Book Review: Fighting Malevolent Spirits by Samantha E. Harris

18126452Title: Fighting Malevolent Spirits

Author: Samantha E. Harris

Genre: Non-Fiction, True Haunting, Ghosts & Hauntings

Age Group: Adult

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

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

A True Warrior in the Battle of Good and Evil

A demon hellbent on chaos and pain throws a young man across a room again and again, without mercy or remorse, attempting to break his spirit and mutilate his soul. The evil spirits at the site of an old sanitarium destroy an innocent family, driving them into an unfathomable hole of addiction and madness. Ghostly shrieks of pain drive a researcher to the point of insanity, pushing her toward the infinite blackness of total annihilation.

Demonologist Samantha E. Harris has faced the world’s most malicious entities . . . and lived to tell the tales. Fighting Malevolent Spirits tells the true stories of her darkest, creepiest, most terrifying cases. Featuring extreme encounters with poltergeists, demons, and unhappy spirits of the dead–and the story of Samantha’s desperate call for help to renowned demonologist Lorraine Warren–this book includes a question-and-answer section for determining the cause of profane paranormal disturbances and how-to instructions for dealing with outbreaks of diabolical activity.

Praise: “Read during the daytime and light a white candle.”–Cindy Deukmejian, Producer of A&E’s My Haunted House

In Fighting Malevolent Spirits, author Samantha E. Harris talks about evil spirits, the ones who have zero good intention and are focused on destroying everyone who stands in their way. The author talks about her darkest, creepiest and most terrifying encounters, ranging from poltergeists to demons. While I’m still skeptical about whether or not demons exist, I enjoyed all parts of this book, including the ones focused on demonic activity.

Some of the encounters sound a bit over the top, and too sensational to be real, but it still sounds more real than half of the ghost hunter shows on TV nowadays. The author tells the reader, time and time again, how dangerous it is to go up against a demon, poltergeist, or malicious spirit, alone and unprepared. She then goes on to give some tips on how one can prepare themselves for a supernatural encounter, which are actually rather helpful.

This is one of the scariest true haunting books I’ve read in a while. I couldn’t cope with reading the book at night, so I had to run it in the middle of the day. To imagine being really face to face with the haunts described here, that must be terrifying. Even when reading the book, I got goosebumps all over, and that creepy sense of being watched.

A solid read if you like true haunting books, and/or if you think your house may be infested with something malicious.

Book Review: Haunted Rock & Roll

18126463Title: Haunted Rock & Roll: Ghostly Tales of Musical Legends

Author: Matthew L. Swayne

Genre: Non-Fiction, Ghosts & Hauntings , True Haunting

Age Group: Adult

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

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

Plug in the guitar, raise the curtain, and step onto the haunted stage

From rock and roll’s pioneers to its contemporary rebels, the greatest names live on after death–in unexpected and frightening ways. Discover thrilling stories of Michael Jackson, Jim Morrison, Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, Amy Winehouse, and many more rockers who’ve been seen haunting their favorite bars, clubs, and homes.

Haunted Rock and Roll covers rock’s entire paranormal legacy, allowing you to explore the famous faces, places, and legends that define one of the biggest cultural movements of all time. Experience true stories of rock star ghosts while enjoying trivia and insights from renowned ghost hunters and researchers. Whether they’re making demonic deals for fame or being chased into the afterlife under mysterious circumstances, rockers have followed the same motto: live fast, die young, and leave a restless spirit.

I was hesitant to pick up Haunted Rock & Roll because, while I do enjoy rock music, I’m not the world’s greatest fan. I know of the connection between rock & roll music and hauntings and curses, but I was skeptical about it. I’m glad I picked up this book, because not only did I learn a ton about some of our world’s greatest rock & roll legends, I also began to suspect the curse may not be make-believe after all. But even if you don’t believe in curses, hauntings or anything supernatural, then you can still read this book for the wealth of knowledge it provides about rock & roll artists.

