Sunday, December 13, 2009


For those who have ever been curious about that paranormal phenomenon known as the poltergeist, then this book by Colin Wilson is for you. Poltergeist: A Classic Study in Destructive Haunting goes beyond simply telling a scary ghost story. It delves into centuries of stories and case studies, dating as far back as the Ancient Greeks and Romans and has some research to back it up. It answers many questions, and leaves others unanswered.

The stories he shares range from the typical ghost story of objects flying through the air, to some of the most truly bizarre, such as the girl who could see through her ear, or the talking mongoose. Some of them are famous, such as the story of the Bell witch, and the bizarre case of Uri Geller and his ability to make random objects move and appear. Other stories are lesser known.

What they tend to have in common is some sort of force that propels the movement of the objects, usually centering around a teenager, almost always a female. When she leaves a place that appears to be inhabited by a poltergeist, the events usually stop. Most poltergeists do not speak, but on occasion, they attempt to mimic speech. Most can be eventually driven away. All of them are creepy.

It's a book that is going to appeal to the more intellectual crowd, as the stories are written as case studies. Wilson attempts to use strong evidence for answering questions, such as the creation and impetus of poltergeist forces, and what tactics they seem to use for survival. It is well-researched, with documentation spanning the centuries, as well as scholarly studies and reports by other professionals in the field. Those stories that seem unlikely are exposed and challenged. Wilson has been chasing ghosts for years, and knows what he is talking about.

While the book doesn't read like a novel, it is still an entertaining look into a history that is shared by cultures all over the world. It's the kind of history that you are not going to get in a traditional classroom setting. And it's scary enough to give you chills when you read it before bed or to question those little bumps you hear in the night.

Purchase Poltergeist: A Classic Study in Destructive Hauntings

I received a review copy of this book from the publisher via my association with

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