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The In-Betweens: The Spiritualists, Mediums, and Legends of Camp Etna

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They believed they would live forever. So begins Mira Ptacin’s haunting account of the women of Camp Etna—an otherworldly community in the woods of Maine that has, since 1876, played host to generations of Spiritualists and mediums dedicated to preserving the links between the mortal realm and the afterlife. Beginning her narrative in 1848 with two sisters who claimed they They believed they would live forever. So begins Mira Ptacin’s haunting account of the women of Camp Etna—an otherworldly community in the woods of Maine that has, since 1876, played host to generations of Spiritualists and mediums dedicated to preserving the links between the mortal realm and the afterlife. Beginning her narrative in 1848 with two sisters who claimed they could speak to the dead, Ptacin reveals how Spiritualism first blossomed into a national practice during the Civil War, yet continues—even thrives—to this very day. Immersing herself in this community and its practices—from ghost hunting to releasing trapped spirits to water witching— Ptacin sheds new light on our ongoing struggle with faith, uncertainty, and mortality. Blending memoir, ethnography, and investigative reportage, The In-Betweens offers a vital portrait of Camp Etna and its enduring hold on a modern culture that remains as starved for a deeper sense of connection and otherworldliness as ever.


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They believed they would live forever. So begins Mira Ptacin’s haunting account of the women of Camp Etna—an otherworldly community in the woods of Maine that has, since 1876, played host to generations of Spiritualists and mediums dedicated to preserving the links between the mortal realm and the afterlife. Beginning her narrative in 1848 with two sisters who claimed they They believed they would live forever. So begins Mira Ptacin’s haunting account of the women of Camp Etna—an otherworldly community in the woods of Maine that has, since 1876, played host to generations of Spiritualists and mediums dedicated to preserving the links between the mortal realm and the afterlife. Beginning her narrative in 1848 with two sisters who claimed they could speak to the dead, Ptacin reveals how Spiritualism first blossomed into a national practice during the Civil War, yet continues—even thrives—to this very day. Immersing herself in this community and its practices—from ghost hunting to releasing trapped spirits to water witching— Ptacin sheds new light on our ongoing struggle with faith, uncertainty, and mortality. Blending memoir, ethnography, and investigative reportage, The In-Betweens offers a vital portrait of Camp Etna and its enduring hold on a modern culture that remains as starved for a deeper sense of connection and otherworldliness as ever.

30 review for The In-Betweens: The Spiritualists, Mediums, and Legends of Camp Etna

  1. 5 out of 5

    Deedi (DeediReads) Brown

    All my reviews live at https://deedispeaking.com/reads/. Rating: 4.25/5 First, I must extend a huge thank-you to Mira Ptacin and Liveright for sending me an advanced reading copy of this book. It will be published October 29, 2019 (and you should preorder it — visual evidence on Instagram shows that the cover is going to GLOW IN THE DARK, Y’ALL). The In-Betweens is a fascinating, journalistic look into a world that quietly exists right under all of our noses (or, at least, that’s true for me). To All my reviews live at https://deedispeaking.com/reads/. Rating: 4.25/5 First, I must extend a huge thank-you to Mira Ptacin and Liveright for sending me an advanced reading copy of this book. It will be published October 29, 2019 (and you should preorder it — visual evidence on Instagram shows that the cover is going to GLOW IN THE DARK, Y’ALL). The In-Betweens is a fascinating, journalistic look into a world that quietly exists right under all of our noses (or, at least, that’s true for me). To write the book, Ptacin spent a summer visiting Camp Etna, a place in the heart of Maine that’s pivotal to the history of Spiritualism — a fully legitimate religion that believes, primarily, that our spirits exist after death and that we can continue to communicate with them. A few decades ago, Camp Etna swelled with unbelievable numbers of visitors every summer. Today, we’re in the ebb of the religion’s ebb and flow, and not many people practice or even know about Spiritualism. Through Ptacin’s eyes, we get to meet many of the people who run and / or live at Camp Etna: mediums, psychics, those who belong to a Spiritualist church, those who do not. She does an amazing job of giving us the information that makes them human, individual, interesting, knowable. There is an incredibly old woman who hates seemingly everyone and everything, and yet she’s incredibly endearing (and hilariously sweary-mouthed). There is a small, energetic woman who has taken it upon herself to chronicle the camp’s history through artifact recovery. There’s a woman and her husband who specialize in helping spirits pass on after death, and they take Ptacin under their wing, warmly walking her through their world without judgment or question. And it goes on. We also get interludes into the surprisingly rich American history of Spiritualism, from the suffragists to Harry Houdini to the present day. This is, I think, the most surprising part — there was a time when Spiritualism raged in the United States, with politics and court cases and celebrity. A time, not that long ago, when Spiritualism wasn’t unknown. Throughout the book, Ptacin narrates though a set of clear, unbiased eyes, even as she gives us sight lines into her own feelings and experiences. She doesn’t approach it as a believer or as a skeptic; she is simply a kind and interested asker of questions, trier of new things, a person in the world. A willing participant with an open mind and an eye for detail. I myself am probably less open-minded than I would like to think I am. So on the one hand, my brain is telling me that mediumship cannot possibly be real. But also … why not? Truly, if all things are energy, and energy cannot be destroyed (#science), then why must it be impossible to communicate after death? Are we so vain to believe that we have discovered all the ~science~ there is to discover about ourselves and about how the universe works and about death itself? Now, knowing that there’s such a rich history and close-knit community centered on this possibility, I find myself slightly more open to the possibilities. I think I’m going to be pondering this one a lot in the weeks to come. (And isn’t that why we read books?)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Katie Devine

