Saturday, October 18, 2014

Literature Review #3: Ghost Under Foot, The Spirit of Mary Bell

I have been in law enforcement for almost 25 years.  Peers and colleagues poo-poo my writings and assertions about anything paranormal.  We in cop-culture are reasonable....looking for provable facts...cynical....and dismissive.  The stereotypical witness to hauntings is artistic, impressionable, impulsive, and vulnerable.  True or not, generalizations sometimes rule.  Hence my literature review for October, Kenneth W. Harmon's "Ghost Under Foot, the Spirit of Mary Bell."  Mr. Harmon is a fiction writer and a retired cop.  He, in his retirement, has also been befriended by a ghost.  This book is non-fiction, and chronicles his and his family's experiences with the long deceased Mary Bell.  Call me biased, but Mr. Harmon's law enforcement background wins him much credibility with me.
The story begins as the Harmon family tours a hotbed of paranormal activity, the historic Stanley Hotel (pictured below) in Colorado.  What exactly happened during this tour is up for discussion, but perhaps something (someone?) took an interest in the Harmon family.  Back at home in Fort Collins, our author's interest in ghosts is peeked (19th century Fort Collins is pictured below).  At this point Mr.Harmon may be termed an amateur paranormal investigator...but the amateur label will be short-lived.  Physiological symptoms indicate that whatever was present at that hotel affected Mr. Harmon.  Whether he had that proverbial "third eye" opened or beings from "the other side" were communicating with him...who knows?  Investigation is in his blood, so Mr. Harmon begins a mission to assess the paranormal activity in his very old house. Fort Collins has quite a history, and the whole city is built on graves, marked and unmarked.  The initial results of video and photographic endeavors show orbs.  In the paranormal community, the presence of orbs is much debated as evidence of ghosts. 
As a good cop does, Mr. Harmon becomes adept at necessary investigative tactics.  Researching, interviewing, consulting experts, and pure determination equip our author to conduct a complete investigation into a mystery many would claim is destined to stay a mystery.  As each family member endures unexplained experiences and sensations, the retired cop takes a risk.  Instead of merely chronicling the paranormal, Mr. Harmon decides to communicate and learn from whoever (or whatever) is dwelling with them.  Not all paranormal investigation is of the dramatic sense which we see on TV, and lots of land records and property research is undertaken (over the span of months), and a suspect is discovered.  Mary Bell!  Bell is a 19th century wife and mother who died at an early age of Typhoid fever.....AND IS BURIED  on Harmon's property.  Whether it is a good idea to communicate with the dead or not, the cop in Mr. Harmon is not going to let a mystery stay a mystery.  What happens next is where most paranormal stories end.  As our family comes to terms with their ghost, Mary Bell begins to act more overtly...sometimes in a very scary sense.
The results of the investigation?  Shocking!  I won't ruin it for you, but this Halloween, treat yourself to a terrific ghost story and read "Ghost Under Foot, The Spirit of Mary Bell."  Where most ghost stories end, this one continues much further into an uncomfortable realm.  As mysteries are solved, more are born.  First printed in 2012, this book is published by Llewellyn Publications of Woodbury, Minnesota. Available on and also at

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