Newsmaker: Thomas White
Residence: West View
Family: Wife, Justina; son, Tommy; and daughter, Marisa
Education: Bachelor of Arts in history, La Roche College, 1997; master's in public history, Duquesne University, 1999
Background: As an archivist at the Heinz History Center from 1999-2005 and now Duquesne University, White took an interest in the strange tales and legends of the region, including ghost stories, urban legends and "news of the weird," he said. He collected some of those from the Pittsburgh region into three books: "Legends and Lore of Western Pennsylvania," "Forgotten Tales of Pennsylvania" and "Ghosts of Southwestern Pennsylvania." With most stories, he tries to find the grains of truth to them, or the social fears, trends and attitudes that created them, he said.
Notable: White recently published his fourth book, "Forgotten Tales of Pittsburgh," which focuses specifically on stories from the Pittsburgh region and is meant to be a lighter read than some of his other books, he said. The tales he collected include the "Evil clown panic" of 1981 -- second- and third-hand accounts of men in clown or superhero costumes abducting children -- and famed inventor Nikolai Tesla's attempts to sell Westinghouse Corp. his designs for a "death ray," which disappeared into government hands after his death.
Quote: "Legends have a 'half-life,' and some legends tend to disappear. I want to record a lot of those before they do."
Add Matthew Santoni to your Google+ circles.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
- Pirates sign free agent 1B-OF Goebbert, righthanded pitcher Webster
- Steelers notebook: Tomlin not grooming successor to RB Williams
- Steelers kicker Boswell puts best foot forward
- Cheswick super fan, 90, has had season tickets for almost 70 years
- Stanley’s Bar & Grill in Ford City offers free Thanksgiving dinner
- After 27 years, Clairton emerges from state ‘financially distressed’ status
- Occupying playoff spot on Thanksgiving good harbinger for Penguins
- North Shore parking garage plan moves forward in Pittsburgh
- Former Mountaineer Bailey shot, in critical condition in Miami
- South Fayette, Aliquippa form unique traditions for Thanksgiving Day
- Cecil fire crews respond to 3 calls in 12 hours