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Roger Clarke


500 Years of Hunting for Proof

Book review by Anthony Campbell. The review is licensed under a Creative Commons Licence.
Roger Clarke is an Independent columnist who has long been fascinated by ghosts. He grew up in a reputedly haunted house, although he did not see any ghosts himself there, and at the age of fifteen he was invited to join the Society for Psychical Research. With this background one might have expected a critical study of the paranormal, but this isn't what we get. In fact, Clarke doesn't seem to have made up his mind about exactly what kind of book he was going to write.

The book is probably best thought of as being about the sociology of (mostly) British ghosts. Clarke draws on published material so most of what he tells us will be familiar to anyone who has previously read a fair amount on the subject. The accounts are mainly descriptive rather than evaluative, and we are not left with a clear idea of what Clarke himself thinks about it all. His writing is agreeable enough and the accounts of cases are mildly entertaining, but I did not feel I had received anything much in the way of new ideas. The conclusion one is left with at the end is, I think, "So what?".

27 August 2013

%T A Natural History of Ghosts
%S 500 Years of Hunting for Proof
%A Roger Clarke
%I Particular Books
%C London
%D 2012
%G ISBN 9781846143335
%P 361pp
%K parapsychology, sociology
%O illustrated

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