Books about ghosts/the supernatural across cultures
October 20, 2018 6:09 PM   Subscribe

It's that time of the year! I am in the ghosty mood, and reading lots of spooky stories online, watching scary movies, etc. I got to wondering about how stories of the supernatural compare and vary across cultures, and thought it would be fun to find a book about that!

Looking for something that's well-researched and legit (not woo) but not academic. Not a collection of ghost stories from around the world, but rather more of an investigation into what different cultures believe about the supernatural, similarities and differences across cultures, what these beliefs say about us as human beings. Got any recommendations?
posted by imalaowai to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
It only covers one point of comparison, but YĆ«rei: The Japanese Ghost meets your other criteria--maybe briefly enough to combine with something else.
posted by Wobbuffet at 9:26 PM on October 20, 2018

While it's not what you're really looking for, I think that Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places would scratch a similar intellectual itch. It's a really good look at what ghost stories mean in the culture of the USA. Having loved that book I am following this thread with interest!
posted by Vortisaur at 2:08 AM on October 21, 2018 [3 favorites]

Short article about the evolution of the La Llorona (the wailing woman) myth in Mexico.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 2:32 PM on October 21, 2018

I read The Haunted: A Social History of Ghosts a decade ago, and although I remember almost nothing about it, I apparently liked it enough to keep it on my shelves. IIRC, it's Western-centered rather than a worldwide survey.
posted by telophase at 9:48 AM on October 22, 2018

Best answer: Looking at the also-boughts on the book I linked above, I see Ghosts: A Haunted History, which looks like it might be more what you're looking for, with a wider reach than the book above.
posted by telophase at 9:50 AM on October 22, 2018

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