Richard Estep has written several books about reportedly haunted locations. I have previously reviewed his book “On Dark Ground: Investigating the Haunted Monroe House” which I did find useful before my own investigation into the Monroe House. Since I will be vising Old South Pittsburg Hospital (OSPH) in a week, I thought it would be good to see what Mr. Estep encountered when he visited. In his books, Estep reviews the history he has gathered through research, the specific paranormal claims, and the televised investigations into a location. He points out when there are inconsistences and talks with witnesses to try to uncover the real story behind the location. Then he tells the story of his experience at the location. Readers are left to make their own judgement on whether or not the location is haunted.
Would I recommend this book? Yes, I would recommend this to most investigators planning to visit OSPH. As usual, I would not give this book to anyone on the team claiming to be sensitive as you do not want to prime them with information. For teams that want to go in blind, I recommend always having one person who knows something of the location so things can be confirmed or debunked on the spot instead of waiting to do research later.
Pros: Richard Estep seems to be a reasonable investigator and he has a very similar ethical stance as I do when it comes to investigation. In this book he states, “I’m a big believer in being respectful and friendly to the spirits at a haunted location. . . Besides, you’ll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, as the old saying goes, and it’s always good to remember the golden rule of life (and death): don’t be a dick.” Words to live by, “don’t be a dick.” Anyway, I like the format of his books as they contain research about the location and a review of the claims. He also doesn’t tell you what to believe but instead presents his experience at the location in a manner that is easy and enjoyable to read. This one feels a bit lighter on the research but sometimes there is only so much to say.
Cons: Just like the last book, I strongly dislike the title and the cover image. I do understand that the goal is to sell books but I strongly dislike over dramatic titles and covers. Yes, hospitals do have blood, people die, and many of fearful of going but the way it sounds is very ominous. Especially when he repeatedly notes that the haunting of OSPH is not negative. On the technical side, the font is really large and that causes some off-set lines in the printing of this particular copy. This may be remedied in future copies as this really is the first run of these books.
Overall thoughts: It’s a good book to read in preparation for your investigation if you’re visiting OSPH or you just want to get the feel for paranormal investigation in general. This one is far less detailed then the Monroe House book but still has useful information.
You can find your own copy of this book here.