R E V I E W
Stalked by Spirits: True Tales of a Ghost Magnet
by Vivian Campbell
288 pages; 5 x 8 IN
Llewellyn Worldwide / April 2012
FROM THE PUBLISHER'S PRODUCT SUMMARY
"Shadowed by the supernatural since childhood, Vivian Campbell has encountered angry wraiths, mischievous child spirits, terrorizing demons, and all sorts of bizarre, unearthly beings. In Stalked by Spirits, Vivian relives these thrilling experiences."To see a videotaped interview with Vivian Campbell, click HERE.
BASIC INFORMATION / APPEARANCE, SIZE, QUALITY / ART
The 288-page book is a standard trade paperback measuring 5 x 8 inches, with text separated into an Introduction, seven Chapters, and an Epilogue. The author is a paranormal investigator and sensitive whose life in several different haunted houses has been chronicled in several books and a television documentary.
The text of Stalked by Spirits is arranged in rough chronological order, one story after another, with flashbacks along the way. Each chapter is divided by subtitles. Chapter titles and many of the subtitles are provocative and encourage the reader to continue. Beneath each Chapter title Campbell provides a place and range of time covered by the chapter. Examples of Chapter titles: "Spook Central (Lookout Mountain, Tennessee: 1970-1979)," "Honeymoon with the Shadow Man (Atlanta, Georgia: 1991-1993)," and "Unexpected Guests (Orlando, Florida: 1993-1995)." Subtitles include teasers such as "The Cat with Nine Lives" and "Mr. Creepy" as well as those that simply identify the date that an incident took place.
DETAILS / COMMENTS
I love a good ghost story -- whether it is fictional (like Stephen King's The Shining) or just might be true. For example, I thoroughly enjoyed the Weird & Haunted Tour I took a couple of years ago in Chicago (conducted by Weird Chicago
Our first clue is the title: Stalked by Spirits. Being stalked by anyone or anything is not usually pleasant, and Campbell shares quite a few ghostly encounters of the distinctly disturbing kind. She also discusses a variety of prankish, friendly, or harmless spirits.
Campbell's experiences are not limited to one house or even one town. A self-described "ghost magnet," Campbell has known spirits in Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida. At various times over the years, her encounters with these phantoms have been shared by members of her family as well as friends and acquaintances.
In Chapter One, we are introduced to Campbell's great-grandmother, Janet Rattray Thompson Hosie of Scotland, who warned her fiancé not to go to work one day in 1893 because she had dreamed he would die there. He ignored her warning, and as the story goes, he was killed in an explosion three hours later at the factory where he worked.
Campbell's ancestors and other member of her family are known for having "second sight." Campbell herself does not claim that talent. Instead, she attracts ghosts. She is also sensitive to paranormal "energies" in the places she visits, and senses a difference in the air when demonic or evil entities are present. Over time, she has learned that earnest prayer is the most successful weapon against such forces.
As a Tarot reader, I took note of the few references Campbell makes to Tarot in this book. Of her ancestors, she writes: "The Hosies were conservative, God-fearing Presbyterians who would literally cut off a hand before touching a tarot card." Campbell, however, does not share that view. She
In general, I enjoyed Campbell's prose style, which varies from matter-of-fact to descriptive bordering on lyrical. I do feel she goes a bit overboard with descriptions from time to time. For example: "The full moon spilled rays of silver over spider webs of Spanish moss hanging from ancient live oaks like corpses." One particularly sensational passage describes an empty baby carrier tipped upside down as "...like the body of a battered child that had been viciously and silently kicked to death." I wanted to edit down many of her sentences to make them more effective. However, there are plenty of beautifully crafted, evocative lines in this book to more than make up for that.
If you are interested only in scientific approaches to paranormal investigation, this book won't work for you. It seems designed more for those who, like me, enjoy a good ghost story and find it fascinating to imagine what it might be like to experience the kinds of things Campbell describes. If you have encountered ghosts or spirits in your personal life, you might enjoy comparing your encounters with Campbell's.
In accordance with the FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, I hereby disclose that this product was provided by the publisher for free. Other than the occasional review copy, I receive no monetary or in-kind compensation for my reviews. The substance of my reviews is not influenced by whether I do or do not receive a review copy.