This is one of the best true haunting books I’ve read in terms of writing style. The author has a great way with words, and with submerging the reader into the story. He also has a vast knowledge of the world of rock & roll, but instead of just dumping that info on the reader, he tells us stories about some of the most famous and most haunted people to have walked our earth. I particularly enjoyed the stories about the deals at the crossroads and the 27 club. Even though I’m still not entirely convinced there is actually a demon responding to people who ask them for favors at crossroads, I must admit some of the accounts mentioned in the book are suspicious to say the least.

All the stories about the 27 club – a “club” of famous singers who passed away at the age of 27, of which notable members include Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse – are more than a little creepy. The toll of fame must be pretty high.

Some of the stories are more sad than creepy, and it shows there’s a thin line between a “curse” and something that is just a natural cause of living a life in the spotlights. But in some stories, there are way too many coincedences, which made me wonder if some supernatural power was involved after all.

A decent read for anyone who enjoys true haunting books, and especially for those with an additional interest in the world of rock and roll.

Book Review: How to Clear Your Home of Ghosts & Spirits by Debi Chestnut

18126465Title: How to Clear Your Home of Ghosts & Spirits

Author: Debi Chestnut

Genre: Non-Fiction, True Haunting, Ghosts & Hauntings

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

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

When it comes to spirits and specters, knowledge is power and fear is the enemy.

How to Clear Your Home of Ghosts & Spirits is a guide to everything you need to know to get rid of ghosts. Providing a brief history of haunts and delving into her own personal experiences, paranormal researcher Debi Chestnut sheds light on the different types of ghosts–from harmless spirits to destructive entities–and gives tips and techniques for clearing them.

Join Debi as she explores how ghosts and spirits can be accidentally invited into the home and shows how to choose a paranormal team for extreme cases. Written in a no-nonsense style by an author with years of experience, this guide is a must-have for those who prefer to live with the facts instead of living in fear.

When I started reading How to Clear Your Home of Ghosts & Spirits, I was rather skeptical. I’ve read a lot of true haunting books, and I thought I knew pretty well how to handle ghosts and spirits in a home. I thought I wasn’t going to learn anything new. Imagine my surprise when I picked up quite a few things I hadn’t known before.

Author Debi Chestnut starts with looking for logical explenations for the proclaimed haunting, which is a big bonus. Half of the time, people suspect their house is haunted, while in reality, it’s nothing more than a squeaky door, loose floorboards, or even rats and mice. Then she goes on to explain the different types of haunting, using her personal experience.

Some parts were a bit repetitive, but the author manages to give the reader a clear, concise rundown of different types of hauntings, and what to do when they think their house might be haunted. She also gives her email address in case anyone needs help, which I thought was very generous, and showed her sincerity.

I didn’t always agree with the author’s point of view, or the way she classified the different types of hauntings – I would’ve used a different classification – but she explains everything so even people completely new to the world of hauntings and paranormal phenomena, would understand it.

If you think your house might be haunted, pick up this book before you call in the Ghostbusters. It might save you some time, and you might learn a bit more about the specters inhabiting your home.

Book Review: Forgotten Burial by Jodi Foster

20699958Title: Forgotten Burial

Author: Jodi Foster

Genre: Non-Fiction, True Haunting

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

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

When Jodi Foster returned to her California hometown with her young daughter, she never could have imagined the terror and confusion she experienced in the nights that followed. On top of her terrifyingly real nightmares of abduction and murder, Jodi witnessed lights flashing on and off, clocks going haywire, and her daughter’s doll repeatedly screaming, “I feel great!”

Forgotten Burial tells Jodi’s true paranormal story unraveling the mystery behind the unsolved case of a missing young woman, Madeline Isabella Johnson. After moving into Madeline’s last known residence, Jodi and her daughter reveal clues about what happened to the disappeared girl through ghostly encounters, vivid dreams, and divine intervention. Join Jodi on her reality-bending adventure as she works with police to bring justice to this disturbing, yet ultimately uplifting story.

