Book Review: Haunted Asylums, Prisons and Sanatoriums by Jamie Davis

17436893Title: Haunted Asylums, Prisons and Sanatoriums

Author: Jamie Davis

Genre: True Haunting, Non-Fiction

Publisher: Llewellyn Publications

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Llewellyn, Amazon, B&N

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The Shadow Man haunts penitentiary cell blocks. A chilling wind runs through the Death Tunnel.The Red Eyes Apparition lurks in abandoned hallways.

Explore frightening ghost stories and true paranormal encounters at ten well-known, haunted institutions across the United States. This unique collection of investigations is filled with terrifying photos, spooky highlights from on-site tours, and historical information about each location.

Haunted Asylums, Prisons, and Sanatoriums explores the country’s scariest institutions, including the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, West Virginia Penitentiary, and St. Albans Sanatorium. Discover creepy conversations between the authors and restless spirits, interviews with facility staff and knowledgeable ghost hunters, and helpful tips gathered from each investigation. You’ll also enjoy an introduction to basic ghost hunting equipment and detailed information about organizing your own visits to these haunted establishments.

Haunted Asylums, Prisons and Sanatoriums takes us inside some of the darkest places in history, where people suffered or were treated in a cruel, dehumanizing way. Throughout the book, we learn more about the history of these places, and their supposed hauntings, as the author conducts research to find out who the ghosts are haunting these spots. Each chapter is dedicated to a seperate location, and begins by talking about the location’s history, then its specters, and then the author and her team conduct a thorough ghost hunt of the place. At the end of each chapter is information on how to get to the place, if/how you can do ghost hunts on your own, etcetera.

This is one of the best non-fiction books about hauntings that I’ve read. The book is well-organized, and well-written. The author doesn’t lose herself in trivial details when talking about history, and instead what we learned is significant and intriguing. The stories are backed up with pictures, some of which made shivers crawl down my back. One picture in particular really set me on edge. The strange thing is that it’s not even talked about in the book. I mean, it’s included, and it’s mentioned that it’s a picture of the Farrar school, but Davis makes no mention of the two figures on the picture – one little girl and a larger person. It’s one of the clearest ghost pictures I’ve seen in a while, and really impressive! I hope I’m not the only one seeing it though, because that would be totally creepy.

The language is quite informal, like Mrs. Davis is telling us a story. This might not be for everyone, but I really liked it, basically like she’s operating as some sort of tour guide, which fit the theme of the book. I have some comments about the way Mrs. Davis and her team conduct ghost hunts though. They rely heavily on a flashlight, using them for flashlight conversations. It’s the first time I’ve heard someone use this method at such lengths, and it would’ve convinced me more had there been video evidence included (of course that’s tough for a book) but I wasn’t really convinced the flashlight responses were anything other than random spikes. I much prefer actually hearing voices on tape, or seeing pictures of ghosts. Also, the questions asked during the flashlight conversations weren’t always to the point, and sometimes had a double meaning ghosts may not be able to interpret. I thought more fitting questions should’ve been asked, and other research should’ve been conducted as well, rather than just the flashlight conversations.

As a travel guide, this book is extremely useful, especially with the info about each location at the end of each chapter. For people interested in ghost hunts and the author’s personal experiences, the book lacks vital info – I had the feeling much more research should’ve been done at each spot to get a good grip of what’s happening.

The book was a very pleasant, enjoyable, sometimes chilling read. I can’t wait to visit these haunted asylums, prisons and sanatoriums!


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