Posted by: Nyxks | August 13, 2007

The Case for Ghosts

The Case for Ghosts
by J. Allan Danelek © 2006
Llewellyn Worldwide
ISBN 0-7387-0865-8
238 pages
$12.95 (U.S.) $15.95 (Canada)
reviewed by: Mike Gleason

Looking for a collection of spooky stories? Sorry about that, this book is not for you. Hoping for a how-to manual for your next ghost-busting experience? Once more you will be disappointed. Looking for a possible explanation of how and why ghosts may exist? Okay, now you’ve found a book for you. It doesn’t have all the answers. In fact, it doesn’t have ANY answers. It does have theories; basic details on how to document your experiences; and some really good food for thought.

Mr. Danelek offers some intriguing thoughts on how consciousness arises; how it might survive physical death; how non-animate objects (aircraft, boats, automobiles, etc.) might manifest as “ghosts”; and just generally opens the field to investigation to multiple approaches. He offers a true skeptic’s approach to the subject – he neither accepts the reality of ghosts unconditionally, nor does he reject the possibility categorically. His approach is basically that of “Convince me one way or the other.” He is not a true believer, nor is he a debunker. He is an inquirer.

Mr. Danelek is not a professional paranormal investigator, nor is he a professional debunker. He is a profession, however – a professional artist and writer. This lack of a position to defend allows him to look at both sides of the issue and offer common sense suggestions to both sides.

He does pose some interesting questions about the current crop of “ghost hunters,” especially those who appear on television. If ghost sightings “normally” (if you can use that term) occur in lighted rooms or during daylight hours, who do so many of these people shoot their investigations at night, using “night vision” equipment? It would seem more logical (although less “spooky”) to do the hunting during the day when most incidents occur. He does offer some intriguing possibilities about how to improve the chances for encouraging a “ghostly” encounter.

Mr. Danelek has some obvious biases and attitudes regarding the reason for “spiritual afterlife,” but he makes no attempt to disguise them. He clearly identifies suppositions, suggestions, and other non-provable beliefs as just that when they are brought into the discussion. He is very careful to avoid categorical statements, while making a real effort to be fair in his presentation. Hew may not agree with a particular premise (the existence of a literal heaven or hell, for instance), but he is honest enough to admit that there is no scientifically verifiable proof one way or the other.

There are a couple of pages of photographs illustrating common “sightings” which show up on film, and how to “fake up” a ghost photo. These pages are included simply as examples of what is out there, and have no intent of debunking photographic evidence in general.

This book is well-written and fairly presented. It offers a great deal of food for thought. And it is reasonably priced. What more can you expect from a book on a controversial subject?


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