In Forgotten Burial, Jodi Foster – not the actress – rented an apartment in her California hometown, and lived there along with her young daughter. She never imagined that the apartment was haunted. When lights turn on and offo n their own, her daughter’s wind-up doll starts screaming and Jodi begins having terrifying nightmares about a missing young woman, Madeline Isabella Johnson (name was changed, probably for privacy reasons), she begins tot suspect Madeline is reaching out from beyond the grave.

Working along with the police, Jodi tries to figure out what happened to Madeline, and what her connection is to a notorious couple, and to “The Girl in the Box”, Colleen Stan.

From that synopsis, you’d think the book is fiction. It’s not. It’s as non-fiction as it gets, a true encounter of Jodi’s nightmares about Madeline, the strange occurences in her apartment, and Madeline’s efforts to reach out from the beyond and try to get the truth out.

This is one of the best true haunting books I’ve read simply because it feels so real. Jodi is in contacts with the police about this, there’s a tie to a real-life case, so it sounds almost impossible not to be true. The writing was all right. The reader realizes early on Jodi is no real author, but more like a person who desperately wants to get their story out into the world. And you know what? I didn’t mind. This story is so good I had to read it. And Madeline deserves her justice, one way or another.

However, some things irked me. Why did Jodi wait so long to connect the dots, and to go to the police with her suspicions? If I’d led a semi-normal life up to some point, then moved into an apartment and started having vivid dreams about a murdered girl, and could somehow connect them to an actual disappearance, I’d be standing on the police’s doorstep in no time. Also, if I had such dreams several times after moving, I’d start investigating, and not wait until things got nearly out of hand. I can barely grasp how frustrating it must be for a spirit to put all your energy into contacting one person, and then have them do almost nothing for several months.

Plus, Jodi kept having dreams about a sign along the road, even getting coordinates at some point, if I recall correctly. She barely does anything with this info, except maybe tell the police about it. Considering how much Madeline told her from beyond the grave already, I’d probably just head over and start digging. I mean, come on, if a ghost contacts you for months, even years, then you have to act, not sit around and wait for things to explode.

Apart from my frustration about this – and I always wonder why people, in real life as well as in movies, tend to take so long before they do anything – I truly enjoyed reading this. I hope police manages to find Madeline, and that she finally has some rest, after all this time.

Book Review: Embracing The Spirits by Barbara Parks

17436884Title: Embracing the Spirits

Author: Barbara Parks

Genre: Non Fiction, Ghosts and Hauntings

Rating: 2 stars

Publisher: Llewellyn Worldwide

Purchase: Amazon, B&N

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

Traumatized by a poltergeist as a young adult, Barbara Parks never imagined she would overcome her fear of the spirit world. This collection of true ghost stories relates her dramatic, heartwarming journey toward embracing her gift for spirit communication.

Barbara uses pendulums, table-tipping, and her own homemade Ouija table to speak with spirits in old taverns, hotels, schoolhouses, theaters, and her own home. Some spirits need her help in reuniting with loved ones or delivering a special message. Barbara also offers comfort to suicide and murder victims, crosses over troubled spirits, calms an angry poltergeist who can manifest and hurl stones, and captures spirit energy in photographs. These real-life paranormal encounters illuminate the mysterious spirit world–and the fascinating life of a medium.

Embracing The Spirits is the second book I’ve read by Barbara Parks about her encounters with spirits, poltergeists and the supernatural. While I enjoyed In The Presence of Spirits, her first book, I was not as impressed with this second book. I feel like she lost track here, and instead of telling a coherent story, she handles case by case, but never providing us with much detail, or with an ending. The chapters are extremely short, and by the time we get to know the setting, the spirit in question, and what is going on, the author has already moved on to another chapter.

Barbara’s methods are also questionable at best. She uses ouija boards, which can be very dangerous, especially for mediums. When she tells us about her table-tipping adventures, I either grew convinced she herself is being haunted by a poltergeist of some sort, or these stories were invented, or at least dramatized. Table-tipping can happen, but hardly as often as she makes it appear, and certainly not with every reading. If this does happen, then either some kind of spirit has attached itself to her, or something strange is going on. Either way, if these events are true, they give reason for caution, and I’d urge the author not to do anymore table-tipping sessions for a while.

