Haunted Gardens: An International Journey

By Underwood, Peter

From the publisher’s website: Haunted Gardens is a brand new book from the renowned supernatural writer, Peter Underwood. The world today is fascinated by life after death, and the affect that the 'other side' has on our lives. Peter Underwood has decided to explore ghostly gardens for the very first time in history, and shows, with examples from all over the world, just how spooky gardens can be! Fully illustrated with Peter's own photographs, and carefully researched, this new book is sure to be an ideal gift for anyone interested in ghosts and the paranormal.

Haunted Gardens. Amberley Publishing, November 2009. ISBN-13: 978-1848682610

Reviewed for the SPR by: Tom Ruffles

Veteran ghost hunter Peter Underwood dips into his files and pulls together a collection of haunted gardens. Or rather, with the odd exception, a collection of rather nice buildings which have allegedly haunted gardens attached to them, the accounts tending to focus on the insides as much as the outsides. Underwood is skilful at interweaving ghost stories, indoors or al fresco, with local history, and the book will be useful to those with a general interest in the places, many of which are open to the public, as to those wishing to know about the ghost sightings said to have occurred in them.

Gardens often have an uncanny quality so it does not seem surprising that they should be associated with ghosts. Thirty-seven are included here, the majority in England, but several in the other home countries, a few on the Continent, three in the USA and singletons in Jamaica and Singapore. In general there are no huge surprises. Some are better known than others, some very well indeed, and none more so than Borley Rectory, which is included even though there is nothing new added to the story and nothing left for the pilgrim to see. Entries are in alphabetical order irrespective of country, rather than grouped geographically. The book is well illustrated, mostly from the author’s own collection.

There is a distinct sense of recycling material from previous books, but Underwood always writes well and seems to have known a lot of interesting people, often of an elevated social class, with a huge fund of anecdotes between them. The text is more detailed than is sometimes the case in books of this type, and the whole is attractively packaged by Amberley, making Hunted Gardens a pleasure to read. It is well worth having to hand if you intend to visit, as Underwood is knowledgeable and enthusiastic, and his book will inform you about a place as much as about the ghosts that walk there.