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Chasing Ghosts: A Tour of Our Fascination with Spirits and the Supernatural

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Take a spirited tour through the supernatural history of America, from its haunted sites to its famous ghosts to its ghost-obsessed pop culture. Ghosts are everywhere—whether you believe in them or not. Every town has its local legends, and countless books, movies, and TV shows are haunted by their presence. But our obsession with ghosts runs deeper than we know—and is embe Take a spirited tour through the supernatural history of America, from its haunted sites to its famous ghosts to its ghost-obsessed pop culture. Ghosts are everywhere—whether you believe in them or not. Every town has its local legends, and countless books, movies, and TV shows are haunted by their presence. But our obsession with ghosts runs deeper than we know—and is embedded in the very fabric of American history. Writer and historian Marc Hartzman dons the mantle of tour guide, taking readers on a fascinating journey through supernatural history, including: • The Fox Sisters and the rise of Spiritualism • The supernatural obsessions of famous figures like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle • Famous haunted sites like the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia and the LaLaurie House in New Orleans • Famous ghosts like the Bell Witch of Tennessee and the Greenbrier Ghost of West Virginia • Paranormal investigators like Ed and Lorraine Warren Deeply researched and highly entertaining, with archival images and black and white illustrations, Chasing Ghosts will satisfy believers and skeptics alike.


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Take a spirited tour through the supernatural history of America, from its haunted sites to its famous ghosts to its ghost-obsessed pop culture. Ghosts are everywhere—whether you believe in them or not. Every town has its local legends, and countless books, movies, and TV shows are haunted by their presence. But our obsession with ghosts runs deeper than we know—and is embe Take a spirited tour through the supernatural history of America, from its haunted sites to its famous ghosts to its ghost-obsessed pop culture. Ghosts are everywhere—whether you believe in them or not. Every town has its local legends, and countless books, movies, and TV shows are haunted by their presence. But our obsession with ghosts runs deeper than we know—and is embedded in the very fabric of American history. Writer and historian Marc Hartzman dons the mantle of tour guide, taking readers on a fascinating journey through supernatural history, including: • The Fox Sisters and the rise of Spiritualism • The supernatural obsessions of famous figures like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle • Famous haunted sites like the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia and the LaLaurie House in New Orleans • Famous ghosts like the Bell Witch of Tennessee and the Greenbrier Ghost of West Virginia • Paranormal investigators like Ed and Lorraine Warren Deeply researched and highly entertaining, with archival images and black and white illustrations, Chasing Ghosts will satisfy believers and skeptics alike.

30 review for Chasing Ghosts: A Tour of Our Fascination with Spirits and the Supernatural

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lucie Morningstar

    This is a well researched and fun read. Whilst I was already familiar with a large amount of the information in the book (through reading numerous other books on the same topic and my own obsessive research), I still have to rate it highly. The writing flowed naturally making it very accessible and I love the use of photographs, newspaper articles and flyers to break up the text. I did genuinely find it enjoyable to read, and I think its a great starting point for those interested in ghosts and This is a well researched and fun read. Whilst I was already familiar with a large amount of the information in the book (through reading numerous other books on the same topic and my own obsessive research), I still have to rate it highly. The writing flowed naturally making it very accessible and I love the use of photographs, newspaper articles and flyers to break up the text. I did genuinely find it enjoyable to read, and I think its a great starting point for those interested in ghosts and who may not have read many books on them Thanks to Netgalley and Quirk Books for the opportunity to read this.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Carmen

