Hans Holzer Dies

Posted by: Loren Coleman on April 29th, 2009

Hans Holzer in 1969.

The renowned parapsychologist and author is now exploring The Other Side.

Hans Holzer, 89, an Austrian-born American, who was well-known as a pioneering paranormal researcher and author, died Sunday, April 26, 2009, at his Manhattan (New York) home after a long illness.

Hans Holzer was born January 26, 1920, in Vienna, Austria. He earned his doctorate from the London College of Applied Science, and spent more than 50 years traveling the world to obtain first hand accounts of paranormal experiences.

During his life, Hans Holzer wrote 146 books on the supernatural and occult for the popular market as well as several plays, musicals, films, and documentaries.

His extensive involvement in researching the unknown included investigating the infamous “Amityville Horror,” discussed through his book Murder In Amityville (1979), which was the basis for the 1982 film, Amityville II: The Possession.

He visited some of the most prominent haunted locations around the world. He also worked with well-known trance mediums such as Ethel Johnson-Meyers, Sybil Leek, and Marisa Anderson.

Holzer was famous for creating the term “The Other Side,” or more fully stated, “The Other Side of Life.” He is also credited with having coined the term “ghost hunter,” which was the title of his first book on the paranormal published in 1963. He furthermore invented and fine-tuned terminology such as “beings of light” and “sensitive.”

Holzer appeared on hundreds of national and regional talk shows. He was a host, co-host, or interviewee on programs such as “Ghost Hunter,” “In Search Of,” “Beyond The Five Senses,” and “Explorations.” Such modern television series as TAPS’ “Ghost Hunters” owe much to Holzer’s legacy for their success.

As the New York Times obituary also added:

Mr. Holzer called himself “a scientific investigator of the paranormal.” He disliked the word “supernatural,” since it implied phenomena beyond the reach of science, and did not believe in the word “belief,” which suggests an irrational adherence to ideas not supported by fact. Nevertheless, he held in contempt electronic gadgetry for detecting cold spots, magnetic anomalies and the like, preferring direct communication through a medium.

He did believe in reincarnation and past lives (he vividly recalled the Battle of Glencoe in 1692 in one of his Scottish lifetimes) and was a Wiccan high priest, as well as a vegan.

Holzer was also interested in coin collecting, and tried his hand in this area early on by writing Collectors’ Guidebook to Coins: How and why to collect, stories behind famous, valuable coins of the world, all American denominations, in 1965. We should all be thankful that his ghost books were the better sellers and not this coin book, or things might have been much different.

One of the last books to which he contributed was perhaps the most personal; Growing Up Haunted: A Ghostly Memoir by Alexandra Holzer (his daughter) with input from Countess Catherine Buxhoveden (Holzer’s ex-wife), had an introduction by Hans Holzer, and was published in February 2008.

Some of his nonfiction books he will be remembered for include,

Ghost Hunter (1963)
Ghosts I’ve Met (1965)
Yankee Ghosts (1966)
The Lively Ghosts of Ireland (1967)
ESP and You (1968)
The Truth about Witchcraft (1969)
Window to the Past: Exploring History Through ESP (1969)
The Aquarian Age: Is There Intelligent Life on Earth? (1971)
The New Pagans: An Inside Report On the Mystery Cults of Today (1972)
Beyond Medicine (1973)
Great British Ghost Hunt (1975)
The UFO-NAUTS: New Facts on Extraterrestrial Landings (1976)
The Psychic Side of Dreams (1976)
Murder In Amityville (1979)
Inside Witchcraft (1980)
In the Terrifying Tradition of the Amityville Horror: Houses of Horror (1983)
Where the Ghosts Are: The Ultimate Guide to Haunted Houses (Library of the Mystic Arts) (1984)
Ghosts of New England: True Stories of Encounters With the Phantoms of New England and New York (1989)
Haunted House Album: A Ghostly Register of the World’s Most *Frightening Haunted Houses (1992)
America’s Mysterious Places (1992)
Love Beyond the Grave (1992)
Life Beyond: Compelling Evidence for Past Lives and Existence After Death (1994)
The Directory of Psychics: How to Find, Evaluate, and Communicate with Professional Psychics and Mediums (1995)
The Secret of Healing: The Healing Powers of Ze’Ev Kolman (1996)
Ghosts: True Encounters with the World Beyond (1997)
Are You Psychic?: Unlocking the Power Within (1997)
Hans Holzer’s Travel Guide to Haunted Houses (1998)
More Where The Ghosts Are: The Ultimate Guide to Haunted Houses (2001)
Beyond Death (2001) (with Phillip Solomon)
Hans Holzer’s Psychic Yellow Pages: The Very Best Psychics, Card Readers, Mediums, Astrologers, and Numberologists (2001)
Hans Holzer’s The Supernatural: Explaining The Unexplained (2003)
Hypnosis: Controlling the Inner You (2007)
Growing Up Haunted: A Ghostly Memoir (by Alexandra Holzer and Countess Buxhoveden Catherine – with an introduction by Hans Holzer) (2008).

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

9 Responses to “Hans Holzer Dies”

  1. cryptidsrus responds:

    RIP, Mr. Holzer.

  2. Bast responds:

    Thanks for this, Loren. I feel old. RIP, Mr. Holzer. Your books were some of the first I read on ghosts.

  3. odingirl responds:

    I’ve been reading Mr. Holzer’s work for 30+ years. Thanks for the great stories and rest in peace, Hans.

  4. Drosselmeyer responds:

    Heard his (grand?)daughter speak on TAPS’s Beyond Reality Radio. Sounded like a nice chap. Sad to see him go.

    Rest in peace, Mr. Holzer.

  5. Henshaw responds:

    I was fortunate to get to meet Mr. Holzer on a flight back in ’72. He was fantastic. An experience I’ll never forget. Talk about synchronicity!! I had picked up his book The Psychic World of Bishop Pike at the Logan Airport gift shop to read on the plane. A very gracious man…


  6. coelacanth1938 responds:

    I have a feeling that Hans was already on a first-name basis with more than a few people on the ‘other side’.

  7. mfs responds:

    The preminent paranormal investigator of all time. I enjoyed reading many of his books. Thanks Hans Holzer, RIP.

  8. MattBille responds:

    I read a lot of Holzer when I was younger, and he’s still a lot of fun, but to me his evidence was never impressive. So much depended on the impressions of mediums. I never came away convinced that there was proof of ghosts.

  9. darkhb responds:

    When I was sixteen – in 1972 – I wrote a letter to Mr. Holzer telling him how much I liked his books and asking, a bit naively, where I could study parapsychology in college. He took the time to write me back, thanking me for my interest in his books and listing several schools and colleges, that at that time, had programs or where doing experiments in parapsychology. The only one I can remember is Duke University where J. B. Rhine had conducted his famous experiments.

    I’ll never forget the thrill I got when I received that letter. After all, he probably got hundreds of letters a year from people asking him to investigate everything from their haunted house, to contacting their dead aunt Mabel; and he took the time to answer a letter from a sixteen year old fan. Now I wish I still had that letter today.

    Rest in Peace Mr. Holzer.

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