Ghosts I have Nearly Seen

A Natural History of Ghosts tells of my attempts since childhood to see a ghost: a full-fat apparition rather than simply noises and feelings. I still have not seen one. Rather than do the usual talk about Christmas and ghost-stories I thought – why don’t I talk about my most personal experiences of the supernatural and uncanny? It was touched on at the beginning of the NHOG, but not really followed up since I didn’t want to skew the believing/sceptical balance of the book. In truth I have had alarming Ouija-board experiences in Oxford Colleges and the house of the former dictator of Cuba, have experienced JOTTS, have witnessed friends plagued one Christmas at the residence of a famous Screaming Skull, been subject to hypnopompic hallucinations for decades while on the verge of slumber (and subsequently had to attend an NHS Sleep Clinic earlier this year).

How does one navigate the subject when you heart believes, and your head does not? This is the story of my close-shaves with the ghostly.

Roger Clarke lives in Shoreditch, London. A published poet, librettist and short-story writer, he paid the bills as a literary critic on the Sunday Times and wrote three film columns a week for The Independent Newspaper. A Natural History of Ghosts has been translated in many languages including Japanese and Korean.

Your host for this event will be the writer Edward Parnell, author of ‘Ghostland: In Search of a Haunted Country’. Edward Parnell lives in Norfolk and has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. He is the recipient of an Escalator Award from the National Centre for Writing and a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship. Ghostland (William Collins, 2019), a work of narrative non-fiction, is a moving exploration of what has haunted our writers and artists – as well as the author’s own haunted past; it was shortlisted for the PEN Ackerley 2020 prize, an award given to a literary autobiography of excellence. Edward’s first novel The Listeners (2014), won the Rethink New Novels Prize. For further info see: