Hauntings: A Book of Ghosts by Neil Oliver BOOK REVIEW


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TV historian Neil Oliver turns his attention to the paranormal in Hauntings: A Book of Ghosts and Where to Find Them Across 25 Eerie British Locations. DAVID SAUNDERSON take a look at this spooky new book

Hauntings: A Book of Ghosts by Neil Oliver BOOK REVIEW 1

Review of “Hauntings: A Book of Ghosts and Where to Find Them Across 25 Eerie British Locations” by Neil Oliver

In the realm of paranormal writing, Neil Oliver’s Hauntings emerges as a thoughtful journey through the fog-shrouded laneways of British history and the supernatural.

Known as a TV archaeologist and now political pundit, Oliver pivots with some grace to explore a subject wrapped in mystery and intrigue, the ghost stories woven into the fabric of British landscapes.

I, like many Spooky Isles readers, am a long-time reader of paranormal books and guides from the likes of Elliott O’Donnell to Peter Underwood and newer writers like Eddie Brazil and Andrew Homer. Throughout the UK and Ireland, there are new books coming out each day about hauntings in local areas written by both amateur and professional. What these books have in common is that the authors tend to strongly believe in the paranormal. They have been involved in research over many years and come at the subject with a believer mindset.

What is interesting about Neil Oliver’s Hauntings is that he is an accomplished historian who is now looking at the hauntings from the historical side. I find this fascinating.

A Book of Ghosts and Where to Find Them Across 25 Eerie British Locations leads us on a journey across the British Isles, from the eerie battlefields of forgotten conflicts to the haunting solitude of ancient castles. Spanning locations from Inverness to Devon and beyond, Oliver serves as a knowledgeable guide through more than 20 sites that are as historically significant as they are paranormally active.

With a backdrop of black and white illustrations and a useful map that perfectly complement the mood, the book provides a deeper exploration of these sites than typical ghost story travelogues offer.

What sets this book apart is Oliver’s personal connection to the stories. Beyond simply recounting tales of apparitions and eerie happenings, Oliver reflects on his own family’s history, intertwining it with that of kings and queens and the tragic events that linger in the collective memory of places. This personal narrative style not only brings the stories closer to the reader but also invites them to ponder the thin veils separating life from death, past from present.

The structure of Hauntings mirrors Oliver’s previous works, where history is explored through objects and places, yet here it is deployed to examine the eerie and the ethereal. His writing is almost poetic at times, creating an intimacy that draws readers into the ghostly ambiance of the settings. I’ve enjoyed his other books because of this.

As I suggested above, one of the most compelling aspects of Hauntings is its open-minded approach to the paranormal. It is crafted not solely for believers in ghosts but for anyone interested in the stories places can tell and the historical contexts that shape these tales.

Listeners of the audible version of the book will find additional delight in Oliver’s narration. His voice, familiar and authoritative, adds another layer of depth to the haunting narratives, making the experiences of these spectral sites even more vivid.

There are quite a few places in Hauntings that you won’t find in your traditional paranormal guide book. However, it’s important to note that “Hauntings” might not appeal to those in search of a conventional tourist guide filled with colourful photos and simple ghost tales. The book’s strength lies in its narrative richness and the historical deep dives that anchor the ghost stories to their geographical and historical realities. Some readers may find themselves wishing the journey was longer, a testament to Oliver’s engaging storytelling and the fascinating subject matter.

In conclusion, “Hauntings” is a masterful blend of history, personal journey, and the supernatural. It stands out as a masterpiece that is as educational as it is entertaining, capturing the imagination and perhaps, for some, redefining the contours of reality. Neil Oliver has undoubtedly expanded his repertoire with this latest offering, proving his ability to captivate and educate extends well beyond the reaches of conventional history into the enigmatic realm of the paranormal. Whether you’re a steadfast believer in ghosts or a history aficionado with a penchant for the atmospheric, “Hauntings” promises an enriching, moving, and spine-chilling experience.

Hauntings: A Book Of Ghosts And Where To Find Them by Neil Oliver is now available.

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