I have what some might call an unhealthy interest in ghosts. I have been on ghost walks, read lots of ghost stories, and even stayed the night once at Edgar Allan Poe’s grave in the hopes of seeing a ghost. So when this book arrived, I got very excited. Then, I put it away. It fell into the TBR pile and didn’t reappear for months.
But the truth is, it’s good I didn’t read this book this winter when I might have – I would have been too scared to sit in my house alone on dark evenings. Somehow when I know it will be warm and sunny in the morning, things don’t seem as scary. That’s probably naive on a lot of levels, but so be it.
The book tells the story of journalist Will Storr‘s attempts to discover the truth about ghosts by going on various supernaturally-motivated trips. The book begins, wisely I feel, in the States when Storr tags along with a demonologist to study the happenings at a particular woman’s house. I won’t tell you what does happen there – I don’t want to ruin it – but let’s just say it’s enough to make Will take these ghost ideas more seriously, even so far as to contemplate whether they might be demonic.
The book continues with Storr visiting various ghosty sites in the UK, his homeland, including the set of the popular TV show Most Haunted, where he is, let’s just say, less than impressed. He spends the night in haunted houses and walks the copses of England to try and thwart Satanic rituals. Basically, his exploration runs the gamut of supernatural experiences. And in the end, well, you’ll have to see what he decides about his experiences.
I found the book both immensely interesting, profoundly honest, quite scary at times, and very well-written. There’s a clear awareness by Storr of his prejudices and his dispositions about these things, and he’s not afraid to keep himself in the story. Because he allows himself to speak out clearly in the book, I am able to travel along with him and translate the experiences through his eyes, eyes I trust. Plus, he’s just really funny. Really funny.
I also appreciate that he entertains all kinds of theories about ghosts – from the demonic to the scientific. There are no easy – or easily accepted – answers here, and as a person of faith who struggles with how to interpret the experiences of the supernatural, I appreciated both his candor and his sincere questions.
I highly recommend this book if you’re interested in the subject matter or if you just want to read a good book of creative nonfiction. It’s really worth it, even if you get a bit nervous at the thought.