A Brief Guide to Ghost Hunting Reviewed by Tom Ruffles

Leo Ruickbie has written a useful guide which will assist investigators to conduct meaningful research.

Dr Tom Ruffles

A Brief Guide to Ghost Hunting reviewed by Dr Tom Ruffles:

In an age when ghost hunting groups proliferate but their standards are often woefully inadequate, solid and reliable information on how to carry out an investigation properly is essential.  In response to that need, Leo Ruickbie has written a useful guide which will assist investigators to conduct meaningful research.  Subtitled ‘How to Identify and Investigate Spirits, Poltergeists, Hauntings and Other Paranormal Activity’, its progression is logical, taking the reader through the process of evaluation, equipment, investigation methods, analysis, and interpretation of results.  In addition he discusses more general issues of psychical research, drawing heavily on the files of the Society for Psychical Research (SPR) and the Ghost Club.  Supplementing such historical material he conducted two surveys, the ‘Ghost Hunting Survey’, interviewing investigators, and a ‘Preliminary Survey of Hauntings’, the latter examining nearly a thousand reports from across the UK.

Sections look at ghosts in detail, categorising them in terms of factors such as degree of visibility, whether or not they communicate or appear to have purpose, and the sorts of places where they are said to be found, including a roundup of the most famous locations (the SPR is often asked for its ‘Top 10”, but such lists are more about marketing than psychical research). Methods used to obtain information are covered, such as the Ouija board, mediums, dowsing, Electronic Voice Phenomena, even necromancy (though you will need a bit more information than is provided here if you fancy a go at that). Then Ruickbie considers what might be going on, looking of course at the spirit hypothesis, but covering other possibilities of varying degrees of plausibility. These include the environment, such as faulty plumbing, underground water, carbon monoxide poisoning, infrasound, geo- and electromagnetism, the ‘stone tape’ theory and more. Psychological factors are dealt with: misperception, hallucination, the fantasy-prone personality etc. Possible causes of poltergeists are covered: spirits, recurrent spontaneous psychokinesis, a desire to be rehoused, even stories put about as a cover for criminal activity.

After this wide-ranging tour, the final chapter looks at the perils that can befall the unwary investigator, from hit-and-runs, falling under trains, to being shot (the last one more an American than a British problem these days, but presumably a real danger for those groups foolhardy enough to commit trespass in search of ghosts). Ruickbie found in his Ghost Hunting Survey that over half of his respondents had been frightened at least once during an investigation. As he concludes, “ghost hunting is not for the faint-hearted.” At the very least it requires good social skills, confidence when alone in the dark, and the ability to balance open-mindedness with scepticism. Completing the package, unlike many publications dealing with spontaneous cases it has an excellent index and detailed endnotes which amply demonstrate the extensive reading that informs the volume.


From http://tomruffles.blogspot.de/2013/09/a-brief-guide-to-ghost-hunting-by-leo.html

Ghost Hunting