Haunted Summer Reading Part One
One of my obsessions is reading non-fiction material on paranormal and spiritual topics, especially those about spirit communication, specifically. When each book is done, I take pride and conduct a shelving ceremony (I’m usually the only one who attends). One of the greatest problems one could have (in my opinion) is to have to buy a new bookshelf to make room for more books. I own every book I’ve read and haven’t caved into the e-book craze yet. It will be a while… and it gets expensive… but I think the loss of physical books is a very sad thing. Look at me being off topic already.
Anyway, reading lots of books allows me to blog about the topic, and blogging about the topic forces me to study and research what I’m reading more. The way I look at it, the more I know and am aware of, the better researcher and blogger I become.
Please enjoy Part 1 of a 2-part recommended reading list for anyone interested in the general topic of spirit communication.
The Scole Experiment: Scientific Evidence for Life After Death by Grant and Jane Solomon
Anyone interested in spirit communication, especially physical phenomena, should familiarize themselves with this fascinating book. (You may also enjoy the documentary video.) The book follows The Scole Experimental Group and recounts the 5-year experiment of life after death, and many of the simply amazing experiences that few people have ever been lucky enough to see. And it all happened in the “scole hole”, a dark cellar in a Norfolk village in England.
The Scole Experiment was started by two mediums who joined several other spiritual individuals in what most probably know as a spirit circle, which is also similar to a séance group. One thing I didn’t know before reading this book was that the structure of the group and the experiments were pretty much organized and guided by their “spirit team”.
The team was composed of around 6 main entities, but other spirit scientists and technicians were involved in the process. Most of their communications came by using the two mediums in trance, but this was not the case every time. Some of the phenomena were moving spirit lights, manifestations of hands and faces, being touched, surround sound-like voices speaking in the room, levitating objects, faces and pictures showing up on sealed photographic film, and some of the cooler experiences involved many gifts of apports (the manifestation of an object seemingly coming from nowhere).
There were a number of scientists, psychologists, parapsychologists, and other wise and educated professionals who were present and inspected and studied the experiments. Some of these individuals were connected with the highly critical Society for Psychical Research.
Six months ago the authors contacted me and gave me the news that the two mediums from the Scole group were at it again and getting results. They asked that I refer readers to their Facebook page.
House of Spirits and Whispers: The True Story of a Haunted House by Annie Wilder
This is one of my favorite light-hearted non-fiction reads about ghosts. I heard this author being interviewed on Jim Harold’s Paranormal Podcast a few years ago. I really truly could not put this book down once I started it. Annie details how she came upon her old Victorian home in Hastings, Minnesota and the spirits that she was unaware came with it.
She is so detailed, she even includes FLOOR PLANS! Retiring in an old beautiful Victorian home is something I have always kind of wanted to do. By the end of the book I was so jealous that I didn’t own her house… and I wanted to make a visit!
From the back of the book cover:
In 1994, Annie Wilder and her children moved into a 100-year-old house in a historic Mississippi River town. Beautiful but spooky, the house had been on the market for six months with no offers. It felt like – and proved to be – a very haunted house.
Essentially the story of a remarkable old Victorian house that seems to be a threshold to the spirit world and the astral realm, House of Spirits and Whispers has a back story of the Wilder family’s relationship with the ghost of the home’s previous owner, an old man named Leon.
Covering a decade’s worth of ghostly activity and supernatural events, from whispering radiators to visits and appearances from all manner of spirits and entities, this unusual story is the true account of Annie Wilder’s experiences living in a haunted house.
You may also be interested in Annie Wilder’s segment on the Biography Channel’s My Ghost Story, season two, episode three.
Talking to the Dead: Kate and Maggie Fox and the Rise of Spiritualism by Barbara Weisberg
I think you’ll learn everything you ever wanted to know about Kate and Maggie Fox in this book. If you read books on ghosts or paranormal investigation topics you know that most of these books include a small section that usually credits these two sisters for starting the movement known as Spiritualism on accident in the late 1840s.
