Whisperers: The Secret History of the Spirit World by JH Brennan
|Whisperers: The Secret History of the Spirit World by JH Brennan|
|Category: Spirituality and Religion|
|Reviewer: Luke Marlowe|
|Summary: In a long, well researched yet often bewildering book, J.H. Brennan attempts to convince the reader that spirits are real and have been affecting world history since the beginning of time. Interesting ideas and theories often seem adrift in a sea of case studies and a sense of bias quickly appears, but this is nevertheless a decent read for those interested in the subject matter.|
|Buy? No||Borrow? Maybe|
|Pages: 416||Date: June 2014|
|Publisher: Overlook Press|
I love ghost stories - gothic, unsettling tales of old houses, broken promises and lost loves. They terrified me as a child and give me a thrill as an adult, and as such I was intrigued by this book, which purports to be a compendium that reveals the spirit world's pervasive influence on our own.
When it comes to real accounts of ghosts and poltergeists, I'm probably 95% cynic - but the remaining 5% wishes such things were found to be real.
With that in mind - Whisperers really tries its hardest to convince the reader of paranormal activity throughout the ages. Case study after case study are detailed, and some are genuinely entertaining - going back through history to the earliest days of civilisation, Brennan talks of the possible influence the spirit world may have had throughout, touching on everything from Joan of Arc up to Hitler and the Nazis.
Many chapters do offer something in the way of intrigue, and I'm grateful that a writer who believes as strongly in the Occult as Brennan does, can write these chapters as relatively clinical, detached and unbiased case studies.
Later chapters seek to explore possible scientific theories that could produce the phenomena associated with spirits, and as such are genuinely a very well written and interesting read that, whilst not providing answers, do go a small way to help a cynic like myself perhaps believe in the magic of ghosts and ghouls.
In the impassioned conclusion, the author asks when the world will finally grasp that concepts such as ghosts and spirit worlds are real ones, and seems to think that his earlier words serve as proof for this. In my opinion - they didn't at all.
Whilst Brennan gives fascinating examples of times when perhaps spirits may have been encountered, none of these things are proven to have happened. And how can they?
It seems to me that Brennan is trying to do the impossible here - to prove that spirits and ghosts exist, but without using any proof with which to do so. Bombarding the reader with tale after tale in which spirits may have played a part does little to convince - instead it begins to feel rather oppressive, and this book is not the open minded dialogue about the idea of spirits that I would have liked to have read.
Brennan is clearly hugely passionate about the existence of a spirit world - I often felt like the Scully to his Mulder whilst reading this (although without the sexual tension, I hasten to add...) and whilst his book is a well researched and well written read, it feels rather like it is trying too hard.
Those who are cynical about the existence of the spirit world are unlikely to be swayed by this book, and those who already do will likely find no further proof here.
Nevertheless, it's an entertaining read - but not one that will keep you up at night.
For those who love chilling ghost stories, An English Ghost Story by Kim Newman is truly brilliant, and I'd go so far as to say a modern classic.
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You can read more book reviews or buy Whisperers: The Secret History of the Spirit World by JH Brennan at Amazon.com.
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