9 Haunting Nonfiction Books About Ghosts
When I’m not indulging my morbid curiosity by reading books about serial killers, I’m asking one of the biggest questions of all: what happens to us after we die? It's a truly morbid topic of thought, but that's why so many books about ghosts exist. I have no definitive proof one way or another about what happens after death, but I find the idea of coming back as a ghost pretty comforting. Unfortunately, there’s no proof that I'm going to come back as awesome the ghosts from Harry Potter (aren’t they only the ghosts of wizards and witches anyway?) but hey, I’ll take whatever I can get. According to a Harry Poll, a shocking 42% of Americans believe in ghosts, so I’m not the only one who wants to believe. If you're reading this, you probably do, too.
It seems as though you can’t throw a rock into popular culture without hitting a “true” account of a haunting, and almost every local area has tales of their own ghosts. I’ve compiled a list of nine nonfiction books about ghosts. These are allegedly true stories and firsthand accounts of spooky hauntings and demonic entities. Sure, we don’t know if they’re real, but isn’t it just nice to pretend? Check them out and decide for yourself.
1. The AmityvilleHorror by Jay Anson
On in the December of , the Lutz family moved into their dream home, complete with a swimming pool, finished basement, and a boathouse. Twenty-eight days later, the family fled in horror, leaving almost all of their possessions behind, carrying with them a story of paranormal terror that was widely publicized at the time. Turns out, the house carried a deadly history: it was the site of a mass murder years before.
On the day they moved in, a mysterious otherworldly voice roared "Get out!" at the priest who had been invited to bless the home. This was just the beginning of a terrifying month during which the family was tormented by an unseen force. Written with all the suspense of a horror film, this book claims to be entirely true, but the veracity of these claims are truly up to the reader.
Click here to read.
2. The Haunted: One Family's Nightmare by Robert Curran
Over the course of several years, the family of Jack and Janet Smurl were abused by strange and inhuman entities. Their encounters with the paranormal were even verified by researchers, priests, psychics, and neighbors. These events range from the innocuous to the truly terrifying, including the ripping out of ceiling fixtures, the beating and levitating of the family dog, and the repeated appearance of a hooded figure on their home. To make matters worse, it seems as though the ghostly figure begins to follow them even when they leave the home, and pretty soon it's made clear that the Smurl family is not only living in a haunted house, but they're living haunted lives.
Click here to buy.
3. The Myrtles Plantation: The True Story of America's Most Haunted House by Frances Kermeen
The Myrtles Plantation in Louisiana has long been recognized by the media and parapsychologists as the most haunted house in the United States. This room bed-and-breakfast was once owned by Frances Kermeen, who chronicles the experiences that forever changed her view on the supernatural. While the haunting was at times benevolent, Kermeen also faced threats from the Ku Klux Klan, a horrible betrayal, and the catastrophic loss of friends during her time at the Myrtles, which all combines together to be one crazy compelling read.
Click here to buy.
4. The Uninvited: the True Story of the Union Screaming House by Steven A. LaChance
In this firsthand account, Steven LaChance tells the tale of how his family was driven from their home in Union, Missouri by what seems to be a mysterious demonic entity. This unseen force did terrifying and unspeakable things which eventually led to two people being institutionalized. After fleeing the house, LaChance believes himself to be safe, until he's contacted by Helen, the new owner, and he realizes that he must help her. This true story reads like a chilling thriller.
Click here to buy.
5. The Demonologist: the Extraordinary Career of Ed and Lorraine Warren by Gerald Brittle
For over five decades, Ed and Lorraine Warren were renowned as the world's best paranormal investigators. Lorraine was a gifted clairvoyant, and Ed was recognized by the Catholic Church as the only non-ordained demonologist in the world. These two people have lived extraordinary (and super paranormal) lives, and in this book, the secrets and terrifying religious background behind every spooky haunting are uncovered.
Click here to buy.
6. Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife by Mary Roach
Mary Roach is at it again. After studying what happens to dead bodies donated to science in Stiff, she turned her scientific eye to what happens to us after we die. In this meticulously researched nonfiction book, Roach attempts to use science to determine whether an afterlife even exists. Spook takes a look at mediums, the souls of reincarnated children, and ghosts with a mixture of fact and humor that makes for an infectious read.
Click here to buy.
7. Ghosts Caught on Film: Photographs of the Paranormal by Melvyn Willan and Donald West
For those of you who prefer visual books, Ghosts Caught on Film shows a collection of strange and unexplained photographs that just may prove the existence of ghosts. Each picture is accompanied by an explanation of the circumstances surrounding the haunting as well as the research efforts to establish that there is no "normal" explanation for the photo.
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8. Beware the Night by Ralph Sarchie and Lisa Collier Cool
Ralph Sarchie is a year veteran of the NYPD, working primarily out of the Bronx. But his other job (what he calls "the Work") involves hunting ghosts and performing exorcisms. Now for the first time, he's spilling his secrets and discussing his investigation into the incredible unsolved true crimes that seem to defy explanation or understanding to anyone except for Sarchie and his partner. Some of these cases include a haunting by a malevolent bride who was murdered in the 19th century, a pair of neighbors who were literally from Hell, and so much more. It might be too crazy to be true, but it at least makes for an awesome read.
Click here to buy.
9. Weird Hauntings: True Tales of Ghostly Places by Joanne Austin, Mark Moran, Mark Sceurman, and Ryan Doan
If you love the Weird U.S. series but wish they were a little creepier, take a look at Weird Hauntings. This guide to the most haunted houses in America features first-hand accounts of spooky house hauntings, ghostly graveyards, haunted roads, and loads of other spooky places. So, hop in the car, and hit the road toward some of the scariest haunted places in America if you dare!
