A Guide to Ghost Hunting Guidebooks: NO MORE! Please!

This might come as a shock to the millions of ghost enthusiasts out there: The scientific consensus is that ghosts are NOT spirits, remnants of the dead, recordings of energy, or supernatural entities. Our existing knowledge about nature does not point to a conclusion that ghosts are a single definable thing, paranormal or normal, that you can find, observe, measure, or study. Yet, there are about 200 guides to “ghost hunting” in print or e-book form that lay out ways to obtain evidence of or make contact with ghosts. Therefore, we have a conundrum at step one of any attempt at ghost hunting – we can’t define what a ghost is, and we do not know its properties because we’ve never determined that they exist and measured them. No ghost handbook has ever led anyone to catch and identify ghosts, they can only lead you to interpret something as a ghost.

In that sense, all ghost hunting books are worthless. So why bother with them?

First, it’s an interesting cultural phenomena. Actively investigating reports of ghosts and paranormal activity is mainstream and a popular hobby and tourism draw. In 2010, there were over 1000 paranormal investigation groups in the US, the majority of which researched hauntings. (Hill, 2010) It’s not worthless to examine why people spend their time and money on this hobby and how they go about doing it.

Second, the idea of paranormal investigation contains important aspects of society’s attitudes towards finding out about the world, decided what is meaningful and true, using science to examine questions, cooperation and trust in a community, and taking part in a larger effort beyond one’s own small role in life.

I’m deeply interested in the second point. I’ve found that examining amateur paranormal group behaviors and output highlights concepts about science education and public discourse about belief and reality. This piece mentions 11 books on ghost hunting that I have examined. They have broad similarities and distinct differences.  In the main portion, I review 4 books on the basis of the following:

1. Readability (language, errors, quality of writing)

2. Credibility (sources, supported arguments vs speculation, factual correctness)

3. Overall value as a cultural product (Buy it or not?)

ghost-hunterI picked these particular books for several reasons. They span a significant spectrum in time over which we can watch the evolution of ghost hunting technique. I think they are generally representative of this narrow niche. There are better and worse ones, I’m sure. In searching for a selection, I realized I could not POSSIBLY read them all, nor would I want to spend money on them.  Many appear to be self-published since several ghost investigation group leaders feel the need to have their own personal volume to use.

Please note that when I mention today’s “modern” ghost hunters I am referring to those who have watched Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures, Paranormal State and other television shows of this genre. It’s well-established (Hill, 2010) that today’s popular hobby grew from fans of these shows who copied what they saw on TV as their preferred method.

Screen Shot 2016-01-16 at 8.13.10 PM

Ghost Hunting: A Practical Guide (UK) – Andrew Green, 1973 

Andrew Green was called “the Spectre Inspector” and was a well-educated pursuer of ghosts for sixty years. He felt that there was such an interest in the subject of ghosts that there was a need for a small, non-technical guide for the amateur. This is the “first-ever do-it-yourself guide for the psychic researcher”. Green eschews fanaticism and suggests that those interested in the ghost phenomenon study parapsychology, thus reflecting the thinking at that time that academic parapsychology would unlock the mystery of life after death. Therefore, a good portion of the book describes parapsychological concepts, such as telepathy, which he states can be an important consideration as to the cause of a phenomena. He describes Zener cards experiments, which would later appear as what ghost researchers study in Ghostbusters (1984). This portion of the book will be rather strange to those weaned on 21st century ghost tv shows (if they manage to find and read this book AT ALL).

Green was certain that psychic powers would be soon be recognized (and respected) by science, the church, and society. He remarked that the existence of ghosts can hardly be challenged in the face of all the cases that have been reported – a common justification for investigators to do their thing. As with many paranormal investigators, Green considered serious ghost hunting important and “groundbreaking” work, the researchers as mavericks.

