I received a free digital ARC from Llewellyn via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I might even be willing to go two and a half stars for this one, but honestly I am not sure.
I was really intrigued when I saw this up on NetGalley today. I read the author's initial account back in 2017. You can find that review here...
I am a big believer in the paranormal, and have had countless experiences of my own that I will gladly recount when asked (and have even done extensive blog posts about). But I also insist on science to back up these events whenever possible. And some things are simply not able to be explained, I get that too.
At least for me in this case, it was not the events themselves being too outlandish, but the actual writing. I felt like this round was so much more sensationalistic than the first book. It was not only chapter endings, but paragraphs ending in such clickbait-y statements in the vein of...
"but nothing prepared us for what came next"
"what happened next was even more shocking"
And these statements often occurred more than once in a single chapter. A good run through an editor again would clear that up, and make the book cleaner and tighter. The stories and incidents themselves become almost harder to believe when accompanied by this kind of writing. And believe me, there were things that happened that even had me thinking, "No way, not a chance."
The thing that keeps from saying that this is exaggerated or fictionalized in any way is the fact that the author and his wife are paranormal investigators. They already know how maligned the field often is, so why would they do anything to damage their reputations, or make up such outlandish claims as these?
The story of this doll is one we are never going to fully know. Anyone connected to him has long since passed, as far as the author knows. The girl who owned him at one time had been a twin, but her brother was stillborn or died at birth. A few years later, that same little girl lost her mother and her home in a terrible fire. She and Norman, then know as Matty, were the only survivors. The doll was named Matty because he was the Mattel mascot, along with his sister Belle. The doll is creepy AF and you can find them for sale on eBay. Have at it if creepy dolls are your thing, Eleanor and I will never be coming to visit if that's the case.
Norman is not the only haunted/possessed doll, but it certainly one of the creepiest. Whether it is the angry spirit of someone who never got to live, or a demonic entity, I am glad that the author took the steps he did in the end to protect himself and his family. I won't say what those steps are, you will have to discover that for yourself. Lord help anyone who might rediscover Norman one day.
Recommended for those with interest in the paranormal, though it would help to read the first book before giving this one a try.