Good read, but could have been so much better...,
This review is from: A Natural History of Ghosts: 500 Years of Hunting for Proof (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
When I saw the subject matter of this book I was immediately drawn to it, as I love a good ghost story and all things supernatural and thought it would be interesting to find out a little more fact behind the fiction. A rational history of hauntings, ghosts and their social and cultural context would be far more than simply a procession of ghostly tales throughout history, so I was anticipating an educational, riveting read. This book largely succeeds in that aim, though it is not without faults and these did diminish the enjoyment of this book for me slightly.
The writing style is rather dense and dry; in the first few chapters particularly I found the wealth of information and sheer number of accounts recalled slightly overwhelming and my attention wavered. With perseverance I worked through subsequent chapters and things improved, more time was given to specific hauntings and the cultural context given more weight. It was fascinating to see how different eras in history viewed the supernatural and how the nature of these events evolved from the 17th century into the modern day.
The accounts of Victorian séances, grey ladies and haunted houses were at times informative and others downright creepy, even when they are subsequently exposed as fraud, as seemed to be the case 99% of the time. Some chapters focussed on a single event or ghost and others featured a variety of similar hauntings and often accounts earlier discussed in the book were referenced which helped pull everything together. The information of the investigators throughout history was also fascinating, though a little light in places.
To summarise, this is a well researched and well put-together book on a fascinating subject, but just lacks a little coherence and extra sparkle, I had hoped my neck hairs would have had a little more of a work out than they did...