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The In-Betweens: The Spiritualists, Mediums, and Legends of Camp Etna

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  68 ratings  ·  23 reviews
They believed they would live forever. So begins Mira Ptacin’s haunting account of the women of Camp Etna—an otherworldly community in the woods of Maine that has, since 1876, played host to generations of Spiritualists and mediums dedicated to preserving the links between the mortal realm and the afterlife. Beginning her narrative in 1848 with two sisters who claimed they could s ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published October 29th 2019 by Liveright
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Deedi (DeediReads) Brown
Aug 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: i-own-it
All my reviews live at

Rating: 4.25/5

First, I must extend a huge thank-you to Mira Ptacin and Liveright for sending me an advanced reading copy of this book. It will be published October 29, 2019 (and you should preorder it — visual evidence on Instagram shows that the cover is going to GLOW IN THE DARK, Y’ALL).

The In-Betweens is a fascinating, journalistic look into a world that quietly exists right under all of our noses (or, at least, that’s true for me). To write the book, Ptacin spe/>The
Katie Devine
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was riveted from the first page of this book until the very last word--by the fascinating Spiritualists of Camp Etna, by Mira Ptacin's intimate and compelling prose, by the seamless way she weaves her own stories into this exploration into the history and community of Camp Etna. Her capacity for empathy for all of the characters she captures on the page is astonishing and she brings into the light a religion often shrouded in fear and disbelief. This book seeks to open eyes and minds and heart ...more
Lindsay Sproul
Aug 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing

The subject matter is utterly fascinating, but what I find especially strong about this novel is the way it blends the author’s experiences with those of the women at Camp Etna. Ptacin’s experiences with these women gave me as a reader a way into their lives along with her. I absolutely love the way it reads both as a memoir and as a piece of literary journalism.

Not only that, but the legends of Camp Etna themselves are soooo interesting. I found the characters
Sep 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was fortunate to receive an Advance Reading Copy of this volume through The topics discussed were totally new to me and proved quite fascinating. The author, Mira Ptacin, did an excellent job providing an historic overview of Spiritualism in general as well as detailing her research experiences at Camp Etna in Maine. XOXOXOs to Mira for presenting information about a little known spiritualist enclave that still exists:)
Lisa Cobb Sabatini
Jul 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
I won an Advance Reading Copy of The In-Betweens: The Spiritualists, Mediums, and Legends of Camp Etna by Mira Ptacin from Goodreads.

In her book, The In-Betweens: The Spiritualists, Mediums,and Legends of Camp Etna, Mira Ptacin presents the history of Spiritualism and Camp Etna through the stories of the people who, in the past as well as the present, practice the faith in its many forms. The individuals Ptacin interviews at Camp Etna are as diverse as any population, and their stori
Jul 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-won
I won a copy of this book.

This book was really cool! I didn't know there is a whole camp in Maine for Spiritualists. Mira Ptacin does an awesome job of making me feel like I'm there with her - touring the camp and talking to the people who call it home. The history is interesting and kept me reading till the end.

Side note: Growing up, my mom would read tarot cards and rune stones for my friends and I. It was always fun for us, as we all attended a Christian school. Whilst at Girl Sc
I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Opinions are my own.

This book tells the story of the religion of Spirituality in America, and specifically focuses on Camp Etna, a camp in central Maine that was one of many that apparently flourished across the country in Spiritualism’s heyday of the late 19th/early 20th centuries. The camp still exists today, and the narrative is interspersed with Ptacin’s experiences visiting there for research, where she met m
Oct 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I received an ARC from the publisher; this did not influence my review.

Three and a half stars.

