• A History of Ghosts

  • The True Story of Seances, Mediums, Ghosts and Ghostbusters
  • By: Peter H. Aykroyd
  • Narrated by: Jeremy Gage, Dan Aykroyd
  • Length: 9 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 03-02-10
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Audible Studios
  • 3.5 out of 5 stars 3.3 (172 ratings)

Regular price: $22.95

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Publisher's Summary

Peter Aykroyd spent his childhood watching his family’s parlor séances through the crack of a basement door. Here, for the first time, Aykroyd tells the strange and delightful story that inspired his son, Dan, to make the mega-hit Ghostbusters.
Part history, part family legend, A History of Ghosts starts in 1848 in upstate New York, where the spiritualist craze first began. Aykroyd introduces the listener to notable mediums while telling the story of the development of spiritualism, interweaving a personal history marked by a fascination with ghosts and spirits with the larger narrative about the role the paranormal has played in our culture. Such legendary figures as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini appear - and vanish.
Everyone loves a good ghost story. Successful TV shows such as Medium and Ghost Hunters are proof that our national obsession with ghosts is here to stay. Millions of Americans believe in the paranormal—and even skeptics have heard a bump in the night and suspected it might be something supernatural.

©2009 Peter H. Aykroyd (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"Less a Ghostbusters also-ran than a knowing, historical origin story, this is a smart consideration of the paranormal and a curious artifact of the Aykroyd legacy." ( Publishers Weekly)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Kimberly on 03-17-10


I'm not sure what I expected from this book. I love Ghostbusters and Ghost Hunters, so I thought this would be an interesting book. I also found it interesting that the Aykroyd family had a history with ghosts.

I think a history of human interest in the paranormal would have been very interesting in its own right. I also think a detailed history of the Aykroyd family's experiences with the paranormal would have been quite interesting.

This book attempts to do both, and the result is a vague overview of the paranormal. The author tells us of mediums through the course of history, only to later say that they were eventually debunked as frauds. He even admits that it would have been simple for even his own family's encounters with mediums and ghosts to have been fraudulent. It left me constantly wondering: So...do you think this stuff is real or not?

I suppose if the book would have had a clear thread, or point of view, it would have been helpful. I couldn't decide if our narrator was a true believer, or a solid skeptic, even though he says several times that he believes.

Perhaps I would have enjoyed it more if it had been two novels with a more focused purpose. I can't really blame the narrator, Jeremy Gage, for how dry the material is. Though he didn't help the novel very much with his dull reading style.

Overall, it was only very mildly entertaining. I could have spent the credit better on another novel.

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13 of 14 people found this review helpful

1 out of 5 stars
By Dr. Kea'we Patrick on 06-08-16

Wow, The Audible clip is deceptive.

What would have made A History of Ghosts better?

Cut down on all the interruptions with notes and explanations. The book is almost impossible to follow because of these in depth side bars.

Has A History of Ghosts turned you off from other books in this genre?

No, just because this one is poorly written doesn't mean they all are.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

That did tick me off. The clip played by Audible, the introduction, was narrated by Dan Aykroyd, who has an interesting and entertaining voice. That is the only part he narrates. The narrator for the rest is dull.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from A History of Ghosts?

I'd either cut the notes and sidebars or integrate them into the book so it isn't a constant, and I do mean constant, jumping back and forth. Sometimes only a sentence or two goes by before the topic switches for a line or two then flips back.

Any additional comments?

It's a shame, this could have been an interesting family history worth sharing with the world.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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