Beckah Tolley, Raven Duclos & Katie Boyd,
Ghost Quest in New Hampshire
(Schiffer, 2008)

Even experienced ghost hunters get scared. That's one of the unexpected truths we learn by reading this book.

Beckah Tolley and Raven Duclos are both psychic mediums, and Katie Boyd has experience with the occult and demonology. Together they form Ghost Quest, a paranormal investigation team based in Manchester, N.H. This book outlines some of their past work and features documentation for 20 sites the women have explored. The places in question include cemeteries, public buildings and private residences. In many instances, members of the crew interact with spirits and/or successfully help to clear them from spaces. But when Raven's own shop is overcome with something sinister that continues to drive customers away, the best remedy seems to be just to pack up and move out.

The format of the chapters makes this book a quick and entertaining read. And the episodes are like potato chips: you can't stop after just one. A narrative about the crew's site investigation begins each chapter and is often accompanied by black-and-white photos. This material is followed by evidence procured (like voices or sounds on tape, photos or physical symptoms of the investigators), the history of the property and "crew afterthoughts." Skeptics will interpret the stories and photos any way they want; most individuals who pick up books of this type will be receptive to the subject matter and will find interesting scenarios chronicled here.

No map is provided, but most of the public sites can be located fairly easily on any grid of Manchester and its environs. The team makes excursions to Billerica, Mass., and to New Haven, Conn., so this book may appeal in general to paranormal aficionados in the greater New England area. I am a bit surprised the women haven't visited (or at least haven't written about) America's Stonehenge, the controversial property in North Salem, N.H. Surely someone from another time period must be hanging out there.

Because readers might be inclined to seek out these places as soon as they learn of them, the authors also issue warnings about trespassing and about amateurs using unfamiliar and potentially dangerous techniques of addressing the spirit world. Appendices include a glossary of ghost hunting terms, a guide to pertinent equipment, advice for Ouija sessions and a list of website resources. The crew seems to have thought of answers to most of our potential questions.

The text itself is not without its flaws. An editor should have taken a last run-through before the manuscript was sent to the printer. But the eyes of quick readers will probably skip over grammatical glitches like missing words, missing letters, varying points of view and run-on sentences to get to the fun stuff: descriptions of mists and figures appearing in rooms, entities trapped in mirrors, orbs hovering above gravestones and eerie voices showing up on tape recordings. You can polish off this volume in the course of one afternoon, but beware! For at least a while afterward, you could find yourself looking over your shoulder and wondering if you're really alone.

Too, the thought may arise that if these seasoned paranormal specialists become apprehensive and fearful under certain circumstances, what would we commoners be in for?

[ visit the author's website ]

review by
Corinne H. Smith

10 May 2008

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