Saturday, August 6, 2011

Will Storr vs The Supernatural, by Will Storr

Will Storr vs The Supernatural is a book unlike any other I have ever read.  It is the completely unashamed account of a skeptic journalist’s mental journey as he seeks out both believers and skeptics alike in his quest to discover a truth behind supernatural occurrences.  It is a book that challenges everything that both skeptics and believers might think of ghosts, demons and the afterlife.

Will Storr begins the book a firm skeptic when he travels to interview self-proclaimed “demonologist”, Lou Gentile in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  What he experiences there sends him on a journey which brings him face to face with ghost lights, anti-Satanist vigilantes, exorcisms, the Vatican, EVP and psychologists, along with a bevy of other fun and exciting characters.  He stays in haunted houses, sleeps in haunted rooms, attends divination ceremonies and goes ghost hunting with paranormal researchers.  What he finds along his journey is both fascinating and terrifying. 

Storr does not give any definitive answer to the question behind the truth of the supernatural.  The book proves to be less a book about proving or disproving the existence of an afterlife of sorts, and instead focuses on the human need to understand something unexplainable.  It is a book about the human mind, and how those who believe wholeheartedly, and those who doubt, doubt with just as much conviction.  It is a work that tries to bridge that divide and show both sides of the story with equal import.  While there is no ultimate conclusion to be gained from reading this book, it does serve as a valuable insight in to how certain subjects can be viewed from the other side of the fence.

The prose flows, and the writing is funny, dark and self aware.  Storr does not seek to force an opinion on his readers, simply to impart an experience, leaving his audience to decide for themselves what to do with the information that he provides.  That he experienced things that cannot be explained is undeniable, but whether the experiences have a natural or a supernatural explanation is ultimately left to the reader to decide.  Storr shares information without passing judgment, but does so in an entertaining, sharply intelligent and subtle way.
The book leaves the reader with the knowledge that there are things in this world and universe that cannot be explained.  To deny something outright as possible or impossible is foolish and is narrow minded, in both belief and skepticism.  Ultimately we are challenged to keep our minds open for the possibility that there are things out there that we as human beings are simply unable to explain.

Will Storr vs The Supernatural is a book that I would highly recommend to anyone.  It is truly mind opening and downright entertaining.