Ghosts from Our Past: Both Literally & Figuratively: The Study of the Paranormal – Erin Gilbert, Abby L. Yates, with Andrew Shaffer
In case the Ghostbusters logo didn’t tip you off this is a tie in to the recent update of Ghostbusters, a movie I happened to love. The book is alluded to several times in the movie but has now been “updated” with new information after the events at the end of the movie. Part faux-autobiography, part non-fiction history of ghost hunting, Ghosts from Our Past is a lot of fun and moves quickly.
The book starts with chapters about Erin and Abby both and how they came to meet and became friends. This is followed by a history of paranormal research as well as their own theories on the supernatural. The history section walks the line between fact and fiction well, to the point where discerning between the two is all but impossible without the Googles on stand by and maybe not even then. There are references to Sumerian legends interspersed with fictional accounts and real ghost hunters and scientists mixed in with ones that only inhabit the Ghostbusters universe. The tone of the book stays consistent making it even harder to tell truth from fiction.
In the prologue (written by a very much alive Martin Heiss you will notice), the writers explain that the original Ghosts from our Past has become more popular after the events in New York so they have updated the original book with new information and chapters. These include ones from Patty, Holtzmann, and Kevin.
Holtzman’s chapter focusses on the Ghostbusters equipment and is an interesting read. Patty writes about the history of some of the most haunted places in the world, including the Mercado Hotel and Aldridge Mansion. Kevin’s bit is silly but includes a solid joke with a great visual that would not be out of place in the movie.
The bulk of the book is Abby and Erin (with “editor” Andrew Shafer, the actual writer working with Paul Feig and Katie Dippold) detailing their Spectral Field Theory that explains the presence of ghosts in our world. Even more so, it goes in to WHY the ghosts seem to be more prevalent in the Ghostbusters universe. This is a good bit of script hole patching because one area all of the movies drop the ball is in explaining why we can suddenly see ghosts in our plane. The answer is because the barrier between our world and the next has been weakened largely by using the theories in the book.
The book is quite matter of fact regarding ghosts. Erin and Abby do not come across as crack pots but legitimate scientists that use the scientific method to investigate hauntings. It’s an interesting read anyway but the numerous asides from Erin and Abby are always funny without making fun of themselves. The book is fun but also respectful of the paranormal and ghost hunting and does a terrific job straddling the line between parody and non-fiction.
I really hope we have not seen the last of this new generation of Ghostbusters. If Ghosts from Our Past is any indication there is a rich universe that is waiting to be explored in future movies and books. If you are a fan of the Ghostbusters universe and especially the new movie this is a must purchase. If nothing else it’s going to look pretty great on your book shelf.
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