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Edward Parnell: Why ghost stories bring me comfort after family tragedies

Point of View is an ITV News series where we invite people to share their life experiences and what they've learned from them.

After Edward Parnell lost both his parents and brother to cancer, he never imagined he would find comfort in reading ghost stories.

His mother first became sick with breast cancer while he was a child. "I guess I thought she’d always be there and there would be issues but she’d kind of kept beating them," the author told ITV News.

While his mother was receiving treatment, Edward's brother and father both developed other forms of cancer.

In just six weeks Edward remembers his father went from healthily caring for his ailing mother to "being a skeleton lying in his bed" and died.

Within a year Edward, still in his late teens, had lost both his parents.

While he enjoyed his adult life with his brother, tragedy struck again when he too died of cancer in 2014.

Edward found reading ghost books from his childhood rekindled cherished family memories, transporting him back to the holidays they would take to the UK's most haunted spots.

"Going back to some of these stories put me being a kid again," he said.

In his latest book, 'Ghostland: In Search of a Haunted Country', Edward explores the authors he loved.

He said the best ghost stories offer a glimpse of the potential for life beyond death.

"Even to the non-believer they’re leaving a slight window, a slight opportunity that there’s something else there that perhaps the finality isn’t all that it seems," he said.

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