Alex Shearer on Ghosts, with Giveaway!

Ministry of Ghosts author, Alex Shearer, writes about ghosts. Check it out below!


Ghosts.

What would you like to know about them?

Maybe the first question most people ask is, Do they exist? And the second one is, If they do exist, then are they friendly?

As far as the first question goes, the jury is still—and probably always will be—out. The matter is undecided and possibly unprovable, one way or the other.

Some people swear they have seen them. Others say ghosts are all in the mind and eye of the beholder. Some people say they have them living in the loft, or in the cellar, or in the washing machine, or under the bed. Others say that ghost spotters have over active imaginations.

Some people claim to track ghosts down for a living and then try to get rid of them for you—a bit along the lines of vermin control.

If you think you have a ghost stomping about the bedroom and keeping you awake at night, then there are plenty of spiritualists and psychics who (for a small—or maybe not so small—fee) will come round to your house with bell, book, candle and prayers, and who will have that ghost evicted in no time. Or so they say.

But maybe that ghost bumping in the night, and that strange wailing sound, are all in your mind and your ears. Maybe it’s all down to that cheese you ate, or to that scary film you watched.  Perhaps you have too vivid an imagination. Maybe all apparently ghostly activity has its roots in the human mind. For, quite often, the question is not, Have you ever seen a ghost? The question is, Do you believe in them? And plenty of people believe in things they have never seen. And why not? No one has seen dark matter, yet scientists believe it to be there. No one has been inside a black hole, but does that mean there aren’t any?

So do ghosts exist or don’t they?

Well, wouldn’t we like to know for sure?—but maybe, we never will.

Yet say they do exist.  Then what are they like?

If horror movies are anything to go by, they aren’t very nice. They come after you in the small hours of the night. They scare the life out of you.  They move the furniture around. They smash up the plates. They turn your hair white. They give you heart attacks. They drive you mad. They haunt your home and they haunt your dreams. They smell something terrible—like a mixture of dry rot and sewage.

Only why should they be so awful? Most people are friendly when alive, so why should they be any different when they are ghosts? Why shouldn’t ghosts be warm and kindly, with a twinkle in their eye and good intentions and with everyone’s best interests at heart?

Is it because only the bad come back as ghosts? Well, that doesn’t sound too likely. It could equally as well be the good. Certainly, the unhappy and unfulfilled and those seeking revenge might return to the world of the living to settle old scores. But then those who had happy lives and many friends might also wish to remain on earth, if only to remind themselves of the good times they had and to be close to the fond memories.

So maybe ghosts—if they exist—are more friendly than wicked. Maybe they make good company, good pets even; maybe every home should have one.

Perhaps someone should make a serious effort to investigate all this. The government could set up an institution to look into the matter and to get to the bottom of things—put it all on an official basis.

Yes, a kind of Ministry of Ghosts, maybe. That might do it. That might settle the perplexing questions, for once and for all.

With a little luck, and some help from two school kids.


The Ministry of Ghosts by Alex Shearer

Ministry of Ghosts_cover

When they ring the bell at the house with the dusty windows and tarnished nameplate to inquire about the advertised “Saturday Person,” Thruppence and Tim don’t know what they’re getting themselves into. A Saturday job sounds ideal! But had that nameplate been properly cleaned, Thruppence and Tim might not have been so keen to enter . . .

Pressured by the stern Minister Beeston from the Department of Economies, the Ministry of Ghosts has been given three months to prove the existence or nonexistence of ghosts, or else it will be shut down! As it seems that children are particularly magnetic to ghosts and supernatural beings, Thruppence and Tim are hired to join the ministry’s ghost-catching team. And although neither of them is scared by talk of ghosts or monsters, they are unprepared for what they’re about discover!

Filled with fun, humor, and twists and turns, this is the perfect book for anyone who loved Harry Potter and who is looking for something similar to Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book—just not quite as scary.

Alex Shearer was born in Wick, in the far north of Scotland. His father was a blacksmith and his mother was a secretary. He enjoyed writing from an early age and sold his first television script about thirty years ago. He went on to write several TV series, stage plays, radio plays, and comedy scripts. Moving into writing for children, his novels Bootleg and The Greatest Store in the World were adapted for television by the BBC, and his 2003 novel The Speed of Dark was short-listed for the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize. He lives in Somerset, England.

 


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2 Comments

  1. This sounds like such a fantastic book! As a kid, I was a huge fan of creepy ghost stories. Add humor into the mix, and the premise is just terrific. Not to mention that I would have probably been won over by the cover alone. Looks like such a fun, creepy book!

    1. Forgot to add: my favorite ghost story is the legend of Bloody Mary. I’m not sure if I ever managed to say her name the third time.

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