London: Burns Oates, 1953. First edition. Octavo, original navy cloth, navy top edge, original dust jacket. Early owner signature to front flyleaf, mild creasing to spine ends and two short closed tears to price-clipped dust jacket. A near-fine copy. Item #590
"THE MODERN GHOST, AND ESPECIALLY THE TYPE THAT FREQUENTS OLD COUNTRY HOUSES, IS RATHER A TAME SORT OF BEING AND DISTINCTLY LACKING IN ORIGINALITY AND ENTERPRISE" First edition of these case studies of spectral disturbances collected by the noted Catholic authority on Spiritualism and the Occult. The Victorians were fascinated with the afterlife. Herbert Thurston—born in 1856 and embracing the fascinations of the age—pursued a lifetime of research into the paranormal and the supernatural, even after he entered the Society of Jesus and was ordained in 1890. The English Jesuit was skilled at discerning fact from legend—an instinct developed in his herculean efforts to edit and modernize the hagiographies of Alban Butler's Lives of the Saints—but it is said that his natural skepticism diminished in his later years. "When Father Thurston died in 1939 the English Jesuits lost one of the most distinguished members of the Society and Roman Catholics in England their greatest expert in psychical research." (Eric Dingwall). This contribution to the English tradition of ghost stories closes with an Appendix: The Exorcism of Haunted Houses. Ghosts and Poltergeists was the companion to Thurston's Physical Phenomena of Mysticism, also edited by J.H. Crehan, S.J., here with his brief Preface, dated "Heythrop./28 February 1953." In addition to editing the two collections, Father Crehan was also Thurston's biographer (Father Thurston: A Memoir, 1952). Approbations.