Giving up the Ghost

Eric Nuzum

The story behind this book is a bit more interesting that its execution. In his adolescence, Eric Nuzum was haunted by a recurring dream of a girl in a blue dress screaming at him in gibberish, which lead him to numb himself with various substances and fear what may be lurking behind closed doors. Another girl, Laura, in his waking life was crucial in him managing to overcome this downward spiral. But she died tragically, leaving him with a slightly more tangible ghost to contend with. Twenty years later, he revisits these events and physically visits some of the most haunted sites in the US to try to determine if ghosts really exist.

It’s unclear if his only problem was the scary girl in his dreams (though the intensity of the dream does seem pretty overwhelming); Nuzum suggests that part of it was also a general inability to “fit in,” but the connection doesn’t fully come together. The present day visits to haunted sites are distracting to the narrative concerning Laura, whose mysterious character he captures persuasively. The haunted site visits also don’t give much of a sense of closure — though it seems to have been helpful to him in terms of encouraging him to face his “real ghosts.” Overall the tone of the writing feels overly loose and casual, You may sense that there is still a door Nuzum is reluctant to open.