    I was riveted from the first page of this book until the very last word--by the fascinating Spiritualists of Camp Etna, by Mira Ptacin's intimate and compelling prose, by the seamless way she weaves her own stories into this exploration into the history and community of Camp Etna. Her capacity for empathy for all of the characters she captures on the page is astonishing and she brings into the light a religion often shrouded in fear and disbelief. This book seeks to open eyes and minds and I was riveted from the first page of this book until the very last word--by the fascinating Spiritualists of Camp Etna, by Mira Ptacin's intimate and compelling prose, by the seamless way she weaves her own stories into this exploration into the history and community of Camp Etna. Her capacity for empathy for all of the characters she captures on the page is astonishing and she brings into the light a religion often shrouded in fear and disbelief. This book seeks to open eyes and minds and hearts, and succeeds beyond measure.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay Sproul

    I LOVE THIS BOOK!!!!! The subject matter is utterly fascinating, but what I find especially strong about this novel is the way it blends the author’s experiences with those of the women at Camp Etna. Ptacin’s experiences with these women gave me as a reader a way into their lives along with her. I absolutely love the way it reads both as a memoir and as a piece of literary journalism. Not only that, but the legends of Camp Etna themselves are soooo interesting. I found the characters to be full, I LOVE THIS BOOK!!!!! The subject matter is utterly fascinating, but what I find especially strong about this novel is the way it blends the author’s experiences with those of the women at Camp Etna. Ptacin’s experiences with these women gave me as a reader a way into their lives along with her. I absolutely love the way it reads both as a memoir and as a piece of literary journalism. Not only that, but the legends of Camp Etna themselves are soooo interesting. I found the characters to be full, multidimensional and relatable. Ditto with the setting. I felt like I was pulled along into Ptacin’s journey and also immersed in a piece of American history that I’m so glad found its way into a book. And it’s feminist AF!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jenn

    I won a copy of this book. This book was really cool! I didn't know there is a whole camp in Maine for Spiritualists. Mira Ptacin does an awesome job of making me feel like I'm there with her - touring the camp and talking to the people who call it home. The history is interesting and kept me reading till the end. Side note: Growing up, my mom would read tarot cards and rune stones for my friends and I. It was always fun for us, as we all attended a Christian school. Whilst at Girl Scout camp one I won a copy of this book. This book was really cool! I didn't know there is a whole camp in Maine for Spiritualists. Mira Ptacin does an awesome job of making me feel like I'm there with her - touring the camp and talking to the people who call it home. The history is interesting and kept me reading till the end. Side note: Growing up, my mom would read tarot cards and rune stones for my friends and I. It was always fun for us, as we all attended a Christian school. Whilst at Girl Scout camp one time, some girls from another school had a Ouija board and a bunch of my friends were scared of it. That was about my experience with Spiritualism.

