You call yourself a ghost hunter, paranormal investigator, enthusiast, historian… whatever it is, you’re fascinated with ghosts – but have you read the titles on this list? If not, you need to track them down. For the most part, you’re not going to find them at your local bookstore next to the book “written” by some clown with a TV show. There are books for people who have a GENUINE interest in the paranormal. You can trust me – these are books that are all worth reading. So, in no particular order, here’s the list (titles are linked to the books on Amazon if you want to look more closely at them):
1. THE MOST HAUNTED HOUSE IN ENGLAND | HARRY PRICE — The first real ghost hunter’s seminal work about a year-long investigation of a haunted house. Nothing ever written like it before and presented the very first “ghost hunter’s handbook.” You may not know it, but every investigation you do emulates Harry Price, so learn your history.
2. ENCYCLOPEDIA OF GHOSTS AND SPIRITS | ROSEMARY ELLEN GUILEY — It’s just what it says it is — an encyclopedia. Rosemary has forgotten more than most of us will ever know. If you need to find out anything about ghosts, it’s in this book.
3. A MAGICIAN AMONG THE SPIRITS | HARRY HOUDINI — Yes, the escape artist who led a one-man crusade against Spiritualism. But it’s years of research into how people are fooled by what they think they believe.
4. NIGHT STALKS THE MANSION | CONSTANCE WESTBIE & HAROLD CAMERON — I have a weakness for this one. It was the first authentic first-person account that I can remember about living in a haunted house. When it came out, it was the antidote to the ridiculousness of “The Amityville Horror.” It’s eerie, genuine, and not the over-the-top “demons are out to get me” crap that we get today.
5. PROMINENT AMERICAN GHOSTS | SUSY SMITH — Sure, it’s light reading but it’s truly one of the first American travelogues of haunted places. Everyone who has ever written a book like this owes Ms. Smith a debt of gratitude.
6. GHOST HUNTER | HANS HOLZER — It’s the original book on modern ghost hunting and nothing like it was available at the time. He may not have been the first, but he set the stage after Harry Price for the scores of people who have followed him.
7. HAUNTED HOUSES | RICHARD WINER & NANCY OSBORN — I will always recommend this book because it was the book that convinced me to become a ghost writer. Sure, I’ve found that a lot of stories aren’t true and much of the history is wrong, but it made great reading for a 12-year-old and set me on my way to seek out my own haunted places. It’s a great “starter” book for aspiring ghost hunters.
8. ESP, HAUNTINGS AND POLTERGEISTS | LOYD AUERBACH — During the mid-1980s wave of interest in the supernatural (thanks, Ghostbusters!), this book came along to set the standard for what ghost research was really about. It remains a classic today as a serious book in the field and a must-read for anyone who thinks they want to be a ghost hunter one day.
9. THE POLTERGEIST | WILLIAM ROLL — There have been a lot of books written about poltergeist phenomena over the years, but the late Dr. Roll truly set the standard with his decades of research. It was hard to pick just one of his books, but this one is essential to the library.
10. THE HAUNTED HOUSE HANDBOOK | D. SCOTT ROGO — Remember how I said that Harry Price created the first real “handbook” for ghost hunters? Well, this was next. Written in the late 1970s and using all the technology available at the time, Rogo (who wrote several other great books before he died too soon) offers a compelling look at what it’s like to hunt for paranormal happenings and its information that’s never stopped being useful.
11. GHOSTLAND | COLIN DICKEY – The author manages to capture the importance of ghosts, hauntings, legends, and lore to the history of the United States. It’s really a cultural history of what America is all about, played out through its ghost stories and haunted places. I know that I recommend this book a lot, but if you have not read it, you need to do so.
12. THE WITCH OF LIME STREET | DAVID JAHER – This is Houdini’s second appearance on this list, but like Harry Price, I can’t help but stress how importance he was to the world of ghost research. Houdini was a skeptic about the spirit world, who desperately wanted to believe. And more importantly, to witness proof that it existed. This is a compelling, exciting book that read likes a novel and tells the story of Houdini’s search for proof and his battles with a Boston medium to which there was more that met the eye.
So, there you have it. There are plenty of other books out there that are almost as good, but in my opinion, these are an essential 12 that need to be in every ghost hunter’s library. Good luck tracking them all down! You won’t be sorry!