Mysterious New Mexico

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Mysterious New Mexico
Cover of the book "Mysterious New Mexico" by Benjamin Radford.jpg
Cover
AuthorBen Radford
Cover artistJoshua Hoffine
LanguageEnglish
SubjectParanormal investigation
PublisherUniversity of New Mexico Press
Publication date
2014
Media typePrint (Paperback)
Pages300
ISBN978-0-8263-5450-1

Mysterious New Mexico: Miracles, Magic, and Monsters in the Land of Enchantment is a 2014 collection of thirteen investigations conducted by author Ben Radford into cases involving claims of the paranormal occurring in or with significant connections to New Mexico.

Overview[edit]

KiMo technician Dennis Potter shows investigator Benjamin Radford the site of a 1951 explosion which spurred a ghost story

This book describes the author's use of scientific techniques to investigate thirteen cases of purported paranormal phenomena.[1][2] Interviews were conducted with people connected to the events and places involved in the legends surrounding the KiMo Theater,[3] El Santuario de Chimayo,[4] the crystal skull found in the San Luis Valley,[5] and the hot springs of Ojo Caliente.[6] The case of the West Mesa murders is the backdrop for a series of interviews with psychic detectives who claim the ability to help police solve such crimes.[7] Other cases required more literary and historical research, such as the Aztec UFO Crash,[8] The Loretto Chapel's Staircase,[9] reports of sightings of the legendary Thunderbirds,[10] the apparition known as La Llorona,[11] and Santa Fe's La Posada Hotel.[12] The basic elements of the story of La Llorona, a legend usually associated with the Hispanic culture, for example, are traced back to a German folktale from 1486.[2][13] Practical experiments were required for a third group, including determining the origin of The Santa Fe Courthouse Ghost,[14][15][16] the reports of hauntings at the Old Cuchillo Bar,[17][18][19] and an investigation into the power of labyrinths.[20] The author also places the stories in their cultural context and points out the commonalities shared by the folklore and legends of the supernatural across cultures.[21][22] Radford characterizes the work done for this book as "taking the claims seriously and offering serious investigation."[23]

Reception[edit]

Press coverage and reviews[edit]

The miracle staircase in Santa Fe's Loretto Chapel

Two of the investigations recounted in this book received press coverage before its publication. The Albuquerque Journal covered Radford's investigation of the KiMo Theater in 2009.[24] Both television station KRQE and USA Today reported on Radford's experiments to identify the cause of the images widely known as the Santa Fe Courthouse Ghost in 2007.[14][15]

In an article for the "Pasatiempo" section of the Santa Fe New Mexican, Robert Nott interviewed Radford about his investigative methods and the psychology behind belief in supernatural phenomena. Regarding the book, Nott wrote, "Using both forensic techniques and journalistic inquiry, Radford makes a pretty good case that La Posada de Santa Fe is not haunted by the ghost of Julia Staab, that a little spirit boy named Bobby does not haunt Albuquerque’s KiMo Theatre, that the Miraculous Staircase in Loretto Chapel isn’t that miraculous, and that La Llorona is nothing more than a rural legend."[25]

A reviewer for the Cibola Beacon was impressed with the author's scholarly research, citing the "17 references in the 21 pages devoted to the worldwide phenomenon known as 'La Llorona,'" a "five-page index," and, "copious references at the end of each chapter."[26]

Skeptical writer and podcast host Susan Gerbic wrote, "You can almost see how he is thinking this through, how best to investigate it. Where are the actual claims that can be tested, researched? Then once he has done that he leads us through the investigative process."[27] She later added, "the importance of original research—going back to the first source [as Radford does] and not relying on secondhand (and more likely fifthhand) stories—cannot be stressed strongly enough."[28]

In October 2014, Lesley Anderson of Fast Company wrote an article profiling both the author and his investigative techniques in the case of the Santa Fe Courthouse Ghost.[1]

Awards[edit]

