By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
I Want to Believe, An Investigator’s Archive delves into the backend that television shows rarely feature–getting to know the people. In this book by Jason Hewlett and Pete Renn, we get a down to earth interviews with various paranormal investigators from across the world (North America mostly) who are truly dedicated to this craft, and why they’ve made it their life’s passion.
To cap things off, we hear a story or two of their most memorable finds about the hereafter. They won’t send shivers down your spine, but here, you’ll get a better sense of what these people do than seeing a dramatized take on television. This book is a loose extension these author’s own YouTube series, We Want to Believe, where they investigate the occult.
The 240-page book is organised by who are household names to those better known in their home territory. Ciarán O’Keeffe is perhaps the most recognized because of his involvement with Most Haunted, a UK program that made being a paranormal investigator cool. As an academic, it’s hard not to dismiss his approach to examining the supernatural. Also included is Paul Bradford of Ghost Hunters International. Missing, but perhaps saved for book two is Charles Christian who is member of UK’s long-established Ghost Club and, along with O’Keefe, also Society for Psychical Research.
Next are folks who have investigated around British Columbia. Kelly Claire Berge of the Vancouver Paranormal Society, Amanda Quill of Coldspotters, and Louise Setchell, co-founder of Canadian Paranormal Foundation with Renn and Hewlett are local. But they also spent time with different groups before settling into one that they either head or belong to. Had this book limited itself to a region, it’d be a very short book. Instead, it very nicely covers a wide geographical part of the world about those folks who are in this trade for the right reason.
I Want to Believe, An Investigator’s Archive is a terrific read because it looks at the motivations and interests that led these people to become more than just weekend investigators. Their biographies are quick, and what this book focuses on is what got them interested in this hobby and their dedication to stick with it for more than a decade, if not more. Their interactions with the other side come second.
Nobody wants to speed through the twenty-two chapters in this book. There’s a lot of good information and insights to make readers feel like they know them. Plus, if you ever get a chance to meet them at a paranormal convention, they won’t seem like complete strangers.
4 Stars out of 5