Author! Author!

Every town's got a past, and sometimes that past starts acting up: Wardrobes rattle and rocking chairs rock; people see mysterious headless folks walking through yards in broad daylight. At least they think they do. But whether or not you truly believe the spooky tales you hear, they're usually just an offshoot of local history, and perhaps that's why Boulder authors Roz Brown and Ann Alexander Leggett decided to write Haunted Boulder: Ghostly Tales From the Foot of the Flatirons. If nothing else, it sure spices up the way you feel about the place where you live.

Actually, says Brown, the two women were inspired to research their book after Leggett's twelve-year-old daughter and aficionado of ectoplasmic lore searched the library in vain for a book on local ghost stories. Brown and Leggett thought, "Well, why not?" and began their research, digging up old stories from newspaper microfilms and working with Historic Boulder, which hosts a popular haunted-house tour each year.

Once they knew whom to contact, it turned out to be a piece of supernatural cake: "People who really believe they have ghosts in their house have absolutely no problem talking about it," Brown explains. But some people, she concedes, did: "One woman in particular had such a frightening and violent ghost in her house that she thought he'd become even more frightening and violent." The woman preferred not to rock the spectral boat by inviting snoops into the house. Alas.

Still, Brown and Leggett managed to mine some wonderfully rich, eerie and difficult-to-explain spook stories, developing a new respect for Boulder's supernatural undercurrents. How seriously does Brown take those stories? "Some are more credible than others," she admits, but she deems them interesting enough to warrant starting work on a sequel to include further weird tales from around Boulder County. "Not that I'd call myself a dedicated ghostbuster," Brown says.

We'd gladly circle the campfire to hear more.

Roz Brown signs Haunted Boulder at 7:30 p.m. January 16 at the Boulder Book Store, 1107 Pearl Street; call 303-447-2047.

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd