The spectral map Dickey creates is as broad and packed as his book’s title implies ... interweaves a series of perceptive insights on architecture and human psychology, technology and ghost hunts, not to mention haunting as social control ... Ghostland amounts to a lively assemblage and smart analysis of dozens of haunting stories ... Dickey achieves a capacious geographical synthesis that is both intellectually intriguing and politically instructive.
This spiritualization of corporeal feelings is the idea at the heart of Ghostland, a book that repeats this thesis over and over again, but does so in such creative and even ingenious ways that the reader pays no mind to that lingering echo in the basement ... Part of the special delight of Ghostland is its many informed asides, revealing Dickey’s long hours of spading up obscure facts and quotes.
...[a] sly, entertaining compendium of American haunting ... Each chapter is part tale, part analysis. The stories are good — chains rattle, eerie lights pass by — but often Dickey seems more fascinated than actually spooked ... Instead, what makes the book rich is the way that Dickey consistently narrates a pleasantly chilling tale — of a spurned love, of a series of mysterious deaths, of an unhappy soul left with unfinished work — then reads what lies behind the ghost story. It’s as if he’s lifting the veil to show how one horror stands in for another ... Dickey is a wise tour guide to the kitsch and also an astute interpreter of the compelling American medium of haunting.