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It came...I read it...I dumped it
on 6 November 2012
What a disappointing book this was !!! In the book's foreword the author warns the reader that:
"The stories that I have collected for you now are rough diamonds, totally unpolished and any additions by myself are kept to a minimum and noted clearly"
What the author fails to tell the reader, however, is that these "rough diamonds" are accounts clearly written by the eye-witnesses themselves and they are littered with numerous typographical errors, spelling & punctuation mistakes and other assorted grammatical curiosities e.g. paragraphs that meander along with no punctuation marks whatsoever and which even lack the final full stop. This was incredibly irritating and I found myself mentally "totting up" all the errors as I was reading the stories rather than focusing on the actual stories themselves.
It seems obvious to me that the author has assembled a load of e-mails sent to him by the witnesses, lumped them together...without even reading them...added a short foreword and titles for each story and then called it a book.
Well, a book it might be but precious little of it seems to have been written by M. J. Wayland and to call him the "author" is perhaps giving him a status he doesn't really deserve for this effort.
There is another major flaw with this book...
According to the foreword, not one of the 50 eye-witnesses wanted to be identified and none of them are. This guarantee of anonymity (given by the author to the eye-witnesses)is, however, taken to the extreme in that it is actually impossible to identify(in a few of the stories)whether the writer (the actual eye-witness)is male or female. To solve that particular problem the author could have employed false names at the end of each account e.g John from Glasgow and, had he done so, the reader would have known the gender of the eye-witness and had some geographical reference point for the story itself.
This commitment to absolute anonymity inevitably calls into question the veracity of the accounts. Are they genuine? As someone who has experienced the paranormal, I'd like to think so but you only have the word of the author that they are.
Did he interview these 50 witnesses to form a view as to their credibility? If he did, he could have prefaced each story with a brief "pen picture" of the witness and his impressions as to the witnesses credibility as he/she told the tale. If he didn't interview them, however, how on earth can the reader hope to reach an informed and balanced judgement on the veracity of the stories presented? For all I know every single story could simply be the product of the author's own vivid imagination or have been "lifted" by the author from other anthologies of true ghost stories....and that's the real disappointment of this book.
The author has simply presented 50 anonymous stories...littered with mistakes...and told the reader to take his word for it that they are all true. That simply isn't good enough.
There are much better anthologies of true ghost stories available e.g. Peter Underwood's masterpiece entitled "A Gazetteer of British Ghosts". I would urge anyone with an interest in ghosts and hauntings to read that book to see how such an anthology should be put together. This book doesn't come close to the high standard set by that particular gentleman.
Even though this book cost less than £2.00 to download to my Kindle, I cannot recommend it. Sorry