The Ghost Hunters (Neil Spring)

the-ghost-hunters-by-neil-springA lot of this novel is based on fact – especially the actual haunting at the infamous Borley Rectory. This is a fascinating insight into both Harry Price and the methods he used to debunk fraudulent mediums in the early 20th century. Even if some of his evidence/methods were questioned in the years after his death.

In 1977 Dr Robert Caxton is given a portfolio of documents by John Wesley, the retiring curator of a collection of phenomenological objects. The documents narrate the story told by Sarah Grey. In 1926 Sarah Grey, who lost her father at the end of the Great War, finds herself visiting a spiritualist meeting with her mother, who for some reason of her own seems to be looking to get some sign from her departed husband.

There she meets Harry Price, an investigator into spiritualist and psychic happenings. Shortly after, she is offered a job as Price’s assistant and takes it. By 1929, Sarah is relishing her role and the opportunities offered in it; but the remembrance of the letter she read on her first day regarding the haunting of Borley Rectory remains with her.

Neil Spring has written the book almost entirely from the perspective of a woman, the fictional Sarah Grey. The interweaving of fact and fiction work is not too confusing, and is helped massively by the notes that accompany each chapter. Fictional characters such as Sarah mix with historical characters such as the ghost hunter himself, Harry Price and the journalist, Vernon Wall.

As all good horror stories should, the book does not overplay anything, no obvious monsters are delivered beyond the human ones. You are never really sure if what is happening is real or a trick by one or the other characters and this heightens the fear factor considerably. It has a quietness about it that drew me in. The author is not very structured in his style however, he is a little loose and inconsistent. This may bother some readers.

There’s bumps and noises in the night along the way, not to mention misty figures scudding across the lawn…it’s plain to see that Neil Spring has certainly put the hours in while researching the strange events at Borley Rectory and the legendary ‘Ghost Hunter’ that was Harry Price. So grab yourself a copy, turn the lights down low and transport yourself to the Essex village of Borley and it’s creepy atmosphere.



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