Book Reviews

Book Review: Ghosts from Our Past by Abby Yates and Erin Gilbert


This book was reviewed for the Manhattan and Seattle Book Reviews


Yates’ and Gilbert’s Ghosts from Our Past is a collaboration of love from two young physicists in training. The book is (now) organised into three broad parts.


‘Our Stories’ focused on the authors’ histories and how they became interested in the paranormal, their meeting and subsequent friendship, and how they came to write the book.


‘Our Research’ took a look at ghost accounts through history, from the earliest known accounts from Mesopotamia, and the biblical story of the Witch of Endor, through to Greco-Roman accounts, Medieval accounts, and early modern accounts. The Spiritualist era is covered in greater detail, followed by a brief look at the present. Historical paranormal groups, and investigators are looked at, along with the history of spirit classification, and the classification system they use. You learn how to tell the difference between a Class IV free-floating full-torso apparition and a Class VI free-roaming T3 corporeal. Very important stuff! Examples are given of the various classes of spectral beings. My favourite part was the scientific section, which brought into play theoretical physics and quantum mechanics.


‘Our Methods’ covered practical aspects of ghost hunting, from the tools of the trade (with a new section on PKE meters, proton packs, and ghost traps), to choosing a location, and carrying out the investigation, including debriefing and evaluating evidence. In the tools section, things that are not necessary are covered as well. Like guns. No one needs a gun at a ghost hunt. They make sure to stress the importance of researching the property first, so you have an idea of the history of both the land and the building, which may give clues as to any hauntings. Also looked at are things to rule out, such as animals, or possibility of a hoax. The history of several famous hauntings are recounted in brief for your reading pleasure. While their passion for ghost hunting, and the paranormal is clear, they are scientists first and foremost, and not quick to believe until they rule out more mundane possibilities.


Okay, I loved this book. I loved the in-text banter between them as the computer was passed back and forth, and the overall cheekiness of it. The original Ghostbusters movie was the first movie I can remember seeing, and it’s still one of my most favourite, along with Jurassic Park. And, I adore the new movie, especially since it’s an all women team. Little girls need more movie heroines they can look to. So, back to this book. It’s great to be able to read the book they wrote, mentioned in the movie ?. Like reading Richard Castle’s police procedural novels. There’s actually a good deal of pretty nifty historical information, as well as practical information for the fledgling ghost hunter.


????? Highly recommended if you like ghosty stuff, or love Ghostbusters.

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