Quill and Quire

REVIEWS

« Back to
Book Reviews

True Tales of the Paranormal: Hauntings, Poltergeists, Near Death Experiences, and Other Mysterious Events

by Kimberly Molto

This intriguing examination of such paranormal phenomena as ghosts, poltergeists, premonitions, and doppelgangers is unusual because it is written by an unlikely suspect: a research scientist in cognitive neurobiology. One might expect someone with such an occupation to conclude that visions of ghosts are merely the result of crossed wires between the temporal lobes or a chemical brain imbalance. Not Kimberly Molto, who claims in the first chapter to have been physically injured by a ghost as a child and to have foreseen some of the circumstances of her sister’s death.

Molto manages to cover a lot of ground in what is ultimately a rather unscientific book, consisting mostly of transcripts of tape-recorded “true” ghost stories and interviews with a few scientific professionals. Molto begins with a visit to her haunted childhood home in Guelph, Ontario, accompanied by a psychic who interrogates the neighbours about the ghostly happenings that took place when Molto was a child. In other chapters, a field technician accompanies Molto to a haunted house and an emergency room, where premonitions of death are apparently quite common.

The scariest chapter features an interview with a woman whose family was haunted by a spirit who specialized in the spontaneous materialization of objects: rolls of freshly minted coins, packs of playing cards, and garbage bags filled with water hidden between the sheets. There are genuine thrills and chills in this Amityville Horror-style haunting.

Molto offers no new theories, fresh analysis, or conclusions about the data she has collected from her subjects. But the book stands on its own as a treasure trove of contemporary ghost stories, made all the more frightening because they are related by people who lived to tell the tale.