book review

Haunted Histories by J.H Everett and Marilyn Scott Waters

**The posts I write might contain affiliate links or be written in collaboration with businesses or brands. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.**

Haunted Histories is the new release from J.H. Everett and Marilyn Scott Waters

Haunted Histories

Virgil is my new favorite Ghostorian. Taking us on a time tour, Virgil introduces us to the incredible world of castles, dungeons , and palaces. Included are amazing facts of resident ghosts, timely traditions such as how are castles really built, what are the best means of torture, and what are palaces really for as well as having a look at life as a working child and a few grave yard tips.

Happily, this book is creepy but not scary. A perfect read for boys especially ages 8-12, but girls will like it too however. I just like to point out those books which boys will just absolutely love.

Filled with great amounts of history told in a very entertaining way. I adored this book and we read it in one sitting. I can always tell when a book is a big hit at our house because it just sort of floats from one person’s room to another. And you can hear questions such as; “are you through with that yet?” and “when will you be done?”

More Information:

JH Everett


J.H. Everett :J.H. Everett is an artist, visual storyteller, writer, and creativity expert. He is currently Senior Parnter of EverWitt Productions, LLC. A multimedia studio in Encinitas, CA.  J.H. thinks his official title should be “get’s paid to have more fun than he should be allowed to have.” Read more about J.H HERE.



Marilyn Scott Waters  Marilyn Scott Waters: Marilyn Scott-Waters loves making things out of paper. Her popular website,, receives 2,000 to 7,000 visitors each day, who have downloaded more than six million of her easy-to-make paper toys. Her goal is to help parents and children spend time together making things. Her first self published book, The Toymaker: Paper Toys That You Can Make Yourself, was a best selling paper toy book on, sold out two print runs, and was picked up as a series by Sterling Publishing in 2010.



 Haunted Histories: “Haunted Histories came out of my desire to help kids experience history closer to the approach and point of view of a professional historian,” says J.H. Everett, who himself has a PhD in history, apart from being a multi-media artist. “History is not just one thing after another in a textbook or dates in a timeline. It is connections, mutations, accidents, trivialities, and everyday life. In short, history is messy. History is about people…History is fun!”

Not only does the book have a great deal of fun embedded in its pages and its images, however, this book also aims to talk up to kids. “The most important thing was to write the best possible book that we could for kids,” says Co-Author/Co-illustrator, Marilyn Scott-Waters, “children deserve our best and highest work.”


Something’s To Do


In the back of Haunted Histories is a timeline. We used this as a gauge as to what was happening in the castles, dungeons , and palaces. Using a continuous strip of paper we placed dates and events. Since this timeline focus’ on buildings, we looked up each castle, dungeon, and palace online and printed out a photo to paste onto our timeline. We also took a moment to read more about each place. The following places were investigated for our timeline.

  • Himeji Castle
  • Krak Chevaliers
  • Tower of London
  • Newgate Prison
  • Castle Neuschwanstein

Castle Neuschwanstein

  • the Bastille
  • Hampton Court
  • Hellbrun
  • Jag Mandir

Build a Castle

Here is a great cardboard castle tutorial. It will have your children playing “castle” for hours and days ahead. Be sure to look inside Haunted Histories as they have diagrams of a castle well along with it’s purpose. This is a great activity to bring book and castle together.

Kabuki Theater:

Himeji Castle’s haunted story is oftentimes played out in Kabuki Theater. Kabuki originated in the poor areas of Japan in the early 1600’s. This form of entertainment however, soon became a way to united the country and it’s feudal classes. This traditional theater used extravagant make-up and costumes. Men play the female leads as women were banned to perform. The plays, based on legends, open and close with the sound of wood clapping together. The style of music in Kabuki Theater is named for a three-stringed instrument called a shamisen (sham-i-sen). The music enhances the actors’ movements and voices, making them almost like dancing and singing. During climactic moments in the play or at the end of a scene, the actor freezes in place, stares and then crosses his eyes. This is called mie (mi-e) . Each Kabuki character wears colorful costumes and has thick makeup that looks like a mask. The color red on a character’s face signifies a “good” character and blue suggests a “bad” character. All of these elements have made Kabuki Theater a traditional art form that has entertained audiences for over 400 years.

Here’s a beautiful look at the art and style of Kabuki

Today’s play takes us into the world of Kabuki. 

Have a look at a variety of kabuki faces and have fun with some kabuki face-painting fun. Afterwards try and act out the  Himeji ghost story from Haunted Histories.

Read the version of Okiku’s Well from Haunted Histories and in your best Kabuki make-up reenact the story. Have fun smashing plates.


A Raven Named Thor

Living in the Tower of London was no picnic, but even a prison needs a resident pet. Today that favorite pet is a raven named Thor. Go ahead and print out this fun paper version of Thor to take along with you on your Ghostorian adventures. Artist, author and Illustrator of Haunted Histories Marilyn Scott Waters has designed this very fun Thor raven  paper toy for you to enjoy. Have a look in the Toy Vault of Antiquities to find your new friend Thor.