Contrasting Green’s book with modern ghost guides, we can see some striking differences:

  • Crisis apparitions were described as “thought pictures”. These types of events were more commonly reported then (as were poltergeists). Both were seen to be manifestation of psychical powers. Today’s ghosts hunters are rarely fluent in these historical parapsychological terms.
  • EVPs were called Raudive voices and are not emphasized as evidence. Green thought there were too many potential pitfalls to use them this way.
  • The technology was primitive compared with what we have today. Equipment included very basic detective-type materials: level, compass, strain-gage, sand or sugar, powder for fingerprints, thread, maybe a camera. But the idea of measuring environmental variables was already being pursued by the Society of Psychical Research.
  • Green mentions exorcism but it was clearly not as common as today and people were less bold about it. Today, the concept pervades pop culture and it is treated as a stunt or a ritual that you can train yourself to do. It’s taken less seriously.
  • Green’s advice is that the investigator must be thorough and careful in research and provide a sophisticated investigation. He recommends studying the geology, geography, and past owners. I get the impression that Green’s investigations were not the weekend overnighters of today’s ghost hunters. They were long-term investments in time and effort. The resulting report was to be of print quality!
  • The investigator should NEVER get involved in publicity for the case, Green advises. He recognized that some people are in it just for the attention and this was not a proper impetus to do this work. Well, maybe that hasn’t changed. But to restrict all publicity is not what today’s investigators would agree to.

Green judges the client in terms of credentials. Note this curious “test”:

“The production of a caseful of apparatus at the commencement of an investigation in itself constitutes a test, for the witness of a genuine phenomena will be, or should be, impressed with the serious nature of ghost hunting, while the fraudulent will be worried by the prospect of being exposed.”

That’s quaint. Times have changed.

Green states “I believe” this is the process and how it works but, as with all other ghost hunting guides reviewed here, no support is given to these suppositions. For example: Heat extracted from the environment will energize a haunting. Such ideas about ghost manifestations are very old but have yet to be supported or well-argued.

In summary, Green subscribes to ghosts as real, but this guide provides a number of pieces of sound advice and many examples of normal causes that you will not find in any recent book. He is NOT as careless and overtly credulous as modern ghost hunters. Even though he makes some howlers, he knew his history. This book is well-written and properly edited; the language is written at a higher reading level than most. Some sources are cited in the text but not enough.

How to be a Ghost Hunter – Richard Southall, 2003

This book appears to have been written in 2001 from the front information. That was at the start of the massive proliferation of ghost hunting groups in the US. Southall is located in Parkersburg, West Virginia so examples from around that area are included. He calls it a “unique handbook” and it possibly was at the time. It is not now.

The book is of the “Confessions of a Ghost Hunter” type: ghosts are defined, historical aspects are mentioned, prior cases related, procedures and equipment are suggested, collection of data and evidence are described, and advice on forming a team is offered. Southall states he has a degree in journalism and psychology; the book also has a genuine publisher (of New Age books), which brings the quality and readability of this guide above most others. However, it follows the typical outline of information and includes many unsupported claims, assumptions and statements of “fact”.

Here are some examples:

  • He assumes that ghosts exists, paranormal activity is ghost activity, and these certain descriptions are characteristics of ghosts. How he “knows” this is never explained. No sources are supplied.
  • Various unsourced, un-detailed anecdotes are included. The reader is asked to accept these “just so” without proper justification.
  • Undefined, sciencey-sounding terms are used throughout: “highest amount of paranormal energy”, “life force”, “psychic energy”.
  • If you investigate enough, you will encounter a “demonic entity”. The Ouija board can invite it in so that device is dangerous to use. “The entity will concentrate on the one with the lowest psyche”.
  • You can “recharge” a haunting with an object.
  • “It is common knowledge in parapsychology and metaphysics” that every thing has a life force or aura.
  • Orbs are indications that an area contains a great deal of psychic energy. They concentrate around a person emanating psychic energy.

ghost-hunting-equipment

Why did Southall do a ghost hunting guide? To promote the topic. He was running a ghost tour at the time. He states his role shifted from investigation to teaching. This book fails to supply us with any sense of the author’s scientific credibility. He refers to fictional movies, such as The Sixth Sense, to suggest the real world is really like this.  Southall states that the scientific method is the means to get “tangible, measurable evidence” as opposed to psychic impressions and divination, though the two methods can validate each other. He is not a scientist and it shows.