    I received a copy from Quirk Books through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. If you’re interested in learning some supernatural history, then this book is for you! While I was familiar with a lot of the information covered in this book, I did learn some new things. I was also familiar with the rise of Spiritualism, but not to the extent that it’s covered here, so that was quite interesting to read about. I found that this was well researched and covered quite a bit of information that t I received a copy from Quirk Books through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. If you’re interested in learning some supernatural history, then this book is for you! While I was familiar with a lot of the information covered in this book, I did learn some new things. I was also familiar with the rise of Spiritualism, but not to the extent that it’s covered here, so that was quite interesting to read about. I found that this was well researched and covered quite a bit of information that those new to diving into some of the history of the supernatural. That said, I do think that this book is very dry and comes off as a textbook. There’s nothing wrong with that, but if this is something you’d like to avoid, then I recommend passing on this. Otherwise, I think it’s a great book that covers a lot of information and make great reads for those seasoned and new to all things paranormal.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    I've read a lot of books about ghosts, death, the afterlife, and the supernatural and this one isn't anything new, really, but I did enjoy the way it was presented. It was written really well and included some fun photographs I really enjoyed. While I personally didn't learn anything new in this book, it would be a great book for those just getting into the topic and a great learning tool. Thank you to NetGalley, Quirk Books, and Marc Hartzman for the chance to review this advanced copy. Chasing I've read a lot of books about ghosts, death, the afterlife, and the supernatural and this one isn't anything new, really, but I did enjoy the way it was presented. It was written really well and included some fun photographs I really enjoyed. While I personally didn't learn anything new in this book, it would be a great book for those just getting into the topic and a great learning tool. Thank you to NetGalley, Quirk Books, and Marc Hartzman for the chance to review this advanced copy. Chasing Ghosts releases on September 28th.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sara (Sjthroughthelookingglass)

    I took some interesting classes in college. These included Paranormal Psychology and Sociology of the Afterlife just to name a few. I even wrote a 15 page thesis on ghosts. I was excited for the opportunity to read Chasing Ghosts, "a spirited tour through the supernatural history of America, from its haunted sites to its famous ghosts to its ghost-obsessed pop culture." I found the selections the author covered interesting, but a bit dry. You can tell this was well researched but the book read a I took some interesting classes in college. These included Paranormal Psychology and Sociology of the Afterlife just to name a few. I even wrote a 15 page thesis on ghosts. I was excited for the opportunity to read Chasing Ghosts, "a spirited tour through the supernatural history of America, from its haunted sites to its famous ghosts to its ghost-obsessed pop culture." I found the selections the author covered interesting, but a bit dry. You can tell this was well researched but the book read a little too much like a text book instead of an entertaining story being told among friends which is more what I was looking for.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ash Tree

    This book is well-researched and the historical examples are very interesting. I have decided to purchase this book, because I need it on my bookshelf! A full review and photos are coming to my Instagram (@notebookofghosts) this November!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Justine

    Thanks to NetGalley and Quirk Books for providing an ARC!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Gina Zappa

    First off, thank you so much to NetGalley and Quirk Books for the ARC! This book checked a lot of the boxes that fall squarely under my "This is my jam" column. History ☑ Ghosties ☑ Haunted Places ☑ Haunted People ☑ Spooky Vibes in general ☑☑☑ Being that it covers a lot of what I already love, there was plenty of info in here that I was already familiar with. This is not a bad thing, as it was still presented in a great way (and not every reader is going to be as well versed on the subject as me First off, thank you so much to NetGalley and Quirk Books for the ARC! This book checked a lot of the boxes that fall squarely under my "This is my jam" column. History ☑ Ghosties ☑ Haunted Places ☑ Haunted People ☑ Spooky Vibes in general ☑☑☑ Being that it covers a lot of what I already love, there was plenty of info in here that I was already familiar with. This is not a bad thing, as it was still presented in a great way (and not every reader is going to be as well versed on the subject as me haha). I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it was a perfect choice for an October read!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Susan Allred

    This was an interesting book. My daughter read it, and then she had me read it. And then we sat down and discussed some of the stuff inside it. She's twelve and drawn to spooky stuff, so this book gave us an opportunity for fascinating conversations (and I'm sure more to come!) I liked the pictures, and the details of each of the stories, as well as the broad nature of the different types of supernatural. This is a book I'll be holding onto and referencing again in the future for some of my books This was an interesting book. My daughter read it, and then she had me read it. And then we sat down and discussed some of the stuff inside it. She's twelve and drawn to spooky stuff, so this book gave us an opportunity for fascinating conversations (and I'm sure more to come!) I liked the pictures, and the details of each of the stories, as well as the broad nature of the different types of supernatural. This is a book I'll be holding onto and referencing again in the future for some of my books!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ceallaigh