 Trebuchet/Catapult Play

Haunted Histories gives us loads of ideas on how to attack a castle. For us, the best way is to use a trebuchet. Here’s a fun and easy design made out of popsicle sticks which will have those castle walls coming down quickly….. or at least in our imaginations they will. For throwing purposes we use marshmallows or cotton balls.

How to Make a Popsicle Stick Catapult 

Go To Jail

In the French prison called the Bastille, telling a bad joke could land you in prison plus some not so nice punishments. Gather your family and friends. Everyone is to bring a large collection of jokes. Divide into two teams, toss a coin to see which team goes first, and then start telling those jokes. After each joke is told, those that don’t get laughed at will land the joke teller in “jail”, that is until his team-mate gets a laugh to get him or her out. Remember to try not to laugh, no matter how funny the joke is. 🙂 Good luck with this one. We are a bunch of corn balls that laugh at just about anything, especially really, really stupid jokes. The stupider the better.

Some fun and clean joke sites for kids

101 Kidz Jokes  Great and plentiful animal jokes on this one.

Az Kids Net: -Knock-Knock Jokes

Scatty: See if you name has it’s own knock-knock joke. There are literally thousands of great jokes on this site.

What is Gruel ?


I’ve always wanted to know and now Haunted Histories has ended that mystery for us. In work houses and in cruel boarding schools, gruel was served as the one meal of the day. Gruel is a water downed version of porridge made with any grain that was on hand, for example, Rye, wheat, corn, etc., also known as groats. Groats is a combination of grains. For those of you who are really brave here’s our best gruel recipe.

1 tablespoon of groats or oatmeal
2 tablespoons of cold water
1 pint of boiling water

Cooking Instructions
First put the oats, together with the cold water, into a saucepan and mix together until smooth. Then, over this, stirring all the time, pour one pint of boiling water. Now stirring frequently boil for 10 minutes. Serve.

P.S. :  If this is a bit too thin for you add more groats or forget this whole idea and make oatmeal.

Time for a Palace Party

Palaces were really built to have incredible parties. Many of these parties were masquerade balls. Here’s some fun masks to make for the event.

Along with great costumes and dancing were incredible meals. Here’s a sumptuous feast to make sure you won’t get hungry.

Roast Pheasant

4-6 tablespoons butter
2-3 slices bacon

Cooking Instructions
First slit the bacon – to prevent curling – then lay this over the pheasant’s breast. Next put the butter inside the body. Now put the pheasant in a greased roasting pan; cover with aluminum foil and roast at 425°F.

For the final ten minutes of roasting remove the foil and the bacon, baste, and then dredge the pheasant with flour before returning to the oven for the remaining cooking time.
Total cooking time will be about one hour or until the pheasant is cooked through.

 P.S. You can do this with chicken, turkey or capon as well.
Contents of the Pot/ Pottage:
The word pottage – a thick soup or stew – comes from Old French and in fact means contents of a pot. Pottage was a common dish in the Middle Ages and would typically include ingredients such as peas, carrots, leeks, onions, cabbage and beans, oats, herbs, saffron and sometimes meat.

3 pints of stock (about 6 cups)
10oz of split peas
1 onion
1 carrot
1 teaspoon of sugar
A pinch of salt

Cooking Instructions
Begin by putting the stock into a large saucepan and bring to simmering point, meanwhile chop the onion and the carrot. When the stock is simmering add the peas, the chopped onion and the chopped carrot together with the sugar and the salt. Bring to the boil, then gently simmer for about one and a half hours or so.

Next press all through a fine sieve or liquidize in a blender. Then return the soup to the saucepan and very gently reheat. Before serving taste to see if the pottage needs a little more seasoning.

Preserve Your Family Stories:

At Jag Mandir Floating Palace in India, the ruling family saved their family stories on embroidered clothes, carved them into wood tablets, as well as carving them into stone. What are some ways in which we preserve our family stories today ?

Make a Family Member Scrapbook:

Make a scrapbook for your grandma,grandpa, mom, or dad. Maybe an aunt, uncle or cousins or maybe even a brother or a sister. Collect stories, poems, photographs, drawings and favorite mementos all about the person you have chosen.

Show your Family Colors through Heraldic Symbols

Create a Coat of Arms: Here is a great site which shares a wonderful wealth of information about the symbols and messages used in a coat of arms. It also provided free templates and other activities to do with your newly designed Coat of Arms.

Things to Do with your Coat of Arms:

  • Create a shield
  • Make a flag to hang from your castle or front door of your home
  • Place it on a sweat shirt or Tee Shirt
  • Make a badge to place on your back-pack

Test Your Haunted Histories Knowledge

Here are some super cool trivia cards made by the creators of Haunted Histories. The online versions are animated but you can print them out as well.

Hope you’ve enjoyed the world of Haunted Histories. Please feel free to share your experiences in the comment section below or share your photos with us on the Jump into a Book Facebook Fan Page.