I live less than two and a half hours from Camp Etna and had never heard of the community or the religion of Spiritualism before this book. Ptacin alternates between explaining the tenets of the religion, discussing the history, and sharing her encounters with current Spiritualists. I found her experiences at camp and with current Spiritualists immersive and fascinating. Ptacin e
Sep 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Ptacin writes with a warmth and personal touch that made the book feel confessional and intimate. Based on the description, I was expecting a more straight-on history of American Spiritualism, but I was pleased with the personal narrative aspects as well as the fact-based sections. Sometimes the shift from historical retelling to personal experience felt a little abrupt, but overall the flow was smooth and kept me reading. I appreciate how the book has a distinct point of view without insisting ...more
Aug 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Book Review by Carole P. (Framingham, MA)

The In-Betweens
Spiritualists, mediums and communicating with the dead. All subjects I have been intrigued by and believe in. While there are many books on these subjects, some are dry and seem more like a textbook than anything else. Or they are filled with photos of " spirits". Mira Ptacin has written a book that flows. Yes it is fascinating, whether you believe or not. Spiritualism has been around a long time, but really took hold in t
Allie Baker
Oct 02, 2019 rated it liked it
I received this book as part of a giveaway, and was excited to read it. As I started reading it, I was a bit disappointed. I was hoping to find more of a historical documentation and investigation into the Spiritual Movement in American and how Camp Etna perhaps related to this movement. Instead, it focuses more on the author's relationship and journey with the current people of Camp Etna. Although she does explore a variety of different ideas among the people at Camp Etna and the classes offere ...more
Jul 31, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2019-mt-bookpile
Such promise, but poorly executed. I didn't mind the blend of the author's experience with the people in Camp Etna and this history of Spiritualism because it did bring to life what the people who attend or work at the Camp believe and practice. But more was needed to flesh out those beliefs and practices, perhaps tying it more fully to the history. For example, when she's having her house cleansed, adding the history of cleansing and more about the herbs and current practices would have been he ...more
Nov 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
As one who read everything I could get my hands on about Lilydale many moons ago, and one who was totally ignorant about the existence of Camp Etna, this books was so much fun and lively and injured me to think how close I was when I lived in Maine and had no clue.

The reading by Chloe Cannon was a soft, smooth move that went well with subject material. Her inflections and vocal transitions made for serene sounding mediums, clairvoyants, and psychics compared to the moderately skeptic
Sep 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Fascinating. A whole world that I had no idea even existed - American Spiritualism as a religion - complete with a campground in Maine that’s been in existence non-stop since 1876.

I received this book free, as an early release from Book Browse - in exchange for writing a review. I’d recommend it to anyone with an interest in alternative religions, new age spirituality, and rural Maine life. It was a fun read, a bit slow in spots, but enjoyable...
Joy Murphy
Sep 19, 2019 rated it liked it
A great read for the autumn season, exploring the history of spiritualism and the authors own experience.

Very interesting facts and stories throughout, but missing a true woven narrative. Best described as a history/experience collage.

As much as the author pushed the need to explore. She shared so much stress of her own book deadline of all things... weird.

Still very much worth the read if you’re interested in spiritualism.
Nov 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very interesting. Camp Etna is 130 miles away from me,and I'd never heard of it. If this is a subject that intrigues you,I think you'll find it enjoyable. I certainly learned a lot about spiritualism,and the author's journey.

My bff would've loved this book.
Carol Turner
Oct 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Mira Ptacin is a better writer than this subject turned out to be, unless you're really entranced with spiritualism. Apparently, I'm not.
Alyssa Steele
Sep 27, 2019 added it
Shelves: dnf
Received an Advanced Reader’s Copy from a giveaway. Interesting subject, unfortunately just wasn’t enough to keep me hooked.
Haley Bracken
Nov 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Reads like a well-written, well-researched, 250-page piece of journalism. Worth the read for clarity, objectivity, and the ending.
Oct 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Such a terrific book! THE IN-BETWEENS walks the reader through the history of American Spiritualism and mediums (which is not the same thing as a psychic) through the history of Camp Etna, a place in Maine that’s home to spiritualists and mediums which was once a bustling site for the faithful, curious, and skeptical. @miramptacin is both curious and skeptical for reasons that unfold throughout the course of her terrifically engaging and empathetic book. The blend of history and reporting is so ...more
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