    “Where might we have thrown the baby out with the bathwater with our overzealous desire to make everything controllable?” asks Joanna Ebenstein, an author and the founder of Morbid Anatomy, an organization that explores the intersections between art, medicine, death, and culture. “This phenomenon still exists. We can doubt the veracity of the reports, but they didn’t just go away. We didn’t become rationalists and suddenly there’s no ghost sightings. It continues on… I often think, looking at th “Where might we have thrown the baby out with the bathwater with our overzealous desire to make everything controllable?” asks Joanna Ebenstein, an author and the founder of Morbid Anatomy, an organization that explores the intersections between art, medicine, death, and culture. “This phenomenon still exists. We can doubt the veracity of the reports, but they didn’t just go away. We didn’t become rationalists and suddenly there’s no ghost sightings. It continues on… I often think, looking at the past, and the bulk of historical record, what are the odds that we’re the ones who are right and the whole rest of human history was wrong?… I see a lot of arrogance with people thinking that we’ve proven [ghosts] don’t exist. But we haven’t proven they don’t exist. We’ve only proven we can’t prove they exist. We don’t really know what the world is. We don’t know shit, and I love that.” TITLE—Chasing Ghosts: A Tour of Our Fascination with Spirits and the Supernatural AUTHOR—Marc Hartzman PUBLISHED—2021 GENRE—nonfiction MAIN THEMES/SUBJECTS—ghosts, death, human cultural history, psychology, pop culture, Western science, Spiritualism, haunted places WRITING STYLE—⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ PRESENTATION OF MATERIAL—⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ BONUS ELEMENT/S—For a survey-type book, I found literally every sentence very interesting and thought that the balance between summary and a more in-depth exploration of various topics was really well done. PHILOSOPHY—⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I checked this book out from the library just for the bit on seances and then I ended up reading the whole thing. 😂 There are lots of great brief overviews of tons of information about humans’ relationships to and understanding of both ghosts and death through history, including ancient times, Spiritualism, and ghosts and technology. Then there’s a section on legendary haunted locations too that includes the Winchester House and the La Laurie Mansion *shiver* and others—even Gettysburg! Hartzman’s writing style was really good considering the sensationalist nature of the topic. I thought he tread the line between objective researcher and true believer incredibly well, bringing up a lot of really great points, and not trying to make any sweeping statements that he didn’t support with his process. The one hiccup was that I thought that the discussion of shamanistic practices of world cultures using 1) the part tense and 2) a definite mocking tone was definitely no good, but other than that I thought the author’s treatment of the material was very thoughtful and reasonably and clearly presented. “I have found in my experience that learned scientific men are the most easily duped of any in the world.” — Dr. Richard Hodgson, 1897 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 TW // a somewhat disrespectful discussion of shamanistic practices (Please feel free to DM me for more specifics!) Further Reading— - From Here to Eternity, by Caitlin Doughty - Ghostland, by Colin Dickey—TBR - Ghostland, by Edward Parnell—TBR - Ghost Stories of Gettysburg, volumes I-VIII

