Perhaps author Katherine Ramsland has a penchant for young men in their 20s. If that were all there was to it, I would say go for it. But the subject of interest of her latest work, "Ghost: A firsthand account into the world of paranormal activity," was perhaps also a self-proclaimed vampire guilty of violent murder and culminating in suicide. Or was he?
The coagulated blood binding this story together leads back to a previous expose she wrote regarding the prevalent vampire subculture in New Orleans, and the mysterious disappearance of reporter Susan Walsh in 1996. During her investigation, she meets an enigmatic and attractive young man whom she dubs "Wraith." He spins a tale of torture, murder, and mutual dependence between him and another young man called "Christian." He claims Christian eventually committed suicide to avoid repercussions for his acts, as well as to "bleed into" the spirit world, come back, and possess his former male lover. Wraith attests to seeing him in the seat next to him, in his bedroom, in his dreams. Ramsland takes the ring and begins the weird quest to contact Christian, causing her to seek out psychics, shamans, voodoo practitioners, and high-tech ghost hunters.
Ramsland holds degrees in forensic and clinical psychology, a PhD in philosophy, and claims to take the role of the open-minded skeptic. For the most part she achieves this, differentiating herself from the dismissive James Randi crowd, as well as the ghost hunter willing to believe that every mote of dust and every static electric charge is evidence of paranormal activity. Again, as with many highly entertaining paranormal books we have areas that hint of artistic license. Wraith's tale, while not impossible, smacks just a bit too much of Lestat and Armand (Ramsland has written books about Anne Rice), but could he be lying to her? Her trip takes her to some of the most reputedly haunted areas of the U.S., such as Gettysburg and the Lizzie Borden House. She delves into the extensive history of Electronic Voice Phenomenon, and conducts several very successful experiments herself. She captures both orbs and vortexes on film and video camera.
Through intelligent and engaging prose, as well as a willingness to do what some people never would regarding the supernatural, Ramsland has come up with an excellent first hand account of the subject I would highly recommend.