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The Haunting of Alma Fielding: A True Ghost Story

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  217 ratings  ·  62 reviews
London, 1938. In the suburbs of the city, an ordinary young housewife has become the eye in a storm of chaos. In Alma Fielding's modest home, china flies off the shelves, eggs fly through the air; stolen jewellery appears on her fingers, white mice crawl out of her handbag, beetles appear from under her gloves; in the middle of a car journey, a terrapin materialises on her ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published October 1st 2020 by Bloomsbury Publishing
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Average rating 3.61  · 
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Amalia Gkavea
Oct 21, 2020 rated it did not like it
I thought that Poltergeists+Britain+Non-Fiction= Perfection.

How about no…

Such dry writing I needed two water bottles to make it through each chapter.

Piss-poor attempts to appear humorous.

Ridiculous descriptions of the phenomena. They were so ludicrous that a) managed to momentarily turn me into a doubter, and b) downgraded the subject to a bloody farce. Pun intended.

Publishers, you need to step up your game. Our eyeballs are NOT at your disposal!
Sep 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an account of Nandor Fodor, a Hungarian pioneer of supernatural study, and housewife Alma Fielding, who became the centre of poltergeist activity in pre-war Thornton Heath. The book begins on the 21st February, 1938, when Nandor Fodor receives a letter from the Reverend Francis Nicolle, informing him of a story he saw in the newspaper. Fodor is keen to have a ghost story that he can prove as real and heads over to interview Alma.

Alma lives with her husband, Leslie, son Donald and a lodge
Bill Kupersmith
Oct 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I must confess that I failed to enjoy this book as much as the author's The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, though that's scarcely the fault of Kate Summerscale. It is obvious she put a huge effort into researching this book and the descriptions of poltergeist phenomena were often breathtakingly amusing, especially in the early parts of the book. But the more we learn about Alma Fielding and her family, the less attractive they become. The subtitle also seems a suggestio falsi. Whether "true" modifies ...more
Elle K
Sep 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
London, 1938. Alma Fielding, an ordinary young woman, begins to experience supernatural events in her suburban home.

Nander Fodor - a Jewish-Hungarian refugee and chief ghost hunter for the International Institute for Psychical Research - begins to investigate. In doing so he discovers a different and darker type of haunting: trauma, alienation, loss - and the foreshadowing of a nation's worst fears. As the spectre of Fascism lengthens over Europe, and as Fodor's obsession with the case deepens,
My thanks to Bloomsbury Publishing U.K. for an eARC via NetGalley of ‘The Haunting of Alma Fielding: a True Ghost Story’ by Kate Summerscale in exchange for an honest review.

My thanks to also to The Pigeonhole for hosting a group read for this title. I enjoyed being able to share my thoughts and exchange comments with my fellow Pigeons as we read through the daily staves.

This is a fascinating account of a groundbreaking investigation into psychic phenomena that took place in England just prior
Jun 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley-arcs
Thank you to Netgalley and Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (UK & ANZ) for the arc of The Haunting of Alma Fielding by Kate Summerscale.

This is set within London in the year 1938. Within the suburbs of London there is a young housewife who has chaos around her..., In Alma's home, china ends up flying off shelves to eggs flying through thin air to stolen jewelry appearing upon on her fingers to white mice crawling out of her own handbag itself and even, beetles appearing from under her own gloves... and
Theresa Smith
Oct 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020readnonfic
This was quite a fascinating read. Written in the style of narrative non-fiction, The Haunting of Alma Fielding is a ‘true ghost story’ in the sense that it examines an investigative case from the 1930s in which a woman was haunted by a poltergeist. Using the original case notes, the author has put together a truly compelling book that explores the link between psychology and the supernatural played out against the historical backdrop of a nation gripped by fear and loss.

The investigator for thi
David Marsland
Oct 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Ghosts were all the rage and apparently on the rampage in 1930s Britain. Kate Summerscale’s latest finds celebrity hunters like Harry Price galloping around the country finding spectres in spooky mansions. 6,000 people fill the Albert Hall to hear clairvoyant Estelle Roberts and her spirit guide. An allegedly possessed mongoose is famous on the Isle of Man. Even the venerable Evening Standard is excitable, warning people to “watch your goldfish tonight!” with the arrival of Hungarian medium Lajo ...more
Alison Alice-May
Oct 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
This isn’t the type of book I usually read. I don’t read many non fiction books, but this one was special. I was interested in the haunting aspect of the book, but I got a lot more. The book is set between the two World Wars, in 1938, just as the Second World War is about to begin and the world is in turmoil.

