American Ghost: A Family's Haunted Past in the Desert Southwest

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9780062249210: American Ghost: A Family's Haunted Past in the Desert Southwest

The award-winning journalist and author of The Beekeeper’s Lament attempts to uncover the truth about her great-great-grandmother, Julia--whose ghost is said to haunt an elegant hotel in Santa Fe—in this spellbinding exploration of myth, family history, and the American West.

The dark-eyed woman in the long black gown was first seen in the 1970s, standing near a fireplace. She was sad and translucent, present and absent at once. Strange things began to happen in the Santa Fe hotel where she was seen. Gas fireplaces turned off and on without anyone touching a switch. Vases of flowers appeared in new locations. Glasses flew off shelves. And in one second-floor suite with a canopy bed and arched windows looking out to the mountains, guests reported alarming events: blankets ripped off while they slept, the room temperature plummeting, disembodied breathing, dancing balls of light.

La Posada—“place of rest”—had been a grand Santa Fe home before it was converted to a hotel. The room with the canopy bed had belonged to Julia Schuster Staab, the wife of the home’s original owner.  She died in 1896, nearly a century before the hauntings were first reported. In American Ghost, Hannah Nordhaus traces the life, death, and unsettled afterlife of her great-great-grandmother Julia, from her childhood in Germany to her years in the American West with her Jewish merchant husband.

American Ghost is a story of pioneer women and immigrants, ghost hunters and psychics, frontier fortitude and mental illness, imagination and lore. As she traces the strands of Julia’s life, Nordhaus uncovers a larger tale of how a true-life story becomes a ghost story—and how difficult it can sometimes be to separate history and myth.

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In this spellbinding exploration of myth, family history, and the American West, the award-winning journalist and author of The Beekeeper's Lament seeks to uncover the truth about her great-great-grandmother Julia—whose ghost is said to haunt an elegant hotel in Santa Fe.

The dark-eyed woman first appeared in the 1970s, standing near a fireplace in a long black gown. She was sad and translucent, present and absent at once. Strange things began to happen in the Santa Fe hotel where she was seen. Gas fireplaces turned off and on without anyone touching a switch. Vases of flowers appeared in new locations. Glasses flew from shelves. And in one second-floor suite with a canopy bed and arched windows looking out to the mountains, guests reported alarming events: blankets ripped off while they slept, the room temperature plummeting, disembodied breathing, dancing balls of light.

La Posada—"place of rest"—had been a grand Santa Fe home before it was converted to a hotel. The room with the canopy bed had belonged to Julia Schuster Staab, the wife of the home's original owner. She died in 1896, nearly a century before the hauntings were first reported. In American Ghost, Hannah Nordhaus traces the life, death, and unsettled afterlife of her great-great-grandmother Julia and her family, from Julia's childhood in Germany to her years in the American West with her Jewish merchant husband, to the spas and séance rooms of the late nineteenth century, to World War II and beyond.

In her search to find and understand her troubled ancestor, Nordhaus travels across America and Europe, and unearths family diaries, photographs, and newspaper clippings; meets with historians, genealogists, psychics, and ghost hunters; and learns along the way some unexpected lessons about living.

American Ghost is a touching journey of roots and memory, a story of pioneer women and immigrants, villains and visionaries, frontier fortitude and mental illness, imagination and lore. As she follows the strands of Julia's life, Nordhaus discovers a larger tale of how a true-life story becomes a ghost story—and how difficult it can be to separate history from myth.

About the Author:

Hannah Nordhaus is the author of the critically acclaimed national bestseller The Beekeeper's Lament, which was a PEN Center USA Book Awards finalist, a Colorado Book Awards finalist, and a National Federation of Press Women Book Award winner. She has written for the Financial Times, the Los Angeles Times, Outside magazine, the Times Literary Supplement, the Village Voice, and many other publications. She lives with her husband and two children in Boulder, Colorado.

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Book Description Harper, United States, 2015. Hardback. Book Condition: New. 231 x 157 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. In this intriguing book, [Nordhaus] shares her journey to discover who her immigrant ancestor really was and what strange alchemy made the idea of her linger long after she was gone. PeopleLa Posada place of rest was once a grand Santa Fe mansion. It belonged to Abraham and Julia Staab, who emigrated from Germany in the mid-nineteenth century. After they died, the house became a hotel. And in the 1970s, the hotel acquired a resident ghost a sad, dark-eyed woman in a long gown. Strange things began to happen there: vases moved, glasses flew, blankets were ripped from beds. Julia Staab died in 1896 but her ghost, they say, lives on.In American Ghost, Julia s great-great-granddaughter, Hannah Nordhaus, traces her ancestor s transfiguration from nineteenth-century Jewish bride to modern phantom. Family diaries, photographs, and newspaper clippings take her on a riveting journey through three hundred years of German history and the American immigrant experience. With the help of historians, genealogists, family members, and ghost hunters, she weaves a masterful, moving story of fin-de-siecle Europe and pioneer life, villains and visionaries, medicine and spiritualism, imagination and truth, exploring how lives become legends, and what those legends tell us about who we are. A graceful and ominous family history. Newsweek. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780062249210

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Book Description Harper, United States, 2015. Hardback. Book Condition: New. 231 x 157 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. In this intriguing book, [Nordhaus] shares her journey to discover who her immigrant ancestor really was and what strange alchemy made the idea of her linger long after she was gone. PeopleLa Posada place of rest was once a grand Santa Fe mansion. It belonged to Abraham and Julia Staab, who emigrated from Germany in the mid-nineteenth century. After they died, the house became a hotel. And in the 1970s, the hotel acquired a resident ghost a sad, dark-eyed woman in a long gown. Strange things began to happen there: vases moved, glasses flew, blankets were ripped from beds. Julia Staab died in 1896 but her ghost, they say, lives on.In American Ghost, Julia s great-great-granddaughter, Hannah Nordhaus, traces her ancestor s transfiguration from nineteenth-century Jewish bride to modern phantom. Family diaries, photographs, and newspaper clippings take her on a riveting journey through three hundred years of German history and the American immigrant experience. With the help of historians, genealogists, family members, and ghost hunters, she weaves a masterful, moving story of fin-de-siecle Europe and pioneer life, villains and visionaries, medicine and spiritualism, imagination and truth, exploring how lives become legends, and what those legends tell us about who we are. A graceful and ominous family history. Newsweek. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780062249210

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