I didn’t enjoy this book, mostly because by the time I was fully interested in a spirit and their story, we’d already moved on to something else. Pages pass without anything happening, except the occassional telling about how the author practices to enhance her gift. The book was a bit dull because of that, and I wish she’d stick with the premise of her first book, and focus on one case mostly. That probably would’ve made the readers more involved in the story.

Book Review Surrounded by Ghosts by Janet Larkin

17436874Title: Surrounded by Ghosts

Author: Janet Larkin

Genre: Non Fiction, True Haunting

Rating: 3 stars

Publisher: Llewellyn Worldwide

Purchase: Amazon, B&N

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

As a newborn, Janet Larkin died and came back to life. At three her sister drove over her skull with a tractor. And when she was eight years old, she had a conversation with her dead grandmother.

So began a life full of ghostly encounters. When she was still a girl, Janet received forewarning of a triple homicide next door and saw the ghost of one of the victims. In their Memphis apartment, she experienced a terrifying being posing as her husband. Growing up on an orchard in the 1950s, Janet has seen more than her fare share of spirits and spooks. In Surrounded by Ghosts, Janet recalls her creepiest stories and grapples to make sense of a life overflowing with unexplained phenomena.

Surrounded by Ghosts is the written account of Janet Larkin, who has been seeing ghosts ever since she was eight years old. When she was a newborn, Janet died and came back to life. She had another traumatizing accident during her youth, and when she was eight, she had a dream in which she met her deceased grandmother. If her ability to see the dead and communicate with them is because of her passing away and coming back to life, remains to be seen, but it certainly seems plausible. Ever since she met her deceased grandmother, Janet has been seeing ghosts way too often to ignore.

One of the accounts in the book is how Janet received a forewarning of a triple homicide about to happen next door. She deals with this quite well, in a very rational way, not blaming herself for being unable to do something about it – which lots of others certainly would have. That’s an example of how she behaves throughout her life as chronicled in the rest of the book, with a certain passivity when it comes to the supernatural. She’s not an actor, more like a victim, a person who dreadful things happen to. Instead of taking charge of her abilities, she appears content to let them slumber.

Then there’s the demons and angels, which turned an otherwise believable and relatable story into something almost unbelievable. At some point, Janet has an encounter with a demonic entity posing as her husband in her appartment. I’m wondering if maybe this wasn’t a hallucination. Why would a demonic entity pose as her husband once, and then leave her alone for the rest of the time? Why would they have it in for her? And why, after this encounter, did they leave her alone?

When taking only the ghostly encounters into account, the book is an easy read, and it’s not hyped or sensationalized. I liked the writing style – it was simple and to the point, and didn’t distract the reader from what Janet Larkin had to say. Overall, this was a decent read, but it could’ve done without the demonic encounter or the angels – especially if so little proof was given.

Book Review: So You Want To Hunt Ghosts? by Deonna Kelli Sayed

16668090Title: So You Want To Hunt Ghosts?
Author: Deonna Kelli Sayed
Genre: Non-Fiction / Ghosts & Hauntings
Age Group: Adult
Rating: 3 stars
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for honest review.

Popular shows like Ghost Hunters have inspired legions of fans to hunt ghosts on their own. This smart, in-depth guide–packed with insider knowledge–shows how to become a real-life paranormal investigator.

First, explore the fascinating history of paranormal investigation and today’s distinct approaches: client-based, spiritual-based, adventure-based, and research-based. You’ll learn how to build a team wisely, organize an investigation, and find your first case. Unlike other books, this essential guide details how to conduct historical research and properly document your findings. There’s guidance on using the latest ghost-hunting gadgets, such as instrumental trancommunication (ITC) devices, in addition to crucial advice on legalities, ethics, and safety.

