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Did you know that pirate Blackbeard's decapitated head voyaged from Williamsburg to Ocracoke before being impaled on a pole in the Hampton River to warn against pirating? His skull was then silvered over and made into a drinking vessel for use in Williamsburg's Raleigh's Tavern. Read about all of those gory details and more in Danville native Margaret Hoffman's true-life pirate thriller, "Blackbeard: A Tale of Villainy and Murder in Colonial America." Hoffman is holding a book-signing at Barnes & Noble - Libbie Place Oct. 25, 7-9 p.m.

This Halloween is a great opportunity to get acquainted with Richmond's spookiest ancestors -- the undead. "Haunted Richmond" (Schiffer Publishing, $14.95) by Pamela Kinney reveals the ghosts of Jackson Ward, the Byrd Theatre, Hollywood Cemetery and — gasp! — Ruth's Chris Steak House. Kinney will sign books at Creatures 'n Crooks Bookshoppe Oct. 27, 1-3 p.m., at the American Civil War Museum at Historic Tredegar Oct. 28, 2 p.m., and at Fountain Bookstore Oct. 31, 12:30-2:30 p.m.

"Resting in Peace Is Optional" (BookSurge, $14.99) purports to be a posthumous memoir dictated by Alan Hall to Sandy and Jillian Taylor after Hall's death by pulmonary embolism in 1999. Get a firsthand account of activities on the other side, (including playing baseball and flying) and how Hall makes himself known to the living through dream symbols, crashing pictures off the walls and materializing in the center of the room as an orb of light, casting the shadow of his baseball cap.

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