My thoughts on Varla Ventura’s Paranormal Parlor: Ghosts, Seances, & Tales of True Hauntings

blip
I am, as you’re most likely well aware, a seasoned paranormal investigator. I have always had an interest, and prowled graveyards and abandoned houses when I still measured my years in single digits. I devoured what few books on the subject my local library offered. I co-founded a “ghost hunting group” called the Monster Club we put together in 1974 when I was eight years old. We held seances with candles, read fortunes with playing cards, and tempted fate with the occasional Ouija board session. We tracked UFO and Bigfoot sightings on a huge map of the continental United States. We clipped articles from the National Enquirer and Weekly World News. It was one helluva lot of fun.
blip
In ’83 I formed the Nightstalkers, putting a more “grown-up” spin on our childhood endeavors. Off to college, I majored in anthropology with a focus on witchcraft, magic, and religion. My occult pursuits intensified, but I never lost the sense of wonder or excitement for investigating the strange and unusual occurrences that were brought to me from people of all walks of life.
blip
I do not investigate as regularly as I used to. Para-Entertainment Television saw to that. Ghost Hunters and shows of that ilk brought in a new style of investigation, a pseudo-scientific approach that was quickly mirrored and imitated. Suddenly there were dozens upon dozens of thrill seekers, all calling themselves professionals. These would-be “paranormal experts” flooded the field and sparked an explosion of “haunted” locations brokering outlandish fees to “hunt” their properties.
blip

varlaIt’s all gotten to be a bit much, but I have never lost my passion for things that go bump in the proverbial night which is why I found Varla Ventura’s Paranormal Parlor: Ghosts, Seances, and Tales of True Hauntings such a treat.

 blip
I have read and enjoyed several other books by Varla Ventura, including Banshees, Werewolves, Vampires & Other Creatures of the Night and Fairies, Pookas, and Changelings: A Complete Guide to the Wild and Wicked Enchanted Realm.
blip
Paranormal Parlor is a perfect companion to her previous works.
blip
I just love the way the publisher puts these books together.
blip
Paranormal Parlor boasts a gorgeous, heavy stock cover with newsprint interiors (no glare making for unpleasant reading ). You’ll find it lavishly illustrated with woodcut reproductions and clip-art as well. Weiser Books has done a wonderful job with it.
blip
That said, a pretty package is wasted without content to back it up, and Varla Ventura has delivered a fun and entertaining book that focuses on the sensational and spine-tingling. It really takes me back to the sort of books I read and coveted as a child, capturing that thrilling aspect of the paranormal that fueled the fire so long ago.
blip
Ventura has a terrific, conversational writing voice in her retelling of these paranormal encounters. She states, “I have never met a ghost story I didn’t like.” I have to agree with the sentiment. Human beings have been sharing otherworldly tales since the invention of language. It is part and parcel of who we are as a species. Our complex brains churn over the complexities of what transpires once we shuffle off this mortal coil. The ghost story preys on those insecurities and fears. Sometimes this is done with menace and dread, and sometimes with tongue-in-cheek.
blip
We are fascinated by the paranormal, with the here-after, with haints and haunts and all manner of spookiness. If you’re one who likes to embrace these sort of ghastly chills and thrills, then I assure you, Varla Ventura’s Paranormal Parlor scratches that itch quite nicely.
blip
You can purchase Paranormal Parlor wherever books are sold.

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: