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198 × 129 × 15 mm
208 pages
60 illustrations
01 Aug 2017

Ghosts A Haunted History Lisa Morton

In the history of the numinous there are few things more common than the belief in ghosts. From the earliest writings such as the Epic of Gilgamesh to today’s ghost-hunting reality TV shows, ghosts have chilled the air of nearly every era and every culture in human history. In this book, now available in B-format paperback, Lisa Morton wrangles together history’s most enduring ghosts into an entertaining and comprehensive look at what otherwise seems to always evade our eyes.

‘Lisa Mortons brisk, handsomely illustrated Ghosts: A Haunted History canters through millennia of supposed uncanny interruptions with a kind of puckish scepticism . . . Morton excels at presenting us with instances of the persistence of belief, across all times and cultures . . . there are moments all the same when the hint of something truly uncanny is permitted to intrude.’ — TLS

‘Halloween isnt the only time for ghosts and ghost stories . . . Lisa Morton offers a compact account of the human propensity to believe in otherworldly apparitions. She discusses, among other matters, haunted houses, spiritualism, ghost-hunting, Day of the Dead and spectral terrors in literature, film and popular culture. To give body and shape to these phantoms and airy nothings, Morton packs her book with images of paintings, creepy spirit photographs, movie stills and even a full-page illustration of Casper the Friendly Ghost . . . Abounds with phantasmic lore of every kind . . . Reminds us that its when the days are shortest and the nights darkest that we most need warmth and light and family. Paradoxically, its at this same time of the year, and under just those cozy conditions, that we most enjoy spooky stories. There was a man dwelt by a churchyard, whispers a character in Shakespeares The Winters Tale and then breaks off. No matter. People have been imagining, and telling, what happened next ever since.’ — Michael Dirda, Washington Post

‘This years Halloween has passed, but for many the interest in things that go bump in the night is alive and well. From classic ghost stories told around a campfire to the slew of recent ghost hunting TV shows, ghosts have been the most prevalent otherworldly beings around for years. Luckily for those of us who love a good ghost story, Lisa Morton has written the ultimate guide on the shadowy superstars of the supernatural realm.’ — PopMatters

Ghosts is intelligent and well structured. Its also well informed, which is apparent in the sheer volume of spectral examples that Morton has collected, yet her writing style remains accessible . . . the perfect companion for those who err towards skepticism over embellishment, yet still find themselves riddled in goose-pimples when they hear a creak in the floorboards in the dead of night.’ — Rue Morgue magazine

Ghosts makes a really good Christmas gift.’ — Magonia Review of Books

‘In Ghosts, Lisa Morton brings her encyclopedic knowledge of folklore and the supernatural to bear on this vast, vital subject. For students of things that go bump in the night the book is simply indispensable.’ — Leslie S. Klinger, author of The New Annotated H.P. Lovecraft

Ghosts is brilliant, insightful and scary as hell. Lisa Morton proves that truth is definitely stranger than fiction.’ — Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of The Nightsiders and Ghostwalkers

‘Morton is clearly a fine writer, and the key strength of this book is its readability. The book also contains a number of images which adds to its suitability for a general readership’ — Nova Religio

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Lisa Morton is an award-winning author and widely acknowledged as one of the world’s leading authorities on the supernatural. Her previous books include Ghosts: A Haunted History (Reaktion, 2015).


1. What Are (and Are Not) Ghosts?

2. Lands of the Dead: Early Sightings

3. Rattling Chains and White Sheets: Ghosts in the Western World

4. Hungry Ghosts: The Eastern World

5. La Llorona and Dreamtime: Ghosts in Latin America and the Southern Hemisphere

6. The Quest for Evidence: The Ghost and Science

7. From King Richard to Paranormal Activity: The Ghost in Literature, Film, and Popular Culture

Conclusion: The Ubiquitous Ghost


Select Bibliography

Acknowledgements and Photo Acknowledgements