Monday, May 4, 2015

American Ghost: A Family’s Haunted Past in the Desert Southwest by Hannah Nordhaus

A ghost has been sighted by many in an elegant hotel in Santa Fe.  The ghost is believed to be that of Julia the author’s great-great grandmother.  Why is Julia a ghost?  The author sets out to find the truth behind the legends and maybe meet her long dead relative herself.

Those with an interest in genealogy will find this book, and the author’s research, fascinating.  Nordhaus tracks down distant relatives who have created vast family trees and even written micro-histories of the family.  She also visits archives and goes back to Germany to see where Julia, a young German-Jewish woman was from before she was brought as a newlywed across the prairie into Santa Fe.  The author also learns about the fates of relatives left behind in Germany when Hilter came to power.  Since Julia is believed to be the ghost haunting La Posada the author consults with psychics, all practicing their art in different ways, to try to find answers from that realm as well.  No one seems to agree why Julia is still around, but theories, proven and hypothesized abound.

This book is an interesting look at a haunting as well as proof that all families have secrets and interesting stories at their core.