The book is concerned with the relationship between Alma Fielding, an ordinary housewife from London, and Nander Fodor, a Hungarian Jewish man who is employed by the International Institute
Amina Kara
Oct 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Well, that was an interesting read, although somewhat disturbing at times! Not sure what I made of Alma, but there was definitely something going on.

It was well researched and well written.

Thank you to Pigeonhole and Kate Summerscale for the chance to read this book.
Oct 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Lies and tricks and jokes, like ghosts, could be expressions of suffering.

Another brilliant non-fiction read courtesy of The Pigeonhole. Despite non believing in the supernatural, I always found it an interesting subject, fascinating to see the motivations and methods of those pretending to be able to do all sort of magical things.
The Haunting of Alma Fielding doesn't only present us with the captivating story of Alma, her poltergeist and all the mischief that ensues; but it also offers an ins
Amy Louise
In The Haunting of Alma Fielding, Kate Summerscale moves away from the hidden secrets of Victorian drawing rooms and into the middle-class suburbs of 1930s London.

The peace of a quiet family home has been shattered – crockery has started flying off the shelves, objects throw themselves at the husband of the house, and wardrobes appear to move on their own. At the centre of it all is suburban housewife Alma Fielding, an apparently quiet and unassuming woman who is both confused and terrified by t
The Haunting of Alma Fielding is the non-fiction account of Nando Fodor and his investigation in to the haunting of a London housewife. Fodor was a Jewish-Hungarian refugee and worked for the International Institute for Psychical Research. When Fodor was tipped off about a possible poltergeist haunting, he rushed to Alma’s house to try and work out what exactly was going on. He was scrupulous. He involved trusted mediums, wrote detailed notes (lucky for us!) and whilst reading the book, it becam ...more
Andrew Charters
Oct 24, 2020 rated it liked it
The focus is the investigation of Alma, a Croydon housewife by Nandor Fodor, a Hungarian emigré and psychic researcher. I was first attracted by the location, being from Croydon. 'Fortneef' as we pronounced it, is where I learnt to swim and first watched football. Sigmund Freud's review of Fodor's case history 'I found the early parts hard going .... some of the existential detail was tiresome. But by reading to the end, I found myself richly rewarded' could serve as a review.

The tiresomeness l
Verity W
Oct 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
****Copy from NetGalley in return for an honest review******

Nandor Fodor is a Jewish-Hungarian refugee in 1930s London. He's also a ghost hunter and he starts to investigate the case of Alma Fielding, a surburban housewife who says she's being plagued by a poltergeist. As he starts to investigate as part of his work for the International Institute of Physical Research, the phenomena intensify and he discovers Alma's complicated and traumatic past. And all this is happening against the backdrop o
Lisa Bergin
Oct 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pigeonhole, ebooks
I read this book via Pigeonhole, so thanks to them, the author and publisher for the opportunity to read this book.

It is about Alma Fielding who in the 1930’s had a number of psychical phenomena happen to her including poltergeist activity and it’s investigation by a Hungarian called Fodor who was working for the International Institute for Psychical Research.

This book was really fascinating. I was at first concerned that it would be very spooky, thankfully it wasn’t but was extremely interestin
Oct 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Right from the first page, Kate Summerscale pulls you in to this whirlwind of a haunting with story telling that you question: how can this be real? And that’s the thrill of it!

Mainly following the ghost hunter Nandor Fodor, who worked for the International Institute for Psychical Research, as he investigates a curious haunting of a housewife, Alma Fielding, in 1938 in South London.

As he gets to the bottom of this haunting (Where cutlery flies, objects mysteriously disappear and appear somewhere
Matthew Tett
Sep 17, 2020 rated it liked it
From the outset, mixed feelings from me about this book. The premise sounded great; and I really liked ‘The Suspicions of Mr Whicher’, therefore embarking on Kate Summerscale’s new book was promising, but it just didn’t work for me.

The story is mainly about Alma Fielding, a woman from Surrey who alleges her life is affected, significantly, by poltergeist activity. Summerscale investigates the story, the supposed occurrences and the people involved, from well-known psychic investigators to Freud.
Aug 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
‘The Haunting of Alma Fielding’ is a fascinating, meticulously researched, true life story of an alleged poltergeist phenomenon in the 1930s. Summerscale writes of a bygone age, the brief lull between two devastating world wars, a time when the world was on the cusp of irrevocable change.

Alma Fielding was an ordinary housewife and mother, but when she began to experience terrifying poltergeist activity in her home, a ghost hunter was called in to try and make sense of the situation.

