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on July 6, 2004
Parapsychologist Sam Towne runs a research facility that conducts investigations into paranormal anomalies--observable instances of psychokinesis, the movement of matter through psychic power. When he meets Joanna Cross, a staff writer for the magazine Around Town who has just published an article exposing a couple of mind-readers as con artists, an interesting group project suggests itself: Sam and Joanna decide to enlist volunteers to help them conjure up a ghost. The phantom they have in mind is not your run-of-the-mill, graveyard-haunting variety, but rather a thought-form that the group members will hallucinate into being, after extensive research into the time period from which their ghost hails, and after creating for him an elaborate back-story. The problem is, once you will something into being, it may not be eager to give up the ghost, as it were, when you'd like it to.
David Ambrose's thriller Superstition is intelligent and genuinely scary in parts, and its conclusion, despite being hinted at in a prologue, is impossible to figure out in advance. Part Jack Finney's Time and Again (a book the characters in Superstition in fact discuss), part ghost story, the book--if not offering the sort of suspense that will keep you glued to the pages all night--is well worth the read.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon March 14, 2003
Everyone is superstitious to some degree. They have to be. Look at the fact. Every cause has an effect. Cause and effect are opposites. so are black and white, right and wrong, good and evil - the list is endless! Opposites, like the two sides of a mirror. One cannot exist without the other. OR CAN IT?
Sam Towne was a Parapsychologist that believed ghosts came from the human mind, not from beyond. For an experiment he got eight volunteers, including reporter Joanna Cross and physics professor Roger Fullerton. They would use "psi" to make "tulpas". To put it simply, they would make up a person, give him a pretend life, discuss him until he became "real" to all of those in the group, and then have the "thought-form" respond to them! They would make a real ghost!
Soon, Adam Wyatt was made. He was a tragic Revolutionary War hero. Everyone was thrilled when he began rapping on tables and spelling out messages. But then members of the group began to die in awful ways! And there was no way to exorcize Adam. He was killing them one at a time!
*** Scary and unprovable! I felt a couple chills as I read this one. Perfect for fans of horror or those who just enjoy a good ghost story! Should not give you nightmares. But you will remember this story, and wonder, for the rest of your life! Excellent! ***
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on December 7, 2001
This book really scared me. I literally couldn't put it down. I read it straight through in one sitting, took a deep breath, and started over again from the beginning. Finally, the sun came up and I was able to go to sleep. It's very odd that the Amazon readers' reviews range from "ho-hum" to "extremely scary." I guess it depends on the reader's idea of just what's scary. For example, Stephen King has yet to give me the creeps, but how can you deny his almost universal popularity? If you like gory, monster/madmen-filled fiction, you may not like "Superstition."
I think Ambrose pulled off a very difficult feat: after reading this book for a while, you get the feeling that something real, or at least possible, is happening. In addition to creating a very believable ghost, Ambrose gets into some interesting speculations along the lines of Sci/Fi's "Alternate Universes" theory. Does the past create the present? Or could the present create the past? Can you "make up" a ghost that takes on a life of its own and becomes a "real" ghost? Real to such an extent that he's able to change reality for the participants in the experiment? Ambrose touches on these ideas and even a smattering of quantum physics, but these enhance the story line and do not interfere with the good old-fashioned ghost story fun.
FYI, the film rights to this book were sold to a company called Interscope for one million dollars. The foreign film rights were sold to a Netherlands/United Kingdom production company in October, 2001. I hope the movie version is able to capture the creepy but believable feel of the book and doesn't resort to cheap thrills. Oh, there are plenty of scenes of violence and mayhem, but it's the IDEAS that make this such a scary read.
If you love ghost stories, ouija boards, and table-tapping but also enjoy speculative sciences such as parapsychology, ESP, and mind over matter, this is the perfect book for you.
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on April 11, 2001
Everyone is superstitious to some degree. They have to be. Look at the fact. Every cause has an effect. Cause and effect are opposites. so are black and white, right and wrong, good and evil - the list is endless! Opposites, like the two sides of a mirror. One cannot exist without the other. OR CAN IT?
Sam Towne was a Parapsychologist that believed ghosts came from the human mind, not from beyond. For an experiment he got eight volunteers, including reporter Joanna Cross and physics professor Roger Fullerton. They would use "psi" to make "tulpas". To put it simply, they would make up a person, give him a pretend life, discuss him until he became "real" to all of those in the group, and then have the "thought-form" respond to them! They would make a real ghost!
Soon, Adam Wyatt was made. He was a tragic Revolutionary War hero. Everyone was thrilled when he began rapping on tables and spelling out messages. But then members of the group began to die in awful ways! And there was no way to exorcize Adam. He was killing them one at a time!
