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The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2000
It was intially refreshing to see that this author paid some heed to the findings of skepticism, but as I became more familiar with the volume, I found numerous cases where she had failed to make simple cross-checks of non-parapsychological historic resources that would undermine the tales her main sources told. (The Alcatraz article, for example, contains numerous erroneous claims about the Rock.)
Her research into the claims of various spiritualists is often incomplete: she claims, for example, that D.D. Home was never found to be cheating even though contemporary stage magicians often reproduced his effects. She also says that Home levitated in the presence of eyewitnesses, neglecting to mention that these witnesses were blindfolded or sitting in darkened rooms.
I do find Guiley useful for her recounting of various other ghost legends (the section on the Bell Witch, for example, contains three complete legends about the haunting). But it falls short of a great reference work. Any good reference on ghosts and spirits needs more biographical information about those who have debunked spirits, more counter-checking of facts, and more willingness to disappoint the ghost groupies. Despite her efforts to appear more balanced, it is obvious that Guiley writes for the money and doesn't dare to challenge what has become, in publishing, a major source of revenue.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 12, 2003
This book is a must have for those interested in the paranormal. I have referred to this book many times since it was purchased, especially when I was trying to find more information on a specific ghostly encounter. This book also makes an excellent "coffee table book," because all who have stopped by my house cannot help but be drawn to it! I absolutely love when I leave the room and come back, and I see my company turning the pages of The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits.
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on April 17, 2000
ENCYCLOPEDIA OF GHOSTS AND SPIRITS For a number of years, I have recommended Rosemary Ellen Guiley's wonderful encyclopedia as an indispensable guide for students of the supernatural. It has been on the top of my list for books that every ghost hunter should have and I consider it a seminal work in the paranormal field. There exist so few books on the market that can be used as extensively, and with as wonderful a result, as this book can be.
I have searched long and hard for a book that can be used as effectively as this one can and have been unable to find it. I believe that there exists perhaps no greater reference work pertaining to the history of ghosts, hauntings and spirits and for this reason alone, Rosemary should be commended for the tremendous amount of work that has gone into this book. This is an essential guide and I encourage you to read it from cover to cover. We all have much to learn when it comes to the supernatural and if you desire information, then this book makes an excellent source!
TROY TAYLOR AUTHOR & AMERICAN GHOST SOCIETY PRESIDENT
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on April 8, 2002
I picked this up with several other volumes on ghosts and was pleasantly surprised. It looks like a not-very-serious coffee table book, but when you dive into it you find that it's a serious piece of work. I read or skimmed all of the entries over a period of evenings and learned much that I didn't know before. The author seems to have a balanced perspective, and the nit-picking by the one reviewer below probably tells you more about the reviewer than about the author. Bear in mind that it's focus is limited to ghosts -- it doesn't purport to be a general encyclopedia of the paranormal, such as Nandor Fodor's classic work. Having said that, I would put this on a par with Fodor's book (albeit with a narrower focus). Bear in mind as well that it's an encyclopedia and that the discussions are necessarily brief -- this book will steer you to others containing more comprehensive discussions if a particular entry piques your interest...
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on July 11, 2003
I would recommend anything Mrs. Guiley writes. Her work is well-researched and put together.
Another thing I liked about this book is that she lists more obscure hauntings and legends along with the well known cases.
I'm a total believer in ghosts, but one thing I think that a lot of people would like is that she takes somewhat of a skeptic's view in this book. She doesn't automatically assume that every haunting she writes about is indeed paranormal.If a natual theory was proposed ,she includes that too.
It is a reference book, but doesn't have that dry text that most reference books are known for.It is an interesting, imformative read.
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on April 4, 2000
I believe that anyone who wishes to find out about ghosts, both main and obscure would fin this to be helpful and a very inciteful read. there are other books that go into deeper yet somewhat more banal detail but i find this very succinct and to the point. I've enjoyed it from the beginning and still enjoy picking it up every now and then just to peruse and refresh my memory. I find it to be a very good reference book on some rather esoteric beliefs. over all a great find.
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on June 5, 2002
This is one of the best books on ghosts and hauntings that I have read in a long time. If there is ANYTHING that you have ever wanted to know about the paranormal, this is the book for you. Very comprehensive. I recommend it to serious ghosthunters, as well as those who just enjoy the subject. Too detailed for children under the age of eleven, although it is readable for teens and adults.
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on December 17, 2002
OK, I'm ten years old and interested in things that have to do with the supernatural. I read this book and loved it. This is the best ghost book I have read in about 3 years. I believe that Spirits Of The Dead (or ghosts) actually exist. This is a really good book for people who are interested in the supernatural. This book is brilliant.
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on May 13, 2003
This is one of the best ghost books in my library. It gives quite a bit of information on just about every major haunting I've ever heard of around the world. I even used it to verify the credentials of another paranormal investigator in my area. A must-have for any ghost hunter!
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on March 2, 2003
Want to get on the spirits trail. This book has everything and anything upon the spirits of our world. If you are into the spirit world..please buy this book..you'll thank me later.
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