This book also shows its age. The equipment portion is written for someone who has never owned a camera. It is dull, overly simplistic and sorely out of date with regards to use of digital equipment. He states this howler: “A photograph of a ghost cannot be denied.” This wasn’t even rational advice at the TIME, let alone in the age of phone apps.

He states a good investigator should be unbiased but the language from start to finish is completely biased in the belief that an area is likely haunted. Short shrift is given to examination of mundane causes. But he advises to talk up your own credibility: “Clients love credentials and memberships”.  The bibliography contains no journals or scientific sources, just references to other ghost hunters’ books and mass marketed paranormal pablum.

Southall’s writing projects the attitude of a good person who is concerned with people who are having a paranormal problem and want answers that he believes he can provide. He understands that people need reassurance that what they experience is understandable and things will be OK. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple and misinformation like this makes it worse.

Ultimate Ghost Tech – Vince Wilson, 2012

This book was also published with more or less the same content as another one of Wilson’s books, “Ultimate Ghost Hunter”. Wilson informed me that he did not care for the term “Ghost Hunter” and has recently pulled that book from publication. Different title or not, the book follows the typical ghost hunter guide book. In one of the forewords (one is spelled “foreword”, the other “forword”), Vince is described as the “foremost expert in the technological aspects of paranormal investigation.”

In the other foreword, a rather well-respected parapsychologist reveals the blatant truth about ghost hunting technology: “Let’s face it: ghost hunters love their tech – even if they don’t know how to use it or to assess the data from it in light of the reported phenomena”. Indeed. I agree with that.

The rest of this book is an example of sounding sciencey but falling short of representing anything like scientific investigation. Wilson focuses on technology, of course. An earlier book, Ghost Science – which I saw as a must-read since I am deeply interested in ghosts + science – was atrocious. It was sloppy, formatted terribly, and at the very least, desperately needed an editor who could spell and eliminate awful turns of phrase. That book begins with the premise “One of the main purposes of this book is to show that, not only do ghosts exist but also that the laws that govern reality allow them”. Neither that book, nor this one will demonstrate that stated purpose to anyone who understands how science actually works. Wilson’s array of books (3) are essentially self-published. But according to Wilson, he has progressed past that first book, yet he still stands by the work he did in this one. I cringed at many aspects of UGT and how readers will be misinformed by much of its content.

Examples:

  • He states “random energy particles may hold the essence of consciousness…” There is no basis for such speculation. Shall we talk homeopathy?
  • “Ghosts will be proven to exist one day and so will psychics…” What is the basis of this claim? What will that effort entail? Why after 100 years of trying by actual professionals will things change now with amateur researchers?
  • He uses several phrases that are painful to read, such as “just another theory” (where “theory” is used to mean “a guess” instead of the scientific meaning of an evidence-supported overarching model of explanation), “science is absolute” (What does that even mean?), “sorry about the math” (If you have to apologize for the language of science, you should NOT be reading or writing such a book) and “blah blah blah” (I can hardly think of ANY excuse to write that).
  • He refers to “stuffy scientists” and takes a disparaging tone towards skeptics. In Ghost Science, he called skepticism a quasi-religion.

Several statements rankle me as revealing a disturbingly superficial and inflated attitude of ghost hunting hobbyists. He says Ghostbusters (the movie) changed paranormal research with its lingo and gadgets, “Paranormal research just became really cool overnight.” He suggests science as way to pump up your credibility – not real science, but faking it – saying you should answer questions from people with sciencey words to sound “professional and cool” and a little “nerdy”. People are too embarrassed to ask what you mean.

