Friday, February 20, 2015

Book Review: The Ghost Hunter, by Hans Holzer

The technology-laden art of ghost-hunting commonly practiced today (evidenced by the scads of popular ghost-hunting shows currently haunting your cable television for all the 26 weeks on either side of Halloween) is based largely on an extravagant array of exotic gadgets calibrated to detect the piercing of our earthly veil by ethereal forces otherwise immeasurable dispassionately. This "objective" approach was first widely championed and documented by Briton Harry Price in his 1940 tome, The Most Haunted House in England, a classic in the field examining the haunting of Borley Rectory in Essex. But there are more ways than one to confront a wraith, as celebrated American spirit chaser Hans Holzer demonstrates in his seminal 1963 (reprinted in new editions in 2005 and 2014) work, The Ghost Hunter. Rather than depend on cold engineering's electronic or mechanical fruits like Price and most phantom finders currently on TV, Holzer's methodology relies on selecting deft and trustworthy psychic mediums to accompany him on investigations of locations squatted by specters along America's northeast coast. Once ensconced in a haunted location, Holzer's medium-du-jour allows herself to be commandeered by the wronged spirit so the latter can speak the grievances that compel it to wreak eerie havoc. The book's collection of reports is mostly entertaining, sometimes enlightening, and Holzer's interventions usually (but not always) lead to the elimination of spooky doings once the living appropriately address the ghosts' gripes. Holzer's book teaches it may be folly to assume people's quest for fairness in love and war is constrained by mortal borders, and that a good medium gives any fancy contraption a run for its money in tracking ghosts.

No comments:

Post a Comment