The author, John Sabol, has an impressive list of credentials and has been involved in paranormal investigation and research well before some of the self-proclaimed ‘leaders in the field’ had even seen the light of day. I spent some time visiting with John in his home in Mahanoy City in Eastern Pennsylvania the black heart of the hard coal fields . We discussed his latest book, along with his experiences, fieldwork and methodologies.
GHOST EXCAVATOR et al is Sabol’s first book and is basically in two parts. Through skillful use of vivid imagery Sabol successfully paints a picture of the “haunted” landscape of the anthracite fields of eastern of Pennsylvania in the first part. Delving deep into the origins of the local folklore and urban legends as a function of ethnic struggles and survival in this harsh environment. I was born and raised about 15 miles from John and can truly relate to what he imparts. I experienced a childhood much like he did growing up amid the culm banks and the remnants of coal breakers and abandoned deep mines. While trying to remain unbiased as I write this I must say that Sabol was no longer the sole owner of his experiences and subjective interpretations, as I read this book they became mine also as memories resurfaced and crystallized. In his descriptions and perceptions of this stark landscape Sabol sets the stage for the second part of his book.
Borrowing from the fields of archeology, ethnography and anthropology Sabol attempts to construct a new and fascinating multidisciplinary methodology of ghost research, and here is where things get a bit confusing. this section of the book is fraught with new terminology, acronyms, and labels that John has created to introduce and explain his theory. Perhaps a degree in one of the disciplines mentioned above would be helpful. I emailed John concerning the complexity of this section of Ghost Excavator…and he obligingly replied that he appreciated my honesty and that sometimes he forgets that he is not lecturing to a college class–or something along those lines. Nevertheless, John has gone where few authors go and even fewer succeed that is: proposing a unique research methodology of paranormal investigation that probes deeper into haunting phenomena than just the “Horizontal sweeps and Ghost watches” that are the standard of most investigators.
You will either love or hate this book–and if you’re somewhere in the middle after the initial read–read it again to make a final determination. I read it three times. If I label a few other books I’ve commented on, ‘paranormal fast food,’ than Ghost Excavator et al is exotic dining for the paranormal connoisseur–but you don’t always have to like what you eat. ~ JJA
Edited by Joe Andrasi, 15 March 2010 - 04:35 PM.