Dan Asfar,
Ghost Hunters of America:
Real Stories of Paranormal Investigators

(Ghost House, 2005)

Do you believe in ghosts? A surprising number of people do. What may be even more surprising is the number of organizations devoted to collecting evidence of ghosts. A quick web search reveals that within the two counties where I live, for instance, there are at least three such organizations.

Although ghost hunters do carry a variety of electronic equipment -- cameras, tape recorders, thermometers -- they do not carry nuclear accelerators (unlicensed or otherwise), nor do they come across the sort of apparitions seen in 1984's Ghostbusters. Instead, they may see shadows or flickers of movement, while photographs show images of orbs, streaks or flashes. Tape recorders capture voices that remain unheard by the ghost hunters and sensitive thermometers record extreme temperature variations.

The book is divided into four chapters: Historical Hauntings, Paranormal Alert, Unsolved Mysteries and Mission Accomplished. Included are accounts of Emmanuel Swedenborg, the 18th-century scientist who became a famous medium after a spirit appeared to him one night at dinner, and Kate and Maggie Fox, the Hydesville, New York sisters who almost single-handedly kicked off the spiritualism movement in the United States by communicating with ghosts onstage. Visits by ghost hunters to the Bird Cage Theatre in Tombstone, Arizona (a town that just sounds like it should be haunted!) and the battlefield at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania are recounted as well, along with various stories of haunted homes, some more malevolent than others.

Ghost Hunters of America makes no attempt to persuade disbelievers that ghosts exist. Instead, the book merely presents 21 stories of hauntings and the evidence that ghost hunters collected at these sites. It's up to the reader to decide whether or not to believe.

by Laurie Thayer
25 March 2006

Buy it from Amazon.com.