Harry Price: The Psychic Detective Hardcover – 30 Dec 2006
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'A must have *****five star rating - brilliant penmanship from a
pro' -- Psychic World
'Reads like the best detective novels...' -- Sunday Telegraph
'Reads like the best detective novels...' -- The Sunday Telegraph
'a cracking book which exposes one of the world's best known
ghosthunters.' -- The Scotsman
'a forensically thorough dissection of a legend.' -- Mail on Sunday
'a forensically thorough dissection of a legend.' -- The Mail on Sunday
'a wonderful fusion of bunk and high-jinks. A fascinating character...'
-- The Spectator
From the Publisher
Harry Price's life was one full of controversy. In his lifetime he had a
status and reputation that no ghost hunter or psychic investigator of today
can hope to share.
After flukishly exposing the spirit photographer William `Billy' Hope he
founded his own psychic laboratory, the National Laboratory of Psychic
Research in 1925. It was here that every strange incident or miserable
plaything of the dead was publicised to keep pace with the public's
appetite for the supernatural, which Price had whetted. Through his adroit
handling of the press, he rapidly became the natural leader for a nation in
thrall of what happened to the soul after death.
At one stage in his career he believed he had discovered the very substance
that ghosts were made of and thought it possible to recreate them in his
Price, though, was no scientist. Born in a filthy London slum in 1881, an
academic failure he left school at 15, and after various jobs, including
running a chemical business, he joined his father as a salesman selling
paper bags. But he yearned for fame, which he partly found through
journalism and in his spare time wrote articles for newspapers on coin
collecting, archaeology, conjuring and spiritualism.
Price's extraordinary life story includes links to the shamed archaeologist
and Piltdown Man hoaxer, Charles Dawson, grandstanding rows with Sir Arthur
Conan Doyle, disagreements with the Society for Psychical Research and
friendships with Harry Houdini; some of the greatest minds of his day, and
During his colourful second career as a psychic investigator, Price sought
out Martians on the Red Planet; investigated the claims of a talking
Mongoose on the Isle of Man and attempted to turn a goat into a handsome
man on top of the Harz Mountains in Germany. In later life he achieved fame
for his investigations into Borley Rectory, which he called `the Most
Haunted House in England.'
After sifting through hundreds of archives both in Britain and abroad,
Richard Morris, reveals, for the first time, the real Harry Price.
The author is an investigative journalist, broadcaster and freelance Public
Relations consultant and has written for the media across the world. This
is his first major book.
Top customer reviews
Harry Price was arguably the original popularizer of ghost-hunting in the United Kingdom. He had P.T. Barnum's flair for showmanship, coupled with the keen instincts of the consummate self-promoter. Where Morris' work breaks startling new ground is in covering the less savory aspects of Price's life.
Price is shown in a new light (particularly when one considers the former biographical material available on him) that shows him to be fairly unpleasant. Bickering and squabbling with others in the field of psychic research, performing intellectual U-turns when it suits his purpose (and outright backstabbing on occasion), and exhibiting an incredible degree of small-mindedness and blatant hypocrisy, this is an unseen and dark aspect of Harry Price that has never before been explored in any depth.
Morris makes no bones about the fact that Price may have personally stolen some of his own personal antiquities from a church, and (most damning of all) faked "paranormal phenomena" for his own personal gain. The casual reader will probably be aware of Price via his association with the Borley Rectory case, and the author shatters Price's credibility (and thereby much of Borley's claim as "The Most Haunted House in England", which was Harry Price's own contention) on the matter once and for all. Price's assessment of various purported mediums, his friendship and subsequent falling-out with Harry Houdini, plus a wealth of other personal and professional material are covered in great depth.
This book belongs on the shelf of any serious paranormal investigator, and will serve a great reading for anybody who is interested in the life of this enigmatic and colorful character. Harry Price's tale is ultimately sad, intriguing, sordid, and sometimes chilling. Richard Morris has written a biography that educates and entertains in equal measure, and an important contribution to the literature of paranormal research.
I didn't like this book. Many books, such as this, start out with a preconceived conclusion and that will guide much of the text. I believe the book lacks balance. Harry Price, with all his shortfalls, was not as 'bad' as painted here!
I cannot recommend this book to others but it will have appeal to committed sceptics.
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