Book Review by Cari Mayhew. Rating 8/10.
In The Dark World, Zak Bagans talks about his ghostly encounters, as the lead investigator for the documentary series Ghost Adventures! As one of the more seasoned and experienced professionals in the field, Zak has had some pretty crazy experiences! They cover the entire spectrum of ghost hunting phenomena, from seeing full body apparitions, to having his butt pinched by a spirit, LOL!
Zak begins by talking about the experiences he’s had with spirits prior to the series, and explaining why his own nature led him to this danger’s-edge career path. It’s not a biography however, and in some places is more like a manual for future ghost hunters.
There is an element of progression in the book, in that it starts by concentrating on innocent spirits, which he admits make up the majority; followed by confused spirits, who are sometimes unaware that they have died. This is succeeded by chapters on angry spirits, followed by downright evil spirits, which he refers to as demons.
The book starts with less dramatic phenomena such as words being heard through a white noise generator, emotional transference, and unexplained orbs of light on camera. But this is quickly followed up by tales of pebbles and shards being levitated vertically and flung horizontally by unseen hands, and physical scratch marks on Zak’s back! Zak also comes dangerously close to being possessed!
When Zak carries out an investigation, he starts by researching the history of the buildings and accompanying remaining personalities linked to the buildings. This makes for better story-telling, both on the screen, and certainly in his book.
I am a follower of the show when it’s available in the UK, and have always been intrigued by the equipment they use. I was expecting the book to be heavily edited, and, as such lacking in this kind of detail. However I was very pleasantly surprised – Zak even goes as far as explaining which pieces of equipment are better, and why. To an extent, the book can serve as a manual for would be ghost hunters.
Zak explains the difference between residual and intelligent hauntings and chronicles instances where the lines between the two are blurred. He also documents moments when he’s had simultaneous significant readings on several devices, and argues that that in itself provides excellent evidence of the paranormal.
The nerd that I am looked forward to the section on the scientific theories for these paranormal experiences – and I wasn’t disappointed! Several theories were put forward and they form one of the most accessible guides to scientific theories that I’ve ever read! Zak discusses how each theory fits particular experiences of his, and compares and contrasts them for different phenomena.
The book is rounded off with Zak relating his ambitions for the field of paranormal investigation, where he puts a case forward for a central repository of data. In this section, we also hear from other prominent figures in the field, with their hopes for the field, including a striking passage from Marie D. Jones.
The book has high entertainment value, but a mere book, even one written as seriously as this, won’t make a believer out of a skeptic. Its content provides essential background for a would-be ghost hunter however. A recommended read for the open-minded and curious.