THE GHOSTS OF WAR by Daniel Cohen


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Since ghosts are often spawned by traumatic circumstances, it's hardly surprising that many battlefields, soldiers, and soldiers' relatives are haunted. Cohen has assembled dozens of modern stories of such hauntings, ""told as true,"" mostly from British sources. He does include one from Japan and several from the US, but reports a paucity of ghosts from the wars in Korea and Vietnam. He points out that credibility varies: the ghostly re-creation of the battle of Edgehill (1642) has been seen by responsible observers; but the ""Angels of Mens,"" supposedly witnessed by many at the beginning of WW I, are traced to a short story by Arthur Machen. Both incidents provide insight into the origins of ghostly lore. Ghosts never seem to photograph well, but disembodied voices and other hard-to-explain sounds have been captured on audio-tape. Cohen's careful reasoning and simple, conversational style serve his subject well. The stories here have a chilling cumulative effect, expertly capped off with an RAF officer's particularly macabre vision. Readers will be informed as well as entertained.

Pub Date: June 5th, 1990
Page count: 96pp
Publisher: Putnam