Ghostly Encounters

The Hauntings of Everyday Life

Dennis Waskul with Michele Waskul
Book Cover

PB: $25.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1289-8
Publication: Jun 16

HC: $59.50
EAN: 978-1-4399-1288-1
Publication: Jun 16

Ebook: $25.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1290-4
Publication: Jun 16

184 pages
5.5 x 8.25
17 halftones

How people experience ghosts and hauntings, the ways they make sense of uncanny experiences, and the consequences thereof

Read an excerpt from Chapter 1 (pdf).


In the top corner of the window a pale, milky-white wisp is rising almost to the top of our ten-foot ceiling…. I am startled but not afraid…. Mostly, I am engrossed; I have never seen anything like this before (or since) and it fascinates me.”

Dennis Waskul writes these lines—about his first-hand experience with the supernatural—in the introduction to his beguiling book Ghostly Encounters. Based on two years of fieldwork and interviews with 71 midwestern Americans, the Waskuls’ book is a reflexive ethnography that examines how people experience ghosts and hauntings in everyday life. The authors explore how uncanny happenings become ghosts, and the reasons people struggle with or against a will to believe. They present the variety and character of hauntings and ghostly encounters, outcomes of people telling haunted legends, and the nested consequences of ghostly experiences.

Through these stories, Ghostly Encounters seeks to understand the persistence of uncanny experiences and beliefs in ghosts in an age of reason, science, education, and technology—as well as how those beliefs and experiences both reflect and serve important social and cultural functions.

Table of Contents



1. The Trouble with Ghosts
2. Ghostly Reason
3. Ghostly Topology
4. Ghostly Legends
5. Ghostly Speculations

Appendix: Methods and Data

About the Author(s)

Dennis Waskul is a Professor of Sociology and Distinguished Faculty Scholar at Minnesota State University, Mankato, and former president of the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction. He has authored, co-authored, or edited a variety of books, including Body/Embodiment (with Phillip Vannini), The Senses in Self, Society, and Culture (with Phillip Vannini and Simon Gottschalk), and Popular Culture as Everyday Life (edited with Phillip Vannini).

Michele Waskul is an independent scholar with a focus on special education.