Review: The Weiser Field Guide to Ghosts by Raymond Buckland

The Weiser Field Guide to Ghosts  by Raymond Buckland

© 2009

Weiser Books  ISBN:  978-1578634512

Paperback        192 pages

$14.95 (U.S.)

There are field guide and there are field guides.  Weiser is, apparently, planning to produce a series of field guides on a variety of topics.  This is the second one I have reviewed (see The Weiser Field Guide to Vampires previously).  My only comment on the series, so far, is that it is somewhat inconsistent.  Vampires didn’t really seem to fit the category (although it was technically well-written and interesting), whereas this volume is truer to the format.  Oh, it ranges a bit afield – monsters and vampires being technically beyond the scope of the book – but it concentrates on the various forms of ghosts and what may inspire their appearance.

The book is broken down loosely into types of ghosts, although there is a degree of overlap, as is to be expected.  There are personal anecdotes as well as “official” accounts (newspaper articles, etc.).  The types of ghosts run the gamut from Ancestral to Warning with numerous other divisions along the way.  Mr. Buckland does his best, and that is saying quite a bit, to show the differences between the various types and to explain the origins (both known and conjectured) of the spirits.

Given the current interest in “ghost hunting” (just check your local cable channels for numerous examples) it was inevitable that the author would include a section on practical ghost hunting.  In this chapter he helps you to understand the equipment which will help you in your searches as well as giving you a rough idea of the cost of such equipment.

Considering Mr. Buckland’s lengthy exposure to paranormal phenomena, and his ability to communicate information clearly and without condescension, it would be extremely difficult to do anything other than recommend this book to those interested in apparitions, ghosts, spirits, or whatever other term you would like to use to describe the apparent reappearance of those who have crossed over to the other side of the river Styx.

No doubt in my mind – if the topic of ghosts interests you and you want  more than just a collection of ghost stories, this is the book for you.