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The Midnight Hour: Canadian Accounts of Eerie Experiences

by John Robert Colombo

Is Canada a scary place? Our nation’s “master gatherer,” John Robert Colombo, certainly seems to think so. The veteran anthologizer and storyteller has already compiled a vast array of books on Canadian examples of the supernatural and paranormal, and he’s at it again with The Midnight Hour, a collection of stories from Canadian newspapers big and small, combined with letters and e-mails -– mostly, Colombo says, unedited – from folks of all walks of life, describing their brushes with everything from ghosts to haunted guitars to UFOs.

Far from just digging up dusty newspaper accounts and loopy correspondence, however, Colombo takes his customary value-added approach in The Midnight Hour, adding his own insights on how (and why) supernatural and hard-to-explain forces seem to be alive and well from sea to shining sea.

After a brief introduction outlining how the concept of the “midnight hour” has been passed down through history as a way of describing eerie and unreal phenomena, Colombo jumps into his compilation of published and personal accounts, prefacing each with a short description to provide historical and factual context.

The book acts as a sort of Who’s Who of the Canadian paranormal subculture, with appearances by well-known magicians, “mentalists,” and experts on psychic phenomenon. Colombo has clearly taken a great deal of care in pulling this compilation together, but he is not at all interested in exploring the question of whether or not ghosts, flying saucers, and the like really do exist.

What he does insist on, however, is the undeniable fact that people love to tell stories about these things. It is safe to say that any reader who agrees to suspend the reality question will have a fine time combing through the many tales that comprise The Midnight Hour.