The English Ghost: Spectres Through Time

Written by Peter Ackroyd
Review by Doug Kemp

The prolific Peter Ackroyd’s latest book is a collection of supposedly factual reports of supernatural occurrences in England, from the Middle Ages to the mid 20th century. Most are brief eyewitness accounts or newspaper articles that describe these odd events. Sometimes they are placed in context, so that the stories can be “explained” by subsequent events or by some previous cause, but most are left without authorial elucidation. These are essentially anecdotal stories, lazily culled from a collection of books. There is an introduction which rather superficially explains the English fascination with ghostly tales. This is not the most impressive of the author’s non-fiction work.