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The Secret History of Poltergeists and Haunted Houses

Reviewed by Rebecca Elson

[Snip] Regular Buffet readers know that it is no secret that I adore Claude Lecouteux’s books. It started with “Return of the Dead: Ghosts, Ancestors, and the Transparent Veil of the Pagan Mind”, a rare look at revenants. Then it was “The Secret History of Vampires: Their Multiple Forms and Hidden Purposes”, where indeed Lecouteux revealed all kinds of vampires. Lastly there was “Phantom Armies of the Night: The Wild Hunt and the Ghostly Processions of the Undead”, which was one of my favorite things of 2011 AND inspired me to start a new household tradition! And now Lecouteux offers us “The Secret History of Poltergeists and Haunted Houses: From Pagan Folklore to Modern Manifestations.”

As I’ve come to expect from Lecouteux, the level of research is astounding. The book opens with a thoughtful discussion of “What is a Poltergeist?” His aptitude with medieval texts means that “Poltergeists” is not only filled with stories you’ve probably never read before, but it also allows Lecouteux to track the evolution of belief in, and explanation of, poltergeists.

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