  5. 5 out of 5

    D

    I was fortunate to receive an Advance Reading Copy of this volume through goodreads.com. The topics discussed were totally new to me and proved quite fascinating. The author, Mira Ptacin, did an excellent job providing an historic overview of Spiritualism in general as well as detailing her research experiences at Camp Etna in Maine. XOXOXOs to Mira for presenting information about a little known spiritualist enclave that still exists:)

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jacqueline Denis

    I found it interesting to read a non fiction book after reading a bunch of fiction books. This author took a look at Camp Etna, a spiritual community that started in the early 1900s in Maine. I enjoyed all the historical data about the churches, the town, and the people involved in this spirituality movement. It was interesting to note how presidential wives, politicians and others in the USA capital were into psychics and mediums. Houdini became a historical figure during the spiritual movement I found it interesting to read a non fiction book after reading a bunch of fiction books. This author took a look at Camp Etna, a spiritual community that started in the early 1900s in Maine. I enjoyed all the historical data about the churches, the town, and the people involved in this spirituality movement. It was interesting to note how presidential wives, politicians and others in the USA capital were into psychics and mediums. Houdini became a historical figure during the spiritual movement too. In fact it was interesting to note he was a proselytizer for the new Mother’s Day holiday that was established in 1914. This book was written in the form of interviews that took place over many different visits at camp Etna. At times there was too much information about each person that was interviewed. What I also enjoyed were the questions the author left us with. #1 what if power really was gained by loosening up our beliefs? #2 what if wisdom was attained not by knowing but by being able to sit with the unknown? I found each chapter interesting in its historical data and I learned something from each chapter. I even learned what type of medium I was and how my own set of gifts and abilities are different than others. This book left me with the understanding that: “Some of us seek out cultures that are like-minded to find what is missing. This can be a lifelong search. But that’s what we are all searching for; our own tribe”

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Opinions are my own. This book tells the story of the religion of Spirituality in America, and specifically focuses on Camp Etna, a camp in central Maine that was one of many that apparently flourished across the country in Spiritualism’s heyday of the late 19th/early 20th centuries. The camp still exists today, and the narrative is interspersed with Ptacin’s experiences visiting there for research, where she met many of the I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Opinions are my own. This book tells the story of the religion of Spirituality in America, and specifically focuses on Camp Etna, a camp in central Maine that was one of many that apparently flourished across the country in Spiritualism’s heyday of the late 19th/early 20th centuries. The camp still exists today, and the narrative is interspersed with Ptacin’s experiences visiting there for research, where she met many of the people who live there in-season: Spiritualists, mediums, psychics, and those adjacent to some or all of these. I grew up in Maine and was really excited to read this book. The descriptions of the Maine coast and woods brought me home to a familiar place, which I loved. The blurb made it sound like this place was kind of a feminist utopia, and having heard stories from some of my elders back home of the communes they lived on during the back-to-the-land movement, and having farmed in Maine myself for nearly a decade, I think I was searching for something specific that isn’t this story. I should’ve known from the start that this was going to be a very white narrative. Maine is a super white state and mainstream feminism is *still*, in the year of 2019, very white, cis, and straight. The more I read this book, the more it became clear that the religion of Spiritualism is white too, its feminism is white, and some of its practices blatantly appropriate Indigenous spirituality. There are Indigenous people involved in Camp Etna, but the place caters to white people. There was also a tiny mention of prominent Spiritualists lecturing to the KKK, and then that was never mentioned again. Like, what?! My issues with this book have more to do with the story being told than the writing. Ptacin effectively wove in some of her personal experience, specifically the death of her young brother; her skepticism of faith; and her personal journey of expanding her thinking as a result of this research and experience at Camp Etna. She also recounted some truly wild stories from history, the most interesting of which was about Harry Houdini’s crusade against Spiritualism (lol). But in the end I found I would rather have read an Own Voices book about Wabanaki culture in Maine and the spirituality in cultures indigenous to this land. I also found some of the descriptions of people problematic- like describing Indigenous children as ‘tougher-looking’ than white kids and things like ‘pearl-white skin’ to describe some of the white women. Overall this was interesting and very well researched, but I’m left wanting something different.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Cobb Sabatini

