220 – Ghost Hunting Before the Victorians with Tim Prasil – Big Seance

Sep 18, 2022 | 0 comments


Did the Victorians invent ghost hunting? Tim Prasil, author of Certain Nocturnal Disturbances: Ghost Hunting Before the Victorians and the familiar voice of Spectral Edition segments, returns to the Big Seance with the answer! Plus nocturnal surveillance, the legendary story of Athenodorus, centuries of rattling chains, Hinton Ampner, and the purposeless ghost! 




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In this episode:

Episode Teaser :00

Intro :50

Tim Prasil writes ghostly mysteries; he anthologizes quirky, mostly 19th-century fiction, and explores historical ghostlore. He’s also been known to scribble a limerick. Once upon a time, he had a career in radio broadcasting that took him from announcing to copywriting — and from Illinois to Mississippi, back to Illinois, to Wisconsin, and finally to South Carolina. He then moved to Boston and earned an M.A. in English, taught in upstate New York, and moved to Milwaukee to earn a Ph.D. in English. After thirty years of teaching at the university level in Wisconsin and Oklahoma, he’s now focusing on his books. Some of those titles include Help for the Haunted: A Decade of Vera Van Slyke Mysteries (from 1899-1909), The Victorian Ghost Hunter’s CasebookEntranced by Eyes of Evil: Tales of Mesmerism and Mystery, and The Lost Limericks of Edgar Allan Poe. 1:26

Did the Victorians invent Ghost Hunting? Spoiler Alert! No they didn’t. What led up to Tim writing Certain Nocturnal Disturbances: Ghost Hunting Before the Victorians4:19

Nocturnal surveillance and the legendary story of Athenodorus. 10:41

The trend of ghosts with rattling chains. “I’m hoping that some of my readers are ghost hunters, and maybe they’re a member of an investigation team, and they see that that tradition goes back to the 1500s and they say, ‘That’s cool! I am part of this very long legacy.’” 16:55

The legend of Antoinette Deshoulieres 19:17

Joseph Glanvill, the Drummer of Tedworth, and other historical ghost hunts. Plus the practice of interviewing witnesses. 23:18

“One thing I’ve learned about history is that it’s often a mistake to ask, ‘What did people believe back then?’ The better question is, ‘What did people disagree about back then?’” 28:53

What will the future say about our ways of ghost hunting and researching the paranormal? 30:24

Hinton Ampner and the Purposeless Ghost 32:00

Tim and superstitions 37:18

What time in history would Tim like to go back to? And who would he be? 39:05

Tim’s experiences with a theatre ghost! 40:21

Ghost hunting was very leisurely in the Victorian period. You let the ghosts come to you. 42:19

Tim Prasil’s most treasured possession 44:28

The tradition of sharing ghost stories by a fire and Tim’s Tales Told When the Windows Rattle YouTube series 47:44

More on Tim’s Spectral Edition segments. 51:29

A special THANK YOU to Patreon supporters at the Super Paranerd and Parlor Guest level! 53:10

Outro 55:48

Easter egg 57:05


Tim's Previous Interviews and Spectral Edition Segments

Episode 111 – Interview on the book, Spectral Edition: Ghost Reports from U.S. Newspapers, 1865-1917

Episode 22 – Tim's first appearance and interview on the book, Help for the Haunted: A Decade of Vera Van Slyke Ghostly Mysteries (1899-1909) 

Tim's Spectral Edition segments: Episodes 47 thru 95 and episodes 198 and 200.


For more on Tim Prasil


Tim's Books on Amazon

Facebook: @BromBonesBooks

Twitter: @TimPrasil


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The Big Seance Podcast can be found right here, on Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsPandoraSpotifyTuneIn RadioStitcherAmazon Music, and iHeart Radio. Please subscribe and share with a fellow paranerd! Do you have any comments or feedback? Please contact me at Patrick@BigSeance.com. Consider recording your voice feedback directly from your device on my SpeakPipe page! You can also call the show and leave feedback at (775) 583-5563 (or 7755-TELL-ME). I would love to include your voice feedback in a future show. The candles are already lit, so come on in and join the séance!