A Natural History of Ghosts by Roger Clarke

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Clarke appears to have been an infant prodigy when it comes to an interest in the supernatural, the William Hague of the ghost-hunters.
-Guardian

Synopsis

A natural history of the supernatural from Roger Clarke, lifelong investigator into England's creepiest real-life ghost stories

'Is there anybody out there?' No matter how rationally we order our lives, few of us are completely immune to the suggestion of the uncanny and the fear of the dark. The subject of whether ghosts exist has fascinated some of the finest minds in history and it remains a subject of overwhelming interest today.

This is the first comprehensive, authoritative and readable history of the evolution of the ghost in the west, examining as every good natural history should, the behaviour of the subject in its preferred environment: the stories we tell each other. What explains sightings of ghosts? Why do they fascinate us? What exactly did the haunted see? What did they believe? And what proof is there?

Taking us through the key hauntings that have obsessed the world from the poltergeist of Cock Lane through the true events that inspired The Turn of the Screw and the dark events of Borley Rectory right up to the present day, Roger Clarke unfolds a story of class conflict, charlatans and true believers. His surprising castlist ranges from Samuel Johnson to John Wesley, and from Harry Houdini to Adolf Hitler. Inspired by a childhood spent in two haunted houses, Roger Clarke has spent much of his life trying to see a ghost. Written as grippingly as the best ghost fiction, A Natural History of Ghosts takes us on an unforgettable hunt through the most haunted places of the last five hundred years and our longing to believe.

 

About Roger Clarke

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Published November 1, 2012 by Penguin. 353 pages
Genres: Religion & Spirituality, History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Horror, Literature & Fiction, Law & Philosophy, Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math. Fiction
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Critic reviews for A Natural History of Ghosts
All: 3 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 1

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Patrick Mcgrath on Oct 24 2014

...tells...many other gloriously weird stories with real verve, and also a kind of narrative authority that tends to constrain the skeptical voice within.

Read Full Review of A Natural History of Ghosts | See more reviews from NY Times

Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Natasha Tripney on Nov 23 2013

...there's a meandering quality to the book at times. And while Clarke's style is for the most part readable, his writing can at times clank like Jacob Marley's chains.

Read Full Review of A Natural History of Ghosts | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Michael Newton on Oct 26 2012

Clarke appears to have been an infant prodigy when it comes to an interest in the supernatural, the William Hague of the ghost-hunters.

Read Full Review of A Natural History of Ghosts | See more reviews from Guardian

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