Nonfiction: Metaphysics?

Will Storr Vs. the Supernatural by Will Storr

I bought this book because it was written by a cute, British journalist.

Okay, even I am not quite that shallow. That was only part of the reason. I bought this book because I thought it was going to be something in the vein of Danny Wallace, Dave Gorman, and Bill Bryson when he was still writing travel books (I love you, Bill, but get back to the travelling!). It wasn’t, but this book managed to overcome the not-what-I-expected problem and I really enjoyed it.

That said. Do not read this book at night and not on your own and certainly not without the television or some lively audiobook on in the background (do I really have to tell you who I’m talking about here? Come on!). It’s not that his descriptions of his experiences were particularly evocative or anything – not that his descriptive talents should be ignored – but there’s just…something about them that reads like a good ghost story. I think it helps that, going into this experiment, his observation of people who are ghosthunters, demonologists, mediums, and the like, he admits that he is a fairly strong skeptic. That makes his experiences all the more, well, haunting, I think.

And that’s what I think I liked the best about this book. That he wavers. He starts out skeptical, starts to veer towards believing, and then back to skeptical before ending up…well, I don’t want to give away the ending, do I?

The people he writes about are very interesting and run the full range of former skeptics who still don’t quite believe what they are experiencing, obviously delusional people, full-on skeptics with an explanation for everything, and even a few fairly obvious charlatans. But, as Storr points out, all of these people believe what they are saying. Very intriguing.

The stories he tell are, for the most part, fairly spooky. Like Scooby Doo is before they figure out that it’s all just a big real estate scam. There’s one particularly disturbing and sad one at the very end which he leaves unresolved. Sort of like his whole experience.

He manages to bring up lots of interesting points and makes ghosthunting about more than just seeking proof of an afterlife. So despite not being what I expected, I was pleasantly surprised.

My rating: B+


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