Monday, February 27, 2012

Ghost Books

To make it clear, we're talking about the non-fiction kind of books, not the fictional ones. Though I do read plenty of fantasy books that involve ghosts and spirits of one kind or another I am also deeply fascinated with the real life versions of these.

Sanil mentioned in the last post that she'd added the book GHOSTS by Hans Holzer to her wish list. I begged her, for the sake of her own sanity, not to do it. It's not a very good book, truth be told, and I've been slogging my way through it for the better part of two years though I'm almost done and hope to finish it this week! FREEDOM IS IN SIGHT! :D

The book is only 768 pages long but it's built like an encyclopedia. It's 11.22" x 8.92" x 2.34" and it weighs 6.27 lbs (thank you, Librarything!). It's *huge* and the pages are printed in two column format so there's a *ton* in there. On top of all of's *boring*. There. I've said it. This book, a book about hauntings, which is a topic I find endlessly fascinating, is *BORING*. Each case is given an ample amount of space, especially for the amount of actual information that comes out of it. You get a brief sort of introduction to the house and a little bit about the history of it, some reports of the phenomena that are being experienced and then it goes into (and on and on and on...) about the psychic readings that Mr. Holzer and his favorite mediums do.

And that's where they lose me. I have no doubt that there are people out there who have psychic abilities. I can accept that easily in the abstract. However I tend to have doubts and not trust all the people that I meet or hear about that claim to be psychic. Don't ask me why, but I do. There's also the fact that Holzer was involved in the Amityville Horror debacle which I admit makes me judge him. Not that I don't believe that he was sincere in his beliefs, just that I think he wanted to believe so hard that he got fooled on occasion.

Which has *nothing* to do with the fact that this book is very dry and boring. Did I mention it was boring?

Anyway. Personally, I want to read two things in a book about ghosts. I want details of the haunting. I want the creepy fact. Things moving, shadows, voices in the dark. I want to read the ghost story. And I want the investigation. Not with psychics but with attempts to debunk, to find rational explanations. Because that way, whatever can't be explained has to stand on it's own as inexplicable phenomena.

I don't even have to have those two things in the same book! Though of course it would be better if I did, I've accepted that there aren't very many books out there like that.

So. Ghost books that I have read and enjoyed:

Destination Truth: Memoirs of a Monster Hunter by Josh Gates - Okay. First off, this book is not entirely about ghosts. It isn't even mostly about ghosts. However it is about Josh Gates and his insane life. I found it entertaining but that could have something a lot a little to do with the fact that Josh Gates is my unabashed crush and that I would give several organs and possibly my first born child to run around and nearly get killed with this man. So, you know. I may be biased. Or something. Whatever. It's a fun, fun book and you learn a lot about the monsters he's trying to find or debunk as well as the nations and the cultures of the people who believe in them.

Anything by Leslie Rule. Her books definitely fall into the category of being all about the haunting with no scientific attempts to solve the mystery of what might be causing people to see these things.

Hidden Files: Law Enforcements True Case Stories of the Unexplained and Paranormal by Sue Kovach - I enjoyed the ghost stories in this one. There are other stories, dealing with Big Foot and the like which appealed less, but I always find it especially fascinating when the people reporting the phenomena are police officers or members of the military. After all, the police are trained to be more observant than the general populace, to be tougher in many senses. And I think the military thing speaks for itself, right? If they're getting freaked out by things that are happening then I think whatever's going on is way out of the ordinary.

Possessed Possessions and Possessed Possessions 2 by Ed Okonowicz - Ghosts attach themselves to things. The author of these books collects haunted objects. Again, nothing very scientific going on but I enjoyed reading the stories. The only thing is that these two are very thin volumes.

Most of the other ghost books that I've read are local ghost stories, all about hauntings in Florida so I won't bother going on about them right now. I think that, in general, every area has their own ghost legends and that if you look you can find books written on them.

I've not had much luck in finding the scientific kind of books about ghosts, truth to be told which is why you don't see any on the list above. I have picked up both books written by Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson. Ghost Hunting and Seeking Spirits but I haven't gotten around to reading them yet. I have hopes that they'll at least be a little skeptical but one never knows. :)

So that's what I've got for you. The books that I've read and enjoyed. Not very objective, so YMMV on all of these books of course. And if you have any suggestions that you think I might enjoy, please let me know. I'm always looking for more books.


  1. Yay, more ghosty books! :) Thanks for taking the time to write these up so I can find them. Some sound really interesting!

  2. "Josh Gates is my unabashed crush and that I would give several organs and possibly my first born child to run around and nearly get killed with this man. So, you know. I may be biased."


    Wow, I admire anyone who can stick with a boring book for that long!!


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