Book Reviews: November 2010

21 Century Ghosts21st Century Ghosts
ISBN: 9781845375379 | 160 pages | £16.99

"Paranormal author and TV presenter Jason Karl provides a collection of contemporary encounters, submitted by members of the public from Britain, France, Germany, The US and Australia, which prove that ghost stories are alive and well in the modern world. The book also includes a world-first collection of ghost-hunting groups active around the world."

I was pleasantly surprised by 21st Century Ghosts – a large collection of first-hand accounts from paranormal investigators from around the world. The book contains some excellent stories which chill the bones when read after dark and a large number of relevant and supportive pictures, although I would have preferred the images of the paranormal to have been analysed in a little more detail. The book this is an insight for anyone with an interest in joining an investigation team, or for those too afraid, a close second to the actual experience!

Rating - 8/10

 

haunted londonHaunted London
ISBN: 9781847732200 | 128 pages | price £9.99

"London’s shadowed alleyways, sleepy pubs and misty open spaces are alive with the ghosts of the famous and the forgotten, the lovelorn and the loveless, the damned and the damnable. 

Haunted London takes the intrepid ghost seeker on a truly hair-raising journey to some of the capital’s spookiest places. From the chilling manifestations at the infamous 50 Berkeley Square to the eternal restlessness of Jack the Ripper’s victims, Richard Jones, professional tour guide and inveterate ghost hunter, leaves no haunted house unmentioned, revealing the intriguing tales behind the lost souls who haunt them."

According to my research, London is the paranormal jewel in the UK’s crown, and the place where you are most likely to have a ghostly encounter. I have a dozen or so books on paranormal happenings in the capital, and Richard Jones’ Haunted London is my favourite. The locations Richard lists are logically laid out, supported by maps which enable visitors to quickly work out their own ghost walks, and each haunted location has a brief yet detailed description.
Great photographs and well written text make this probably the best guide to the haunted capital on the market today.

Rating - 10/10

 

Phil Whyman's Dead Haunted: Paranormal Encounters and Investigations
ISBN: 9781845375362 | 128 pages | Price £14.99

"Phil Whyman (Living TV's 'Most Haunted') introduces the reader to the different forms of paranormal activity that can be encouraged at a haunted site and provides a guide to conducting a paranormal investigation. His in-depth analysis information on magnetic field interference, earth tremor and  residual energy theory."

I’m afraid to say that I am not a Most Haunted fan, and I have come to associate Phil Whyman with that hyperreality ghost hunting genre. This book does little to change my mind. While potentially useful for paranormal investigation groups who are now starting out, I found some of the tips on ‘conducting an investigation’ a little too simplistic and not scientific enough for my taste. I would look elsewhere if you are after an advanced guide on paranormal investigation methods, although this book is a good taster for armchair ghosthunters. Other than this niggling point, the first-hand accounts which make up around half the volume are well worth the read.

Rating - 6/10

 

haunted worldAn Illustrated History of the Haunted World
ISBN: 9781845376871 | 160 pages | price £19.99

"Written by ghost expert and and TV presenter Jason Karl, An Illustrated History of the Haunted World offers a comprehensive overview of key events and important personalities in the world of the paranormal. Starting with a history of hauntings, the book explores many subjects including ghost photography, unexplained apparitions, mediums and spirit communication, the latest research techniques and the development of parapsychology, and media fascination with the paranormal today."

Another glossy coffee-table book, Jason’s Haunted World is visually impressive, containing 150-odd pictures that relate to the paranormal. Some of these pictures are known fakes (which I still find impressive nonetheless) while the other depictions of ghosts and spirits could open up lively debate with friends and family. Putting the pictures to one side, the book also contains some short but enlightening biographies on well-known players in the supernatural fields and documents classic ghost stories. While I found a couple of entries a little on the frail side, the majority are informative and well written. This book is ideal for anyone new to the paranormal field and needs to brush up on the major players and famous images.

Rating - 8/10

 

haunted castlesHaunted Castles of Britain and Ireland
ISBN: 1845371887 | 160 pages | Price £12.99

"Have your bed shaken by a poltergeist, or catch a glimpse of an unrepentant murderess: just two of the terrifyingly true tales illustrated in this volume. Find out where to go to see ghouls, headless hauntings and shimmering spectres in this handsomely designed and illustrated book with spectacular photographs and detailed maps."

Richard Jones’ Haunted Castles is a detailed collection of stories relating to fortresses and defensive structures that cover the UK and Ireland. The book is filled with glossy photos, illustrations and woodcuts, all supplementing the tales they support. Some of these stories are well known, while others are a little more obscure (and I’m sure one is taken from a work of fiction, although I may be mistaken), and other than a lack of first-hand accounts, I thoroughly enjoyed the read. As with his other works, Jones’ uses maps to great effect, so there is no excuse to why you shouldn’t go out and investigate these haunted castles for yourself.

Rating - 8/10

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