Not me. I ask. And science-pretenders skirt the uncomfortable questions.

"Ghostbusters"
“Ghostbusters”

Wilson relates all the ubiquitous (and wrong) assumptions about ghosts starting with the belief that they exist (thus scuttling any unbiased investigation of what might really be happening to people). The paradigm of today’s ghost investigation is reflected: changes in the environment can be related to ghost behavior and hauntings; technology can provide objective evidence, more and different data, than just human experience. For example, he suggests that a cold spot could be created (through an explanation of energy transfer) from an entity moving through dimensions. This type of rhetoric (apparent in nearly all ghost hunting guides) gives hope but very flimsy justification to other ghost hunters that they will discover something scientifically incredible:

“You can be an amateur parapsychologist and usher in a new era of paranormal research. Wow! That’s pretty deep for me!” (p 160)

Cringe-worthy and specious.

Wilson, like many of these guide writers, seems well-meaning, but also willing to learn new things, expand his horizons, and is fairly literate in science ideas – just enough to sound knowledgable to people who aren’t scientists, which is most of the population. He is not a scientist but a science enthusiast. It’s a widespread trend for ghost hunters to quote scientific buzzwords and namedrop famous scientists. They attempt to apply very complex physics concepts and theories, such as quantum mechanics, Einstein’s “spooky action at a distance”, to inappropriate situations. There are no scientific sources cited or referenced and explained. There are basically NO sources for the various claims or even the quotes. The recommended reading list contains references that repeat these unverified speculative claims and include pop science sources like The Handy Science Answer Book. This is just not acceptable if you claim to be doing science.

Wilson understands that TV ghost hunters are playing a role and that many paranormal investigators are “fooled by an intense need to believe”. Hoaxes are rampant. So, there is a kernel of truth in much of what he writes. However, that is trumped by his own faith that equipment CAN detect anomalous energy of some sort. The processes he suggests leave out critical considerations about confounding factors and alternative explanations. Wilson has lectured as a ghost tech expert in the past. He suggests giving workshops to teach people about this topic is a good way to fundraise for your group. I find this playing pretend professor/scientist to be profoundly distasteful.

I accept that Vince will be unhappy with my take on his publications as an unfortunate consequence. But if anyone attempts to make such extraordinary claims that are so off the mark, unjustified, and can misinform society, you open yourself to such harsh criticism. I will call you on bullshit and hope you will consider ceasing its propagation.

How to Hunt Ghosts – Joshua P. Warren, 2003

This volume was produced by an affiliate of Simon and Schuster publishing so the basic elements of a book – grammar, punctuation, spelling and formatting –  is superior to small or self-published efforts. But I can’t say we get better quality in the content. The same unsupported model, built on speculative paranormal assumptions, is applied.

The first words “Ghosts are real” show us this is not about investigation but about finding proof to support a preexisting conclusion. These opening words oddly contrast with the last words of the book, “Never pretend to know all the answers. All the answers are not known”. In between, we get a mish-mash of silly claims and scientific misrepresentation. Warren’s resumé does not include science. He writes fiction and worked in film making. Like many who appear on TV shows as talking heads, he touts these appearances to bolster his credibility. It works for those who get their facts from TV, I imagine.

Warren wins the prize for the most sciencey namedropping in a ghost hunting guide – Descartes, Newton, Einstein, Sagan – none of whom had anything positive to say about spirits. Non-scientist Warren says “Let me tell you what static electricity is…”. No, thanks. I’d rather get my science information from someplace OTHER THAN in a book about entities that have not been demonstrated to exist. If we are to take these ghost hunters seriously, they should explain why physicists aren’t writing books about the paranormal but non-scientists are.

