Harper’s Encyclopedia of Mystical and Paranormal Experience AKA Encyclopedia of the Strange, Mystical & Unexplained Rosemary Ellen Guiley
A large reference type book of over 600 pages, Guiley lacked to include an index or table of contents, or at least excluded it in the 1991 edition. If you can get past that (or maybe find a more current edition), I find it to be an interesting and useful consortium of names, places, traditions, and history pertaining to the broad definition of the “mystical and paranormal”. The author does seem to try to state the information as much unbiased fact on each topic, (versus other books that have definite belief skewed definitions). There are backup references galore of where the information was obtained. It definitely is a good “short attention span” book, as each entry is only 1-5 pages long. Persons listed range from the Dalai Lama to Timothy Leary.
Rating: I am moving it from my “check out at the library” list to “spend the money” list!
Coast to Coast Ghosts Leslie Rule (forward by Ann Rule, her mother)
I like this book in some aspects but dislike in others. It irks me when a book will tell you almost everything you need to know about a ghost, haunting or other paranormal activity but declines to tell you (within 20 miles) the location of the actual site. This book does not do this is every instance however it does it consistently enough. Some of the segments have great historical details while others do not. Each segment is written in a mishmashed style that varies from first person interviews to a sort of fictional sounding narration of the experiences. There are some interesting chapter appendices listing other locations. There lacks an index of places and the chapters are grouping of similar haunting activity (ie. Lost loves, children, pets).
Rating: Check it out at the library but don’t buy it second hand. Look, make a note of anything you find interesting with enough information to actually make a note of and send it back.
The Synchronized Universe: New Science of the Paranormal Claude Swanson, PhD.
Although this book delves into aspects our group does not, it does an awesome job of putting together much of the scientific research that has been done in areas that aren’t so far off. Many of the theories can be (and in some instances are) used to explain haunting type activities. And it puts it all down in language that even *I* (who is not a physicist like the author) can understand. For all those people who call us “kooks” here are the scientific aspects, (a lot of which were undertaken by our government) in black and white. The book covers remote viewing, ESP, psychokinesis, teleportation, and other experiments including my favorite, the Faraday cage (the theory behind the boxes used in Ghostbusters the movie for trapping spirits). Even though it is not a “specific to ghosts and hauntings” book, it covers many theories that can be seen as related.
Rating: Spend the money, Buy it! If you can’t find it, email me! Read it! (And I didn’t think I’d be saying that about a non-haunting book)
Ghostly Encounters: True Stories of America’s Haunted Inns & Hotels Frances Kermeen
If I ever win a million dollars, and want to go on an extended vacation, I would use this book as my guide. This book fulfills everything I look for in a book about hautings plus a little more. Every chapter contains complete site and sighting information. Chapter segments include staff and guest sighting stories, best rooms & times, site history, dining spots in the area (many also haunted) and the name, address, phone number, email and web site addresses (if available). It totally fulfills my pet peeve of “don’t tell me about a haunting and make it so I can’t find the place” many books suffer from. Stories vary from a haunting surrounding slavery to an “evil doll” named Robert.
Rating: Spend the money! Jerry Garcia’s Dead , go on tour!
Atlas of the Mysterious in North America Rosemary Ellen Guiley
Although I really like the format of this book, it is not nearly as concise and informative as some of Guiley’s other books. Three of the eight chapter groups relate to ghosthunting: Haunted Places, Ghostlights (including Silver Cliff) and Phantom & Mystery Ships. It also covers “sacred” sites, medicine wheels, burial mounds and mysterious creatures like the Mothman and Big Foot. It is a great general list of interesting sites, however there is not enough information to actually get to most of them. I find most of the information interesting, and there’s a decent bibliography to find out more, although I wish the author had taken the time to just tell it herself.
Rating: Check it out, make some notes and return it to the library. Or pick it us, VERY cheap.
The UneXplained Dr. Karl P.N. Shuker
There are a few ghost stories mixed in with the interesting but unfocused shorts in this book. It has great photos and illustrations. Being organized solely into regional chapters, each section has a large variety of history, lore, folktales and “proof” of odd events and creatures across the world. Stories range from levitation in the East to Homunculi, a humanoid grown by alchemists in a jar in the West. I would consider it more of a “readers digest” of strange things around the world than a ghost related book, but I still enjoyed it.
Rating: Great coffee table book to freak out your friends. Buy it used, its pricey!
Phantom Encounters from the Time-Life Series Mysteries of the Unknown
The only way to describe this book is it is almost like the TV version of a book. Entertaining stories that give vague site and activity information. Most of the stories I find hard to believe there was much to document, since they consistently quote experiences claimed to have happened in the 1600-1800s. The only US story I recall is a Lincoln bedroom reference. They definitely generate on the fear aspect, using terms like “harbringers of doom” and describing banshees. They focus a lot on legend it seems. There is no real discussion or documentation from a real investigation. There are only 4 supposed paranormal photos, of which I find maybe 2 believable. Some of the book references could be interesting, if it was possible to find them. After reading it, I felt more like this was a collection of dangerous unfortunate sites (that maybe could be haunted but haven’t been investigated) and international legends.
Rating: Fluff, entertaining but no real research value. Check it out from a library if you want a bedtime story.
Possessed Possessions By Ed Okonowicz
Interesting book, though some stories are questionable, others are over the top. None of the objects would be find-able for testing. Very few stories had any kind of followup (ie. several stories were decades old) and most owners no longer owned the objects in questions.
Rating: Maybe an interesting read but just leaves you wanting. Not recommended for purchase.
Haunted Hikes By Andrea Lankford
Great book! A balance of lore and experiences from park employees. Includes directions to sites and other useful information. Very clear concise in content and organization of information.
Rating: If you are interested in ghost sites that are remote - reachable by hiking or 4x4, this is a great, informative book!