Fear: A Ghost Hunter’s Story (Book)
Fans of the paranormal, as well as those in the MTV generation, can’t help but have noticed MTV’s FEAR. The premise seems simple enough: Cast members are taken to “the scariest places in the world” and asked to perform a series of dares, the purpose of which is to further the spooky reputation of the environment and catch the cast members losing their collective minds to their own paranoia. The question on many viewers’ minds has been, “Where do they find these places?” Surely locations of such haunted ferocity are not common. As it turns out, the producers contacted someone who makes it her business to find such places: Kriss Stephens.
FEAR: A Ghost Hunter’s Story is not so much a look behind the scenes at the MTV series but a collection of some of Stephens’ favorite, and most active, haunted hotspots. While there is a section dedicated to some of the more twisted locations used in the program, this book reads more like a “best of” collection spanning the USA and Europe. Included are the Waverly Hills Sanatorium, Castle Rising, Eastern State Penitentiary, the LaLaurie House, and various well-known battlefield sights. Also included, however, are sights that some paranormal enthusiasts might not know about such as the sanatorium known as Tranquille, The Jimani Lounge, and Loyd Hall. Even Stephens’ own grandmother’s house is featured prominently.
The style of the book is straightforward, presenting the tales in a matter-of-fact manner that tells the reader there is no embellishment going on. What the reader reads, Stephens saw. And while she is fascinated by the world of the supernatural, she does not hesitate to tell the reader when she ran in abject terror.
Books of this sort must, by their very nature, be taken with a grain of salt. Each investigator has his or her own methodology, and results vary. There are several points that seasoned ghost hunters might take issue with within this book such as the blanket use of the word “Satanists” or relying on mediums and Ouija boards. However, investigative bones aside, each of the tales makes for a fascinating read.
One of the best aspects of FEAR: A Ghost Hunter’s Story is the inclusion of sections in the back about spirit photography, videography, and exploration of abandoned buildings. In these sections Stephens gives sound advice to any would-be ghost hunter as to how to get the best results. Also included is a section about the hotly-debated “orb” phenomenon with valid arguments instead of blind posturing.
In total, FEAR: A Ghost Hunter’s Story may not be what a person expected, but it is a solid collection of tales with useful information and stories told with enough style to give readers a serious case of the heebie-jeebies. It should be a fine and welcome addition to any paranormal enthusiast’s bookshelf.
FEAR: A Ghost Hunter’s Story
By Kriss Stephens
Atriad Press, 2004
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