Here are some illustrations of the ideas presented:

  • Spiritual manifestations are hidden from us. Our technology is not good enough. There is scientific evidence that ghostly manifestations are real, he says. Warren provides no hint of why physicists can detect subatomic particles and the tiniest releases of energy but our technology is not adequate to identify ghosts. What scientific evidence is he talking about? It’s not in any journals, as is standard with scientific protocol, cited or mentioned.
  • Mainstream science is bad because they need to limit their work to activity of a certain category. “Most scientists are busy enough researching the activity they already know about.” This reveals a core ignorance of how knowledge can progress and is a self-evidently dumb claim. From the early days of the scientific endeavor, knowledge became specialized by necessity. To say science is flawed because of this is like saying medicine is bad because too many doctors specialize in distinct areas of health or surgery. Specialization is advantageous for advancing deep knowledge. Astronomers aren’t collecting and evaluating the same data as biologists or sociologists.
  • If a person dies young, especially violently, “it is likley that a ghost will remain”.
  • Ghosts wrap themselves in ions in order to interact physically. If this is correct, he adds, we can use this to predict and manipulate the phenomena.  There is a kernel of science in there but the assumption that ghosts exists, utilize ions, and interact physcially are all grand assumptions.
  • “Virtually any location can prove to be haunted.” You should experiment to decide if the Ouija board, automatic writing, pendulums, etc. work for you.
  • Warps are areas were the laws of physics seem to be distorted. These may create natural portals. “Warps exemplify the most complicated issues facing science today”. They can be filled with “hundreds or thousands” of entities. The example of a warp is given as the Bermuda Triangle, a myth that was exploded decades ago as sensationalized fiction. Take note that Warren runs a “Bermuda Triangle Research” site in Puerto Rico.
  • There is a “correlation between ghost manifestations and standing (acoustical) waves” – it may make the ghost appear. This is in contrast to the well-known research of Vic Tandy who demonstrated that an inadvertently created standing wave was responsible for behavior of materials (metal fencing foil) and possibly the fluid in our eyeballs that could lead to ghost-like reports. Unless I’m missing something (there are no citations to check), Warren has this concept COMPLETELY backwards.

We’re way out on the fringe here. Such incredible claims should have equally incredible documentation provided. Nope. Nothing. It’s practically lying.

Warren knows some science basics, that’s clear, but like many other ghost researchers, he applies them wildly incorrectly. There is an overuse of the term energy without a reasonable definition provided. Warren claims that there is energy of attraction, energy that comes out of our eyes when we look at someone. He says we have auras around us. Dowsing rods that you can make yourself can detect energy fields. His research group (of which he is founder and president) is called the League of Energy Materialization and Unexplained Phenomenon Research (LEMUR). I first heard of Warren through his investigation of the ghost light phenomena. He also thinks this is energy produced by the earth. On the whole, this is one of his lesser outrageous ideas, since such lights are actually documented in several places around the world, but the methods of amateur research are unlikely to produce any results of value. The answer to what causes ghost lights is certainly complex and multivariate.

Warren refers to many fictional movies for examples – he is, after all, a fiction novelist. I question at what level ghost hunters can distinguish scientific facts from PURE fictional license. And, their lack of attention to examination of very normal, reasonable explanations, providing foundationless claims instead that might as well be fiction, dooms them to failure in any effort to advance worthwhile conclusions about ghost experiences. It also leaves them wide open targets for derision by scientists working in legitimate research endeavors. Warren exhibits paranormal pretentiousness. Since he’s moved into the realm of hawking “wishing machines” and lucky charms, he’s lost all credibility. Scientific? Credible? Not in any senses of the words.

Additional Samples

To try to be as thorough as possible, I accessed a sample of several of the dozens of e-books available in the Amazon lenders library. I tried to pick those that ranked high in the search. I did not preview them beforehand so this is nearly a “random” selection off the shelf.

Unsurprisingly, these also fit into the same template and had similar characteristics:

  • “Just so” facts and stories
  • No references
  • Lack of proofing or editing including several typographical errors and incorrect punctuation
  • Poor layout and design
  • Unsophisticated, overly casual writing style
  • Superficial content

I included screen shots of various selections that I highlighted in these books to show I’m not making this stuff up – this is what people really wrote and marketed for sale.

