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Scott, Beth (Bailey) 1922-1994

SCOTT, Beth (Bailey) 1922-1994

PERSONAL: Born February 6, 1922, in Bryn Mawr, PA; died 1994; daughter of Carl C. (a civil and mechanical engineer) and Ethel (a writer; maiden name, Colvin) Bailey; married Lawrence W. Scott (a university professor), March 19, 1949; children: Rosemary Scott Tyson, Jeffery, Jonathan. Education: Attended Guilford College, 1940-43; University of Pennsylvania, B.A., 1944; graduate study at Kansas State University, 1950-53, and Oregon State University, 1953-54.

CAREER: Editor, educator, lecturer, and freelance writer. American Society of Testing Materials, Philadelphia, PA, editor's assistant, 1944-46; Indianhead District of Adult, Vocational, and Technical Program of Western Wisconsin, New Richmond, part-time creative writing teacher, 1970-74; University of Wisconsin—River Falls, lecturer in journalism, 1983-85. Full-time freelance writer until 1994. President of St. Croix Valley chapter of American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin, 1983-86.

MEMBER: Authors Guild, Authors League of America.

AWARDS, HONORS: Haunted Heartland was included on the list of readers' favorite books in English Journal's 1987 Books for Young Adults Poll.


(With Michael Norman) Haunted Wisconsin, Stanton & Lee (Sauk City, WI), 1980, revised and updated edition, Trails Books (Black Earth, WI), 2001.

(With Michael Norman) Haunted Heartland, Stanton & Lee (Madison, WI), 1985.

(With Michael Norman) Haunted America, Tor (New York, NY), 1994.

(With Michael Norman) Historic Haunted America, Tor (New York, NY), 1995.

(With Michael Norman) Haunted Heritage: TheDefinitive Collection of North American Ghost Stories, Forge (New York, NY), 2002.

Contributor of articles, fiction, and verse to American, Canadian, and Japanese periodicals.

SIDELIGHTS: Prior to her death in early 1994, Beth Scott entertained readers with hundreds of stories about haunted America. It would be impossible to mention Scott without also mentioning her longtime writing partner, Michael Norman. Together, the two labored to anthologize ghost stories and paranormal tales from all over the United States and Canada. Years of researching documents, conducting interviews, and traveling throughout North America introduced Scott and Norman to a plethora of ghost stories and legends. They have shared many of these spine-tingling tales in their series of "Haunted" books.

The chilling chapters of Scott and Norman's "Haunted" series began with Haunted Wisconsin, which serves up "true" stories from around the Badger State. The legends are recounted through interviews, newspaper articles, archives, and other sources. A review of the updated and revised edition of Haunted Wisconsin on the Prairie Ghosts Web site praised the "more than sixty stories of ghosts and hauntings" and called the book "a must-have for all ghost enthusiasts." The scarefest continues in Scott and Norman's Haunted Heartland. This collection focuses on terrifying tales from the American Midwest. The book includes more than 150 of what the Time Warner Books Web site called "true, flesh-tingling stories of supernatural America."

In Haunted America, Norman and Scott include at least one eerie legend from each of the fifty states and some of the Canadian provinces. Again the authors focus on "true" stories, weaving newspaper articles, interviews, and other sources into the narrative to lend authenticity to the tales. According to Library Journal's Eloise R. Hitchcock, "The stories recount sightings of ghostly apparitions and mysterious happenings." Keith Dixon wrote in the New York Times Book Review that while there are "a few spots where the authors seem to be reaching to find a tale for each state, the stories are vibrant enough to hold the reader's attention."

Historic Haunted America ventures into the past to dig up some old-fashioned ghost stories. As with Haunted America, all fifty states and some Canadian provinces are represented in the anthology. This volume provides eye-witness accounts of ghost sightings in hotels, theaters, trains, and other common locations. Among the bone-chilling ghosts that appear in the collection are soldiers, lovers, and murder victims. The end result of eighteen years of research by the authors is, as Ann E. Cohen commented in Library Journal, "mesmerizing, spine-tingling—and not to be missed by any folklore collection."

Scott and Norman continued their writing partnership after the publication of Historic Haunted America. However, the next volume in the series, Haunted Heritage: The Definitive Collection of North American Ghost Stories, was published several years after Scott's death. Haunted Heritage maintains the tradition of the other "Haunted" volumes. The book recounts tales that have been passed on, generation to generation, by word of mouth and memory throughout all of North America. Again the authors lace the narrative with eyewitness accounts, newspaper articles, and other sources that lend the stories an air of truth and authenticity. This volume includes a section called "Haunts of Ivy," which explores ghostly sightings on college campuses.

Scott once told CA: "I write because it is the thing I do best. I love words. From the time that I learned my letters and could hold a pencil, I've written something (even one sentence) every day. When I'm writing, I am often miserable when the words don't flow, but when I'm not writing I am more miserable. Geoffrey Chaucer said it well: 'The life so short, the craft so long to learn.' I write to entertain, and if my work brings a smile, a tear, or a 'quiet remembrance of things past' to the reader, I feel richly rewarded."



Booklist, November 15, 1985, review of HauntedHeartland, p. 452; October 15, 1995, Joe Collins, review of Historic Haunted America, p. 365.

Chicago, December, 1985, Lesley Sussman, review of Haunted Heartland, p. 150.

Come-All-Ye, summer, 1990, review of Haunted Wisconsin, p. 13.

Detroit Free Press, October 11, 1985.

English Journal, January, 1988, John W. Conner and Kathleen M. Tessmer, review of Haunted Heartland, p. 101.

Fantasy Review, January, 1986, review of HauntedHeartland, p. 28.

Fate, October, 1981, Jerome Clark, review of HauntedWisconsin, p. 140.

Journal of the West, April, 1987, Fred W. Viehe, review of Haunted Heartland, pp. 111-112.

Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2002, review of Haunted Heritage, p. 1370.

Library Journal, November 1, 1994, Eloise R. Hitchcock, review of Haunted America, p. 82; November 1, 1995, Ann E. Cohen, review of Historic Haunted America, p. 72.

New York Times Book Review, November 20, 1994, Keith Dixon, review of Haunted America, p. 22.

Reference and Research Book News, September, 1995, review of Haunted America, p. 2.

School Library Journal, March, 1986, review of Haunted Heartland, p. 180.


Prairie Ghosts Web site, (April 2, 2004), review of Haunted Wisconsin. Web site, (October 15, 2002), "UW-RF Professor Relates Campus Ghost Stories," discussion of Haunted Heritage.

Time Warner Books Web site, (April 2, 2004), review of Haunted Heartland.*

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