Haunted Ground: Journeys through a Paranormal America

Haunted Ground: Journeys through a Paranormal America

Haunted Ground: Journeys through a Paranormal America

Haunted Ground: Journeys through a Paranormal America


This fascinating and insightful tour through present-day meetings of Spiritualists, UFOlogists, and dowsers illuminates our obsession with the paranormal and challenges the misunderstanding of the paranormal as a marginal or inconsequential feature of America's religious landscape.

• Chronologies focusing on the main developments in Spiritualist, UFOlogical, and dowsing history

• Photographs of materials, culture, and events at Lily Dale, the Roswell UFO Festival, and The American Society of Dowsers annual convention taken by the author

• A bibliography of authoritative scholarly works, primary texts, and theoretical frameworks pertinent to the study of Spiritualism, UFOlogy, and dowsing


I can see them in my mind’s eye, shimmering like the reflections in a rearview mirror.

There are great gatherings in the woods of upstate New York, crowds assembling to hear messages from beyond the veil of death, news of loved ones now passed on, guidance from the spirit world. There are assemblies convening in the deserts of New Mexico, sharing news of visits from beyond our sun, tales of beings from far away and long ago, forebodings of coming contact. There are odd alliances of farmers and urbanites in the Green Mountains of Vermont, searching with sticks and rods for water and wisdom and wealth. Together they dowse.

As I speed now east along modern interstate highways, I feel less certain of my bearings than when I set out two years ago, less confident in my certainties. I travel toward home but cannot say for sure it will still be there in the same way I left it. And I am not quite sure how to remember what I have heard, seen, and felt or what to call it all. It shimmered when I was there, and it slips through the space of language now, as I name it back into another kind of being, equally gossamer-like, evoking words.

I have been to Lily Dale, the Spiritualist camp in New York, several times now since 2007. I have twice attended the Roswell UFO Festival and have also made two trips to the American Society of Dowsers conventions in Vermont. For two years, I have immersed myself in a world where conventional boundaries slip and slide; the clear lines between religion, science, and technology grow thin; and one cannot even say with certainty which came first: the media or the mediums, the tales of such things or their widespread acceptance among the American public. Attempts to unravel this riddle or the many others surrounding the worlds of ephemera are themselves lures into the further Abyss.

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