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.
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.
Ingram, John H[enry]. The Haunted Homes and Family Traditions of Great Britain.
London: W.H. Allen, 1886. [First Edition?]
London: W.H. Allen, 1886. [Third Edition.]
London: Gibbings, 1897. [Illustrated Edition.]
———. Cock Lane and Common-Sense.
London: Longmans, Green, 1894.
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.
Thiselton-Dyer, T[homas]. F[irminger]. The Ghost World.
London: Ward & Downey, 1893.
Books on Individual 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 on Individual Hauntings below for an earlier version.)
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 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 on Individual Hauntings above for a later version.)
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.
These sources were published somewhat before the Victorian era, but they would have remained useful resources for decades. All are compendiums of allegedly true hauntings.
Anonymous. “For the Port Folio — Remarks on Ghosts,” Port Folio 1.2 (Feb., 1816) pp. 131-38.
Jarvis, T.M. Accredited Ghost Stories.
London: J. Andrews, 1823.
Welby, Horace. Signs before Death, and Authenticated Apparitions: One Hundred Narratives.
W. Simpkin and R. Marshall, 1825.