    I won an Advance Reading Copy of The In-Betweens: The Spiritualists, Mediums, and Legends of Camp Etna by Mira Ptacin from Goodreads. In her book, The In-Betweens: The Spiritualists, Mediums,and Legends of Camp Etna, Mira Ptacin presents the history of Spiritualism and Camp Etna through the stories of the people who, in the past as well as the present, practice the faith in its many forms. The individuals Ptacin interviews at Camp Etna are as diverse as any population, and their stories are I won an Advance Reading Copy of The In-Betweens: The Spiritualists, Mediums, and Legends of Camp Etna by Mira Ptacin from Goodreads. In her book, The In-Betweens: The Spiritualists, Mediums,and Legends of Camp Etna, Mira Ptacin presents the history of Spiritualism and Camp Etna through the stories of the people who, in the past as well as the present, practice the faith in its many forms. The individuals Ptacin interviews at Camp Etna are as diverse as any population, and their stories are interesting. While there are several photographs scattered throughout the book, readers develop a better understanding and are able to envision the camp through the author's descriptions. The In-Betweens is a wonderful resource for true believers and a worthy informative history for the doubters. Ptacin's book will inspire readers to reflect on their believe and to respect those who choose a different path.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    I received an ARC from the publisher; this did not influence my review. Three and a half stars. I live less than two and a half hours from Camp Etna and had never heard of the community or the religion of Spiritualism before this book. Ptacin alternates between explaining the tenets of the religion, discussing the history, and sharing her encounters with current Spiritualists. I found her experiences at camp and with current Spiritualists immersive and fascinating. Ptacin engages in such I received an ARC from the publisher; this did not influence my review. Three and a half stars. I live less than two and a half hours from Camp Etna and had never heard of the community or the religion of Spiritualism before this book. Ptacin alternates between explaining the tenets of the religion, discussing the history, and sharing her encounters with current Spiritualists. I found her experiences at camp and with current Spiritualists immersive and fascinating. Ptacin engages in such activities as table tipping, aura reading, mediumship, ghost "hunting," and dowsing, and maintains an openness and willingness to engage that is refreshing. While the history of the religion, and its critics/opponents through the years, are certainly pertinent and valuable to the overall story, I wish that these sections had been pared down in favor of more current encounters. For example, there are classes offered in mediumship and it would have been fascinating to read about Ptacin's experiences with more classes as a participant rather than as a journalist (while she participated as a client, she never attempted to learn any skills outside of dowsing). Overall, this is a unique and illuminating look at a little known, and lesser understood, religion and its proponents.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Krista

    Ptacin writes with a warmth and personal touch that made the book feel confessional and intimate. Based on the description, I was expecting a more straight-on history of American Spiritualism, but I was pleased with the personal narrative aspects as well as the fact-based sections. Sometimes the shift from historical retelling to personal experience felt a little abrupt, but overall the flow was smooth and kept me reading. I appreciate how the book has a distinct point of view without insisting Ptacin writes with a warmth and personal touch that made the book feel confessional and intimate. Based on the description, I was expecting a more straight-on history of American Spiritualism, but I was pleased with the personal narrative aspects as well as the fact-based sections. Sometimes the shift from historical retelling to personal experience felt a little abrupt, but overall the flow was smooth and kept me reading. I appreciate how the book has a distinct point of view without insisting that a reader draw the same conclusions that the author has reached. I will be recommending this book to the people who browse the 133s and similar areas. Netgalley provided me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    Fascinating

