Ghost hunters and the Victorian period (1837-1901) seem to fit together. After a period of strong skepticism toward ghosts in the 1700s and early 1800s, the Victorians re-raised the question of ghosts being real. Was it the Spiritualism movement? Was it the rise of academic groups such as The Ghost Club and The Society for Psychical Research? Was it the gaslights? Regardless of the reason, here’s a list of books, magazine articles, and pamphlets that might have appeared in the library of a Victorian ghost hunter.
Compendiums of Purportedly True Hauntings
Anonymous. “Some English Ghosts,” Chambers’s Journal 12.620 (16 Nov. 1895) pp. 721-23.
Ball, Edmund F. “Where Ghosts Walk,” Royal Magazine 1.6 (April, 1899) pp. 569-72.
Crowe, Catherine. The Night Side of Nature; or, Ghosts and Ghost Seers.
Volume I, London: T.C. Newby, 1848.
Volume II, London: T.C. Newby, 1848.
New York: J.S. Redfield, 1850. 1853.
London: G. Routlege and Co., 1857 [“New Edition”]. 1866. 1882.
New York: W.J. Widdleton, 1868.
Philadelphia: Henry T. Coates, 1901 [“New Edition”].
Grew, Edwin Sharpe. “Famous Ghosts,” Ludgate 4 (July, 1897) pp. 257-62.
Harrison, F. Bayford. “Ghosts Whom We Have Met,” Home Chimes 3.33 (Aug. 15, 1885) pp. 145-48.
Hood, Edwin Paxton. Dream Land and Ghost Land: Visits and Wanderings There in the Nineteenth Century.
London: Partridge and Oakey, 1852.
Ingram, John H[enry]. The Haunted Homes and Family Traditions of Great Britain.
London: W.H. Allen, 1884.
London: W.H. Allen, 1884. [Second Series, featuring completely different houses]
London: W.H. Allen, 1886. [Third Edition, combines all houses.]
London: Gibbings, 1897. [Illustrated Edition.]
Lee, Frederick George. Glimpses in the Twilight: Being Various Notes, Records, and Examples of the Supernatural. [See the “Apparitions and Haunted Localities” chapter.]
Edinburgh: William Blackwood and Sons, 1885.
Books on Individual, Purportedly True Hauntings
Goodrich-Freer, Ada M., and John [Cricton-Stuart], Marquess of Bute. The Alleged Haunting of B– House. (London: George Redway, 1899.)
Hubbell, Walter. The Great Amherst Mystery: A True Narrative of the Supernatural. (New York: Brentanos’, 1888.) See pamphlets below for an earlier version of this.
Ingram, Martin Van Buren. An Authenticated History of the Famous Bell Witch. (Union City, Tennessee: Pioneer Press, 1894.) The Internet Archive offers an online edition of this rare book.
Pamphlets on Individual, Purportedly True Hauntings
Anonymous. The Haunted School-House at Newburyport, Mass. (Boston: Loring, 1873.)
[Brett, Henry Johnson]. Was It a Ghost? The Murders in Bussey’s Woods. (Boston: Loring, 1868.)
Clarke, Thomas Brownell. The Oakland Ghost and Ancient Phenomena. ([San Francisco? s.n.], c. 1877.)
Heaphy, Thomas Frank. A Wonderful Ghost Story: Being Mr. H’s Own Narrative Reprinted from “All the Year Round.” (London: Griffith & Farran, 1882.)
Hubbel, Walter. The Haunted House: A True Story. (Saint John, New Brunswick: “Daily News” Steam, 1879). See books above for a later version of this.
Lewis, E.E. A Report of the Mysterious Noises, Heard in the House of Mr. John D. Fox, in Hydesville, Arcadia, Wayne County, Authenticated by the Certificates, and Confirmed by the Statements of the Citizens of that Place and Vicinity (Rochester, NY: Power Press of Sheperd & Reed, 1848). I haven’t been able to locate an online scan of this important pamphlet. However, it was reproduced in total in an electronic journal titled Psypioneer, Volume 1, Issue 12 (April, 2005). Scroll down to that issue at this site.
Robertson, J.R. The Brinkley Female College Ghost Story. (Memphis, TN: R.C. Floyd, 1871.)
Regional and World Ghostlore
Henderson, William. “Haunted Spots,” Notes on the Folk Lore of the Northern Countries of England and the Borders (London: Longmans, Green, 1866) pp. 268-286.
Jackson, Georgina F. “Concerning Ghosts” [in two parts], Shropshire Folk-Lore: A Sheaf of Gleanings (London: Trübner, 1883) pp. 103-142.
———. Cock Lane and Common-Sense. (London: Longmans, Green, 1894.)
Sikes, Wirt. Chapters I-IV of Book II: The Spirit World in British Goblins: Welsh Folk-lore, Fairy Mythology, Legends and Traditions (London: Sampson Low, Marston, Seale, & Rivington, 1880) pp. 137-186.
Thiselton-Dyer, T[homas]. F[irminger]. The Ghost World. (London: Ward & Downey, 1893).
These sources were published before the Victorian era, but they would have remained useful resources for decades.
Anonymous. “For the Port Folio — Remarks on Ghosts,” Port Folio 1.2 (Feb., 1816) pp. 131-38.
Grose, Francis. A Provincial Glossary: With a Collection of Local Proverbs, and Popular Superstitions (London: Printed for S. Hooper, 1787). See the introductory and “A Ghost” sections of the “Superstitions” part, pp. 1-17, which is in the back of the book.
Howells, William. “Ghosts,” Cambrian Superstitions, Comprising Ghosts, Omens, Witchcraft, Traditions, &c. (London: Printed by Thomas Dank, 1831) pp. 10- 50.
Jarvis, T.M. Accredited Ghost Stories. (London: J. Andrews, 1823.)
Welby, Horace. Signs before Death, and Authenticated Apparitions: One Hundred Narratives. (London: W. Simpkin and R. Marshall, 1825.)