Will Storr vs. The Supernatural
Harper (U.S. edition)
Trade paper $13.95
Reviewed by Nickolas Cook
What happens when a confirmed skeptic takes on the supernatural world?
Well, in the real world, not a hell of a lot. The skeptic will, in most cases, remain utterly skeptical, always finding some logical reason by which to relegate the supernatural into something mundanely prosaic.
But if that skeptic happens to be internationally famous journalist Will Storr, known for his irreverence and straight shooting style of Gonzo-journalism, then you know to expect the unexpected – even from someone as proud of his level headed skepticism as Storr.
This is a quest, written by a man who wants to find the truth, and goes to great lengths to find it.Â Storr walks us through his own doubts, giving us an honest assessment of his emotional tensions throughout his two years of research.Â He admits that he started the book with a smirking derision about all things spiritual (including his own religious upbringing), but by its end has a different view on the things he witnesses that have no rational explanation.
Even though Storr doesn’t take things at face value, at one point in his fascinating quest he decides to try and believe anything that anyone tells him without question.Â This includes some obviously delusional people who see something supernatural in even the most common of events, and some earnest people who believe in their possession and haunting without a modicum of scientific proof.Â Needless to say, Storr’s intelligent skepticism soon kicks back in and he seeks out hard scientific reasoning for the things he sees and hears along the way, including phantom lights that follow people around their homes, heavy breathing and being touched by something in an empty room, and many other creepy moments that are sure to make even the most stalwart unbeliever pause for a second and wonder.
Storr tries to cover all aspects of supernatural, visiting philosophers, doctors, scientists, parapsychologists, mediums, priests, demonologists, and everyday people who have been victims of hauntings, possessions, and other less than normal events for answers.Â He finds superstitious people that seem to still live in the Middle Ages where demons and devils control every aspect of their simple lives and a skeptical doctor who, although he confesses to having seen a ghost as a child, blindly refuses to accept that anything beyond the normal can exist.Â Storr cleverly shows us the two ends of the extreme, and smartly decides to plop himself somewhere between them.Â His 2004 visit to the set of Most Haunted (a successful reality show about haunted places on the U.K.’s Living Channel) is laugh out loud funny reading, as he exposes the show for fake.
So do ghosts really exist?Â Are devils and demons all around us?Â Is there something beyond when we shuffle off this mortal coil?
Unbeliever, or one of the faithful, Will Storr vs. The Supernatural will give you much food for thought, and may even give you chance to answer those questions for yourself.
[tags]Will Storr vs. The Supernatural, horror book review[/tags]