Alas Poor Ghost by Gillian Bennett

By Gillian Bennett

"Bennett interviewed girls in Manchester, England, asking them approximately ghosts and different supernatural reports and ideology. (Her dialogue of the way her learn tools and interview innovations advanced is in itself valuable.) She first released the result of the learn within the well-received Traditions of trust: girls and the Supernatural, which has been used across the world in folklore, women's reports, and different classes. "Alas, negative Ghost!" completely revises and expands that paintings. as well as a fuller presentation and research of the unique box learn, the writer has up-to-date the textual content to include newer reports and assisted through Kate Bennett, a gerontological psychologist, analyzed new examine with a gaggle of ladies in Leicester, England. This final addition makes a speciality of the function of bereavement and witnessing involved with the dead."--BOOK JACKET.

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Originally it had been my intention to encourage talk only about the possibility of interaction between the dead and the living, but in practice I found that this was far too intimidating, so I widened the scope of my research to include less alarming and delicate mattersextrasensory perception, omens, premonitions, fortune-telling and horoscopes, and the possibility of life after death. In practice, I usually began with questions about horoscopes or life after death and worked round to the more difficult matters as and when I could.

1997, 151) There is some truth in that, of course, and to an extent that appears to be happening in this case. However, I believe there is a logic to this apparently contradictory position. By listening to all the conversation recorded on the interview tapes, it is possible to pick up a very good general picture of the mental furniture the women carry round with them, and this is most instructive when trying to understand the whys and wherefores of belief. Judging from this background information, it seems that philosophical considerations and social factors are influential in determining whether women accept supernatural traditions (see below), but it is moral factors that are most significant in distinguishing between which traditions they accept and which they do not.

Followers have adopted this approach and used it to triumphant effect in their own work (see especially the contributions to Out of the Ordinary, edited by Barbara Walker, and the special edition of Western Folklore "Reflexivity and the Study of Belief"). This approach also significantly influenced the doctoral thesis from which my Traditions of Belief was drawn (Bennett 1987), especially the notion that researchers should not disbelieve their informants on the basis of their own beliefs. My work was also undertaken to explore the relationship between narrative and belief.

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