Friday, July 22, 2011
Book Review: Seeking Spirits
Authors: Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson, with Michael Jan Friedman
Publisher Info: Pocket Books, A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. Published September, 2009
This is the second book from the TAPS head guys, and in my opinion, and improvement over the first. This particular work features plenty of the early cases BEFORE the television show, Ghost Hunters, and plenty of cases that never made it on air. Each chapter follows a different case, its impact on the investigators, and a short follow-up where applicable. Highlights include the "lost episode case"---the episode that previewed the week before, but was mysteriously yanked before it aired---and the tragic tale of April, who was the inspiration for the TAPS Family network. Also included is the never before published account of what got Grant interested in the paranormal, how he met Jason, and of course, the early history of TAPS.
In addition to the cases themselves, most chapters conclude with a short piece called the Ghost Hunter's Manual, discussing a popular ghost hunting theory or technique. Sometimes the concept reviewed relates to the attached case study, but often its just a generalized concept. There is also a fairly comprehensive glossary of paranormal jargon you'll likely encounter throughout the book.
First and foremost, this is a book designed for fans of Ghost Hunters and the TAPS crew. However, I believe that ALL investigators and curiosity seekers, no matter what their personal views on the team, can benefit from and relate to this book. It is a journey of two ordinary guys trying to seek their own answers, while offering a little help to others along the way. Mistakes are made...and mistakes are learned from. As an investigator myself, its fun to see how another team operates, and how it got ITS start in the field.
My only real problem with this book is that there are a LOT of cases that are borderline unbelievable. The activity that is witnessed goes well beyond anything you'll see on the show, and well beyond anything I've personally exprienced while out in the field. Outstanding evidence collected from these cases is discussed...but in almost all cases, not available for the public to view or analyze, either due to client confidentiality agreements, or as I had been told by someone close to the source, due to contracts signed with the network. If one is already biased, that particular issue doesn't do the book, nor the authors, any favors.
Still, its a fun, quick read for the armchair researcher to the most die-hard investigator. I wouldn't consider it a ghost hunting manual per se, but a beginner can surely learn a lot from the laid-back, easily comprehensible text.
I'd give it 3/5 stars!