Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Local author releases Haunted Dallas, a book of North Texas ghost stories
The house she grew up in was haunted; so is the one where she lives now, says Rita Cook.
There may be more to downtown McKinney than meets the naked eye, at least according to writer Rita Cook and dozens of longtime residents.
The Dallas-native will be in McKinney on Saturday to sign and promote her book, Haunted Dallas, a chilling collection of ghost stories that exude the Greater Dallas area and include accounts of paranormal happenings downtown.
"Main Street and the Square seem to be real ghost magnets, from The Pantry to the Old Collin County Prison," Cook said, "and I love that McKinney embraces the ghost stories."
Cook will be signing her book this weekend during the Second Saturday Art Walk at Orisons Art & Framing, off Louisiana Street, and again on Oct. 29 during the Legends of McKinney Ghost Walk at Chestnut Square Historic Village. The village joins the Square and local cemeteries as McKinney's ghoul-ridden mark on the newly published collection.
Cook was born and raised in Oak Cliff before living in Chicago and Los Angeles for 20 years. Now the managing editor of Celeb Life Magazine and editor-in-chief of Inside Magazine, Cook has spent those years writing about her travels, entertainment, and automobiles, not surprisingly with an emphasis on haunted houses and ghosts.
She says the house she grew up in was haunted, thus it sparked her interests in the paranormal and set the foundation for the book. A few years back, while living in Los Angeles, Cook returned to visit her mother, and one picture re-ignited those sparks.
"I took a photo of her ... and there were so many orbs I could barely see her in the photo," she said. "My mother ... was, in my opinion, a ghost magnet. She taught me to respect the other side and not be afraid of ghosts."
So, in the midst of writing hundreds of articles over the past 12 years, including those for her current column, "Green Life," in the Dallas Morning News, Cook maintained her fascination with the unknown. She treks the globe as a travel writer, sure to always ask the locals about their hometown ghost stories.
Cook now lives in Arlington in a house she said is also haunted. Her family's seemingly unique connection to ghosts, and a simple epiphany, proved too much for her not to put the paranormal to paper.
"I love uncovering ghost stories," she said. "I found some of the best ones right here, and especially in McKinney."
Cook's husband, Russell, took the photos for the collection and matched the places to their stories. He is Cook's "favorite photographer," someone who tries to tell the story through pictures, yet "can sometimes grab a couple of orbs in photos."
Chilling accounts aren't limited to one side of DFW, either. The tandem released Haunted Fort Worth a few weeks ago. Cook said her scariest destination may have been Reindeer Manor in Red Oak.
But the ghostly chills may still tingle a little stronger around Dallas, particularly in McKinney.
"I love McKinney and the ghost stories there, and the folks were so open to working with me," she said. "It really does surprise me how many people believe in ghosts and spirits and are just afraid to say it out loud until they feel like they have been given permission to believe."
Pegasus News Content partner - Star Local News
- Coffee Squared in McKinney adds sweetener with new bakery counter
- Graffiti shut down McKinney's new skate park
- McKinney's new skate park wins over residents in first week open
- Photos: McKinney residents put new skate park to good use at grand opening
- McKinney Skate Park celebrates grand opening April 20