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    Such a terrific book! THE IN-BETWEENS walks the reader through the history of American Spiritualism and mediums (which is not the same thing as a psychic) through the history of Camp Etna, a place in Maine that’s home to spiritualists and mediums which was once a bustling site for the faithful, curious, and skeptical. @miramptacin is both curious and skeptical for reasons that unfold throughout the course of her terrifically engaging and empathetic book. The blend of history and reporting is so Such a terrific book! THE IN-BETWEENS walks the reader through the history of American Spiritualism and mediums (which is not the same thing as a psychic) through the history of Camp Etna, a place in Maine that’s home to spiritualists and mediums which was once a bustling site for the faithful, curious, and skeptical. @miramptacin is both curious and skeptical for reasons that unfold throughout the course of her terrifically engaging and empathetic book. The blend of history and reporting is so well done; I can’t wait to see what Mira chooses to study next. Ultimately, though, for me, this was a book about listening to yourself and finding faith there—regardless of whether or not you believe the dead can visit us, with or without religion. How do you choose to live with the challenges in life? More soon. So happy to curl up in bed and read this in one sitting tonight.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Carole

    Book Review by Carole P. (Framingham, MA) The In-Betweens Spiritualists, mediums and communicating with the dead. All subjects I have been intrigued by and believe in. While there are many books on these subjects, some are dry and seem more like a textbook than anything else. Or they are filled with photos of " spirits". Mira Ptacin has written a book that flows. Yes it is fascinating, whether you believe or not. Spiritualism has been around a long time, but really took hold in this country in the Book Review by Carole P. (Framingham, MA) The In-Betweens Spiritualists, mediums and communicating with the dead. All subjects I have been intrigued by and believe in. While there are many books on these subjects, some are dry and seem more like a textbook than anything else. Or they are filled with photos of " spirits". Mira Ptacin has written a book that flows. Yes it is fascinating, whether you believe or not. Spiritualism has been around a long time, but really took hold in this country in the mid 1800s. It is still going strong today. The first case of note took place in 1848 when two sisters communicated with spirits. Camp Etna was created in the 1870s in Maine. When Ms Ptacin was given free access to the camp, she interviewed participants, read historical papers and books on the subject and participated herself. I loved the everything about this book. The subject is fascinating. The writing is readable , giving you an understanding of a complex subject. If you are already a believer this will support all those beliefs. If not, well it may make one of you. In my life I have met several spirits. When I have talked about it, I find people with their own stories. Most of us keep it quiet. Thank you Mira for encouraging us not to.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Allie Baker

    I received this book as part of a giveaway, and was excited to read it. As I started reading it, I was a bit disappointed. I was hoping to find more of a historical documentation and investigation into the Spiritual Movement in American and how Camp Etna perhaps related to this movement. Instead, it focuses more on the author's relationship and journey with the current people of Camp Etna. Although she does explore a variety of different ideas among the people at Camp Etna and the classes I received this book as part of a giveaway, and was excited to read it. As I started reading it, I was a bit disappointed. I was hoping to find more of a historical documentation and investigation into the Spiritual Movement in American and how Camp Etna perhaps related to this movement. Instead, it focuses more on the author's relationship and journey with the current people of Camp Etna. Although she does explore a variety of different ideas among the people at Camp Etna and the classes offered there, which is an interesting form of documentation on its own. I was always wanting more of the tiny snippets of history, especially when it came to the processes she explores at the camp. However, that being said it is an interesting piece from a memoir stance. I would stress this memoir stance, as I would definitely not suggest it to someone wishing to learn more of the history of Spiritualism and it’s context in American history and culture. Also of note, which could be due to the copy I received being an advanced reading copy, a number of historical facts she splashes in for color are off.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Such promise, but poorly executed. I didn't mind the blend of the author's experience with the people in Camp Etna and this history of Spiritualism because it did bring to life what the people who attend or work at the Camp believe and practice. But more was needed to flesh out those beliefs and practices, perhaps tying it more fully to the history. For example, when she's having her house cleansed, adding the history of cleansing and more about the herbs and current practices would have been Such promise, but poorly executed. I didn't mind the blend of the author's experience with the people in Camp Etna and this history of Spiritualism because it did bring to life what the people who attend or work at the Camp believe and practice. But more was needed to flesh out those beliefs and practices, perhaps tying it more fully to the history. For example, when she's having her house cleansed, adding the history of cleansing and more about the herbs and current practices would have been helpful. And then there's the problems with the timeline. It could have just been an editing issue and will be corrected but there's a whole paragraph that just threw me and I couldn't get over it. We're talking about 1926 and placing the Spiritualist movement in context. But then there's a claim that Disney World opened then. Ummm.... Disney LAND opened in 1955, while Disney WORLD opened in 1971. Mickey Mouse, however, was "born" in 1928. Perhaps that's what was meant? Later the author makes the claim that color television came in that year (late 40s). Here's my problem: if I can spot easily corrected mistakes, what mistakes am I missing elsewhere? ARC provided by publisher.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Alyisha

