Will Storr vs. the Supernatural: One Man's Search for the Truth about Ghosts by Will Storr
310 pages, incl. "The 10 Most Haunted Places in America"
*Update*: I somehow managed to hit the wrong category and had this book labelled "not recommended". HUGE oops. I enjoyed the book thoroughly and highly recommend it. Apologies to the author and big, huggy thanks to SuziQ for bringing the error to my attention!!!!
What led you to pick up this book? I'm going to say it was recommended to me by Tammy. She seems a natural scapegoat.
Describe the book without giving anything away. Journalist Will Storr set out as a firm skeptic when he went on assignment to interview "demonologist" Lou Gentile in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for Loaded magazine. But, his initial experience with Lou made him question his personal beliefs. Could that white orb that followed a woman up the stairs of her allegedly-haunted house be a ghost? Or, was it just a trick of light, a speck of dust, an illuminated insect? And, what about that sensation that Will had been shoved out of his seat? Curious after his initial experiences with Lou, Will Storr decided to investigate further. The result is a sometimes-terrifying, often hilarious, and utterly absorbing book that should probably only be read during the daylight hours.
From the author's website:
What Will expects to be a straightforward piece, poking gentle fun at an amusing eccentric, turns into a terrifying nightmare of spectral ghost lights, suburban possession and horrific demonic growling. It is an experience that instantly demolishes all of his safe, adult preconceptions.
What did you think of the characters? They were characters, all right. Some of the folks Will Storr interviewed seemed, at the outset, completely normal people with an interest in the supernatural (usually because of past personal experience). But, those who were most convincing often made their apparent normality disappear via a single sentence. And, yet, he described his experiences without ever being judgmental; rather, Will Storr presents information and dialogue then leaves the reader to formulate his own opinion. The author has a great sense of humor and a deft turn of phrase, which makes the book a combination of light and fun paired with turn-on-all-the-lights-please frightening moments. I loved his ability to step back and analyze what he personally viewed, the information from those he interviewed, scientific data and historical research with a neutral eye. Well, mostly neutral.
4/5 - Really enjoyed this book, although it occasionally scared the peawaddin' out of me and I found myself setting the book aside, taking Lou Gentile's advice to "bathe yourself in a Jesus light". It sounds funny, but just try it . . . Jesus light is massively soothing.
In general: I'm never touching a Ouija board after what I read. Did he convince me that there is such a thing as supernatural activity? Actually, I've had my own singular ghost experience about 8 years ago and I'm still iffy. I wrote about my experience for a humor column during my 3-year stint as an ezine columnist. You can read my account, here. I don't think it particularly matters how I ended up feeling about the supernatural. Will Storr vs. the Supernatural is a fun read that is well-written if occasionally disjointed. I'm pretty certain I'd read just about anything written by Will Storr.
Recommended for daytime reading. Not for the faint of heart.