Ultimate Ghost Hunting Guide –  Jeff Terrozas, 2011

Subtitled “Everything you need to know for paranormal research”, the content is overly rambling and amateurish. Typos abound, the layout is annoyingly sloppy. The premise is that ghost hunting is “fun”, so have fun. It’s not to be taken seriously unless you want to make money. In that case, you should act “professional”. This book should not be taken seriously.

Fun

Ghost Seekers Field Guide, Volume 1 – Frank Potterstone, 2011

No proofreading or editing was apparently done to this manuscript. The language and grammar is poor, typos are abundant and the layout is simply ugly. There is an overuse of ellipses, and random unattributed quotes. Though the author means well, with these factors, the lack of adherence to punctuation conventions, and the unfocused content, this book is unreadable. Yes, there was a Volume 2 as well.

GSFG

Ultimate Ghost Hunter Field Guide – Brandy Burgess, n.d.

Layout is very poor with line breaks in the middle of a sentence and random capitalization of words. Grammar is poor and the writing is amateurish and unfocused. The author lays out “facts” such as a description of “psychic burns” and “awakenings” without any support for such supernatural claims. She says you will know a spirit is demonic because of the sulfur or rotten flesh smell as well as the growling sounds. They also appear in half-human, half-animal form. These sound like verifiable claims; one wonders why we can’t prove such incredible new findings if they are so obvious.

UGHFG_2

 *     *     *     *

UGHFG_psychicburn

 *     *     *     *

brandy

Ghost Hunting 101: The Ultimate Resource for Beginner and Experienced Ghost Hunters – *Ghostly World*, 2015

Ghostly World is a website “dedicated to all things haunted”. The authors say on their site that they are not an investigation team or even “in the paranormal field”. Yet, here they are publishing and charging for an instruction book on ghost hunting. How’s that for zero credibility?

The layout of this book is good and the writing style is generally appropriate to a serious handbook. There are some typos. The content is shallow and lacks development and explanations. Terms and labels are assigned subjectively. For example, readers are told there are three kinds of ghost hunters: a hobbyist, a serious researcher and a home investigator. A random graph is included (because graphs look sciencey) without any source data to show 100% are hobbyists, 50% are serious researchers and only 10% are home investigators. Going into a client’s home is serious stuff where the ghost hunter needs to provide comfort and assistance to the residents while studying spirits. The unnamed author(s) suggest the ghost hunter may need to act in the capacity of a “therapist” –  a highly unethical suggestion. Meanwhile, the reader is warned that Ouija boards and other occult dealings will bring about dangerous evil spirits. They seem to think Grant Wilson and Jason Hawes invented ghost hunting.
GH101

Some of these books are surprisingly candid, as I found with How to Legally Gain Access to Haunted Locations: A Guide for Paranormal Investigators (n.d.) by Casper Waylin. Waylin makes no apologies for playing pretend and weaseling your way into clients’ homes. He recommends following what you see on TV shows:

Professionalism starts as “pretending” but evolves into something that’s real. If you’re just getting started as a ghost hunting group, you’ll need to pretend that you’re a “professional” and put on a convincing act for the people you talk to in order to gain entry into a particular location. Put together a good costume (some nice clothes) and props (legal documents and contracts) and then tell clients and gatekeepers exactly what you plan to do from beginning to end. In terms of how you greet and speak to new clients, it can help to model other group leaders you’ve seen on TV or read about in books and for crying out loud, make sure that you have a firm handshake and you look them in the eye during your initial contact!

and

Acting professional is okay if you’re not really a professional. Find a character in a movie or watch some of the later episodes of TAPS [Ghost Hunters] or Ghost Adventures and emulate the paranormal investigators that you can relate to best.

So, copy the guys on TV when you enter other people’s houses. This is awful, awful stuff.

