The Victorian Ghost Hunter’s Library

Ghost Hunter Library

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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 that might have appeared in the library of a Victorian ghost hunter.

Compendiums of Purportedly True Hauntings

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. [This is the edition cherished by Vera Van Slyke.]
Philadelphia: Henry T. Coates, 1901. [“New Edition”]

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.]

Lang, Andrew. The Book of Dreams and Ghosts.
London: Longmans, Green, 1897.
London: Longmans, Green, 1899. [New 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.

Ottway, T. News from the Invisible World: A Collection of Remarkable Narratives on the Certainty of Supernatural Visitations from the Dead to the Living.
London: Barr, 1843.
London: Barr, 1853.

Owen, Robert Dale. Footfalls on the Boundary of Another World.
Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1860.
London: Trübner, 1860.

Stead, W[illiam]. T[homas]. Real Ghost Stories: A Record of Authentic Apparitions.
London: Review of Reviews, 1891.
London: Grant Richard, 1897.

Thiselton-Dyer, T[homas]. F[irminger]. The Ghost World.
London: Ward & Downey, 1893.

Individual Hauntings

[Brett, Henry Johnson]. Was It a Ghost? The Murders in Bussey’s Woods.
Boston: Loring, 1868.

Goodrich-Freer, Ada M., and John [Cricton-Stuart], Marquess of Bute. The Alleged Haunting of B– House.
London: George Redway, 1899.

Hubbel, Walter. The Haunted House: A True Story.
Saint John, New Brunswick: “Daily News” Steam, 1879. [Reports on the “Great Amherst Mystery” involving Ester Cox.]

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. [The case is less about a witch and more about either the ghost of a witch or a poltergeist.]

Pre-Victorian Sources

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.

Jarvis, T.M. Accredited Ghost Stories.
London: J. Andrews, 1823.

Tregortha, John. News from the Invisible World; or, Interesting Anecdotes of the Dead.
Burselm: Printed by J. Tregortha, 1800.
Berslem: Printed by John Tregortha, 1813.

Welby, Horace. Signs before Death, and Authenticated Apparitions: One Hundred Narratives.
W. Simpkin and R. Marshall, 1825.

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