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Now, there’s nothing we like better here at Looking For Ghosts than some spine-chilling ghost stories. Especially, if they claim to be true. So, imagine our unbound glee when we espied True Ghost Stories by George Finch in the library.

We were especially cock-a-hoop because of the book’s spooky front cover (below). A black cat with red eyes and some sort of phantasmal miasma surrounding it. Brilliant!

George Finch. Shakespeare he is not.

Now, we don’t profess to have read every ghost story compendium in the world BUT… this has to rank as one of the scariest ever. The monotonous prose, lack of coherent punctuation and absence of any bloody ghosts scared the living daylights out of us.

George Finch’s bid for Booker Prize is not helped by the fact that he’s a gibbering goon with an ever so slight grip on reality. The gist of these true stories is that George’s dead mother is following him around in spirit guise causing all sorts of mundane occurences.

Pigeon noises, erratic household appliances, spilt milk and funny noises. These are just some of the terror-inducing issues that George tackles in his brief, yet boring, accounts.

Wind-up merchant

The book is full of astute observations such as: “We all know when you buy a wind-up clock, you wind it up and leave it to do its job; tell the time.”

Yep, that’s the harrowing tale of when George bought a clock that didn’t work and blamed his dead mother for cursing his failing luck in telling the time.

We all have days when things go wrong, but mine was forever going on, like when I was transferring milk from a cardboard box from the Co-op into a bottle; I made sure everything was as it should be. I cleaned the place ready, and a nice clean bottle, then I opened the carton – somehow the milk was on the floor. How it happened, I just do not know.”

He transferring milk from a cardboard carton into a bottle? And the milk went on the floor? Eh? Didn’t he just drop the milk? And why does he need to clean everything beforehand? Does he have history of dropping milk cartons and blaming ghosts? Most confusing.

Milk, a poltergeist's best friend

This goes on. And on. And on. With vacuum cleaners, radios, electric blankets, more milk. The Co-op does feature quite a bit, as do exotic locations such as Rotherham, Croydon and Bournemouth.

In its defence, the book is quaintly old-fashioned and charmingly English – “Flipping income tax!”.

But some of the chapters are nigh on unreadable. Confusing stories, peppered with phantom commas which appear in the middle of nowhere and are absent from where they’re supposed to be.

Great entertainment

However, it is great entertainment reading the stories. Not because they’re ghost stories but because they’re just so rubbish.

In conclusion, if you want to read a book by some clumsy oaf who thinks his spirit mother is the root of all his mishaps, then this book is perfect for you. Actually, the joke’s on us; George got a book published and we’re doing this blog for free.

We’ll let George have the final nonsensical word:

There’s one thing good about ghosts. If there are ghosts, then it proves for once and for always, that nobody dies. We either get buried in a grave, or lots of people get cremated – burnt. That’s what happens when you get cremated; only ashes are left of the body, that was once a body.

If we were all to die, there would be no ghosts, but we do not, our souls live on as spirits in spirit“.

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Catharine Arnold’s grimly fantastic book Necropolis: London and it Dead states that London is “above, a city thriving with life. Beneath, a city filled with the dead”.

Which is lucky, as the Looking For Ghosts crew – all two of us – happen to live in this very Necropolis. Spooks aplenty surely?

The coming posts will explore London’s most haunted buildings and areas. And, hopefully, we will be able to strecth our budget to reach further into the UK’s haunted regions.

Before we began our spooky search for the existence of ghosts, we referenced another book to find out what equipment we might need to help us catch sight of our intended targets.

How to be a Ghost Hunter by Richard Southall claims that a good ghost-hunting kit should include:

Cameras

Tape Recorder

Microwave Radiation or Electromagnetic Detectors – oh yeah just happened to have them in my bedroom

Pad of Paper and Pen

Compass

Watch or Stopwatch

Laptop Computer - Mr Southall obviously wants us to be prime mugging targets

Flour - to bake a cake for any hungry ghosts?

Thread - for extra jumpers in case of inclement weather?

We studied this list and decided that our eyeballs and and a couple of cameras are the most useful tools at our disposal. Don’t expect any terrifying photgraphs of ectoplasm-dripping phantoms but we’ll try. Oh, and if we get bored we might chuck a bag of flour at a ghoul or two.

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