The Essential Paranormal Bucket List
100 Mysterious Things to Investigate Before You Die
by Riley Mitchell 128 pp; 5 x 8 paperback (124 illustrations)
ISBN 978-1-943681-71–6 $15.95

Paranormal-cover 2017-FINALIST-sm-squashed
Do You Believe in ESP, UFOs, or Ghosts?

Are you someone who loves a good ghost story? Do you occasionally scan the evening sky for signs of flying saucers? Have you ever hoped to see a legendary monster in the woods or at the lake? Do you always read your daily horoscope before venturing out of the house in the morning? If your answer to any of these questions is “yes,” then you have come to the right place. This guide profiles one hundred of the world’s most intriguing paranormal destinations, activities, and opportunities that you should seek out during your allotted time on Earth. This “bucket list” does not specifically arrange the entries in order of importance or novelty, so feel free to pick and choose what experiences seem most interesting to you! The guide concludes with sections that highlight a handful of additional paranormal destinations that just missed making the main list, a compilation of interesting websites, and a profile of a charitable organization worthy of your support.

The only thing that scares me more than space aliens is the idea that there aren’t any space aliens.—Ellen DeGeneres

The inclination to believe in the fantastic may strike some as a failure in logic, or gullibility, but it’s really a gift. A world that might have Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster is clearly superior to one that definitely does not.—Chris Van Allsburg



BOOKS IN THE BUCKET LIST SERIES HAVE WON SEVERAL AWARDS
NEW MEXICO BUCKET LIST
Winner, Travel Book - 2015 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards
Honorable Mention, Travel Book - 2016 New Mexico Press Women
HOT AIR BALLOON BUCKET LIST
Winner, Sports/Recreation Book - 2015 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards
Honorable Mention, Travel Book - 2016 New Mexico Press Women
COMPLETE COWBOY BUCKET LIST
Winner, Travel Book - 2016 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards
Finalist, Guides/Recreation Book - 2016 Southwest Book Design & Production Book Awards
BASIC GENEALOGY CHECKLIST
First Place, Adult Nonfiction General - 2017 NM Press Women Book Awards
SANTA FE BUCKET LIST
First Place, Adult Nonfiction Travel - 2017 NM Press Women Book Awards
Winner, First Book/Best Cover - 2016 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards
KICKING THE BUCKET LIST
Second Place, Adult Nonfiction General - 2017 NM Press Women Book Awards
SPACE BUCKET LIST
Winner, Travel Book - 2016 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards
GREEN CHILE CHEESEBURGER BUCKET LIST
Winner, Recreation Book - 2016 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards




REVIEWS
Alibi-Oct 26, 2017
INTO THE UNKNOWN
Investigate the paranormal through the pages of Riley Mitchell's book
Review by Maggie Grimason

Riley-Mitchell

A young Riley Mitchell
COURTESY OF THE ARTIST


The Essential Paranormal Bucket List
Riley Mitchell
Rio Grande Books


In the epigraph of Riley Mitchell's first book—The Essential Paranormal Bucket List—he quotes American illustrator Chris Van Allsburg, who said: “The inclination to believe in the fantastic may strike some as a failure in logic, or gullibility, but it's really a gift. A world that might have a Bigfoot or Loch Ness Monster is clearly superior to one that definitely does not.” I'm of a mind to agree. I love a good ghost story and one well-told still has the power to keep me up at night; and I honest-to-God think that I might've seen a UFO in the backwoods of northern Arizona. I'm fascinated by the histories and symbolism contained in practices of divination like tarot, tassomancy and the I Ching. That's why—despite a low-key aversion to the “bucket list” format, which is sort of a long-format, printed and bound listicle—I really enjoyed Mitchell's round-up of paranormal wonders from the world over.

Twelve. That's how many of the 100 activities outlined in the book that I have completed. Some are easier than others—like, who hasn't contacted the spirits of the dead with a ouija board? (But, did you know that before it got such a grim rap in The Exorcist, ouija boards were just considered toys, first produced in the 1890's by a Baltimore manufacturer? Riley does a good job injecting this sort of trivia into the book.) Other highlights checked off of the list for me include: Driving the Extraterrestrial Highway in Nevada, paying my respects at Boot Hill Cemetery in Tombstone, visiting Edgar Allen Poe's grave in Baltimore, hiking to a vortex in Sedona, and checking in to the haunted Hotel Monte Vista in Flagstaff (it was on accident, and I didn't know it was haunted at the time, but seriously, I picked up on the creepy vibes).

And still, within the pages of this kitschy book, Riley suggested points of discovery that I hadn't considered before. For example, tucked near the back of the book at number 13 is “Join the Ghost Club”—a group dedicated to “exploring, discussing and analyzing aspects of ghosts, hauntings and other paranormal phenomena” whose storied members include the likes of Charles Dickens. When you pay your member dues you become connected to a network of likeminded truth-seekers and receive monthly dispatches from the field of parapsychology. Or how about reading the collected works of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky—the medium who founded and outlined the beliefs of Theosophy through her classic The Secret Doctrine? The revelations don't stop there. Did you know there's a haunted forest in Kent, England known as “The Screaming Woods” where allegedly more than 30 townfolk (including 11 children) were killed on Halloween night in 1948? Or that you can take lessons in the art of levitation? These are the kind of secrets evinced in the slim 120-page volume.

Last fall, sitting in the basement of The Stanley Hotel (which served as the inspiration for The Shining) during a ghost tour (number 22 on the bucket list) a small group of us listened intently as our guide told the story of a transient woman who once made her home in the quiet underbelly of the massive estate, and whose spirit—supposedly—chose to return to it. I began to feel queasy. Behind the guide's back, slowly, the door began to rock on its hinges, and then more quickly, until it slammed. The tour guide began to cry, admitting that she hadn't seen evidence of this particular spirit in months. As the tour disbanded, we wandered the basement and I pushed the door over and over again—seeing if it could have been rocked shut by an errant breeze. The air was too still, the door was too heavy. It was a little thing—but it has continued to nurture my curiosity, and so has Riley's book. For those who wonder in earnest about the unexplained, The Essential Paranormal Bucket List might prove just as worthwhile. To be able to believe in these things—even just a little bit—makes the world more exciting. And that is a gift.

The book was published by Rio Grande Books. Find out more on their website, riograndebooks.com or pick up a copy at Bookworks (4022 Rio Grande NW) on Oct. 30, where the author will also do a reading and lead a discussion of the work at 6pm.