The best books about paranormal investigation

Nicole Cushing Author Of Mothwoman
By Nicole Cushing

Who am I?

I’m a weirdo, so of course I’m attracted to the idea that the universe may be weird, too. I like the idea that the universe is able to hold itself together ninety-nine percent of the time, but every once in a while it just has to let its freak flag fly. Even if paranormal experiences are nothing more than waking dreams, they may still be worth our attention (the same as any dream). Even if such experiences aren’t objectively “real”, they’re subjectively fascinating. I love exploring the line between reality and unreality. Like Fort, I don’t believe it to be as cut and dry as mainstream science would have us believe.

I wrote...


By Nicole Cushing,

Book cover of Mothwoman

What is my book about?

Mothwoman is a novel about family, grief, aliens, mental illness, trauma, sexism, the Mothman legend, Covid, and the encroachment of unreality into American political life. Mothwoman combines the style and playful dark satire of my previous release A Sick Gray Laugh with the grimness and quick pace of my first novel Mr. Suicide.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Charles Fort: The Man Who Invented the Supernatural

Why this book?

Charles Fort was the o.g. paranormal investigator. One hundred years ago, he made a sweeping study of all the weird stuff mainstream science refuses to examine. Even now we use the word “Fortean” to describe the study of ghosts, bigfoot, ufos, ESP, etc. Steinmeyer’s biography reveals the complicated man behind the adjective. 

Was Fort a kook? Not really. Steinmeyer reveals him to be more of a gadfly, playfully thumbing his nose at science but never investing too much belief in his own eccentric theories, either. For Fort, the real and the unreal were two sides of the same coin. His quarrel was with those who insisted the quarter only had heads and refused to investigate the possible existence of tails.

Charles Fort: The Man Who Invented the Supernatural

By Jim Steinmeyer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Charles Fort as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'I am the first disciple of Charles Fort. Henceforth I am a Fortean'

Since Ben Hecht wrote this line in reviewing The Book of The Damned in 1919, Charles Fort - whose very name spawned an adjective, Fortean, defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as 'relating to or denoting paranormal phenomena' - has so divided opinion that to Theodore Dreiser he was "the most fascinating literary figure since Poe;" to The New York Times he was "the enfant terrible of science;" and to HG Wells he was "one of the most damnable bores who ever cut scraps from out of…

The Red Tree

By Caitlin R. Kiernan,

Book cover of The Red Tree

Why this book?

I love novels that take me deep inside a protagonist’s haunted brain. In The Red Tree the protagonist (Sarah Crowe) must use her haunted brain to make sense of a haunted landscape in the aftermath of her girlfriend’s suicide.

Yes, this is a dark book; an emotionally honest book about the nature of grief and trauma. It also seems to capture how it really feels when a person, minding their own business, stumbles into the paranormal. For example, we see Sarah seesaw between belief and skepticism. (Alas, in The Red Tree, both are fueled by paranoia.)   

The Red Tree

By Caitlin R. Kiernan,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Red Tree as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Sarah Crowe left Atlanta—and the remnants of a tumultuous relationship—to live in an old house in rural Rhode Island. Within its walls she discovers an unfinished manuscript written by the house’s former tenant—an anthropologist obsessed with the ancient oak growing on a desolate corner of the property.
Tied to local legends of supernatural magic, as well as documented accidents and murders, the gnarled tree takes root in Sarah’s imagination, prompting her to write her own account of its unsavory history.  
And as the oak continues to possess her dreams and nearly almost all her waking thoughts, Sarah risks her health…

Book cover of Silent Invasion: The Pennsylvania UFO-Bigfoot Casebook

Why this book?

Stan Gordon has spent the last fifty years investigating the paranormal in Western Pennsylvania. He’s observed the locations where events allegedly occurred. He’s interviewed witnesses. And, in Silent Invasion, he documents some of his stranger cases. 

