I first met Penny through her show ‘Haunted Histories’ on Parasearch Radio. As many may be aware over the last couple of years I’ve had the upmost pleasure and honour to work with some of the Parasearch Radio family. I’ve been interviewed and a guest presenter on shows with the very knowledgeable Kerry Greenaway, whom I’ve worked closely with on several research projects too. I also appeared on Penny’s own show ‘Haunted Histories’ and discussed the interesting history and paranormal activity of Peterborough Museum.
Penny’s own interests are like quite a few of us that have paranormal research in mind; we don’t just love the unknown of the subject, we equally have a firm passion for history too. Many, like me have an interest in history that covers various areas without an in-depth Mastermind specialist subject, so to speak. Whereas Penny does appear to lean more towards war time history and even more particularly towards periods relating to air forces. Something that’s evident in her book; ‘My Haunted History‘ when she discusses the history of Rougham Airfield.
So, without further delay let’s take a look at Penny’s book in a little detail. The book as you may have guessed already is a distinct extension to Penny’s own radio show on Parasearch; Haunted Histories. In the radio show Penny discusses reported haunted locations, their history, how it might relate to reported paranormal activity there and often does this with individuals that have been to the location at some point. Of course there is only so much you can fit into an hour long radio show. Penny’s book ‘My Haunted History‘ covers ten such locations, but without the restrictions she has for her radio show.
The book itself isn’t actually one of those heavy history books that you may only use for reference. It’s certainly not daunting to pick up and I think perhaps Penny wrote it in a style, which makes for a nice read. Each chapter kicks off with Penny detailing some of the locations history, which then leads nicely into the paranormal activity. However Penny doesn’t stop there as she the details her own personal experiences at the locations whilst ghost hunting.
Returning to that mention of the writing style briefly. I have to be honest here initially, there appeared to be two separate styles in each chapter; one for the factual history part and then another for the ghost hunting experience part. To begin with I struggled a little with this approach, but equally understood how difficult it can be to tie those two elements together. So, I asked Penny about this and she set me straight brilliantly on this. The two style approach was something Penny aimed to do, simply because she wanted to keep the book light to read. I’m sure we’ve all looked at a history books in the past and they’ve been a real chore to read, which often means you don’t read them cover to cover. However Penny delivers the history in quite a punchy manner that gives you a great overview and in some cases will hopefully generate some further lines of enquiry from the reader. Some of the paranormal parts are delivered in a slightly ‘tongue in cheek’ manner, but this isn’t a negative by any means. In fact I can see it as a bit of a good thing as it allows the reader an interesting insight into Penny’s Ghost Hunting antics.
Now I don’t want to give too much away about the books content as that’s something you will have to discover for yourself. However I do wish to give you a little insight into what may lay between the covers. As previously mentioned the book covers ten locations, some of which I’ve visited personally. It also gives a rather decent cross-section of varying types of locations; from secret nuclear bunkers, to forts, to workhouses, to schools and Airfields. With that punchy injection of the location history and Penny’s own experiences, it makes for a good place to start if you’re looking to investigate one of the ten locations in the book.
Right, before we continue, let’s just touch a little on what I didn’t like about the book. I’m always honest about these things, so even though Penny is a friend, I have to put my ‘book review’ hat on. Although I must state I’m no expert, just someone who reads a heck of a lot. Now there are few mistakes throughout the book, but generally these are only the kind of thing an editor would have picked up and rectified. Knowing Penny had to review, edit and self-publish this book herself I think she has achieved a great deal here. I know there’s probably a million mistakes in my own work. The next thing was the ‘tongue in cheek’ approach to the ghost hunting experiences; at times I felt it was a little much. Don’t get me wrong though it works well in places and at times I quite enjoyed it. So, perhaps it’s just a case of getting that balance right. Again as a writer myself, I know that’s not as easy as it sounds. In regards to each of the chapters historical and paranormal content, I personally would have liked a little more detail. Equally it would have been good to present, where possible more links between the history and activity too. However that may have also meant the book would have become a little more heavy going and less appealing to its target audience.
Target audience – that’s actually a good place to touch on next. In my opinion ‘My Haunted History‘ is a great book for ghost hunters, investigators looking to get a few locations under their belt or even if you simply have a bit of an interest in the paranormal and history. I remember when I first began to look at locations to investigate I would search the old web and the often buy a book or two. The biggest problem was you almost always had to buy a few books to get a good location cross-section. Penny’s book gives you a great list to kick off your years investigations. Also if you didn’t want to go too mad, ten is a great number too, that’s one a month giving you January and December off as they can be expensive home life wise.
All in all, although I personally have a couple of tiny parts I wasn’t keen on, the positives throughout the book easily outweigh those parts in reflection. And I’m sure most of the readers will not even notice them. As I mentioned, it’s a great little book that could be used as an easy guide for ghost hunters to pick and plan locations to investigate. In all fairness it has a great selection of locations too, some of which I can personally say are well worth a visit or two. It also mentions my fellow Supernatural Synchronicity blogger Sarah Chumacero too, and a few of the Parasearch Radio family.
Grab yourself a copy of ‘My Haunted History‘ by Penny Griffiths-Morgan, have a read and let me know what you think.