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American Hauntings: The True Stories behind Hollywood's Scariest Movies

Bartholomew, Robert E., and Nickell, Joe (2015). American Hauntings: True Stories Behind Hollywood’s Scariest Movies – From The Exorcist to The Conjuring. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger.  American Hauntings examines the evidence behind such hugely popular films as The ExorcistThe Amityville HorrorAn American Haunting.  The Conjuring, and The Haunting in Connecticut to ascertain the accuracy of these entertainment depictions of these "true life" hauntings.  They also examine the reliability of popular television shows such as Unsolved Mysteries and Paranormal Witness.  

  • Explores both sides of the issue and evaluates the evidence as a scientist would.  It is neither debunking nor written for the 'true believer.'  This book takes a balanced, evidenced-based approach in separating fact from fiction in a field where objectivity is sadly lacking. 


A scientific evaluation of famous hauntings

as depicted in popular films and on TV.


“A delightful and enlightening romp through the little known scientific evidence underlying seven supposed hauntings… American Hauntings is a much-needed reminder that the facts behind allegedly paranormal events are almost always more fascinating than the fictions. American Hauntings is certain to become a classic.”

– Scott Lilienfeld, Professor of Psychology, Emory University, co-Author of 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology


In American Hauntings, by the world’s foremost ghostbusters, Robert Bartholomew and Joe Nickell give us the facts behind the stories, and natural explanations for apparently supernatural phenomena, demystifying while illuminating the wonders of human psychology."

– Michael Shermer, columnist for Scientific American, author of Why People Believe Weird Things, and The Believing Brain


 “Bartholomew and Nickell are demon researchers with no agenda save getting at the truth.  With surgical precision, they adeptly separate myth from reality in this engrossing exposé of the real stories behind a crop of successful Hollywood films reportedly based on legitimate ghostly manifestations.  Not to be missed.” 

– Bruce Dettman, author of The Horror Factory: The Horror Films of Universal 1931-1955.


"...[A] meticulously researched analysis of some of the most well known cases of haunted houses and poltergeists.  Bartholomew and Nickell apply their considerable detective nous and skills in critical analysis to expose and examine the evidence behind each haunting.  The result is a spellbinding and engaging read.” 

– Dr. Keith Petrie, Professor of Health Psychology, School of Medicine, University of Auckland



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