  • Finalist for New Mexico Book Co-op's 2015 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards in the "Nonfiction – other" category.[29]
  • 2015 Border Regional Library Association's Southwest Book Award.[30][31]
  • 2015 Southwest Book Design Award from the New Mexico Book Association.[18][32][33]
  • 2015 Silver Winner of PubWest Book Design Awards for Adult Trade Book, Non-Illustrated[18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Anderson, Lessley (16 October 2014). "Meet The Actual Ghostbuster". Fast Company. Archived from the original on 30 July 2015. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  2. ^ a b Lobo (30 August 2014). "Project Archivist Podcast" (Podcast). Event occurs at 34:30. Retrieved 18 February 2016.[unreliable source?]
  3. ^ Radford, Ben (2014). "Chapter 1 Phantom Performances at the Haunted KiMo Theater". Mysterious New Mexico. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press. pp. 5–30. ISBN 978-0-8263-5450-1.
  4. ^ Radford, Ben (2014). "Chapter 2 Resurrection and Sacred Soil: Miracles at Chimayo". Mysterious New Mexico. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press. pp. 31–54. ISBN 978-0-8263-5450-1.
  5. ^ Radford, Ben (2014). "Chapter 3 The Mysterious Crystal Skulls". Mysterious New Mexico. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press. pp. 55–78. ISBN 978-0-8263-5450-1.
  6. ^ Radford, Ben (2014). "Chapter 9 Miracles of the Hot Eye: Ojo Caliente's Healing Waters". Mysterious New Mexico. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press. pp. 185–206. ISBN 978-0-8263-5450-1.
  7. ^ Radford, Ben (2014). "Chapter 12 Murder on the Mesa: The Bone Collector Serial Killer". Mysterious New Mexico. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press. pp. 247–268. ISBN 978-0-8263-5450-1.
  8. ^ Radford, Ben (2014). "Chapter 4 The Great Aztec UFO Crash". Mysterious New Mexico. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press. pp. 79–98. ISBN 978-0-8263-5450-1.
  9. ^ Radford, Ben (2014). "Chapter 6 The Loretto Chapel's Miraculous Staircase". Mysterious New Mexico. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press. pp. 111–130. ISBN 978-0-8263-5450-1.
  10. ^ Radford, Ben (2014). "Chapter 7 Thunderbirds: Mysterious Giants in the Sky". Mysterious New Mexico. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press. pp. 131–152. ISBN 978-0-8263-5450-1.
  11. ^ Radford, Ben (2014). "Chapter 11 La Llorona: Wailing Witches Haunting Ditches". Mysterious New Mexico. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press. pp. 225–246. ISBN 978-0-8263-5450-1.
  12. ^ Radford, Ben (2014). "Chapter 13 Santa Fe's Haunted La Posada Hotel". Mysterious New Mexico. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press. pp. 269–293. ISBN 978-0-8263-5450-1.
  13. ^ Radford, Ben (2014). Mysterious New Mexico. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. p. 228. ISBN 978-0-8263-5450-1. While the classic image of La Llorona was likely taken from an Aztec goddess named Cihuacoatl, the narrative of her legend has other origins. As Bacil Kirtley (1960) wrote in Western Folklore, “During the same decade that La Llorona was first mentioned in Mexico, a story, seemingly already quite old, of ‘Die Weisse Frau’ (‘The White Lady’)—which reproduces many of the features consistently recurring in the more developed versions of ‘La Llorona,’ was recorded in Germany”; references to “Die Weisse Frau” date back as early as 1486. The story of the White Lady follows a virtually identical plot to the classical La Llorona story.
  14. ^ a b Mygatt, Matt. "Mystery of Santa Fe ghost revealed". USA Today. Archived from the original on 2 October 2016. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  15. ^ a b "10/31/07 Noon: Ghost reveled at Santa Fe Courthouse" (Video). YouTube. KRQE. 31 October 2007. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  16. ^ Radford, Ben (2014). "Chapter 5 The Santa Fe Courthouse Ghost". Mysterious New Mexico. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press. pp. 99–110. ISBN 978-0-8263-5450-1.
  17. ^ Radford, Ben (2014). "Chapter 8 The Haunted Old Cuchillo Bar". Mysterious New Mexico. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press. pp. 153–184. ISBN 978-0-8263-5450-1.
  18. ^ a b c "Mysterious New Mexico: Miracles, Magic, and Monsters in the Land of Enchantment". University of New Mexico Press. University of New Mexico. Archived from the original on 10 December 2016. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  19. ^ Lobo (30 August 2014). "Project Archivist Podcast" (Podcast). Event occurs at multiple. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  20. ^ Radford, Ben (2014). "Chapter 10 Labyrinths: Sacred Symbolds in the Sand". Mysterious New Mexico. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press. pp. 207–224. ISBN 978-0-8263-5450-1.
  21. ^ Lobo (30 August 2014). "Project Archivist Podcast" (Podcast). Event occurs at 16:37. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  22. ^ Price, V. B. (10 January 2015). "Five Questions for New Mexico Authors – Benjamin Radford". New Mexico Mercury. Archived from the original on 2 October 2016. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  23. ^ Rick A. Carroll & Pascual H. Romero (7 August 2015). "16 Miles to Hell" (Podcast). Event occurs at 20:40. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  24. ^ Nathanson, Rick (2 August 2009). "Is the KiMo Theatre really haunted by the spirit of a boy killed there in 1951, or is it an urban legend?". Albuquerque Journal. Archived from the original on 4 November 2015. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  25. ^ Nott, Robert (31 October 2014). "Things that go bump in the night". Santa Fe New Mexican. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  26. ^ "Book Review – Mysterious New Mexico". Cibola Beacon. 4 November 2014. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  27. ^ Gerbic, Susan (9 September 2014). "Booking airfare for New Mexico". Amazon Book Review. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  28. ^ Gerbic, Susan (2015). "A State of Many Mysteries". Skeptical Inquirer. Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. 39.3.
  29. ^ "2015 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards". New Mexico Book Co-op. 25 September 2015. Archived from the original on 1 August 2016. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  30. ^ "BRLA 2015 Southwest Book Awards". Border Regional Library Association. 2016. Archived from the original on 18 February 2016. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  31. ^ Tussing, Lauren Consuelo (26 January 2016). "UNM Press books win 2015 Southwest Book Awards". UNM Newsroom. University of New Mexico. Archived from the original on 27 January 2016. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  32. ^ "SWBDA Award Winners". New Mexico Book Association. 17 June 2015. Archived from the original on 18 February 2016. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  33. ^ "Ben Radford Book Award for "Mysterious New Mexico"". Corrales Comment. 8 February 2016. Retrieved 19 February 2016.