It’s hard to rate this book because it’s not exactly a memoir about ghostly encounters. It’s a field guide using the author’s expertise. By their nature, guides are more cut-and-dry. They don’t have a plot or characters, but they can be entertaining or boring, depending on how well-written they are and how they cover the subject matter. For me, So You Want to Hunt Ghosts? holds the middle between boring and entertaining. At times, I was very engrossed in the book, and other times I didn’t care that much.

I liked how the author described the different approaches to ghost hunting, like research-based and client-based. For a newbie ghost hunter, this book would’ve been a great guide. However, I had trouble with the author trying to press her own beliefs on to the reader sometimes. It wasn’t an overly pressing concern, it just seemed to me like the author kept giving hints at how her interpretation of certain things was the only plausible explanation, whereas I could’ve come up with several other explenations. Mind you, I’m not talking about the author’s religious beliefs, since these barely have anything to do with this book, but about her spiritual beliefs. I wish she would’ve been more open-minded about other people’s spiritual beliefs in this book.

Something else that bothered me is that, although the book is meant as a field guide, too much of it stems from the author’s personal experiences. While that is valuable, it’sn ot something I would’ve expected in a field guide. I did enjoy those passages though, so I didn’t mind too much, it was just a little pet peeve of mine.

Overall, as far as true haunting books go, this one was all right. Not the best I’ve read, not the worst either.

Book Review: On Haunted Ground

12982848Title: On Haunted Ground
Author: Lisa Rogers
Genre: Non-Fiction, True Haunting
Publisher: Llewellyn Worldwide
Publication Date: May 8th, 2012
Rating: 3,5 stars
Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Review copy provided by the publisher through Netgalley.

Lisa Rogers sensed that the house she bought with her husband Wes came with a ghost. But nothing prepared them for doors slamming on their own, objects flying, and the nightly appearance of a freaky green orb in their bedroom. Their two children had opposing views on the paranormal activity. While Keshia grew attached to the grandmotherly ghost who taught her not to be afraid of thunderstorms and the Native American spirit that tucked her into bed, her brother Troy wasn’t quick to believe in their unearthly guests.
This amazing true story details two decades of terrifying, funny, and heartwarming paranormal encounters–the mischievous entity that imitated the voice of each family member, the spool that “came to life” to chase the kids, the shocking events that shake Wes and Troy’s skepticism–and the enduring love that keeps the family together through it all.

On Haunted Ground tells the experiences of author Lisa Rogers while she lives in a house, haunted not by one, but by several different ghosts, some more powerful than others. While some of these experiences are creepy enough to make shivers run down your spine, they’re not all malicious in nature. Lisa Rogers has an intriguing narrator’s voice, and she builds up the tension perfectly throughout her book. Even if a book is non-fiction, it’s still important to keep a reader hooked, and Lisa definitely succeeds in that.

I have mixed opinions about all the specters haunting Lisa’s house though, but that’s probably the skeptic in me again. I have no trouble believing a house is haunted. Even if there are more than two ghosts involved, I can live with that. But the phantoms in Lisa’s house seem to vary as time progresses, and there are about five of them, if not more. There’s a ghost who can strangely imitate people’s voice and who occassionally picks up the phone, for instance. I’ve never heard of any ghosts behaving this way. Sure, they can perhaps imitate a voice ones, but this frequently? And even when picking up the phone. It’s both disturbing and unreal, and I’m not sure if I completely believe it. It could be that this particular experience is a bit exaggerated. Or it could be completely truthful, who am I to judge?

It just confuses me that not all ghosts would be present at the same time, and that the amount of specters living in a house varies over time. It’s like the house Lisa Rogers lives in is more like a hotel for people stuck in the afterlife than anything else. I would’ve preferred if the author delved more into the why. Why is that particular house so terribly haunted? I feel like I have more questions than answers at the end of this book.

The book also felt a little superificial to me, probably because the author tried to talk about 20 years of paranormal activity in the course of one book. But I could live with that. It gave the book a more ‘scientific’ feel, which I thought helped add to the book’s credibility.