Trust-Me-I-m-a-Ghost-Hunter---Paranormal---Ghosts-Kids--Shirts

Finally, I would like to mention a specialty guide called The Other Side: A Teen’s guide to Ghost Hunting and the Paranormal (2009) by Gibson, Burns, and Schrader. This might be considered one of the least worst books since it was done by a reputable publisher and contains a handful of good advice. There are two overarching and egregious problems with this book. 1. Misinformation directed at teens to take on this topic and “educate the masses” about “what our place is in the universe and what possibilities there are of an afterlife”; and 2. The ignorant and condescending attitude towards science as hard and cumbersome, and skepticism as cynical bullying (p. 67). The logical fallacies and unsupported claims rampant in this book would make it excellent to use as an example for a critical thinking exercise.

Most, perhaps all, of these authors wrote these books because they believed it would be helpful to an audience or to their investigation group as a way to codify what they deemed to be important knowledge and procedures that everyone was expected to follow. With the advent of easy self-publishing, we’ve seen a proliferation of low-quality, previously unpublishable books like never before. Anyone, even someone who never wrote an article or term paper, can publish a book, sell it, and claim to be an author. There is no excuse for publishing a book without having it edited for basic grammar, spelling, and punctuation. If I had a nickel for all the times I read the phrases “First of all”, “First and foremost”, “Suffice (it) to say”, and “Let me be clear” in these books, I would take my few bucks and go buy a drink. There is no justification for the amount of self-serving, misguided misinformation out there that promises the reader that “this book” is the (ultimate) thing you need to set yourself up as a genuine, credible, and successful ghost hunter.

My recommendation: Don’t bother with any of them.

Look up books done by professional science writers or work done by actual parapsychologists to learn the literature of the field before you write a book and say you know what you are talking about.

I’ll end with some suggestions for those who plan to write future guides to the paranormal, if there has to be any…SPI_Cover

There are two books you must research. BUY Scientific Paranormal Investigation by Benjamin Radford (2010). If you do any paranormal investigation, this should be your only guide for now.

Secondly, refer to Parapsychology, A Handbook for the 21st Century by Cardena et al., eds. (2015). You can borrow this from a university library or browse it online. While I have disagreements with content in this volume, it is an example of a credible way to construct a sophisticated and useful handbook that will be relevant for decades. It will also give the ghost hunter hobbyists an eye-opener on the insane amount of parapsychological research that has been done by far more qualified people of various disciplines. Written at a college reading level, it is not in the same class of books cited above making all amateur guides look extremely unsophisticated. But if you are going to claim to be doing groundbreaking important research that will enhance our future knowledge about spirits and hauntings, you REALLY need to up your game. Considerably. I call for no more ghost guidebooks.

ghost_hunter_oval_sticker-rd8609fbdb3cd440eb7a01b06db6fd5c3_v9wz7_8byvr_324

References:

Hill, Sharon (2010) Being Scientifical: Popularity, Purpose and Promotion of Amateur Research and Investigation Groups in the U.S. A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University at Buffalo, State University of New York in partial fulfillment of requirements for Degree of Master of Education EdM [PDF]

Hill, Sharon (2013) Sounds Sciencey Presentation at NECSS https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9CmgweT0eE0

 

About idoubtit

Fluent in science, animals, paranormal culture. Expert in weird news. Doubtfulnews.com SpookyGeology.com

0 thoughts on “A Guide to Ghost Hunting Guidebooks: NO MORE! Please!

  1. Thank you, a wonderful article. When our skeptic group was asked to revisit a haunted house, we were asking other skeptics “so what should we bring?” There are not just online sites for ghost hunting equipment, but DISCOUNT OUTLETS! Hello? The most interesting thing was how different the ghost descriptions were between the people that worked at the supposedly haunted site, and the ghost hunters. Also the ghost hunters were very upset when they heard we were visiting. Probably because of few of their claims were easily disproven! http://yankeeskeptic.com/2012/10/17/halloween-haunted-house-investigation/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *