Reader, Writer, Merciless Reviewer and Incurable Romantic
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Disclosure: I accessed this book through my local public library's digital collection. I do not know the author nor have I ever communicated with him about this book or any other matter. I am an author of romance fiction and assorted non-fiction.
I truly enjoyed this book, and found the author's perspective both interesting and ultimately respectful of believers and skeptics alike.
It would be impossible, of course, for a single volume to catalogue all the thousands, perhaps millions, of alleged hauntings in this country. Dickey can probably be accused with some justification of cherry-picking the examples he used to best illustrate his theories: among them that whether ghosts -- as the more or less embodied spirits of the dead -- are real or not, we need them. And so we would have created them anyway even if they weren't real.
The aspect of the book that fascinated me the most was the way he deconstructed some of the most well-known and even well-documented hauntings, as evidence that it's in the creation of a ghostly narrative that fits what we collectively as a culture want the haunting to be that it comes alive, pun of course intended.
Because I'm not a fan of horror fiction -- it's all I can do to get through the least horrific Lovecraft for Halloween Bingo -- I can't say if the creation of a fictional haunting narrative follows that theory. I do, however, think it applies to the gothic romance. The haunting, the ghostly presence, has to integrate with the living characters in an organic way for the two stories to work with each other.