Of all the true haunting novels I’ve read so far, On Haunted Ground is perhaps my favorite. It holds the middle between being too exaggerated to be believable and being so dry and uneventful it can’t be anything but true. The writing style is fluent, and I enjoyed Lisa’s turmoils, not only with the ghosts but also with her family. It’s very clear that she has a loving and caring family, with or without the ghosts included. I will definitely read more books by this author if given the chance.

Book Review: Stalked by Spirits by Vivian Campbell

13178066Title: Stalked by Spirits
Author: Vivian Campbell
Genre: True Haunting, Non-fiction
Publisher: Llewellyn Worldwide
Publication Date: April 8th 2012
Rating: 3,5 stars
Buy from Publisher | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Goodreads
Review copy provided by the publisher through Netgalley.

Haunted since childhood, Vivian Campbell has encountered angry wraiths, mischievous child spirits, terrorizing demons, and all sorts of bizarre, unearthly beings. Vivian relives these chilling and thrilling experiences in Stalked by Spirits, including how she and her family suffered violent phantom attacks, received small favors from a little girl ghost, negotiated with a demanding spirit, welcomed back a dearly departed pet, tolerated ghostly attendance at holiday dinners and Girl Scout meetings, and waged hair-raising battles with an evil entity threatening their baby daughter.
Taking us inside a variety of spirit-infested, often beautiful places–a stone mansion in the Tennessee mountains, a century-old college dorm, the first apartment she shared with her new husband, and the beloved Florida home that’s been in her family for generations–these true tales vividly capture an extraordinary and haunted life.

In Stalked by Spirits, author Vivian Campbell tells us about her life as a ghost magnet. It seems as if, wherever she goes or stands, she encounters spirits from the beyond. The book starts out very vividly with a description of one of Vivian’s first ghostly encounters. Mrs. Campbell has a very fluent, lively writing style, but her descriptions tend to be long and written in formal, sensational prose. However, this is much more the case in the first part than in the second part of the book. Needless to say, I enjoyed the second part the most.

The thing that bothered me the most about this book is that I don’t believe it. I don’t want to call Mrs. Campbell a liar or anything, but the sheer amount of ghosts she’s encountered over the years, makes me roll my eyes. If we’re to believe every account in this book, then there are ghosts everywhere. Yes, everywhere. In your closet, your dining room, your bathroom – you name it, they’re here. But mind you, ghosts aren’t the only supernatural thing bothering Mrs. Campbell. I remember vividly her description of how she had received a strange chair once belonging to a voodoo priest (or something along those lines) and how, one day, the chair had attacked her. Now, I know that vooodoo, African magic, and everything along those lines, isn’t to be messed with but it seems strange to me than an otherwise regular chair, who hasn’t moved in years, suddenly goes beserk when Vivian’s parents left.

I must say that I did enjoy the descriptions of the various houses Mrs. Campbell has lived in over the years, including an old mansion. The descriptions are very thorough, and I could imagine myself wandering through that house. Old houses, especially ones as gigantic as described in the book, are scary by nature. It doesn’t surprise me that these century-old buildings hold ghosts, spirits and a whole array of secrets ready to discover. Unfortunately though, the ghosts Mrs. Campbell discovers in this building are anything but good. In fact, they’re quite malicious, and they constantly hope to scare the people inhabiting the house. Not all of them are equally evil, but that doesn’t mean a lot when half of them are. I thought that this part of the book, although well-written, read more like a ghost story for a fiction novel than an account of true events. It was just too sensational. Not only were there more ghosts in Mrs. Campbell’s house than in the Amityville House or Winchester House, but they’re also stronger than any phantom I’ve heard or seen before.

Regular phantoms succeed in opening doors, sometimes slamming them, throwing stuff through the room, making items disappear, and sometimes even whispering strange messages or warnings. Mrs. Campbell’s phantoms however can slam ten or twenty doors at once, look like demons, and scare everyone who crosses their path.

Luckily for the reader, the sensational events tome down in the second part of the book. I particularly enjoyed the episodes of Mrs. Campbell in her dorm with some friends, where they encounter another series of ghosts.

