Book Review: “Harry Price: The Biography of a Ghost Hunter” by Paul Tabori

Harry Price (1881-1948) was a paranormal researcher and amateur magician from London. He spent a large portion of his investigative career exposing fraudulent mediums and is best known for his detailed investigation of Borley Rectory. During the course of his work, he “strained his heart” and his doctors warned him that he needed to slow down. 20 years after this warning, he died of a heart attack. As many of us know, paranormal investigation is not the easiest life to live when dealing with any health condition, but Harry Price was very devoted to his work.  He was known to be both a difficult and a kind man (depends on who you ask) and led a very interesting life. This book hits many of the highlights of that unique life.

Would I recommend this book? This is another one of those books that is good for investigators who want to know more about the origins of the field. So, yes, I would invite any curious investigator to learn about Harry Price.

Pros: Paul Tabori does a good job of balancing the good and the bad opinions of Harry Price (and there is a good bit of both). The book was written just 2 years after Price’s death so it could have been overly sympathetic. One of my favorite things about this book is learning how Price related to others in the field and especially Arthur Conan Doyle. Price rented space from the London Spiritualist Alliance to establish his National Laboratory of Psychical Research which put him in direct contact with Doyle regularly. Spiritualists had an alternating love/hate opinion of Price which extended to Doyle. Pages 58-73 goes into this relationship which includes regular letters with some very entertainingly “polite” insults.

Cons: The organization of this book is strange as it goes by topic instead of timeline. So, in one chapter it may be describing events from the 1930’s and then the next chapter jumps back to the 1920’s. It can make things a bit confusing.

Overall thoughts: This book is shorter than Price’s autobiography, so it is a good place to start when you want to learn more about the man who has been referred to as the “Original Ghost Hunter.” There are some interesting stories that will keep most readers entertained throughout the book.

You can find your own copy of this book here.

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