Q & A with Randy Russell, Author of “The Ghost Will See You Now: Haunted Hospitals of the South”

The_Ghost_Will_See_You_NowIn October, author Randy Russell released his fifth paranormal-themed book, The Ghost Will See You Now: Haunted Hospitals of the South. In this chilling volume, Russell shares over 40 true ghost stories based in the South’s most haunted hospitals and asylums, including the ghostly flapper of Asheville’s Highland Hospital and the casket girls of New Orleans’ Ursuline Convent Hospital. You can find The Ghost Will See You Now at BlairPub.com, Amazon.com or other online retailers.

I recently had the chance to ask Randy a few questions about his latest book and his paranormal philosophy in general. Here’s what he had to say…

How did you research the stories for the book?

Researching historical happenstance associated with the creation of a ghost and the continuation of ghostly hauntings at old hospitals, abandoned asylums, and other medical facilities across the South began for me in seeking a very basic understanding of a true ghost experience to begin with. Any understanding of a ghost starts with understanding what an individual experiences during an encounter with a ghost.

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Paranormal Book Review: “The Science of Ghosts” by Joe Nickell

When I purchased Joe Nickell’s The Science of Ghosts had no knowledge of the author or his previous body of work. It turns out that Nickell is a well-known skeptic who’s published several books covering everything from apparitions to UFOs. He also writes for the Skeptical Inquirer.

In The Science of Ghosts, Nickell dismisses mediums and psychics, as well as various paranormal phenomenon like premonitions, spirit photography, and automatic writing. He also examines, and debunks, several famous hauntings which is what I found most interesting.

The Truth About Ghosts?
Nickell offers a variety of explanations for so-called ghostly experiences. For example, he argues that bedside apparitions are the product of “waking dreams” and that spirits seen during waking hours are mental images briefly projected from the subconscious mind. Other experiences, he argues, can easily be attributed to hallucinations, misperceptions, pranks, or flat-out trickery.

Ghost Tales as Folklore
In The Science of Ghosts, Nickell also notes the human propensity to exaggerate or invent spooky stories. He cites several legends in which a tragic figure is said to haunt a castle, lighthouse, or old mansion despite no evidence of the person’s existence or the events said to befall them. All it takes is a creepy legend and the power of suggestion, Nickell says, for people to start seeing ghosts.

I found this argument particularly intriguing as it’s something I’ve noticed as well. For example, the legend of Anna, of the 17Hundred90 Inn, is perhaps the most famous ghost tale in Savannah. However, there’s no historical record of her. There’s also no record of a jilted bride at the Adolphus Hotel, an Effie at the Skirvin Hotel, or a Susie at the Thomas-Carithers sorority house. In each of these stories, a young woman allegedly committed suicide in a shocking, public way, yet there’s no record of the women or their shocking demise. It seems many so-called true ghost stories are the stuff of legend and folklore rather than fact.

On the whole, I enjoyed Nickell’s book even though he refutes the existence of ghosts and refers to paranormal writers like myself as “credulous ghost mongers.” Nickell’s arguments raise a lot of interesting points even if they do take the fun out of spooky tales. What do you think of the author’s arguments?


Paranormal Book Review: “Ghost Hunting Diary Volume 1” by T.M. Simmons

ghost hunting book

Because I harbor the delusion that I’ll one day write a ghost book, and because I want to support independent authors, I recently ventured into Amazon’s Kindle Indie Bookstore to view the “true ghost story” inventory. There are loads of titles chronicling the adventures of real-life ghost hunters, but T.M. Simmons’ Ghost Hunting Diary Volume I first caught my eye (or was it the 0.00 price?). In any case, here’s my review:

In my experience, ghost story enthusiasts fall into one of two categories: those who like the subtle scares – an unexplained thump or voice in the dark – and those who like a lot of drama. Simmons’ Ghost Hunting Diary will definitely appeal to the drama lovers.

The book contains six creepy tales, covering everything from a stay at the haunted Myrtles Plantation to the banishment of an evil witch. Unlike many independently published books, the Ghost Hunting Diary is well written with a minimal amount of typos and errors. Simmons has a casual, endearing style of writing that, as one reviewer put it, makes “you feel like a zany friend is talking to you about her crazy ghost hunting hobby.”

As a fan of subtle scares, I liked the Myrtles story the best. Simmons relates the odd things that happened during her stay at the 217-year-old plantation, including unexplained tugs, a ghostly rocking chair, and a portrait that faded in and out. However, the other stories in Simmons’ account are far more “out there,” if you will. In one tale, she’s opening holes in the sky for departed spirits to pass through, while in another she’s defusing an evil witch’s spell by merely wagging her fingers.

Far fetched or not, I enjoyed Simmons’ stories and will likely purchase the other volumes in the Ghost Hunting series. If you’re looking for a short, entertaining read, Ghost Hunting Diary Volume 1 is definitely a good choice, especially if you believe in mediums and dramatic encounters with the paranormal.

Ghost Hunting Diary Volume I
T.M. Simmons
May 31, 2011
Kindle Price: $0.00

Want me to review your independently published ghost book? Send a digital copy to ghostsghoul@gmail.com.