Now, as to the reasons why this book doesn’t work for me. For starters, it reads too much like fiction. This could be partly because of the exaggerated descriptions and prose – even if Mrs. Campbell is telling us the truth, it already sounds like she’s adding some elements, just to make it more spectacular – or maybe because I can’t just wrap my head around this actually happening. It reminds me of that TV show, Most Haunted, in which the TV show presenter starts screaming before anything happens. And she does that every time. That’s one of the reasons why Most Haunted is more laughable than scary – the people participating start screaming as soon as the lights are out, making it impossible for the audience to hear anything but their screams. This book is a bit like that as well. Tension doesn’t build up slowly. I understand this is a real account of what happened, and if things started with a blast, you can’t exactly have them build up slowly. But I felt that this was lacking in the book, and it didn’t really have a start, middle and end because of this. If anything, it started with the climax and then went downhill from there.

The second reason why is because Mrs. Campbell finds ghosts everywhere. I understand some places can be haunted. In fact, I’m positive some places definitely are haunted. But every single building you enter? Every house you live in? I doubt it. I do tihnk Mrs. Campbell saw ghosts everywhere, but I’m not sure if they were really there, or conjured by her own imagination. Once we’ve had an encounter with spirits, it becomes easy to think every place is haunted and every odd thing can be linked to a ghost.

All in al, Stalked by Spirits left me feeling skeptic. While I really want to believe everything it says in the book, I have my doubts. There are just too many ghosts and too many powerful ones mentioned not to have me look at it skeptically. The book is quite scary though, especially in the beginning. If you’re a fan of scary reads, especially scary true reads, then this book might be for you. I did find myself enjoying it, although I rolled my eyes a couple of times while reading. The prose is a bit sensational, but it’s a writing style you get used to easily. If you’re a fan of true hauntings, I would take a look at this one. Maybe not the best out there, but it’s definitely better than the average.

Book Review: Ghost Under Foot by Kenneth W. Harmon

12755471Title: Ghost Under Foot: The Spirit of Mary Bell
Author: Kenneth W. Harmon
Genre: True Haunting, Non-Fiction
Publisher: Llewellyn Worldwide
Publication Date: March 8th 2012
Rating: 3 stars
Amazon (Paperback) | Amazon (Kindle) | B&N | Goodreads | Author Website
Review copy provided by the publisher through Netgalley.

Just weeks after settling into their new home in Fort Collins, Colorado, retired police officer Kenneth W. Harmon and his family make a chilling discovery: they’re living with a ghost.
This true haunting story begins during a ghost tour at the famous Stanley Hotel, where the Harmons experienced headaches and paranormal phenomena. Once back at home, strange rapping noises, eerie whispers captured on film, and unidentified dark shapes in his photographs compel Ken to research the land’s history. What he learns shocks everyone: in the backyard sits the unmarked grave of Mary Bell Wilson, a young woman who died of typhoid fever in the late 1880s.
As his fixation grows, Ken uses a dowsing rod to communicate with Mary Bell’s spirit and investigate her brief life. The spirit’s surprising answers shed light on mysteries of the spirit world, crossing over, heaven and hell, and God.

I love ghosts, but prior to reading Ghost Under Foot: The Spirit of Mary Bell, I had no idea there were so many true hauntings books out there. To be honest, they’re my new passion. I’ve always been a believer when it comes to ghosts, for a long series of personal reasons, but it felt great to read a book based on true events by people who have seen and sometimes even lived with ghosts. The results? I’m addicted to true haunting stories now. Go figure.

After moving to a new house, the author and has family start to suffer from a series of strange, unexplainable events. Soon enough, the author grows convinced his house is haunted. He tries to communicate with the ghost using various methods, which vary over time as technology gets more and more advanced. He begins an investigation to discover the identity of the ghost troubling his house and finds out it’s the spirit of Mary Bell, a girl who used to live where his current house now stands. When he’s established that, he tries to find out more about Mary, her life, her thoughts and why she’s stuck here as a spirit, unable to cross over.

