This splendid book ... [is] a compelling read ... Clarke manages to give goose-flesh and a giggle while informing the reader - an enviable feat Scotsman Researched with seriousness, and written with evident delight. Roger Clarke is a journalist, and the youngest invited member of the Society for Psychical Research: he is a fan with critical distance. He tackles everything from the troubled roots of Methodism to haunted toys that command premiums on eBay. He also tells a few cracking ghost stories ... [The book is] beautifully written ... lithe, complicated and hugely rewarding -- James McConnachie Sunday Times A highly enjoyable (and disturbing work) ... I am in awe of [Clarke's] intrepidity Guardian Outstanding ... Those of us who have spent years fascinated by the fiction of the supernatural - devouring books and films on an endless loop - will be in love with Clarke's book from the very first page ... The book is by no means a simple chronology of hauntings. While important events are dealt with in detail, the reader is treated to a wonderful array of incidental tales and observations in the passing, often through Clark's occasionally very witty end Notes ... Clarke's dissection of the shocks, sadnesses and sexiness of the seance tables from the late Victorian era brilliantly done ... The book is deeply enjoyable, hugely informative and at times distinctly unsettling Shade Point A fascinating social history ... exceptionally well written and researched Starburst Magazine Britain has over 500-years' worth of ghost stories in the cupboard and in The Natural History of Ghosts, Roger Clarke makes them dance ... the most original and readable book exploring our ghost-rich culture to appear for years ... fascinating Fortean Times An intriguing, shivers-down-the-spine book The Lady Lively and absorbing ... Clarke, a seasoned ghost-hunter whose still unfulfilled ambition is to see a ghost, plainly loves his subject, and has read extensively in and around the social history of haunting ... [he] has proven himself an ideal guide to this troubled and disorderly realm Literary Review Simmering as it is with personal reflections, this handsome volume ... is bursting with a giddy passion, buoyed further by an expert's thirst for abstruse facts. The main pleasure of reading this book is Clarke's own enthusiasm, intelligence and seriousness ... a deeply interesting, revealing read Book Hugger Why do ghosts wear clothes? This is just one of a number of interesting questions raised by this jaunty book ... In a series of short, snappy chapters, Clarke examines the evidence for just about every ghost who ever drew, or withdrew, breath ... but A Natural History of Ghosts is also haunted by another story, lurking not very far beneath: the story of the author's childhood need to believe in ghosts, and the gradual erosion of that belief -- Craig Brown Daily Mail A gripping history that traces the scientific and social aspects of ghostly sightings Telegraph Compelling ... Research into the paranormal necessarily involves a fair degree of debunking, and Clarke is careful to be sceptical. The narrative of ghost-hunting is simultaneously a history and exposure of fraud and popular delusion ... [yet] Clarke retains a boyish and ... well-informed enthusiasm for his subject Independent [A] voyage through the half-lit world of lost souls ... tales told with ghoulish relish Telegraph A timely and comprehensive survey of 500 years of English huntings, up to the present day -- Peter Lewis Daily Mail A racy survey of five hundred years of spirit lore ... Clarke has handy information on the origins of well-known ghost stories. He tells you where Henry James probably got the germ of the idea for The Turn of the Screw ... he gives a deft sketch of the original Woman in Black ... [An] entertaining story of human folly and suggestibility London Review of Books
About the Author
Raised in a haunted house, Roger Clarke is best known as a film-writer for the Independent newspaper and more recently Sight & Sound. He was the youngest person ever to join the Society for Psychical Research in the 1980s and was getting his ghost stories published by the The Pan & Fontana series of horror books aged only 15, when Roald Dahl asked his agent to take him on as a client. A published poet, his libretto for The Man with the Footsoles of Wind was performed at the Almeida Theatre in London in 1993. This is the book he always wanted to write.