Type in “paranormal” in the search box at Amazon.com, or visit the rapidly expanding section at Barnes and Noble, and it will be clear there is no shortage of paranormal style literature to choose from. Ghosts, UFOs, Bigfoot, 2012, and general New Agey spirituality is all over the place.
Of course, some of it is trite, and some of it profound. Separating the wheat from the chaff is tricky, especially if you’re not familiar with the subject yourself. Especially too, if you’re looking for a special gift-something that will not be just read and tossed aside, but treasured by the recipient.
I have a few suggestions for some very high quality, gift and presentation quality books for people who love the paranormal, and esoteric subjects. Whether the interest is ghosts and spiritualism, spellcraft, or general esotericism, all of these gift quality books are a step above the rest. Below are my suggestions.
The Perfect Medium: Photography and the Occult
Clement Cheroux, et. al., Yale University Press, 2005
The Perfect Medium, is a perfect gift! This book is of exceptional quality, both in physicality, and content. It’s essentially a coffee table/art book, with high quality photographs, that are all contained in this one large volume-it is possibly the largest compilation of published spirit photography from its golden age, the Victorian and Edwardian eras.
Anyone who loves ghosts, vintage photography, spiritualism, and insightful commentary by scholars is simply going to love this must-have book.
The Secret Teachings of all Ages
Manly P. Hall, Philosophical Research Society, 1974
The review from Llewellyn publishers that I found on its Amazon listing says it all: “Simply put, this is the most beautiful and complete occult book ever published. It represents a lifetime of research into the mythology, symbolism, and magical practices of countless cultures.”
This is a very comprehensive text, with beautiful illustrations. The subtitle gives you a taste of the contents: An Encyclopedic Outline of Masonic, Hermetic, Qabbalistic & Rosicrucian Symbolical Philosophy. Encyclopedic, indeed! This is a perfect gift book for anyone interested in esoteric and occult philosophy and history.
A note about this title: there are several editions. This particular one contains all the original illustrations. Make sure, if ordering another edition, that there is a note signifying the illustrations are present. A new edition is going to be published in July 2009.
The Good Spell Book
Gillian Kemp, Little Brown & co. pub., 1999
As I was flipping through this book several years ago, I noted what a perfect little gift it would make for anyone that loves spells, obscure folklore, or Romany (gypsy) fortune-telling and witchcraft. The spells are simple, commonsensical, and timeless.
The book itself is lovely, with plain red boards and a gilt title on a purposefully torn background. There’s a faux antiquarian feel; the pages have an age worn look, and vintage photographs and minimalist style collage are artfully woven throughout.
Again, the inclusive subtitle gives a good idea of the contents: Love Charms, Magical Cures, and Other Practical Sorcery. The author, Gillian Kemp, has several other, similarly styled and topical books as well.