Click here to buy.
Image: Platinum Dunes, Radar Pictures
Morphic Resonance & The Presence of the Past: The Memory of Nature by Rupert Sheldrake
Rupert Sheldrake, Ph.D., and former research fellow of the Royal Society, guides us through his journey to discover if our memories exist outside ourselves, and how that idea could affect our view on how the entire universe operates. Sheldrake gently opens the mind to this idea with solid thinking, educated speculation, and sound experimentation. More than just a mental exercise, his theory proposes that all self-organizing systems, from crystals to human society share a common memory which guides their collective form and behavior. Basically, the more people learn something, the easier it is for others to learn. Which, if true, would have huge implications in the field of paranormal research, not to mention the fields of biology, chemistry, physics, psychology, and sociology. If our memories are collectively shared and stored outside our own brains, are ghosts simply some sort of manifestation of shared memories? I recommend this book to anyone looking to draw their mind out of the box we so comfortably live in and reshape how we think about well, pretty much everything.”
Buy Presence of the Past on Amazon.
(Author, Writer/Researcher, Ghost Adventures; Host,New England Legendspodcast, and TV series):
Confessions of a Ghost-Hunter by Harry Price
Published in London in , this is a must-read to see how far paranormal investigation has come (and how little it’s actually changed in almost a century). In the book, Harry Price ( – ) explores some of his favorite cases, how to test a spirit medium, spirit photography, and he delves into his methods of investigating including equipment, trigger objects, interviews, and theories. Harry Price is the original ghost hunter.
Read it for free online here.
Ghosts: True Encounters with the World Beyond by Hans Holzer
Parapsychologist Hans Holzer ( – ) helped usher the paranormal into the mainstream with his many books and media appearances. Originally published in , Holzer profiles some of his favorite cases and the first-hand experiences encountered by the witnesses he interviewed. By 97’, Holzer had reached the age and point of his career where he believed he pretty much had everything figured out. Though I don’t agree with all of his theories or ideas on the afterlife, I tip my hat at his confidence on spelling out the unknown.”
8 Paranormal Books You Need to Read
Not quite right.
Just plain weird.
Youll hear such words and phrases applied to works of paranormal literature, and for good reason. At their best, novels and stories of this sort send that delightful, disconcerting tingle down your backbone. Perhaps a sense that the author once happened upon an extrasensory doorway, and—having stepped through it for awhile—has come back with a fresh sense of how our world works. . .or how certain powers external to our world, housed in other dimensions or realms of sensation, affect the contours of our own reality.
The characters in books of this ilk are often overly curious or power-hungry or just plain unlucky; they tend to find themselves at that nexus where our world touches other worlds, getting a glimpse (or more than just a glimpse) of the creatures or presences who inhabit them.
So forthwith, please find an octet of paranormal literature books which are all but guaranteed to make you question the bounds of human perception, taking you on journeys beyond the safe fires of humankind.
Jeremias Gotthelf, The Black Spider
A short, fairly nasty little folktale where the Green Man (let’s just call him what he is: the devil) makes a pact with a village. In the way of such things, the villagers renege on their pact and the Green Man takes his revenge in the form of the titular creature. Some may find the Catholic guilt overtones a little much, but it’s a product of its time.
Will Elliott, The Pilo Family Circus
You want something a little odd, a bit twisty, a shade darker? Elliott’ll get you sorted out good. Our intrepid narrator ingests some beads he found inside a velvet sack, which was tossed behind the bushes by a trio of sinister clowns … why? His transformation—both mentally and physically—drives the plot of this strange and spooky book.
Muriel Spark, Ghost Stories
A short and startling book of atmospheric short stories having to do with, you guessed it, ghosts. Fans of The Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents will be delighted by these incredibly well-told spine-tinglers.
Sara Gran, Come Closer
A startling number of writers have told me that this is either the best, or one of the best books they’ve ever read. It’s short (come to think of it, that’s a common feature of many books on this list), exquisitely written, and downright freaky. If demonic possession scares you witless, you may want to avoid this one—or purchase it immediately, if you enjoy being scared thusly.
Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
It’s a classic for a reason. Everyone knows the basic of the plot; it’s such a versatile idea that it’s been done and redone in a thousand ways, subtle variants on the theme. But Wilde’s style is inimitable, and his character, preening ole Dorian, would fit right in with today’s Instagrammers and YouTubers.
Victor LaValle, The Devil in Silver
LaValle’s The Changeling and The Ballad of Black Tom are excellent, but his third novel hits all the right notes. Shades of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, with the patients at a mental hospital battling the uncaring staff and a monster (of sorts) roaming the halls.
Robert W. Chambers, The King in Yellow
Another classic. Uncanny is the best word that applies to this one. It’s the sort of book that, after you read it, you’ll see how massive its influence has been—many modern-day books of horror of speculative fiction borrow some of the themes that Chambers introduced.
Octavia Butler, Fledgling
Butler is a master, and Fledgling was her first novel after a seven-year hiatus. She came back with a bang. On the surface this is a vampire novel. . .but Butler uses the hoary myth of the bloodsucker to comment on race, belonging, and otherness.
Craig Davidsons The Saturday Night Ghost Club is out now from Penguin Books.
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Paranormal books nonfiction best
We kissed again. Thank you. I will be here next year, if you want - we will meet at the same place.THE 4 SCARIEST NONFICTION BOOKS I'VE EVER READ [CC]
Father and brother. And mother. Nope.
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