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kayla

    A huge thank you to Quirk Books for an advance copy of this book for my honest review. I'm a huge fan of paranormal shows, the caught-on-camera YouTube videos, and the history of how people tried to talk to the dead during the height of the Spiritualism movement. Something about it all fascinates me, and it's always a go-to subject matter. This means I was excited to get a chance to read Chasing Ghosts early. In fact, I took my time with the book and didn't let myself devour it in one sitting. Th A huge thank you to Quirk Books for an advance copy of this book for my honest review. I'm a huge fan of paranormal shows, the caught-on-camera YouTube videos, and the history of how people tried to talk to the dead during the height of the Spiritualism movement. Something about it all fascinates me, and it's always a go-to subject matter. This means I was excited to get a chance to read Chasing Ghosts early. In fact, I took my time with the book and didn't let myself devour it in one sitting. There's a lot to this book in just a little over two hundred pages. It's jammed packed with information from cover to cover, but it's super easy to read. You can tell that Marc Hartzman enjoyed his research, but I liked that he never really put in his own opinion in too much what he was telling. Yes, there were a few sarcastic comments here and there, but this had perfect timing throughout the book. I loved that this was a mix of information and haunting had heard of, and some I hadn't heard of it. I love when a book sends me to Google to know more. Hartzman did a lot of research for this book and it shows, and he told each story in a way that didn't sound like I was reading a textbook. This is always my biggest worry about nonfiction books, but that wasn't an issue here. I really liked the page breaks of fan facts in each section. Little add-ons that are super fun and a great break from each section. I also really liked the illustrations that appeared through the book and the addition of photos. It was a great look at the history of ghost hunting and added great visuals to the information that Hartzman had gathered. Personally, I thought it was a great read and fund for anyone who dives deep into the paranormal or just enjoys the ghost shows. It's a lot of fun information on the history of ghost hunting, and haunted houses, and how the whole haunted house started. A super great read for the upcoming Spooky Season. Chasing Ghosts by Marc Hartzman comes out next week, September 28, 2021!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Simona

    *I've got this book from NetGalley in exchange of an honest review* Like you can guess from the book title, this book is about a paranormal beings and events. As an entusiast of everything paranormal, I was eager to read this book and in the end I liked it. It definitely has it's flaws, but for those who are interested in such things it can be eye opening. The author definitely did his job and gave us a lot of information, with dates, names and places, sometimes it was even too much, felt like inf *I've got this book from NetGalley in exchange of an honest review* Like you can guess from the book title, this book is about a paranormal beings and events. As an entusiast of everything paranormal, I was eager to read this book and in the end I liked it. It definitely has it's flaws, but for those who are interested in such things it can be eye opening. The author definitely did his job and gave us a lot of information, with dates, names and places, sometimes it was even too much, felt like info dump, but at the same time I learned a lot. First part f the book took me some time to get into it, some parts were a little bit boring, but after some time I was hooked. There we can find the history of spiritualism and the famous spritualist and spiritualism entusiasts. The middle part of the book was my favorite, because it was about the haunted places. Just the stories and witnesses reports without any debunking ( the way I like the most). My only wish is that this part was a little bit longer. The final part of the book was more technical. I learned a lot about different devices and how they are used for ghost hunting, but at the same time it was quite boring, at least for me. In the end , I think it is one of the best book about paranormal world investigation, that I have read in a long time. You should definitely try giving it a chance.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Vienna Manzanares

    This was such a fascinating, informative, and entertaining read. This book has historical facts with storytelling, humor, and satire hints even for those not interested in ghosts. These elements give a “readable/reachable” tone which enhances the level of engagement. Despite skipping time periods, locations, and types of events, the book flows nicely and offers bits and pieces from all areas of the supernatural. I appreciated the lack of opinion from the author, seeing as the topic of “life afte This was such a fascinating, informative, and entertaining read. This book has historical facts with storytelling, humor, and satire hints even for those not interested in ghosts. These elements give a “readable/reachable” tone which enhances the level of engagement. Despite skipping time periods, locations, and types of events, the book flows nicely and offers bits and pieces from all areas of the supernatural. I appreciated the lack of opinion from the author, seeing as the topic of “life after death” can be very personal. The book states facts, stories, and events and then allows the reader to take from them what they will regarding their beliefs. Additionally, there are no “fake news” type details, and if topics are mentioned that are possibly untrue, the author makes it clear. I thoroughly enjoyed this book; it is a fun, engaging, informative, and easy read. I recommend giving it a gander, especially if you like paranormal/ supernatural themes!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Destiny Bridwell

