My Latest: “American Hauntings”

July 15, 2015

Co-authored by Robert E. Bartholomew, a world expert on panics and hysterias, is our American Hauntings: The True Stories behind Hollywood’s Scariest Movies—from The Exorcist to The Conjuring.

The book is an outgrowth of Bob’s invitation to work with him on an investigation (see “Rain Boy Poltergeist: Case Solved” in Skeptic 18:1, 2013). Afterward, I casually suggested we could do a whole book. And here it is, published by Praeger, with cover art from the movie Poltergeist (1982).

Following are some comments on the book by notables (written as back-cover blurbs).

Michael Shermer (publisher of Skeptic magazine and author of Why People Believe Weird Things) wrote: “I do not believe in the supernatural or the paranormal, angels or demons, or poltergeists or exorcisms, and yet so powerful are the Hollywood films that portray such phenomena as real that even I get chills watching them. If a skeptic can be so moved, imagine the effect such films have on general believing audiences. In American Hauntings, Robert Bartholomew and Joe Nickell—the world’s foremost ghostbusters—give us the facts behind the stories and natural explanations for apparently supernatural phenomena, demystifying while illuminating the wonders of human psychology.”

Emory Psychology professor and CSI Fellow Scott O. Lilienfeld stated: “A delightful and enlightening romp through the little-known scientific evidence underlying seven supposed hauntings, all immortalized in familiar Hollywood films. This is a much-needed reminder that the facts behind allegedly paranormal events are almost always more fascinating than the fictions. American Hauntings is certain to become a classic.”

Keith J. Petrie—Professor of health Psychology, School of Medicine, University of Auckland, New Zealand, stated: “A meticulously researched analysis of some of the most well known cases of haunted houses and poltergeists. Bartholomew and Nickell apply their considerable detective nous and skills in critical analysis to expose and examine the evidence behind each haunting. The result is a spellbinding and engaging read.”

And Bruce Dettman, author of The Horror Factory, enthused: “Not to be missed . . . Bartholomew and Nickell are demon researchers with no agenda save getting at the truth. With surgical precision, they adeptly separate myth from reality in this engrossing exposé of the real stories behind a crop of successful Hollywood films reportedly based on legitimate ghostly manifestations.”

American Hauntings is available from your favorite retail bookseller.