Where Honesty Never Ends.
The Mammoth Mountain Poltergeist by Jenny Ashford and Tom Ross
Amazon Author Page
Note: A copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Genre: Spirit Occult Memoir
In December of 1982, when Tom Ross was thirteen years old, he took a week’s vacation to Mammoth Lakes in California with his aunt, uncle, and cousin. Almost from the moment they arrived at their condo, they experienced a near-constant barrage of bizarre phenomena that escalated over their stay, and seemed to follow them after they left. Items moved around by themselves, shades flew open when no one was near them, bloody tissues appeared out of nowhere, words appeared on windows in empty rooms, a blue haze seemed to hover near the ceiling, a door chain was broken from the inside by what appeared to be a clawed hand, and disembodied voices emerged from corners.
The family was simultaneously terrified and amazed. Thirty-two years later, the four witnesses decided to tell their story.
Hello and welcome to The Review Board. Today on TRB the Dynamic Duo come together to take a look at “The Mammoth Mountain Poltergeist” by Jenny Ashford and Tom Ross. So, moving forward, let’s see what Mini Truth thinks about said book. Mini, take it away.
I find it strange, a bit. Not because I think that this book was bad, but because it felt more informative than like a memoir of unexplained events. Again, not that I had a problem with that, per say, I just wasn’t expecting that.
Here is a little known fact about me, I’m a Medium. I have the ability to channel outside energies and ‘read’ them, then translate what I’m sensing. So, perhaps my take will be a bit different than most because it’s coming from the mind of a witness to supernatural phenomena.
With that said, I will give you a quick summary of the book’s contents.
Jenny Ashford takes it upon herself to tell the intriguing story of her beloved Tom Ross in the form of a chronicle. However, the story is more than just Tom’s, it’s the story of his Uncle Red, Aunt Lois and deaf cousin Wes.
On a trip to Mammoth Mountain, the quartet embark on the adventure of a lifetime, which most do not want to experience.
The Overlook Hotel at Mammoth Mountain is a scary place, even from afar. Vivid thoughts of possibly atrocities fill the imagination as Tom peers at it while en route. It reminds him of a scary movie, but little does he know at the time how accurate he might be.
While their stay at the Hotel, Tom, Aunt Lois, Uncle Red and Wes experience a vast amount of happenstances that leave them, for the lack of a better term, dazed, frightened and confused. Furniture moves, things disappear and reappear somewhere else, attempted communication comes from an unseen source, Wes falling into a strange dead-like sleep continually, and so much more. All of this in a very short time. Not knowing what to do or how to react, the family, for the most part, just grins and bares it.
But, at the end of their two week stay, while the family is more than happy to leave the ominous encounters behind, something even stranger happens; the poltergeist follows them home.
After a while the events spot sort of spontaneously, until several years later.
Tom joins the military and while there he has what is known as “an out of body experience”. Freaking out his comrade in the process, Tom learns many things about the phenomena he’d encountered throughout his life.
I’m trying really hard not to give away the end of the book, but it’s hard, so there might be a few small spoilers. Although, I’ll try not to.
At the beginning of the book I was very invested because in many ways it reminded me of some personal incidents I went through. Not, exactly the same, but similar enough to where I believed it. I guess my mind just works differently, perhaps.
However, the deeper I got into the story I the more “rational” the author/witness tried to make the affairs seem. Which, I suppose, was a little strange to me because if I know ONE thing, I know this … the paranormal doesn’t always make sense. Not to the Medium, and much less to the average Joe. So, trying to rationalize the happenings by utilizing the premise of science seemed strange to me. Not because paranorm doesn’t have a science of its own—it does—but because using rationalization defeats the point of having faith. I find that the foundation of paranormal activity is based in faith.
I also had issue with the fact that I cannot recall if the author EVER explained the difference between a ghost, a poltergeist and parapsychology. For newbies, I find that, that information would have been imperative.
Also, I wasn’t really digging the end of the book that read more like an encyclopedia of information than a legitimate argument from the view of a skeptic. While I appreciate that the reader if left to develop his/her own conclusion, the preachiness of the end felt more like they really weren’t.
With that said, I will give “The Mammoth Mountain Poltergeist” 7 TRB Stars. This will translate into 3 Stars elsewhere.
When I first saw the premise of this, I was intrigued. It makes me think of the current installment of American Horror Story entitled “My Roanoke Nightmare”. It is the retelling of what happened during a couple’s move to Roanoke, Virginia, but also has other people re-enacting the series of events. Were the paranormal occurrences real or could they rationally be explained away?
That is where the similarities between “My Roanoke Nightmare” and The Mammoth Mountain Poltergeist ends.
I do like the cover of the book. It does represent the overall spook factor that relates to the paranormal genre, such as the different lighting and the placement of the knife near the title. I also liked the introduction by Jenny, where she places distance between her beliefs and the beliefs of her mate and co-author, Tom. Syntax and grammar was at a high standard.
And yet … something was missing.
For one, I would have loved for Tom to have been able to tell his story in his own voice. Instead, Jenny was conveying what Tom had conveyed to her. In this fashion, the delivery was more “matter of fact”, which diluted the impact that Tom’s experiences had on me as a reader. Even in something that is of nonfiction ilk, I always like to feel as if I can go through each emotion as it is being told. I wanted to feel the fright when the poltergeist was making things happen, yet all of this fell flat due to the insistence of third person speaking, as opposed to first person speaking.
The pictures in this book seemed misplaced. They would have been a better fit if they were in correlation with the chapters that described said occurrences. However, their placement was like an afterthought, or something you’d put in the glossary section.
Also, I believe the main author (Jenny) really missed the mark in attempting to let the reader decide on whether the poltergeist experience was real. Towards the end, there was a massive information dump that caused the purpose to be askew. It was like a calling for the return of interest in paranormal phenomena, as opposed to leaving the ending open.
Unleashed Verdict: 7 out of 10 Stars
Looks like both reviewers gave the same rating … imagine that!
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