LAW & CRIME

The Haunting of Alma Fielding: A True Ghost Story

Penguin Pr. Apr. 2021. 368p. ISBN 9780525557920. $28. CRIME
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What begins with the supernatural becomes a haunting of the subconscious in Summerscale’s (The Wicked Boy) account of Nandor Fodor’s 1938 investigation of paranormal events surrounding Alma Fielding. In an England on the brink of World War II, emotions (and spiritual disturbances) are running high. Fodor, a Hungarian ghost hunter with the International Institute for Psychical Research, sees the headlines in the Sunday paper and decides that Alma’s experiences may be just what he needs to help him earn back his shaken credibility within the spiritualist community. As he investigates disappearing light bulbs, flying eggs, and more shattered crockery than you could possibly count, Fodor uncovers Alma’s internal trauma a little at a time. It is ultimately left up to the reader to determine their own stance on Fodor’s theory–that “repressed traumatic experiences could generate terrifying physical events.”
VERDICT Likely to appeal to readers of ghost stories and psychology alike, this well-researched chronicle pulls directly from firsthand accounts, interviews, news articles, séances, photographs, and other sources to provide as comprehensive a view as possible from this side of history.

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