birthThe Birthing House
by Christopher Ransom
Read by Edward Herrmann
Published by Blackstone Audio
Approx 10 hours

Conrad Harrison receives a large inheritance from a father he hardly knew.  In returning to his home in Los Angeles, Conrad stops in rural Wisconsin and buys a house.  The century-old house was once a birthing house, where midwives delivered babies, whose history remembers countless deliveries of babies, both alive and dead.  Conrad is immediately drawn to the house and goes back to Los Angeles to get his wife, Jo,  so they can start over.  Their marriage seems to be on the rocks, especially when arriving in L.A. Conrad finds a man with his wife.  They move to the house and begin working on their marriage.

Jo doesn’t feel comfortable in the house and quickly goes to Michigan for a job opportunity.  While Conrad is home alone during her training period the old owner of the home stops by to drop off a photo album that has a history of the house. Looking at a photo album, Conrad sees a picture of his wife, staring back at him in rage. And from there we are launched into a horror story of possession, obsession, and murder, as Conrad descends into madness, where reality and dreams seem to blend until Conrad is completely unaware of what is real.

While Jo is gone, the neighbors take Conrad in and welcome him to the neighborhood by inviting him over for dinner.  Here he meets all the neighbors and more importantly the rebellious pregnant daughter.  Soon after he rescues the girl from an abusive boyfriend and shows her his project which is to try to breed some rare snakes that almost never breed in captivity.  The girl points out that if this is true then they have a miracle when she discovers 9 eggs in the snake’s cage.  This is a female snake that has never been with a male.

Strange visits from ghostly apparitions, bizarre and violent behavior in his dogs, and an odd attraction to the pregnant teenager next door plague Conrad Harrison as he tries to understand what is happening to his sanity. Meanwhile, his wife becomes impossible to reach after admitting to him that she, herself, is pregnant but it can’t be Conrad’s.

This audio book is one of those haunted house stories that leaves you with chills and perking up every time you hear a sound.  At the same time this haunted house story is based on births not just deaths like most haunted house stories.

Edward Herrmann is very convincing in reading this story, in that he captures every nuance and chill with the subtleties of his voice.  When the main character Conrad is in his deepest state of the haunting, Herrmann’s voice takes on an even more haunting chill which pulls the listener into the story so that escape is impossible.

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