Kenneth W. Harmon, the author of Ghost Under Foot is a police officer, and it shows. He uses the same research techniques and scientific approach he probably used while working as a police officer to take on the ghost situation in his own home. He starts out thinking logically, and tries to connect with the ghost via seances in the living room. He also takes photographs, hoping to catch sight of some orbs, cameras and a whole listing of other methods. Unfortunately, he often disregards the opinion of his various other family members while doing so, which sometimes annoyed me. For instance, when he wants to set up a seance in his living room downstairs, his daughters, who are age 3, 5 and 7, admit that they’re scared. Instead of dropping the subject, or making them feel more comfortable, the author just tells them they have to be there. I really don’t understand why he does it. He seems like a very good father, and I wouldn’t argue that he isn’t, but in that moment, I felt like hitting him on the head with a frying pan. His daughters were scared. Even I would be scared if we were going to do a séance, and I’m an adult. It’s normal for those little kids to be terrified, and instead of protecting them and making them feel safe – as a father should do – he puts them in the middle of danger. Another issue happens when his oldest daughter tells him she doesn’t want him to leave a camera in her room. He goes ahead and does it anyway, violating her privacy. And for what? To capture a ghost on tape? I wonder if that’s worth it.

It seems to me that, although the author started out with all the best intentions, he quickly becomes obsessed with the ghost, putting not only himself but his entire family in danger. Ghosts aren’t meant to play with. They’re not toys, or imaginary friends. Mr. Harmon was very lucky that the ghost troubling his family was a friendly spirit, and not a malicious one. I may not be the greatest expert when it comes to ghosts, but even experts know that it’s risky business they’re getting into when contacting a ghost. You don’t know what you’re dealing with. These are forces we’ve only begun to grasp. If the spirit was evil, then Mr. Harmon could’ve been the victim of the next Paranormal Activity movie. And he willingly put his children in the middle of all that. That annoyed me, and I’m pretty sure you can see why.

On top of that, Mr. Harmon’s obsession leads him to believe his ghost is his new friend. Rather than helping Mary cross over, or find out why she’s stuck, he goes to ask her silly questions like who Jack The Ripper was, who murdered Kennedy, etc. Although some may find this fun and interesting, I didn’t, mainly because I don’t believe it. It looks like Mr. Harmon has his own views and beliefs, and put them in Mary’s mouth who, being a ghost and all, is in no position to defend herself. It also becomes very apparent towards the end of the book that Mr. Harmon is truly obsessed with the ghost inhabiting his house. Obsessions are never good, especially not when one’s obsessed with a ghost.

However, as for the writing style, I must say I really enjoyed this book. Mr. Harmon doesn’t use overly colorful prose. Instead he focuses on the story as it is, without trying to exaggerate anything by using grand descriptions. I really liked that about this book. It also adds a lot to the credibility of the story. Mr. Harmon’s ghostly guest does what we expect from ghosts – it doesn’t have any superpowers that would make this story unbelievable. That’s one of the main reasons why I believe this isn’t all in Mr. Harmon’s head. I do think his house is truly being haunted. If the ghost is truly Mary Bell, well, I’m not entirely convinced about that. It looks to me as if Mr. Harmon got to the point where he lost track of the big picture. In his mind, the ghost was the spirit of Mary Bell. No more questions asked. I hope he’s right though. I hope he’s right, and I really hope the ghost isn’t something evil that has been masqueing as good all this time.

That said, after a while all the orb photographing and positioning cameras and recurrent séances, began to feel repetitive. This book could’ve easily been made 50 pages shorter.

Ghost Under Foot: The Spirit of Mary Bell is an entertaining account of a house haunted by a ghost. Mr. Harmon has definitely done his research, and he provides the readers with some interesting scientific methods to communicate with the dead. I read some more true haunting books after devouring this one, and I must admit that this is one of the most genuine ghost encounter accounts I’ve read so far. If the spirit is truly Mary Bell remains to be seen, but I’m convinced Mr. Harmon’s house is truly haunted. If you’re looking for a true haunting story that isn’t exaggerated, but instead feels very real and something that could happen to everyone of us, then this book is an excellent choice.