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The Night Side of Nature (Wordsworth Myth, Legend & Folklore) [Paperback]

Catherine Crowe , Gillian Bennett
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

9 May 2000 Wordsworth Myth, Legend & Folklore
Spirits of the dead who cannot break their link with the Earth, the unfathomable mysteries of dreams that predict the future, apparitions, doppelgangers, haunted houses and poltergeists - Catherine Crowe's book examines these and other cases of supernatural happenings.

Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Wordsworth Editions Ltd; New edition edition (9 May 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1840225025
  • ISBN-13: 978-1840225020
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 13.5 x 21.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 575,006 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a paranormal tour de force 16 Oct 2010
By Slainte
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
'Night Side of Nature' by Catherine Crowe was first published in 1848 and enjoyed great success for 50 years but now, unfortunately, is largely forgotten - a shame since it is a paranormal tour de force. It is packed with almost 400 pages of accounts of apparitions of all varieties interspersed with arguments for and against investigators findings and opinions and is possibly the single best all around read on ghostly experiences. Catherine Crowe was also the first person to bring the word 'poltergeist' into the English language - the famous discussion is included in the Wordsworth publication which brings both volumes into one book. (A wee note - when Mrs Crowe writes of 'somnambules' she is basically referring to mediums of the day; when speaking of 'magnetism' she is referring what contemporary investigators might call 'psychic energy' or, more esoterically, 'magical sympathy'). Highly recommended.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New insights into the paranormal 11 Jan 2011
I'm learning new insights from this book. I had no idea about the phenomenon of doppelganger. Does it still happen in the 21st century? It's an astonishing phenomenon and even affected a legal case described in the book.

Crowe's systematic arrangement of data is very convincing though her discussion of it is influenced by her 19th century outlook, which sits askew to our own views.

Some incidental insights from the book include that houses fell down rather frequently in the 19th century. Good on us for getting better building codes! Several spirits warned of an impending collapse of a house or ceiling!

Also there was a more complex understanding of the spiritual side of people, with a distinction made between spirit and soul. That distinction doesn't really detract from my appreciation of the book: it's just an interesting sidelight.

Crowe's main argument is that people should not just sweep data (e.g. sightings of spirits) under the mat because such ideas are frightening or difficult to explain. You get a real insight into human nature from the number of people who she reports as saying that they saw a ghost or spirit but still persisted in not believing what they had seen, or put the sighting down to an overanxious personality when the seer did not have such a personality. It's interesting how we screen out data that doesn't fit into our view of the world.

I really recommend this little treasure of a book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A haunting book of hauntings... 21 Feb 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was apparently the first attempt to study paranormal activities (ghosts) from a scientific perspective. The fact it was written by a woman in 1848 makes it extra remarkable. This book is not just a book on the paranormal, it's a glimpse into aspects of life in the late 18th early 19th centuries (through her vignettes) that you wouldn't normally read about because people didn't record them because they were so every day why would they need to write them down. It's almost as much a record of social history as a study of ghostly happenings.

Crowe was a well educated woman with a rational mind, but she isn't dry or boring. I love how she constantly interjects reported ghostly happenings into her meditations on the subject. If you were to flip through my copy you'd find it heavily underlined. There are so many interesting aspects to this book. I had no idea for instance that the word psychology was in use this early. I'd always assumed Freud invented it. This book made me think about things that have nothing to do with ghosts (like German law/prisons), but at the same time she's managed to share stories that shimmer in the back of the mind like ghosts. This is one of the best aspect of this book; it makes you think. It makes you wonder about things you've never wondered before through the telling of numerous little stories.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
One of the first serious studies of the supernatural written in the English speaking world, written in 1848. As the author emphatically points out, in Germany this phenomena had been taken very seriously by psychologists and scientists for a long time and had come up with much incontrovertible material. The author provides a case-still relevant today as ever- as to why we simply cannot dismiss the reality of supernatural and parapsychologist phenomena simply because it cannot at this stage be seen by all or untypically measured.

While this book is filled with fascinating and chilling anecdotes of ghostly events, hauntings and other paranormal phenomena. Crowe points out that the purpose of this book is far more then just mere amusement. The author engages the attention of the readers of this instructive digest because she points out that the opinions she advocates if seriously entertained would be indeed highly beneficial. This is as true of 160 years ago as it is today. As with today, the elites in control of thought i.e the educated classes, dismiss supernatural and psychical phenomena not due to a fair philosophical examination of the facts, which have induced the popular belief of all ages and countries. This dismissal is grounded in materials today as it may have once been grounded in the dogma of the Church, and can be found by unbiased studies to be nothing better than unreasoning and unreasonable prejudice.

Crowe makes the point that the cases of supernatural haunting, psychic phenomena , ghosts etc are simply too numerous and too wheel known in all ages to be set aside so easily. and if this was written in 1848 , how much more so today -164 years after this book was written-when so many more cases have been recorded.
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