07/7/13

Paranormal Book Giveaway!

paranormal books

Beer not included

I currently have eight paranormal-themed books collecting dust on my shelf. Want to take one off my hands? Send an email to ghostsghoul@gmail.com (NOT THE COMMENTS SECTION!) with the following information: The book you’d like to receive and what sort of content you’d like to see more/less of on Ghosts and Ghouls.

It’s first come, first served, so the first person to request a book (with a suggestion) gets it. If you’re first, I’ll ask for your mailing address and then ship the book for free (sorry, U.S. only). If you’re not first, perhaps I can find a consolation book. Here’s what I’m giving away:

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04/4/13

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?

02/2/13

New Paranormal Books for 2013

bookshelves

I’m not just a huge ghost nerd. I’m also a bookworm. Naturally, some of my favorite books are about ghosts, ghouls, and other supernatural creatures. If you’re looking for a creepy new read, here are 21 paranormal books coming out this year. Have a recommendation? Speak up in the comments below!

Lost in the Darkness: Life Inside the World’s Most Haunted Prisons, Hospitals, and Asylums, Benjamin S. Jeffries (July 28, 2013) – “Take a personal tour of 29 of the world’s most haunted prisons, hospitals, and asylums.”

Haunted Charleston: Scary Sites, Eerie Encounters, and Tall Tales, Sara Pitzzer (July 16, 2013) – “Haunted Charleston includes twenty-five stories from the Ghosts at Dock Street Theater to the Haunted Graveyards, that will send chills up the spines of even the most daring ghost hunters.”

Haunted Washington: Uncanny Tales and Spooky Spots from the Upper Left-Hand Corner of the United States – Adam Woog (July 16, 2013) – “Among the Pacific Northwest’s many treasures is the Evergreen State, a state rich in eerie events.  Haunted Washington, a collection of stories of ghosts, mysteries, and paranormal happenings, will leave readers delightfully frightened.”

A Haunted Life: The True Ghost Story of a Reluctant Psychic, Debra Robinson (July 8, 2013) – “Debra Robinson faced haunted houses, terrifying psychic encounters, shattered dreams, and a battle with evil. But nothing prepared her for the death of the two most important people in her life.”

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