LLIFS Resource Directory: The Night-Side of Nature; Or, Ghosts and Ghost-Seers by Catherine Crowe (1848)

18th April 2021. Reading Time: 3 minutes General, Paranormal Book Club. 829 page views. 0 comments.

This week's highlight from the LLIFS Resource Directory is the groundbreaking work by trailblazing writer Catherine Crowe with her historically significant book from 1848.

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!  I have gone through the resource directory to highlight some gems you definitely should add bookmarks on!  This week we are visiting Catherine Crowe

Born in 1790 to a middle-class family, there is not much known about the early life of Catherine Crowe. in 1822 she married her husband Major John Crowe and they had a son together. Dreadfully unhappy, she asked her friends to help her escape and in 1833 she moved to Edinburgh where she would restart her life as a writer. Catherine held very strong spiritual beliefs so it is no surprise that this followed into her work as a writer.

She went on to publish 5 novels, many short stories, and 2 volumes described as supernatural tales.  One of these was the groundbreaking The Night-Side of Nature; Or, Ghosts and Ghost-Seers.

The Night-Side of Nature; Or, Ghosts and Ghost-Seers by Catherine Crowe (1848)

Spirits of the dead who cannot break their link with the Earth, the unfathomable mysteries of dreams that predict the future, apparitions, doppelgangers, haunted houses and poltergeists - Catherine Crowe's book examines these and other cases of supernatural happenings.

In 1848, the book 'The night side of nature' was released and is considered to be groundbreaking for its time. Reviewed by the Literary Examiner, it was described as “one of the most extraordinary collections of ‘Ghost Stories’ that has ever been published”. The tales themselves are often narrated by people in everyday settings or are an account of letters describing phenomena.  

What was most loved about the book was the very honest nature in which it was written. Crowe did her research on the cases she featured to ensure that she wasn't over embellishing the facts. It meant that some people found the work to be 'mundane' as there were no shocks or surprises in the storytelling. In fact, it wasn't really storytelling, they were actual accounts. It was what makes this book and the accounts, all the more reputable.

Crowe sometimes gained criticism for her strong belief in the paranormal and she herself was critical of those who did not believe activity happening before their eyes. In her own words from the book “believing the apparition to be an illusion because they cannot bring themselves to believe in ghosts, simply amounts to saying 'I don’t believe, because I don’t believe,' and is an argument of no effect”.  While her own views may have attracted criticism, it was the way she honestly presented everyday accounts of supernatural activity to the wider public that most admired. It is important to remember here that this was before the spiritualist movement so in some ways, this book was ahead of its time in many ways. It helped to shape the way that a lot of people in the Victorian Era perceive a ghost or spirit. She was even deemed insane and crazy by some who believed she was haunted by spirits. This is how the paranormal was often viewed during this era. The people who saw 'ghosts' were seen as crazy! It took a lot of courage to not only be so public about the paranormal but to write a book and stand so firmly by your belief, no matter what the public thought.

In a lot of literature from the past, any sort of paranormal activity was viewed as the work of the devil due to the religious influence of the times. These accounts in this book are not like this which is what makes them so refreshing and different from works of the past.  Crowe has gone down in the paranormal history books as an important figure based on this very piece of work.

Click here to access a copy of this book 

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