Pros: the section on becoming a ghost hunter & conducting an investigation
Cons: fictional characters will confuse fans of the show especially on familiar investigations
With the popularity of the television show Ghost Hunters, the two paranormal investigators that are the leaders to The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS) branched out to books, co-authoring a number of rather good books that build on experiences seen on the television show as well as detailing cases not seen on the show.
Ghost Hunt: Chilling Tales of the Unknown takes Grant Wilson and Jason Hawes to a different market. This book is aimed at young adult readers, from about third grade on up. The potential paranormal cases here are written to appeal to a younger age group. As an adult reading it, this is apparent from the style of writing right from the beginning.
The stories in Ghost Hunt: Chilling Tales of the Unknown are taken from actual TAPS investigations, but are fictionalized to appeal to their target audience. It would probably work for the most part except for one huge issue. Instead of the usual cast of paranormal investigators seen on the show, fictional characters are created to round out the investigating team. The only characters that are familiar to anyone who’s watched the show are Grant and Jason. It took a while for me to get past that. I kept trying to figure out who was who based on watching the show. It really doesn’t work that way since they really are totally fictional characters and it made for difficult reading. If I struggled with that as an adult, imagine how a young fan of the show who picks up the book is going to struggle with it.
The language of the case details is aimed at a younger audience. Reading it from an adult perspective it felt a bit condescending at times, but it is definitely accessible to the young reader. It’s spooky and scary enough while t the same time reassuring that even the investigators get nervous and scared at times and it’s perfectly normal.
The first two cases aren’t really familiar ones to TAPS audiences, and they work a bit better than the third. I had heard the story detailed in Pennies From Heaven from another source but it wasn’t spoiled enough to take away from the book. The cases like this work well enough in a fictional setting. However, when they fictionalize a case that was aired on the television show, it once again becomes difficult to read. I think it will also be confusing to their young fans who will pick this up.
In addition to the cases, there is a section on becoming a ghost hunter. This was by far the best part of the book for young readers who aspire to do what they see on television. There is information on equipment as well as conducting an investigation. Details such as choosing the right questions to ask and timing waiting for an answer are something I could imagine soaking up when I was the age of their target audience. There is enough information and guidance on how to become an investigator that it tips the value of the book quite a bit.
I was disappointed overall with Ghost Hunt: Chilling Tales of the Unknown. I thought at first it was because I wasn’t the target audience, but considering those young readers who will be interested in the book are most likely to be those who have watched the show, I think they will end up confused with the changes in the cast of characters. Why Grant and Jason just didn’t use the same investigators we’ve seen them work with, I don’t understand. Just based on that, I wouldn’t end up recommending the book, and I am a huge fan of the show. What tips this back into the recommended area is the wonderful section on becoming a ghost hunter that I think provides terrific guidance to kids who have watched the show and said “I want to do that!”
© 2012 Patti Aliventi