How strange? Well, in the early seventies Gordon received reports of bigfoot being observed alongside landed UFOs. I love this book because it is so damned weird (but, at the same time, so well-documented). That’s not to say that I find all of Gordon’s anomalies anomalous. (The “metallic droppings” he found out in the woods in 1972 look to me to be Brillo pads.) But many of his other reports are not so easily dismissed. 

Silent Invasion: The Pennsylvania UFO-Bigfoot Casebook

By Stan Gordon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Silent Invasion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Stan Gordon began his journey in field investigations of UFOs and other Paranormal encounters in Pennsylvania in 1965. During 1973 UFOs began to make widespread appearances in the sky across the Keystone State. It was during the summer of that year however when a mysterious wave of events began to unfold. Alarmed citizens over a widespread area reported close encounters with huge hairy Bigfoot-like creatures. Frightened residents called local authorities and media outlets reporting enormous footprints and terrified animals. As the pace of the abnormal encounters quickened through the following months, more eyewitness reports of other strange creatures, and a…

The Haunting of Hill House

By Shirley Jackson,

Book cover of The Haunting of Hill House

Why this book?

I’ve read a lot of horror novels. In my opinion, The Haunting of Hill House is the best. From its first, magnificent paragraph it writhes with anxiety, insanity, and doom. 

How did Jackson pull this off? The premise seems unpromising and formulaic: a paranormal investigator gathers three people to join him in an investigation of a haunted house. The answer rests in Jackson’s ability to depict the emotional vulnerability of her protagonist (Eleanor Vance). Eleanor has suffered for many years under the yolk of an overbearing family, and for her Hill House offers a chance for diversion and a dreadful sort of escape. I suppose it also doesn’t hurt that Jackson’s prose is some of the most darkly beautiful I’ve ever read. 

The Haunting of Hill House

By Shirley Jackson,

Why should I read it?

26 authors picked The Haunting of Hill House as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Part of a new six-volume series of the best in classic horror, selected by Academy Award-winning director of The Shape of Water Guillermo del Toro

Filmmaker and longtime horror literature fan Guillermo del Toro serves as the curator for the Penguin Horror series, a new collection of classic tales and poems by masters of the genre. Included here are some of del Toro's favorites, from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Ray Russell's short story "Sardonicus," considered by Stephen King to be "perhaps the finest example of the modern Gothic ever written," to Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House and stories…

Book cover of Mothman: Behind the Red Eyes

Why this book?

While many readers would cite John Keel’s The Mothman Prophecies as the definitive account of the late ‘60s cryptid sightings in West Virginia, I have a strong preference for Wamsley’s books on the subject. He has reprinted vintage newspaper articles (yes, Mothman sightings were the subject of mainstream local news articles back in the day). He also publishes transcripts of his interviews with witnesses, and photographs of these witnesses. You get to see them and read their accounts, in their own words. They sound credible.

He also makes sure to reprint news articles that offer natural explanations for the sightings. (Was the Mothman just an oversized bird, the sandhill crane? A giant owl? Experimental weather balloons released by a high school science club?) 

Good stuff!

Mothman: Behind the Red Eyes

By Jeff Wamsley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mothman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Look deeper into the mystery of the Mothman legacy with the most extensive collection of data ever assembled. Research materials include: Firsthand eyewitness accounts, Rare documents and press archives, UFO/Men in Black encounters, Silver Bridge disaster, TNT Area archives, Illustrations, maps, and photos.

"Mothman goes under the microscope as Jeff Wamsley continues to dig for more clues to this complex mystery.ᅠ A required investigative resource for those who are searching for answers." - John A. Keel, Author, The Mothman Prophecies.

"More riveting than ever! Once again Jeff Wamsley has put together the definitive, absolutely must-have book on one of the…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the paranormal, ghost hunting, and trees?

8,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the paranormal, ghost hunting, and trees.

The Paranormal Explore 175 books about the paranormal
Ghost Hunting Explore 11 books about ghost hunting
Trees Explore 43 books about trees

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