The Miraculous Escape of a Misdiagnosed Boy Trapped Inside His Own Body for 12 Years

About The Book

In January 1988 Martin Pistorius, aged twelve, fell inexplicably sick. First he lost his voice and stopped eating. Then he slept constantly and shunned human contact. Doctors were mystified. Within eighteen months he was mute and wheelchair-bound. Martin's parents were told an unknown degenerative disease left him with the mind of a baby and less than two years to live.

Martin was moved to care centers for severely disabled children. The stress and heartache shook his parents’ marriage and their family to the core. Their boy was gone. Or so they thought.

Ghost Boy is the heart-wrenching story of one boy’s return to life through the power of love and faith. In these pages, readers see a parent’s resilience, the consequences of misdiagnosis, abuse at the hands of cruel caretakers, and the unthinkable duration of Martin’s mental alertness betrayed by his lifeless body.

We also see a life reclaimed—a business created, a new love kindled—all from a wheelchair. Martin's emergence from his own darkness invites us to celebrate our own lives and fight for a better life for others.

About The Author

Martin Pistorius was born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1975. At the age of twelve an unknown illness left him wheelchair bound and unable to speak, and he spent fourteen years in institutions. In 2001 he learned to communicate via computer, make friends, and change his life. In 2008 he met the love of his life, Joanna, and emmigrated to the UK. In 2009 they married and in 2010 he started his own business. He loves spending time with friends and, most of all, being with his wife.


"A deeply affecting and at times shocking book... The Diving Bell and The Butterfly but with a happy ending."
~ The Sunday Times ~
"Martin’s writing makes you feel what he feels. He vividly reminds us of all those little injustices we each experienced that help us to grow and be stronger because of them. He reminds us that we all can grow from life’s twists if we choose to do so. Most important, Martin Pistorius shows us that God really does not give us more than we can handle, but rather he gives us the opportunity to meet adversity head on and overcome it no matter what the challenge. Read Ghost Boy. It really is a “page turner” and you will be a better person for experiencing Martin Pistorius’ life."
~ Michael Hingson, New York Times best-selling author, Thunder Dog ~
"Reading this book brought me much closer to my son Logan, who has severe autism and is unable to speak. My understanding of Logan’s personal challenges were greatly clarified by Martin Pistorius’ ability to commit his experiences to writing. For anyone whose life has been touched by someone with communication challenges this book is a must!"
~ Glen Dobbs, president,, LLC ~
"It is my sincere opinion that this book be required reading for anyone that works with children that have disabilities or is considering working in the field. Martin illustrates the person behind the disability as a “whole being” and it will change the way people with little experience in the field look at those with physical challenges."
~ Karen Gorman, assistive technology coordinator D75 NYCDOE ~
"Martin’s story not only typifies a person with great depth and humanity, but also of a great aptitude for life. This book is a must-read."
~ Erna Alant, professor and Otting Chair in Special Education, Indiana University, Bloomington, USA ~
"Ghost Boy is a book to open our minds and our hearts."
~ Sue Swenson, former US commissioner for developmental disabilities ~
"If you have time to read one book this year, I suggest that you chose Ghost Boy by Martin Pistorius. You may even come away with some questions about what it means to live a full life.”
~ Diane Nelson Bryen, professor emerita, Temple University, USA ~
"This is a story bravely told of one man’s incredible endurance and fortitude against amazing odds. It will make you smile and weep, but most definitely it will restore you faith that all things are possible when you dream."
~ Sandra Hartley, BSc. MRCSLT, marketing director, Logan Technologies, Ltd. ~
"It's impossible to read this book without understanding just how much most of us take for granted."
~ John-Paul Flintoff, author, How To Change The World ~



Join the conversation! How has this story impacted you? Use the hashtag #GhostBoy, and your image or tweet may appear here!

Media Inquiries

For press inquiries regarding Ghost Boy, please contact Tiffany Sawyer at

Press Kit (PDF) Photos (40mb)