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The Haunting of America: From the Salem Witch Trials to Harry Houdini Hardcover – September 15, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Forge Books (September 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765313812
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765313812
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 6.3 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,826,293 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Birnes (The Day After Roswell), star of the History Channel's UFO Hunters, and veteran paranormal expert Martin chronicle a wide variety of what they view as occult and mystical experiences in a comprehensive account that spans centuries, from colonial times to 9/11. There may well have been black magic practice in Salem, they speculate, and recount George Washington's purported prophetic vision at Valley Forge, strange sightings of Washington's apparition at Gettysburg and elsewhere, the Bell Witch of Tennessee and Lincoln's precognitive dreams, while introducing such key figures as the charismatic Franz Mesmer and Margaret Fox, whose controversial spirit rappings prompted the surge of 19th-century spiritualism, even after her later revelation that she was just cracking the joint of her big toe. Covering chicanery and conjurers, demons and guardian angels, skeptics and believers and a woman who's convinced her recurring dreams prefigured 9/11, Birnes and Martin have produced an informative and entertaining overview that will leave fans of the occult eager for future collaborations by these authors. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

JOEL MARTIN is nationally recognized as a paranormal expert and bestselling author. Since the early 1970s, Joel has been a rado talk show host.  As a TV talk show host, he won the Cable Ace Award. As an investigative reporter about the paranormal & psychic phenomena, he discovered internationally renowned medium, George Anderson, and exposed The Amityville Horror as a hoax. Joel is also a network TV consultant about the paranormal and has made many TV appearances.
 
WILLIAM J. BIRNES is The New York Times bestselling co-author of The Day After Roswell.  He is the star and consulting producer of the History Channel's UFO Hunters.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on September 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The authors take a close look at alleged haunting in America going from colonial times to 9/11. There is a myriad of claims over the three plus centuries as the writers describe what allegedly occurred with the emphasis on the paranormal aspects of an event. William J. Birnes and Joel Martin evaluate the possibility as to whether black magic was actually practiced just prior to the Salem witch trials and a couple of George Washington tales especially several sightings at Gettysburg and other battle sights. Other presidents also receive focus like Jackson who testified at the Bell Witch incident and Lincoln who supposedly dreamed of his assassination. Filled with charming fakes like Margaret "the big toe" Fix and hypnotic charmers like Franz Mesmer, THE HAUNTING OF AMERICA is a fascinating look at the alleged paranormal history of the country. The book includes Houdini, Doyle, Edison and Rhine as the para intertwines with the normal whether it is the Ford Theater, Valley Forge, the White House or even the early evolutionary leap of ultra adaptive Cro-Magnan and even more adaptive Homo sapiens, perhaps seeded from an ET visit. This is a fun account to read; just leave behind the skepticism as the entertaining tome lacks any.

Harriet Klausner
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Brandon Hughes on December 3, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I really enjoyed this book.

I will admit that it takes a while to get through the introduction which tries to sum up various notions of paranormal activity in the world prior to the settling of the US. it seemed a bit out of place and didn't tie too well into the meat of the book.

However, once you get through the introduction the book is an engrossing read. Each section of the book is more focused on a concept then a specific time period, which I tended to prefer as it allows the reader to see trends as opposed to getting caught up in time lines or having the narratives progression stopped because a notable figure must be addressed.

The book also, in my opinion, gives a fairly even handed account. It addresses what events happened and gives a voice to the skeptics at the time. If someone was debunked, the authors are nor afraid to say so. If the skeptics were unable to debunk it, you will learn that too.

All in all definitely worth a read if you're interested in the roots of Americas fascination with the paranormal.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By BookAddict TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The title of this one can easily throw off a potential reader, which is a little irritating. There is nothing about hauntings in this book, as the title implies. Instead, the authors follow the history of spiritualism - psychics, mediums, etc. - throughout American history. We learn about the popular spiritualists of the day, their seances, etc. We also learn about a few popular politicians, such as Abraham Lincoln, who used mediums to help them make decisions.

The writing was easy to follow, though, for me, a little too rambling at times. The one huge problem I have with it is that the authors never once so much as mentioned Edgar Cayce. I don't know how anyone can write a book that supposedly encompasses spiritualism, yet not once bring up Edgar Cayce's name.

However, I did enjoy the chapter on women's role in spiritualism and its importance for the women's movement. The authors offered a unique perspective I have not seen in any other books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By sandra ross on May 18, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I knew some of the information in the book. It is a quick read. Historical and have followed the author. He does his research.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ruthann Reue on March 5, 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Lots of great mystery history, in this book.
I learned alot about the 'Salem Witch trials' and about the 'Queen Mary' mysterys.
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