My rating: 3 of 5 stars
A few caveats about this review: 1. If you’re reading it as a non-believer in ghosts I assume one of two things, you’re curious and have an open mind or you’re here to ridicule. 2. I read this book because my brother wanted to me. He’s just gotten into ghost hunting (I’ve been involved since the mid 1980’s). I would not have read it otherwise because I’ll be honest, I’m not a fan of Mr. Bagans. I sort of think he’s a jerk and from a ghost hunting stand point, I differ vastly in approach and don’t think yelling at/ridiculing spirits is the best way to go. To his credit, Zak does discuss this in his book and why he does it.
The book is more about Zak than anything and I do feel he has a very high opinion of himself (granted I felt that way going into this but nothing in the book dissuaded me from that opinion). It’s all about how he got into ghost hunting, his approach to hunting and his experiences. A good chunk of the beginning of the book is dedicated to explaining the techniques and tools of the trade. The language is very conversational and written so pretty much anyone could follow.
It goes into depth about various types of hauntings, residual, intelligent etc and into Zak’s religious beliefs (lightly, nothing preachy) and his belief in the demonic. It certainly pulls from various sites seen on the TV show. It has tips and caveats about getting into ghost hunting and as I said above Zak does explain why he likes to yell at/humiliate some ghosts, the risks of doing that and why he spends a lot of time yelling at his companions (something I find very off putting and one of the reasons I rarely watch the show in all honesty. However, I suspect that reality TV is convinced we want to see someone acting like a dick judging by personalities we see on X-Factor and Kitchen Nightmares).
The latter parts of the book deal with scientific theory, and various of theories that could explain hauntings. I’ll give him credit for attempting to explain these theories so anyone could understand them even if I’m not entirely sure I buy into some of his conclusions and his knee jerk assumption all of science is filled with non-believers.
If you came into this hoping for a book on all his hauntings, you might be disappointed. Outside of Bob Mackay’s and a couple others, most of the investigations are given light treatment, less than a page or two. It’s more about the how to do it rather than the experiences in any depth. And again, it’s all about Zak. Even his partners aren’t given much face time. The lay out of the book is nice though I would have preferred pictures of the investigations instead of Zak trying to look bad ass in various locals. I suspect most people picking this book up are already fans of Bagans and/or Ghost Adventures. If you’re looking for a book to dip your toe into the world of ghost hunting, it’s not a bad place to start. If you’re more of an old hand at ghost hunting, you’ll probably be a little bored in many places since it’s nothing you haven’t heard a hundred times before.
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