Spectres of the Self: Thinking about Ghosts and Ghost-seeing in England, 1750-1920 (Cambridge University Press, 2010)
Spectres of the Self is a study of the rich cultures surrounding the experience of seeing ghosts in England from the Reformation to the twentieth century. By analysing a broad range of themes from telepathy and ghost-hunting to the notion of dreaming while awake and the question of why ghosts wore clothes, it reveals the sheer variety of ideas of ghost seeing in English society and culture. It shows how the issue of ghosts remained dynamic despite the advance of science and secularism and argues that the ghost ultimately represented a spectre of the self, a symbol of the psychological hauntedness of modern experience.
"as in all good cultural histories, Spectres of the Self draws a rich web of connections, provides subtle insights, and reveals the degree of complexity which lies behind the simple questions" (English Historical Review)
"The historical research presented in the book details the works, debates, and criticisms of the SPR and will not only interest the informed readership, but also a more general one. [This book] presents enthralling and laborious scholarship. But more importantly, it will inspire future researchers to work on this previously unmapped terrain of the supernatural" (Canadian Journal of History)
Spiritualism, Mesmerism, and the Occult, 1800-1920 (Pickering & Chatto, 2012)
This 5-volume edited collection provides primary source material for scholars seeking insight into the dark areas between Victorian science, medicine and religion. The volumes contain rare reset source material and are organized thematically. The volumes cover: Apparitions, Spectral Illusions, and Hallucinations; Mesmerism and Hypnotism; Spiritualism and Mediumship; Telepathy and the Society for Psychical Research; Dreaming and Dissociation.
"McCorristine surprises and delights with his sources [and] avoids the predictable...McCorristine has succeeded in creating an edition that is a significant and masterful addition to the history of science, magic, and medicine...This is no mere hodge-podge of the weird and wonderful but rather a carefully considered and deft contextual analysis of crucial psychological explorations in western European and North American intellectual history" (Preternature: Critical and Historical Studies on the Preternatural)
William Corder and the Red Barn Murder: Journeys of the Criminal Body (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014)
On 18 May 1827 the Suffolk farmer William Corder killed and buried his lover Maria Martin in the Red Barn at Polstead. The discovery of this murder the following year set off a feeding-frenzy in which Corder became one of the most notorious villains in British history. This study maps out the remarkable journeys of William Corder's body from dismemberment to remembrance. It asks, what happens to the power of criminals once they have been declared 'dead' and punished?
"an excellent chronicle of the Red Barn Murder...[the book] creates a springboard for further critique and consideration of the power and value of the criminal corpse. McCorristine’s ‘dangerous dead’ are poised to be a catalyst for debate and further much needed research into culture, death, cadavers, fame and criminality" (Mortality)
The Spectral Arctic: A History of Dreams and Ghosts in Polar Exploration
The narratives of Arctic exploration that we are all familiar with today are just the tip of the iceberg: they disguise a great mass of mysterious and dimly-lit stories beneath the surface. In contrast to oft-told tales of heroism and disaster, this book reveals the hidden stories of dreaming and haunted explorers, of frozen mummies, of rescue balloons, visits to Inuit shamans, and of the entranced female clairvoyants who travelled to the Arctic in search of John Franklin’s lost expedition. Through new readings of archival documents, exploration narratives, and fictional texts, these spectral stories reflect the complex ways that men and women actually thought about the far North in the past. This revisionist historical account allows us to make sense of current cultural and political concerns in the Canadian Arctic about the location of Franklin’s ships.