*** Scary and unprovable! I felt a couple chills as I read this one. Perfect for fans of horror or those who just enjoy a good ghost story! Should not give you nightmares. But you will remember this story, and wonder, for the rest of your life! Excellent! ***
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on December 16, 2000
Let me first start off by saying, that this is a creepy and freaky book. An interesting sidenote is that the idea of "Superstitions" actually happened. Ambose tells about the orginal experiment in the acknowledgements of the book.
Here is a quick recap of this novel. Sam Towne want's to try an experiment. He wants to get a group and try to create a ghost. When they meet, the group creats "Adam". The group has given Adam a history...life, adventures, love, a past, and a death. Things start to get freaky for the group when they make contact with Adam. It starts off with a few table knocks...but that's nothing....Adam has something instore for them...and it just may come at a high price, their sanity. And for some, it will be a much higher price...their life. This book makes one point, be careful for what you wish for, you may just get it.
David Ambrose is a wonderful author. I came across this book on a bargin bin, and decided to take a chance on it. Boy did I make a wise decision!! There are so many plot twists and spooky happenings, that the reader can't help but to be hooked. Superstitions also has a *wicked* ending. I never saw it coming.
If you like ghost stories, or the X-files, I highly, highly suggest this book. It will give you a case of the heebie jeebies. I can't say enough about this book. Once you start it, it will be hard to put down.
Remember: Becareful what you wish for, you may just get it.
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on August 25, 2003
Imagine inventing the ghost of someone who has never existed. Make him anyone you like, from any country and any time you like. Give him a name, a history, goals and dreams. Fun to think about, but it would never work. But it did work for university professor Sam Towne and a small group of volunteers. It worked too well. Dangerously well.
'Superstition' is a gripping, nail-biting horror story that will cause you to wonder not only about the paranormal, but about the people you encounter everyday. Were they "invented" by someone else's imagination? Why did they just suddenly appear? Ambrose asks some difficult questions and places himself in some very difficult situations for a writer, but he's definitely up to handling each challenge. Ambrose is a master craftsman. He builds a completely plausible story with instantly believable characters. The atmosphere and descriptions are so good, you'll think you're in this predicament yourself. Enjoy.
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on February 16, 2000
Wow! After reading a bunch of junky, not scary, badly written horror novels recently, I'm happy to report that this one is a keeper and well worth your time if you like horror or ghost stories. The opening is not great, and it takes about 30 or 40 pages to get going, but once it does, it's full steam ahead. Despite the fact that it is based on a real case of psychic experimentation, I didn't believe a word of the scientific justification presented here. Thankfully, that didn't stop me from enjoying this on a pulp horror level, with strong and clear writing and interesting characters. This will make a great movie someday, but read it first. It kept reminding me of Rosemary's Baby (perhaps my favorite modern horror novel outside of the books of Stephen King), not so much because of plot similarities, but because of general atmosphere--and the fact that Levin's novel is referred to directly a couple of times. Highly recommended.
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on March 21, 2000
SUPERSTITION is my introduction to David Ambrose. I just happened to stumble across him surfing through amazon.com one lazy evening. I can now say I am an Ambrose fan and will go on to his other novels.

SUPERSITION might take some a few pages to "get into". But once you get going, you just have to find out how it ends. The love story between Sam and Joanne adds a bit of spice without bogging down the ghost story. This isn't a gory slasher novel. It deals with the psychology of fear, alternate universes, the powerful effect of the human mind, and plain 'ole revenge! Read this book for the ending if for nothing else. At times it rambles, but everything pulls together (trust me). This was definitely a good read, and I highly recommend it if you like your horror to present a bit of intelligence along with the chills.
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on January 18, 2000
Let me start by saying that I definitely enjoyed reading this book. From the first paragraph, I was drawn into a well-painted modern Manhattan world, but I definitely could put it down. It was very amusing and thoughtful. It also brought up the possibilities of an alternate universe, kind of like a scary, 20th century "It's a Wonderful Life" (with regards to what would happen if certain events did and did not happen and how they would effect the lives of certain people) with a Oija board and different set of characters. Although this book did not "grab me" and make me hold on, the writing was precise and intelligent, and because I love this genre, would probably look for other titles by this author, since it was a quick read.
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on July 3, 2000
This is one of the most interesting and terrifying books I have read in years. Brimming with fresh ideas and original characters, "Superstition" deserves to be read by anybody who loves smart, classy horror fiction. Unlike Bentley Little or, even worse, J.G. Passarella, Ambrose deserves all of the praise he gets. The most intriguing thing about "Superstition" is the basic premise that Ambrose formulates and then runs with: are ghosts real, or are they mearly an untapped part of our own minds? This may sound dry and unoriginal, but what Ambrose does with this premise results in a truly scary novel. Pass on some of the hacks out there, and read "Superstition". You will not be disappointed.
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