Subgenre: ghosts, paranormal, history
Source: Berea branch of the Madison County Public Library
link to my review), this book seemed like a good choice. The book promises a natural history of ghosts, but to be honest, it was more a collection of ghost and haunting stories than an actual history per se. The book contains 18 chapters plus a chronology and a list for further reading. It also includes some illustrations.
According to the author, this is what the book is about. Too bad it did not deliver:
"Discussion has drifted away-- thank goodness-- from efforts to prove or disprove the existence of ghosts. That idea belongs to 1880s London. In a basic sense, ghosts exist because people constantly report that they see them. This is not a book about whether ghosts exists or not. This is a book about what we see when we see a ghost, and the stories that we tell each other about them" (17).
The author opens the book by telling of his own experiences as a child with ghosts and the paranormal. He was the youngest person to join the Society for Psychical Research (Wikipedia link; official website link) in 1980. So he sounds just like the right person to write this book, except he is not. He takes a most interesting topic and presents it in the most boring and soporific way possible. Ghost stories often keep you up at night. This book is an excellent cure for insomnia. The stories overall are not that interesting, and some of them just get bogged down in excessive and mundane minutiae. In the end, the book had potential, but it is just not a good read at all. This is one I say you should skip.
1 out of 5 stars.