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Synopsis

In this remarkable true story, the haunting of a Long Island household forces a respected writer and editor to reevaluate the mysteries of life and death as he struggles with the frightening truths of his childhood home and his town's past.

Growing up in Rockville Center, Long Island, Gary Jansen never believed in ghosts. His mother-a devoutly Catholic woman with a keen sense for the uncanny-claimed that their family house was haunted. But Jansen never found anything inexplicable in how their doorbell would sometimes ring of its own accord; or in the mysterious sounds of footsteps or breaking glass that occasionally would fill their home; or even in his mother's sometimes unsettlingly accurate visions of future events and tragedies. Though he once experienced a supernatural encounter in a Prague church as a young man, Jansen grew up into a rationalist, as well as a noted writer and editor.

Decades later, in 2001, Jansen moved back into the very same house where he had once grown up to raise a family with his wife. One day in 2007, he encountered a strange physical sensation in his toddler son's bedroom:

As I reached into his dresser drawer, I felt something very strange behind me. Startled, I quickly turned around, but there was nothing there. I shrugged it off, grabbed the socks and, as I was walking to the doorway, experienced an odd phenomenon-sort of like an electrical hand rubbing the length of my back. I stopped and stood transfixed. "What the hell is that?" I said to myself. The pressure then seemed to break apart and, for a brief moment, I felt like I had a million little bugs crawling all over my back. Within seconds, however, the sensation was gone.

This became the first step in uncovering a frightening, fullblown haunting in his home-a phenomenon that lasted an entire year and eventually included unveiling the identities of the spirits who occupied his house; discovering the chilling story of a century-old murder in his hometown; encountering mind-boggling coincidences between local history and events in his own family; and finally engaging in a climactic exorcism with the help of Mary Ann Winkowski, the real-life inspiration for TV's The Ghost Whisperer. The events of that year-in which Jansen's family was terrified of and terrorized by ghosts in their own home-forever changed how he viewed the mysteries of life and death.

Holy Ghosts is not only a gripping true-life ghost story but a funny and touching memoir, as well as a meditation on the relationship between religion and the paranormal, which are often considered at odds with each other but which the author shows are intimately linked.

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