The two younger sisters (Maggie and Kate) claimed to hear “rapping” and knocks in their home coming from what they eventually decided was the spirit of a murdered peddler from years before. They were one of the first to attempt to communicate with spirits with this system of rapping. They eventually developed a system of “yes” and “no” answers and even spelling out messages. People came from all over to see it and they were an overnight sensation!
The story isn’t that clean and simple though. The Fox sisters had their sketchy and dramatic moments, including admitting to be frauds, then recanting, alcoholism, etc. The author spills the facts for you and in the end lets you decide what you think as far as fraud goes.
There is much history of the Spiritualism movement in general included in the book. These women had leadership roles and started a movement in the days when women weren’t really accepted as leaders and weren’t supposed to be influential and smart. There were times they were definitely in danger.
These were some ballsy girls! In general, I had no idea that they were famous into adulthood and led the movement for such a long period of time. They were full-blown celebrities for a while. The book follows them till death and closes out with a summary of the Spiritualism movement since then.
Grave’s End: A True Ghost Story by Elaine Mercado
True Haunting by Edwin F. Becker
These are two completely different books by different authors. I include them here together because they are similar in that they were both publicized real hauntings that you may not have heard about.
They are also similar because they were written by members of the families who experienced extremely frightening paranormal events firsthand. The family in Grave’s End had their home visited by the famous parapsychologist, Dr. Hans Holzer, in the early 1980s. Some of the events from True Haunting, including an exorcism, were actually the first to be reported on and covered on a television news program in 1970. These non-fiction books read like fiction and are hard to put down.
Voices of Eternity by Sarah Estep
This is a book that I read right before conducting and documenting my first serious 2-week EVP experiment. I used the inspiration throughout the book to help me on my EVP journey.
From the back of the book:
Twelve years ago , Sarah Estep began her dedicated research of the Great Beyond, using a tape recorder and asking questions of anyone on the other side who might listen. After six days of running a blank tape and hoping against hope that she would receive a reply, she asked, “What is your world like?” A clear voice responded to her question with the word “Beauty.”
Sarah has gone on to tape thousands of messages, from dead friends and relatives, a spirit guide named Stythe, and entities she believes come from different parts of the universe. In this provocative book, she shares her messages with us, as the voices of eternity discuss:
- Death and dying
- What it’s really like on the other side
- Precognition and clairvoyance
- Worlds other than the one we know, including the origins of UFOs
Sarah Estep started her journey of EVP in 1976 with the intention of recording for just one week at first. Her loved ones thought she was crazy, too. If she didn’t hear any voices by the seventh day she would not continue. As she mentioned above, hearing the word “beauty” on the sixth day was enough to keep her pushing forward and was the beginning of many years of successful EVP research. She would later become known as one of the modern pioneers of EVP from the United States. She founded the American Association for Electronic Voice Phenomena (AA-EVP) in 1982. Tom and Lisa Butler (see the next book below) took over leadership of the organization in 2000 and it has since been named Association TransCommunication (ATransC). Sarah died in 2008. You can visit the Association TransCommunication website for more information on Sarah.
Thanks to ATransC, Voices of Eternity is available for free, in its entirety, online via a PDF download.
From the ATransC site:
When the Butlers assumed leadership of the AA-EVP in 2000 [Now Association TransCommunication (ATransC)], they realized there was a need for a text which they could refer people to as a dependable source of information about EVP and other forms of ITC. This book is the result, and remains today an important introduction to these phenomena.
From the back of the book:
Many may be shocked to learn that the so-called dead have been communicating across the veil through electronic devices since the early 1900s.
More than anecdotal evidence exists that we survive physical death and that our loved ones on the “Other Side” continue to communicate with us. Indeed, objective evidence collected from Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) and Video Instrumental TransCommunication (ITC) reveals that they actively seek ways to contact us and to offer guidance to experimenters on improving these communications.
Obtaining paranormal voices is not difficult and is achieved both by not only respected scientists and investigators, but by anyone following a few simple steps with equipment most already have. This book includes simple instructions for experimentation and explores the body of EVP and other evidence already accumulated by researchers around the world. There are also instructions for experimenting with Video ITC. – Patrick Keller
Patrick is special to News From the Spirit World Family and runs the blog Big Seance!