The Secret History of Poltergeists and Haunted Houses

Paranormal enthusiasts! Wake up! Over here! Over here! If you consider yourself a paranormal investigator, a ghost hunter, or an armchair paranormal expert I am about to tell you about THE book you need to read if you want to have real game. We’re talking about separating the boys from the men, the Caspers from the, from the, well I can’t think of the name of some adult type ghost but you get the idea. What we’re talking about my friends is Claude Lecouteux.

Regular Buffet readers know that it is no secret that I adore Claude Lecouteux’s books. It started with “Return of the Dead: Ghosts, Ancestors, and the Transparent Veil of the Pagan Mind”, a rare look at revenants. Then it was “The Secret History of Vampires: Their Multiple Forms and Hidden Purposes”, where indeed Lecouteux revealed all kinds of vampires. Lastly there was “Phantom Armies of the Night: The Wild Hunt and the Ghostly Processions of the Undead”, which was one of my favorite things of 2011 AND inspired me to start a new household tradition! And now Lecouteux offers us “The Secret History of Poltergeists and Haunted Houses: From Pagan Folklore to Modern Manifestations.”

As I’ve come to expect from Lecouteux, the level of research is astounding. The book opens with a thoughtful discussion of “What is a Poltergeist?” His aptitude with medieval texts means that “Poltergeists” is not only filled with stories you’ve probably never read before, but it also allows Lecouteux to track the evolution of belief in, and explanation of, poltergeists. A particular highlight for me is back in the Appendices where you’ll find the debunking of a 1649 instance of poltergeist activity. Also in the Appendices; Exorcismus domus a daemonio vexatae (Rite for the Exorcism of a House Tormented by a Demon) which is how priests would attempt to rid homes of poltergeists in the Middle Ages when poltergeists were considered to actually be the Devil or demonic activity.

I can’t imagine a more thorough text available on the subject of poltergeists and the homes they haunt. Are they spirits, genies, the dead, the Devil, demons, witchcraft, hoaxes, or from psychokinetic abilities? Lecouteux covers all of that as well as the variety of ways people from all eras would attempt to rid themselves of poltergeists. If you’re anybody who is anybody claiming to know anything about the paranormal, you have to read this book. Also, if you’re anybody looking for an insanely fascinating read about the evolution of poltergeists in human culture, you also really should read this book.