    I received a copy of this book for a fair and honest review. There was this story at the beginning about two orphans who made a pact to each other about what happened when they die. There was so much information in this book about that it is a bit much to take in. One of the things that made made me laugh was when they mentioned Beetlejuice and the Handbook for the Recently Deceased. I remember this movie from when I was growing up. They mentioned burial traditions from around the world. It did I received a copy of this book for a fair and honest review. There was this story at the beginning about two orphans who made a pact to each other about what happened when they die. There was so much information in this book about that it is a bit much to take in. One of the things that made made me laugh was when they mentioned Beetlejuice and the Handbook for the Recently Deceased. I remember this movie from when I was growing up. They mentioned burial traditions from around the world. It did have me thinking about Purgatory. The question they put up is it real or not. They talk about having conversations with the dead. The pictures in this book were a bit strange and weird. There were a lot of mediums and spiritualists were talked about. There items that they talked about that can help communication with the other side. There was a list of famously haunted places.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Hill

    Marc Hartzman does a fabulous job with this book! I absolutely loved reading through it! He talks about some of the better know hauntings, as well as some lesser known ones too - weaving in the information in such a way as to guide the reader. He will discuss paranormal psychology, different aspects of the hauntings, but the book is laid out so thoughtfully, that even if you have heard of all of these places before - you are getting deeper in some places. There were a few areas that felt glossed Marc Hartzman does a fabulous job with this book! I absolutely loved reading through it! He talks about some of the better know hauntings, as well as some lesser known ones too - weaving in the information in such a way as to guide the reader. He will discuss paranormal psychology, different aspects of the hauntings, but the book is laid out so thoughtfully, that even if you have heard of all of these places before - you are getting deeper in some places. There were a few areas that felt glossed over, but that can be due to lack of information available, or space available - but I didn't feel like I lost out on too much. Enjoyable and fabulous read! Highly recommend!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ashley (Red-Haired Ash Reads)

    DNF pg. 104 This book covers an interesting topic, but sadly for me right now, it's not keeping my attention. I find myself growing bored, doing other things, and even falling asleep at times. What I did read was informative and interesting but I am not in the right headspace to enjoy this book so I am DNFing it for now. I hope to come back to this in the future though. *ARC provided by Netgalley for an honest review.* You can also find my reviews at Red-Haired Ash Reads. DNF pg. 104 This book covers an interesting topic, but sadly for me right now, it's not keeping my attention. I find myself growing bored, doing other things, and even falling asleep at times. What I did read was informative and interesting but I am not in the right headspace to enjoy this book so I am DNFing it for now. I hope to come back to this in the future though. *ARC provided by Netgalley for an honest review.* You can also find my reviews at Red-Haired Ash Reads.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tracie Simer

    I liked the variety of topics in this book. It wasn't what I expected at first (I thought it would be about our obsession with ghosts and ghost stories.) But I still enjoyed each chapter's look at different aspects of ghosts in world cultures: the theories on afterlife, the rise of Spiritualism, the rise of debunking Spiritualists, etc. Would recommend of you like history and ghost stories. I liked the variety of topics in this book. It wasn't what I expected at first (I thought it would be about our obsession with ghosts and ghost stories.) But I still enjoyed each chapter's look at different aspects of ghosts in world cultures: the theories on afterlife, the rise of Spiritualism, the rise of debunking Spiritualists, etc. Would recommend of you like history and ghost stories.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    Omg. A fascinating read if you like paranormal, supernatural and the understanding of the rise of spiritualism.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    This is a book that clearly had a lot to say and just wanted to cram it all in. Only some areas held my attention.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Noelle

    3 stars. A nice informative book about ghosts, mainly focused on America with some stories from other cultures.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

  21. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

  22. 4 out of 5

    Maegan Morin

  23. 5 out of 5

    Randy Waite

  24. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

  25. 5 out of 5

    Christina

  26. 5 out of 5

    Janelle Janson

  27. 4 out of 5

    Denee

  28. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

  29. 4 out of 5

    Leni

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sherri

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