Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Book Review: Nick Groff's Chasing Spirits

Title: Chasing Spirits: The Building of the Ghost Adventures Crew
Author: Nick Groff, with Jeff Belanger
Published: 2012 by New American Library

I am NOT a fan girl.  In fact, I rarely watch Ghost Adventures anymore, finding Zak's personality and style of investigating simply insufferable.  But...I AM a paranormal investigator with an interest in reading everything I can on the paranormal, including the stories of other investigators in this field. 

Since Zak's lil' autobiography has skyrocketed in price, I picked up a very cheap copy of the Ghost Adventures' origin tale from Nick's point of view, and am very confident that I chose wisely!  Out of the three, Nick is probably my favorite crew member, but there's an air of mystery about him...

Anyway, this book is very well written, and it really does give an excellent background on how Ghost Adventures came to be, and also of Nick's own journey that led him there.  If you're familiar with the Ghost Adventures documentary that transformed to become Travel Channel's most popular paranormal program, you'll notice that Nick always comes across as the quiet one, the one that sorta fades into the background, overpowered by the boisterous personality that is Zak Bagans.  This autobiography gives Nick his voice...and the reader gets the chance to see him not only grow as a paranormal investigator, but as a person.  He is open about everything from his early childhood to his college years to his current status as a husband and father.

What I found most redeeming is the openness to acknowledge the fact that the road to where he is now was not without its problems.  Long, grueling hours, financial difficulties, and having to deal with Zak's strong personality are a very real aspect...and even though he is living the dream career of many investigators out there, the reality is that it isn't as easy as it looks.

I was also pretty shocked to learn that despite what may be inferred by the actual show, Nick was the one who came up for the idea of the documentary-turned-TV show and did almost ALL of the editing work, not only on the documentary, but on the first season of the show.  That's pretty impressive!

Overall, I'd definitely recommend this book obviously to anyone who is interested in Ghost Adventures or paranormal investigation.  There isn't a TON of additional history of haunted locations or investigation theory discussed in the book, but those topics are addressed to an extent and there's plenty of behind the scenes on some of the crew's (notably Nick's) top cases.  Plus, the narrative is sprinkled throughout with "Questions Fans Ask," which is sort of a FAQ to address important topics not otherwise brought up in the text. 

*Need more Ghost Adventures?  Check out The Ghost Adventures Drinking Game!*

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