WHEN A PERSON says he or she does not believe in ghosts, it's understandable. Aren't ghosts, after all, just the creation of horror and fantasy authors and Hollywood filmmakers? Aren't they just Halloween figures designed to delight and excite the imaginations of children? Aren't they merely illusory figments of the mind? Aren't they fantastic conjurings for which science has no explanation?
Yes, ghosts can be all of those things. But the fact is, the ghost phenomenon - which has been reported since the beginning of recorded history - is quite real. And if a person can say he or she does not believe in ghosts after reading Brad Steiger's [link url>http://erclk.about.com/?zi=15/R%5dO]Real Ghosts, Restless Spirits, and Haunted Places, he or she is in serious denial.
Steiger is one of the most prolific authors on the subject of ghosts and the supernatural - about 150 titles and counting - so this is familiar territory for him, and there are few people as qualified to write it. In this new volume from Visible Ink Press, he has gathered some of the most compelling evidence for ghosts and hauntings in the form of photographs, first-hand accounts from people who experienced them, and many of the best-documented cases in history. As Steiger himself says, at 615 pages, this is his magnum opus on the subject.
As any regular reader of this website or of the supernatural knows, there are many forms of ghost phenomena. These include hauntings (which may be energy recorded on an environment), apparitions, messengers, poltergeists (noisy spirits) and other anomalies that defy categorization. They are all well represented in this book. It's difficult to know where even to begin when reviewing this book because it is so chock full of fascinating stories, encounters and facts. Any page you flip open to will grab your attention and bring you face-to-face with the unknown.
Steiger has left nothing out. He has tapped paranormal researchers, investigators and websites for some of their best case studies. He even recounts several of his personal experiences with ghosts, which he has seen, smelled and felt. He takes us inside haunted houses and apartments; into haunted churches, cemeteries and battlegrounds; aboard ghost ships, planes and railroads; into ghost-invested hotels, restaurants and theaters.
On the inspiring or feel-good side, there are great stories of ghosts who have come back to deliver messages to the living or to say goodbye, animal ghosts and religious apparitions. Many readers will also get a kick out of the chapter on celebrities' ghostly encounters - as well as ghosts of Hollywood stars themselves, such as Valentino and Marilyn Monroe.
On the dark, scary side, there are unnerving tales of mischievous (and sometimes dangerous) poltergeists, mysterious shadow people, hooded bedroom invaders and even "strange beings that masquerade as humans." Steiger also includes a chapter on ghosts from outer space!
Peppered throughout the book are lots of terrific ghost photographs, some classic and many that I have never seen in print before. Some are more convincing than others, but all are fascinating.
In short, Real Ghosts, Restless Spirits, and Haunted Places is the best, most complete collection of believable evidence for the reality of these phenomena. When I was a kid, whenever I went to the library I would look for books of good, true ghost stories. This is the kind of book I always hoped I'd find. It's a valuable reference work as well as an entertaining source of spine-tingling, late-night reading.