serves up some spare and eerily fascinating images – worn wooden steps leading to a cellar, a dusty checkerboard with a game seemingly still in play, a coffin maker’s shop.

In 1879, a San Francisco newspaper reported that Bodie had “60 saloons and not a single church.” Based on one image in the book, it seems a church was finally built  –but that didn’t do much to quell business at the bars or the brothels. The book does delve into the town’s history a bit, but despite the old-timey typeface and Clark’s prose, it’s really the photographs that most eloquently tell the story of this Wild West ghost town.

The Repeated Demise of a Scary Boy

Scary Boy” is the brainchild of Paris-based illustrator and graphic designer Elisio Da Costa, who has made more than one graphic novel featuring this big-eyed, bony creature. In his latest installment, Scary Boy dies a thousand deaths, each more terrifying than the last.

Like any good graphic novel this one is light on text and heavy on mind-bending illustration as Scary Boy spirals into a never-ending nightmare. Will it keep you up at night? Probably not. Will it delight you? Oh yeah. Da Costa is talented and his imagination unbounded.

You’ll find more of the author’s creations on his Blurb Bookstore page. We have no idea if Scary Boy will be resurrected, but since Da Costa described Scary Boy’s evolution as “a stream of consciousness experiment that slowly evolved into a narrative and got weirder in the process,” we’re expecting a new, even stranger incarnation to appear soon.

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