Okay, I admit it, I don’t get out much, busy as I am, but author Brian Haughton’s Haunted Spaces, Sacred Places lures me with his book chock-full of vicarious thrills, a field manual to some of the most mysterious and enigmatic locales on the planet - places I hope to one day visit myself, along with a good backpack and Brian’s book as my guide.
Also the author of Hidden History and webmaster of the popular site
mysteriouspeople.com, Haughton takes an in-depth, hands-on, bird’s-eye view of places around the world thought to be filled with magic and mystique, places that seem to resonate to a whole different frequency than others. Places that have some major history behind them. As a researcher, the author excels at providing a detailed background of each location, adding local flavor and legend and myth to help potentially explain the varieties of paranormal and anomalous phenomena associated with such sites as Chartres Cathedral, Stonehenge, the stone alignments of Carnac, France, the Ohio Serpent Mound, Chinese pyramids, and other more generally known enigmas.
What really makes this book stand out is Haughton’s in-depth look at some locations most of the general public might not be as aware of in terms of magical and paranormal associations: Native American locations and Cambodian temples and caves in Greece and chamber/tombs in Orkney, Scotland… There are so many places covered in this book, it almost leaves one breathless, providing a fascinating and comprehensive tour that could easily cover a few good seasons on The History Channel. From ancient megaliths to more modern cathedrals to unusual natural spots seething in high strangeness, there is no stone left unturned in Haunted Spaces, Sacred Places.
I hope to visit some, if not all, of these places one day and appreciate the author’s ability to combine fact, myth and storytelling as he presents the reader with a complete “landscape” of these amazing sites. What I really found the most intriguing in the focus on combining archeology and field research with subjects like folklore, legend and myth in an attempt to arrive at some truth about these most shadowy places.
Haughton’s book is a gem for anyone interested in the unknown, ancient civilizations, paranormal anomalies, and even the more general subjects of archeology, history and religious ritual and belief. The author covers 32 sites in this book, leaving me wanting another 32 or so in what I hope will be Haunted Spaces Part 2.
Haunted Spaces, Sacred Places is alternately funny and disturbing (sometimes at the same time), but it's an excellent read. It does make many of the subjects look bad, but that's not really the point of the book. They look bad due to their own words and philosophies, not because of anything Theroux does. The point is that these are interesting people and that exploring the underpinnings of society can reveal just how human some of these people are. And that's actually one of the more frightening things in this book.