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A History of Ghosts: The True Story of Seances, Mediums, Ghosts and Ghostbusters | [Peter H. Aykroyd]

A History of Ghosts: The True Story of Seances, Mediums, Ghosts and Ghostbusters

Peter Aykroyd spent his childhood watching his family’s parlor séances through the crack of a basement door. Here, for the first time, Aykroyd tells the strange and delightful story that inspired his son, Dan, to make the mega-hit Ghostbusters. Part history, part family legend, A History of Ghosts starts in 1848 in upstate New York, where the spiritualist craze first began....
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Publisher's Summary

Peter Aykroyd spent his childhood watching his family’s parlor séances through the crack of a basement door. Here, for the first time, Aykroyd tells the strange and delightful story that inspired his son, Dan, to make the mega-hit Ghostbusters.

Part history, part family legend, A History of Ghosts starts in 1848 in upstate New York, where the spiritualist craze first began. Aykroyd introduces the listener to notable mediums while telling the story of the development of spiritualism, interweaving a personal history marked by a fascination with ghosts and spirits with the larger narrative about the role the paranormal has played in our culture. Such legendary figures as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini appear - and vanish.

Everyone loves a good ghost story. Successful TV shows such as Medium and Ghost Hunters are proof that our national obsession with ghosts is here to stay. Millions of Americans believe in the paranormal—and even skeptics have heard a bump in the night and suspected it might be something supernatural.

©2009 Peter H. Aykroyd (P)2010 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Less a Ghostbusters also-ran than a knowing, historical origin story, this is a smart consideration of the paranormal and a curious artifact of the Aykroyd legacy." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.2 (122 )
5 star
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3.4 (54 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Kimberly Cambridge, MA, United States 03-17-10
    Kimberly Cambridge, MA, United States 03-17-10 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Mediocre"

    I'm not sure what I expected from this book. I love Ghostbusters and Ghost Hunters, so I thought this would be an interesting book. I also found it interesting that the Aykroyd family had a history with ghosts.

    I think a history of human interest in the paranormal would have been very interesting in its own right. I also think a detailed history of the Aykroyd family's experiences with the paranormal would have been quite interesting.

    This book attempts to do both, and the result is a vague overview of the paranormal. The author tells us of mediums through the course of history, only to later say that they were eventually debunked as frauds. He even admits that it would have been simple for even his own family's encounters with mediums and ghosts to have been fraudulent. It left me constantly wondering: So...do you think this stuff is real or not?

    I suppose if the book would have had a clear thread, or point of view, it would have been helpful. I couldn't decide if our narrator was a true believer, or a solid skeptic, even though he says several times that he believes.

    Perhaps I would have enjoyed it more if it had been two novels with a more focused purpose. I can't really blame the narrator, Jeremy Gage, for how dry the material is. Though he didn't help the novel very much with his dull reading style.

    Overall, it was only very mildly entertaining. I could have spent the credit better on another novel.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brenda Cleburne, TX, United States 04-02-10
    Brenda Cleburne, TX, United States 04-02-10 Member Since 2008

    I am a retired Court Reporter and I LOVE books. All kinds of books but my favorites are mysteries and period books. I like civil war books and some biographies.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A History of Ghosts"

    I'm a fan of Dan Aykroyd but this was a terrible,terrible book. It couldn't hold my interest for even one chapter. I tried several times to listen to it. I even bought the hard copy of the book but still couldn't read it. It was just the most boring book ever written.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. J. Swan United States 09-08-10
    S. J. Swan United States 09-08-10 Member Since 2008

    S. J. Swan

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    "Read like a text book on Spiritualism"

    I would have liked more anecdotal material than this. It read like a text book and was very dry.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sharon Beiseker, Alberta, Canada 09-03-10
    Sharon Beiseker, Alberta, Canada 09-03-10
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    "Good bedtime story..."

    because it is sure to put you to sleep! This tops the list of most boring books I've downloaded in more than 2 yrs. The reader is dull and forever skips to "Boxes" and "Notes" to further explain some boring piece of trivia. I've tried to listen to this book so many times and have been unable to do it. I would sooner watch paint dry than listen to this! Save your credit and don't waste it on this fluff.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ROGER B CARPENTER 03-14-10 Listener Since 2010
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    "Bait and switch"

    I felt betrayed by the sample read by Dan Aykroyd. If you think this book will be read by Dan, you are as wrong as I was. Dan only read the introduction, while the entire book was read by Jeremy Gage.

    8 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Meagan vR Ohio 02-01-12
    Meagan vR Ohio 02-01-12 Member Since 2010

    I collect spores, molds, and fungus.

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    "OK book, not really what I expected."

    Pretty much more of a book about seances and the history of the modern interest in the paranormal. Not much about ghosts and really, I think it only mentions 'ghostbusters' a scant few times. For those with an interest in the paranormal it isn't a bad listen, but be ready to learn more about what happened at seances rather than experiences with paranormal activity. Kind of boring in some parts.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Richmond, Va, United States 10-29-11
    Amazon Customer Richmond, Va, United States 10-29-11 Member Since 2007
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    "Intersting history of the Seance movement"

    I didn't care that Dan didn't read the entire book, like some other reviewers did. I felt that Jeremy Gage did an adequate job. The Aykroyd family history with mediums was interesting. It was nice to know that the author was working from direct experience with the subject. Plus, the author did a good job of establishing his comfort with the material. The author goes into detail on the mediums and how the whole movement escalated.

    This book is a good history of the medium movement from someone who was there. I think this book treats the material very objectively and it's worth a read.

    My only complaint with it is that this book does get boring in some parts.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Maxie Navajo burbank CA 06-11-10
    Maxie Navajo burbank CA 06-11-10 Member Since 2008

    Kitty

    ratings
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    "lacking a little"

    Honestly I was hoping for a little more in the ghost story genre. The history was well and good but it lacked excitement.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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