The best books about supernatural phenomena and why they shouldn’t scare the pants off you

Who am I?

I don’t believe in ghosts, but fascination with the supernatural has been with me since childhood, my inquiring mind constantly seeking answers. Research through books and documentaries and talking to people on the subject leads me to conclude there has to be a scientific and rational explanation for every paranormal happening. Theories abound, none are conclusive, but one accepted theory stands out, and this is explored and expanded upon in my novel White Stones. The books chosen here are excellent examples in the world of the supernatural and paranormal and are worth reading whether you believe in ghosts or not. Some just might make you change your mind.


I wrote...

White Stones

By Kit Domino,

Book cover of White Stones

What is my book about?

Many novels and stories on the paranormal and unexplained focus upon the who, where, what, and why, but rarely, if ever, touch upon the how, content only in scaring the reader to leave all the lights on at night. White Stones is not one of them. In this thought-provoking contemporary romantic mystery its central character Filton Shields, believes every strange occurrence, including hauntings, has a scientific or explainable answer. Using modern-day techniques and theories and his knowledge of archaeology, his aim is to prove things are not always what they seem on the surface and that walls really can have ears to hear and mouths with which to speak. 

The books I picked & why

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The House on the Strand

By Daphne du Maurier,

Book cover of The House on the Strand

Why this book?

I fell in love with this author’s exploration into the hypothesis of drug-induced time travel written by one of our great English authors, skillfully weaving psychology with science and historical fiction. In it, Dick Young is persuaded by a friend to try a new drug. Dick likes where it takes him, and each time takes more and more. A classic case of addition but the story awakened in me a passion for asking what if… that later turned into a greater passion for the unexplained and paranormal in all its forms, in turn leading me to question whether re-incarnation, deja-vu, ghostly visitations or time travel were possible, and if so, how.

The House on the Strand

By Daphne du Maurier,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The House on the Strand as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this haunting tale, Daphne du Maurier takes a fresh approach to time travel. A secret experimental concoction, once imbibed, allows you to return to the fourteenth century. There is only one catch: if you happen to touch anyone while traveling in the past you will be thrust instantaneously to the present. Magnus Lane, a University of London chemical researcher, asks his friend Richard Young and Young's family to stay at Kilmarth, an ancient house set in the wilds near the Cornish coast. Here, Richard drinks a potion created by Magnus and finds himself at the same spot where he…


Hauntings

By Peter Underwood,

Book cover of Hauntings

Why this book?

This book by real-life ghost hunter Peter Underwood is an amazing attempt to demystify some of the most famous haunted sites across the globe, seeking out evidence, personal and witness experiences in an attempt to explain the inexplicable. In many cases he comes up with possible answers, often using the excuse of mental instability in those witnesses to prove his argument. For me, many of his conclusions were not convincing enough, this paucity of believable truth inspiring my own research and desire to debunk the whole concept of ghosts and hauntings. From it, I have learned that though most occurrences can be explained away, there is still much in this world that defies rational logic.   

Hauntings

By Peter Underwood,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this fascinating account of the best-attested cases of haunting - Hampton Court, the demon drummer of Bedworth, the Wesley ghost, Glamis, Borley Rectory and many others - Britain's foremost ghost-hunter has brought to light a wealth of valuable new evidence. Using the results of his many years of research and personal investigation into ghosts and hauntings, and providing detailed plans and original photographs, Peter Underwood puts forward some exciting and startling theories which will radically change our ideas about these hauntings.

Many hauntings can be explained without resorting to the supernatural or the paranormal. The author shows indisputable evidence…


The Magic Cottage

By James Herbert,

Book cover of The Magic Cottage

Why this book?

Many might class this as a horror novel. I don’t. For me it’s a beautiful, spellbinding story of a cottage in the country that has feelings, both good and bad. How many of us have walked into a house and felt its vibe? That moment you know something’s not right or conversely, is perfect. A feeling Mike is not sure about but his wife is. Combining magic with mystery, fear with fantasy, it is one of those stories that defies a scientific, logical explanation and one of the few books I have read several times, each time coming up with a different theory of how it could even be possible. Sometimes we simply have to suspend belief. 

The Magic Cottage

By James Herbert,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Step inside The Magic Cottage, another chilling classic from the Master of Horror James Herbert.

A cottage was found in the heart of the forest. It was charming, maybe a little run-down, but so peaceful - a magical haven for creativity and love. But the cottage had an alternative side - the bad magic. What happened there was horrendous beyond belief . . .


How to Stop Time

By Matt Haig,

Book cover of How to Stop Time

Why this book?

Who wants to live forever? Or, as in this contemporary novel, for 500 years or more? In his unique style and wit, Matt Haig explores the many pitfalls and heartaches that living an extra-long life poses along with some of the positives his central character Tom must endure. Yes, it is a time-travel story, if at times a little too long and with much inward-self psychology, but one that brings elements of history, real-life characters, and at times shocking revelations by creating a scenario reversing a real human genetic condition, making the reader think: what if? We’ve all thought at times how wonderful it would be to live forever. After reading this novel, I know what my answer will be.

How to Stop Time

By Matt Haig,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked How to Stop Time as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Midnight Library.

"A quirky romcom dusted with philosophical observations....A delightfully witty...poignant novel." -The Washington Post

How many lifetimes does it take to learn how to live?

Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old history teacher, but he's been alive for centuries. From Elizabethan England to Jazz-Age Paris, from New York to the South Seas, Tom has seen it all. As long as he keeps changing his identity he can keep one step ahead of his past - and stay alive. The only thing he…


Lady of Hay

By Barbara Erskine,

Book cover of Lady of Hay

Why this book?

Arguably the landmark novel of the time-slip genre. Using hypnosis and the idea of a previous life lived, this story transports Jo, a woman of the 20th century back into the past with all its horrors and disease in a believable ride across the barriers of time to the reign of King John. As Matilda, her life is plagued by treachery and a cruel death as two lives become bound to each other. It begs the question as to whether reincarnation and past life really exist and, if so, is hypnosis the way to establish the truth and enter that other world. I find the concept intriguing as there are many accounts in other countries, especially India, of children speaking of their previous life and death as another person.

Lady of Hay

By Barbara Erskine,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Lady of Hay as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A story spanning centuries. A long awaited revenge.

In London, journalist Jo Clifford plans to debunk the belief in past-lives in a hard-hitting magazine piece. But her scepticism is shaken when a hypnotist forces her to relive the experiences of Matilda, Lady of Hay, a noblewoman during the reign of King John.

She learns of Matilda's unhappy marriage, her love for the handsome Richard de Clare, and the brutal death threats handed out by King John, before it becomes clear that Jo's past and present are inevitably entwined. She realises that eight hundred years on, Matilda's story of secret passion…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the supernatural, romantic love, and time travel?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the supernatural, romantic love, and time travel.

The Supernatural Explore 238 books about the supernatural
Romantic Love Explore 510 books about romantic love
Time Travel Explore 202 books about time travel

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Footsteps, Wild, and A Traveller in Time if you like this list.