What follows
Laura Hamilton
Oct 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: the-pigeonhole
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a nonfiction account of the investigation by Nandor Fodor of the International Institute for Psychical Institute into paranormal events happening to London woman Alma Fielding in 1938. These events include furniture moving unaided, flying crockery and the appearance of objects. It describes how interest in the paranormal and mediums had grown since World War One. As well as the investigation of Alma, it details findings about other mediums and paranormal events, and the sensational news ...more
Oct 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Despite being sceptical about the existence of ghosts and poltergeists, I am nevertheless drawn to reading about them. Maybe I'm subconsciously hoping to be proved wrong! I was interested in reading this particular book because I've read the author's previous books and enjoyed them and also because this is a true story.

Alma Fielding was an ordinary housewife living an unremarkable life in Croydon but who is experiencing strange events happening in her home. Crockery smashing, objects appearing
Vanessa Wild
Oct 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Set during the first half of the 20thC, this is a non-fiction account of the strange case of Alma Fielding who believed she was being haunted by a poltergeist amongst other things. It’s also about ghost hunter Nandor Fodor, who worked for the Institute of Psychical Research, who tried to investigate these curious occurrences.

I thought this was quite an interesting read, fascinating in parts, although I did find the writing style a tad dry for my tastes. It’s wonderfully researched. I liked the
Jo-anne Atkinson
Oct 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
In the late 1930s Europe is on the brink of war and Britain is obsessed with the supernatural. Nandor Fodor is a Hungarian journalist who is interested in the paranormal and works for a one of a number of societies who investigate different phenomena. When he hears of a suburban housewife who is apparently tormented by a poltergeist he goes to investigate. Alma Fielding is an ordinary one to whom extraordinary things are happening, she finds that items fly across the room and smash and that poss ...more
The Breakneck Bookworm
Oct 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you to both Kate Summerscale and pigeonhole for allowing me to read this book. Initially thrown for what I believed to be a bump/spooky ghost story I'm glad I continued with this. Not previously read the suspicisions of Mr Whitcher, I wasn't aware of Kate's writing. From other comments I believe this to be within the same writing vein of her previous book. This wasn't a ghost story but what started as a poltergeist phenomena being investigated we are taken on a journey with Fodor and Alma. ...more
Fox Cub Books
Jul 23, 2020 rated it liked it
When I first saw this book, I jumped at the chance of reading it. I love a good ghost story but its even better when its based on true events. Although, when I got into it, it wasn't at all what I was expecting.

The book is set in London in 1938. Alma is being tormented by poltergeist activity in her house, she is terrified. Fodor is a 'ghost hunter', he has an interest in Alma's claims and goes to investigate. As time goes on, Fodor discovers not all is as it seems.

This was definitely an intere
Verity Halliday
Sep 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
The Haunting of Alma Fielding is an interesting factual account of a London woman who has poltergeist and other supernatural experiences just before the start of the Second World War, and the team of psychic researchers who investigate.

As might be expected from the author of books about true life cases such as The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, this is a meticulously researched book, with lots of supporting detail about the peripheral characters and the febrile pre-war political atmosphere. I particu
Kim Russell
Oct 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A non-fiction book has to be exceptionally interesting and about something in which I’m interested but, having read The Suspicions of Mr Whicher by Kate Summerscale, in which I became thoroughly engrossed, when I saw that The Pigeonhole was offering another book by the same author, I just had to sign up. I finished reading the final stave this morning and was completely immersed in it. It is strange to think that The Haunting of Alma Fielding took place only a matter of decades before I was a ch ...more
Kelly Pells
Oct 09, 2020 rated it it was ok
This was easily one of my most anticipated books of 2020. I love books about the supernatural, and I've read and enjoyed two of Kate Summerscale's previous books.

So it came to a real surprise that this one fell flat for me.

There were parts of it I enjoyed. It was interesting to learn about why seances became so popular in the early 20th century and why hauntings seemed to increase so dramatically. The different theories about the possible causes of hauntings - from the psychological to plain old
Nicola Curtis
Oct 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Kate Summerscale has an amazing ability to find fascinating real stories and making them accessible and entertaining. While it will be impossible to top The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, she is to be commended at branching out from crime and focusing on some other fascinating stories that have been lost to history.

This one is strange but compelling; an interesting dive in the supernatural and the mind, and how a person's lived experience can shape them in ways no-one would have suspected. I always
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Kate Summerscale (born in 1965) is an English writer and journalist.
She won the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-fiction in 2008 with The Suspicions of Mr Whicher or The Murder at Road Hill House and won a Somerset Maugham Award in 1998 (and was shortlisted for the 1997 Whitbread Awards for biography) for the bestselling The Queen of Whale Cay, about Joe Carstairs, 'fastest woman on water'.
As a journa

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