In contemporary England, paranormal investigation has emerged as a popular means of seeking knowledge about reportedly ghostly phenomena. Paranormal investigators are self-fashioned experts who aim to balance scientistic and spiritual perspectives in the hope of proving or disproving the existence of ghosts from an objective perspective. Despite their collective goal to understand the paranormal, many investigators experience profound doubt of its reality and nature. Drawing on long-term ethnographic fieldwork with English paranormal investigators, this essay examines how investigators’ engagement with material culture mediates their experience of doubt. Ultimately, this essay argues that material culture, in the form of haunted objects, helps mitigate, produce, and extend investigators’ doubts about the nature of the paranormal and the meaning of materiality itself.
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Research Article| May 01 2019
Haunted Objects: English Paranormal Investigation and the Material Mediation of Doubt
Michele Hanks, Expository Writing Program, New York University, 411 Lafayette Street, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10003. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Nova Religio (2019) 22 (4): 60–74.
Michele Hanks; Haunted Objects: English Paranormal Investigation and the Material Mediation of Doubt. Nova Religio 1 May 2019; 22 (4): 60–74. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/nr.2019.22.4.60
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