LLIFS Resource Directory: The Book of Dreams and Ghosts, by Andrew Lang (1897)

26th August 2023. Reading Time: 2 minutes General, Paranormal Book Club. 743 page views. 0 comments.

The highlight of the LLIFS Resource Directory this week is The Book of Dreams and Ghosts, by Andrew Lang. Published in 1897, it is a retelling of 78 ghostly encounters.

If you follow my blog or are just visiting for the first time, as you scroll through the different articles, you will see a very wide range of topics discussed.  This is not information I automatically know about.  They are things I have often come across in some ways through my research.  There are so many amazing books and resources available that can really help with your paranormal research.   A lot of these are books written by people who in some way have been influential.  Often they are books that are very old and no longer in print.  To buy the hard copy can cost up to thousands, however, there are free public domain pdfs online which is a good second choice!

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This week, I am highlighting The Book of Dreams and Ghosts, by Andrew Lang (1897).    

"The Book of Dreams and Ghosts" presents a dense anthology of stories of paranormal entity: premonitions that materialize, ghost apparitions, haunted houses, etc., that the author extracts with extreme rigor from documents or newspapers of the time, from Scottish historiography or even from Icelandic sagas, when they are not the result of his own curious investigations.

"The Book of Dreams and Ghosts" is a very entertaining and magnificently written book that if it can interest esoteric lovers, it will undoubtedly fascinate fans of fantastic literature, since the book reveals the "sociological" background of so much great Anglo-Saxon literature, from Henry James to Howard Phillips Lovecraft, passing through Bram Stoker and Sheridan Le Fanu. Literature that has made use of this tenebrous subject and whose crowning work is, without doubt, that brilliant ghost story entitled "The Turn of the Screw," a work that only by reading this book by Lang can be understood in its full dimension.

Known mainly for his work with folklore and collections of stories both true and fiction on fairies, this was a different direction for Lang.  The book is written in a very matter-of-fact way without embellishment and serves as a recollection of paranormal events that have been collected by the author. 78 retellings actually!  It explores the notions of evidence, hallucinations, telepathy and more.

"Do you believe in ghosts?" One can only answer: "How do you define a ghost?" I do believe in hallucinations… But as to whether they are ever caused by psychical influences from the minds of others, alive or dead, not communicated through the ordinary channels of sense, my mind is in a balance of doubt...

This book does not pretend to be a convincing, but merely an illustrative collection of evidence.  It may, or may not, suggest to some readers the desirableness of further inquiry; the author certainly does not hope to do more, if as much."

Regardless of what you believe or think, given the significance of the book, it is certainly worth the read! This book has been reprinted several times and is also available to read for free on various platforms via public domain. You can read it here via Project Gutenberg.

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