Paranormal investigator Zak Bagans pulls from his years of experience with paranormal activities and unexplained phenomena to provide an even-handed look at a divisive subject
It’s easy to say ghosts exist or don’t exist. Anyone can do that. Trying to figure out the why or what is a different story. Paranormal investigator Zak Bagans, host of the popular Travel Channel series Ghost Adventures, pulls from his years of experience with paranormal activities and unexplained phenomena to provide an evenhanded look at a divisive subject.
In Dark World, regardless of whether you believe in the afterlife or not, Zak does his best to find and share answers to the phenomena that people encounter. He wants you to experience a haunting through his eyes: to feel what it’s like to be scared, freaked out, pushed, cold, sluggish, whispered-at and touched by an ethereal being or attacked by a demonic spirit. But beyond simply experiencing these events, Zak is looking for the reasons behind them, searching for answers to the unanswered questions.
Addressing all the major issues and theories of the field in an impartial way, Dark World is a must read for paranormal enthusiasts, those who don’t believe and anyone who’s ever wondered about things that go bump in the night.
So something a little bit different for today’s review and I have to be honest and say I stupidly didn’t start this book for ages because I read mostly at night and was expecting this to be scary…(and the fact that this wasn’t particularly scary is not a criticism. I have enough night terrors and nightmares at it is, sheesh). Anyway, I’ve been interested in the paranormal for yeeeeeeeeeeeeears, though, having had my first unexplained, spooky experience when I was six years old so I really, really wanted to read this book.
Okay, so, my family tease me relentlessly for watching paranormal investigation shows and when I watch the odd episode of Most Haunted…I can totally see why. They run around screaming and whenever stuff happens, it’s always, always conveniently off camera.
But Ghost Adventures is different. Sure, it can be hilariously dramatic sometimes but the GA crew take what they do seriously. If something happens or if something is captured on video or on a digital recorder, they don’t just take it at face value. They go out of their way to try and debunk it before slapping a ‘Paranormal’ label on it.
And this is why I wanted to read Zak Bagans’ book. There’s only so much that they can fit into an hour long episode and I was hoping Dark World would provide me with an opportunity to delve behind the scenes and turn a two dimensional TV viewer’s perspective into something more.
Dark World did not disappoint.
The book seems to be split into two halves; the first half is an account of Zak’s personal experiences with the paranormal and an in depth discussion of his past investigations with his team, while the second half is an eye opening exploration into the various paranormal theories out there, including some of his own. I’m not gonna lie, some of the theories seem pretty, well, out there but hey, it wasn’t so long ago (well, in terms of human existence anyway) that people thought the notion of the Earth revolving around the sun was pretty cray cray. I particularly enjoyed the first half the book because I enjoy knowing the hows and the whys. When I first began binge watching Ghost Adventures, I will be honest and say I thought Zak was just an over confident, overly bossy guy and having read Dark World, I have to confess that I feel quite bad in that initial assumption because there’s a reason behind it all. If you’re not confident in an investigation, why should anyone (dead or alive) take you seriously? If you don’t take charge of the situation, an investigation becomes somewhat shambolic with people having no idea of what they should be doing.
My only real issue with this book was the dramatic change in tone in the second half the book. It became quite theoretical and while I did find it interesting, I did find it quite heavy going at times because I don’t come from a science background. However, I do appreciate this might say more about me than it does about the book. Having just started an MA, I have been sitting here up the eyeballs in journal papers and textbooks so it’s quite possible that I’m just theoried out. The theories within this book and Zak’s ability to view the paranormal from a range of different perspectives demonstrate both his passion for this subject and his maturity about it. A lot of people just scoff and say “Ha! Ghosts!? Bullfuckingshit.” without actually taking any arguments, research and evidence into consideration. Zak seems to say to his readers, believers and skeptics alike, “I get that this seems pretty weird, but hear me out and keep an open mind about it.” He understands and appreciates that there are people who are rightfully skeptical, but through this book, he presents his evidence and allows people to make up their own minds. He’s presented evidence that the paranormal does exist in a clear and thoroughly researched manner, so perhaps it’s time that the skeptics presented their evidence that the paranormal doesn’t exist.
This book is relatively old (well, like, 6 or 7 years) and I know Zak has written other books since. It’d be interesting to see how his ideas have changed in the years following this book’s publication.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Song: Ghostbuster’s theme (believe me, I wanted to find something a bit more deep and meaningful, but it’s the only song that seems to truly fit…honest…)
This book is available on Amazon in both paperback and e-book format.