    I enjoyed this (audio)book but it was also SOUNDLY in my wheelhouse: ghosts, religion, & feminism? Check, check, & check. I‘ll almost certainly be visiting this strange little camp in Maine this Summer (maybe with my mother-in-law in-tow; will I win the award for Weirdest Family Vacation Ever?). But I'd be hesitant to recommend it to...well, anyone who isn't me. I went in a skeptic & came out a skeptic...but a fascinated skeptic! I was disappointed in Ptacin's writing when she strayed I enjoyed this (audio)book but it was also SOUNDLY in my wheelhouse: ghosts, religion, & feminism? Check, check, & check. I‘ll almost certainly be visiting this strange little camp in Maine this Summer (maybe with my mother-in-law in-tow; will I win the award for Weirdest Family Vacation Ever?). But I'd be hesitant to recommend it to...well, anyone who isn't me. I went in a skeptic & came out a skeptic...but a fascinated skeptic! I was disappointed in Ptacin's writing when she strayed from the history of Spiritualism; all of the current residents of the camp seem so colorful, distinctive, & strong...and yet, the same could not be said of her descriptions of them. The women all sort-of blended together, which is a bummer. I The narrative could have used some more fine-tuning.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Abbey

    As one who read everything I could get my hands on about Lilydale many moons ago, and one who was totally ignorant about the existence of Camp Etna, this books was so much fun and lively and injured me to think how close I was when I lived in Maine and had no clue. The reading by Chloe Cannon was a soft, smooth move that went well with subject material. Her inflections and vocal transitions made for serene sounding mediums, clairvoyants, and psychics compared to the moderately skeptical and jaded As one who read everything I could get my hands on about Lilydale many moons ago, and one who was totally ignorant about the existence of Camp Etna, this books was so much fun and lively and injured me to think how close I was when I lived in Maine and had no clue. The reading by Chloe Cannon was a soft, smooth move that went well with subject material. Her inflections and vocal transitions made for serene sounding mediums, clairvoyants, and psychics compared to the moderately skeptical and jaded Ptacin who is exploring her own questions with both personal interest and journalists' integrity.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Suzin

    LOVED IT! I never knew about the camp and found it amazing, both in terms of history and today. I was skeptical, not skeptical, believed, did not believe , all the while enjoying the experience. (have to say her experience at the end creeped me out a little) . The fact that Mira is from my hometown and I know many of her family members and friends adds to my pleasure in reading but I would have enjoyed the book without this history. This is the second book I have read by her and I highly LOVED IT! I never knew about the camp and found it amazing, both in terms of history and today. I was skeptical, not skeptical, believed, did not believe , all the while enjoying the experience. (have to say her experience at the end creeped me out a little) . The fact that Mira is from my hometown and I know many of her family members and friends adds to my pleasure in reading but I would have enjoyed the book without this history. This is the second book I have read by her and I highly recommend it, not only if you have interest in spiritualists/mediums etc but to learn about somewhere and something different as well.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Nadia

    Although I don't believe in capital "S" Spiritualism or Mediumship, I sometimes forgot that while reading. The Ptacin does an excellent job of not only summarizing the basic principles of many of the methods employed by Mediums, but also of providing a human element which roots those principles in practice and actual consequence. Her personal losses are mentioned, but do not overwhelm the narrative by being her driving motivation in discovering the stories of Camp Etna and of the people who live Although I don't believe in capital "S" Spiritualism or Mediumship, I sometimes forgot that while reading. The Ptacin does an excellent job of not only summarizing the basic principles of many of the methods employed by Mediums, but also of providing a human element which roots those principles in practice and actual consequence. Her personal losses are mentioned, but do not overwhelm the narrative by being her driving motivation in discovering the stories of Camp Etna and of the people who live there, past and present.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Darlene

