Wednesday, June 8, 2016
Book Review for Ghosts: A Natural History
Published--by St. Martin's Press, October 2014
Amazon Purchase Information
If I could only use one word to describe this book it would be: British. Very, very British. That makes sense, though, since it was written by a British author who follows the advice of 'write what you know.' The book starts out with the author's own experiences with a potential haunting, and then goes into an excellent and critical look at some of England's most famous paranormal cases and paranormal researchers.
The term, 'British,' however, doesn't just describe the subject matter. The tone of this book is very 'British' as well, and quite honestly, it took me awhile to really get used to the dry, subtle humor, some of the more obscure references, and general tone of the book, which was very sophisticated and academic. That doesn't mean this book wasn't EXCELLENT, though, because it was! Anyone with an interest in paranormal research will likely be familiar with the majority of topics discussed in the book, such as the Borley Rectory haunting, the Brown Lady of Raynam Hall photo, and the spooky goings-on at Cock Lane. But, whatever you THINK you knew to be facts about these cases, Clarke challenges with his in-depth research. Clarke manages to uncover and present to the reader details about famous paranormal subjects and incidents that other books tend to leave out. I've definitely had MY perception about a few cases changed, but better yet, I've been inspired to do a lot more digging of my own.
Overall, I would HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone who is passionate about the paranormal. It makes a great addition to any investigator's library and definitely should be required reading for anyone serious about the study of the unknown. I do, however, believe that this is a book better suited to someone who already has a good working knowledge of British ghost history. While Clarke does a VERY thorough job describing each topic, much of the writing comes across as if he is taking for granted that the reader isn't a complete novice to the field. And, while it is a very objective and fair book that represents the facts of each case with very little personal analysis, it might be better suited to a reader who is open to the more skeptical side of paranormal research, because not everything is what it seems....