    I won an ARC copy of "The In-Betweens: The Spiritualists, Mediums, and Legends of Camp Etna by Mira Ptacin. Overall it was an interesting book on US local and religious history. The Author did immerse herself into her research topic, though was not quite impartial. My copy had a few typos and such, which is expected for an Advance Review Copy. They didn't detract from the overall flow, and were likely cleared up in the final publication. I would recommend this for those interested in quarky I won an ARC copy of "The In-Betweens: The Spiritualists, Mediums, and Legends of Camp Etna by Mira Ptacin. Overall it was an interesting book on US local and religious history. The Author did immerse herself into her research topic, though was not quite impartial. My copy had a few typos and such, which is expected for an Advance Review Copy. They didn't detract from the overall flow, and were likely cleared up in the final publication. I would recommend this for those interested in quarky aspects of history, Spiritualism, or American religiousity.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Joy Murphy

    A great read for the autumn season, exploring the history of spiritualism and the authors own experience. Very interesting facts and stories throughout, but missing a true woven narrative. Best described as a history/experience collage. As much as the author pushed the need to explore. She shared so much stress of her own book deadline of all things... weird. Still very much worth the read if you’re interested in spiritualism.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Dotty

    Fascinating. A whole world that I had no idea even existed - American Spiritualism as a religion - complete with a campground in Maine that’s been in existence non-stop since 1876. I received this book free, as an early release from Book Browse - in exchange for writing a review. I’d recommend it to anyone with an interest in alternative religions, new age spirituality, and rural Maine life. It was a fun read, a bit slow in spots, but enjoyable...

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    The author cleverly makes this book both an explanation of the many types of phenomena and a history of Camp Etna. It is both autobiographical and a look at the lives of those who have lived at the camp. I like that it was multifaceted. Mira Ptacin dabbled in the various opportunities available there and gives the reader a first hand view. Whether you are a believer or a skeptic, you may find it an interesting read. I received this book in a goodreads giveaway.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    The In-Betweens opens with table-tipping, the practice of speaking to the dead through a table. You lightly place your fingertips on a table, you speak to the dead and wait for an answer, and the table moves. In Mira’s book, the table rollicks through rooms. It is the most animated table tipping I’ve ever read about, and the only table tipping experience I believe.... Read full review here: https://stevebargdill.com/2020/01/04/...

  25. 5 out of 5

    Eleanormorse

    Mira Ptacin has a real gift for finding out things. Her wide-open, non-judgmental stance paired with her curiosity and genuine enthusiasm for understanding what she doesn't yet know make this book an appealing read. Her prose is lively and passionate. As readers we are taken along with her--both to be surprised by what she learns, and also educated about a little-known subject.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Farabaugh

    The earlier sections of this book and the history of spiritualism are very good but as the book goes on the author loses her journalistic integrity and begins to insert herself into the story too much. She has allowed her closeness to the subject to cloud her detach and sections read more like a memoir.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    There were some incredibly insightful, beautifully written passages in this book. They also happened to be sandwiched between very dense, long sections of history on Camp Edna. I personally found the author's spiritual journey and narrative to be considerably more interesting than the lengthy exploration of the camp's history.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    The topic of this book is not something I would usually pick to read. However, I found the history of Camp Etna and Spiritualism fascinating and enjoyed reading about the author's experience learning about them.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Darlene

    Very interesting. Camp Etna is 130 miles away from me,and I'd never heard of it. If this is a subject that intrigues you,I think you'll find it enjoyable. I certainly learned a lot about spiritualism,and the author's journey. My bff would've loved this book.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Interesting mix of journalism, social history, and memoir. Loved the intertwining of spiritualism, feminism, local history, and the ebb and flow of all of it. It’s a good reminder that 5, 10, 20 years of something does not create a full story.

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