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In Search of a Paranormal Website (One Paranormal Website at a Time)

This is a guest blog by William Collins. If you like this story and are on Twitter, let him know by sending him a Tweet via @Thor_2000.

I consider myself a paranormal purist. That means if I pick up a book about haunted houses, or even a website about haunted houses, I’m going to dismiss anything that doesn’t have anything to do with haunted houses.

I can accept the haunted battlefield and the haunted roads and bridges. I can accept the numerous Cry-Baby Bridges in Ohio and the numerous versions of the Ghostly Hitchhiker across the world.

If I get the story of a ghost ship, I want to know where it was seen, not just the name of the ship it is supposed to be. If you give me the name of a haunted ship, I want to know where its main port is.

A haunted house needs a name, a location and a description; a history would be nice, but I’m not greedy.

However, don’t give me a list of haunted locations and toss in a few Bigfoot sightings or Lake Monsters. Those are considered Cryptids.

Don’t give me a story of a ghost who appeared after a funeral who then vanished never to be seen again. That’s considered a visitation.

Don’t tell me the tale of a location where someone died after seeing a ghost because unless the ghost keeps coming back, that’s called a portent.

Don’t give me an area where UFOs are found; that’s UFOlogy.

Don’t give me mystical sites or fields with crop circles because unless someone has seen a ghost there, it’s just a tourist trap.

Don’t tell me about locations where there’s a curse that takes the lives of anyone who lives there; that’s a load of bunk.

A haunted location is an area with recurring activity bound to a finite area of space that sometimes includes visible, audible and physical phenomenon in the form of poltergeist activity.

My biggest rant is the level of research put into haunted house websites out there or the lack of effort of it. Since last October, I have been working on transcribing the locations from the Forgotten Ohio website into my haunted house database and now I’m about to plunge on in into Ghosts.org whose website system seems to be even more erratic as if that’s possible. Here’s a few more websites I’ve been through to adapt to my database:

The Shadowlands.net

One person calls it the most exhaustive lists of haunted houses on the Internet, and that’s possibly true, but it reads as if first graders wrote it. The creators of the website don’t do any proofreading at all; the descriptions are posted as is. There’s no effort to check facts either, so a lot of misinformation slips through. There’s bad grammar, words misspelled, descriptions that wander into weird tangents, ambiguous descriptions, locations in the wrong cities and states, missing locations, counties substituted for cities, pointless drivel, missing names for the locations, insane little instructions, descriptions in all capital letters, updates are tagged on instead of integrated into the description and none of the links to add new locations actually work. The site is missing locations for Poland and Austria. I sent them everything I had for those locations, and two years later, the material has yet to be added. I have sent several e-mails to the webmasters and have never received a response. I can’t tell if the site is abandoned or still being updated.

I use copies of the Shadowlands pages as a template for my personal haunted house database, but as I go through, I re-research locations, correct and shorten descriptions, eliminate extraneous data and add names for unidentified locations. I‘ve separated England by county, Canada and Australia by province and merged areas of the world by the Caribbean, South America, Africa, The Middle East and the Far East. However, I’m still struggling through the United States. There are fifty states and I’ve only completely edited about five to eight. Some states take up to three to five weeks to correct and update; more populated states take months, plus I’m still adding new locations.

E-Mail Response Time: The links to add locations don’t work; I’m not sure about the Contact links. I used to get responses from the creators of the site, but that was a LONG time ago.

PrairieGhosts.com

Created by Troy Taylor, the author of several books on the Paranormal, the site includes very well written histories and has very well researched articles on haunted houses. It’s a very well done website, but my criticism is that I can’t find anything. There are a lot of ads and links and announcements, but if you want to find anything, I need to use a search engine.

E-Mail Response Time: Excellent, Troy always returns my message within a week… maybe…

ForgottenOhio.com

On the surface, the website looks very cool. I’m extremely hampered by the site’s layout of listing the location by type and name instead of by location, but it also includes abandoned locations that aren’t haunted so I have to do a lot of back peddling back and forth to convert his material into the brief summaries I’m used to. It does have a lot of really good photos of rare and hard to find locations with directions. However, while it skims over the ghosts, it doesn’t go onto detail.

E-Mail Response Time: Non-Existent. The site is possibly abandoned.

GhostTraveller.com

The majority of the locations here seem to be lifted from the Shadowlands website with some corrections and updates worked in but separated by the type of location with a few odd comments added here and there. When I merged this site to my database, I had to mark out all the sites I already had to get to the new ones, of which they are several. Unfortunately, the site is distracted with a lot of images and extraneous info for tours and side trips like a travel brochure.

E-Mail Response Time: None, but the site does have its own Facebook site which I “friended” and then “unfriended” a month after failing to get any response.

DeadOhio.com

This is a very nice Ohio-centered site with nice photos and graphics. The descriptions are very well researched and highlighted with nice images and all the details I never found on ForgottenOhio.com. Several of the locations are easily recognizable, but some of the names for the locations vary with other sides. Other than that, it’s what I consider what ForgottenOhio.com could have been.

E-Mail Response Time: Negligible, three e-mails and not one response

Obiwan’s UFO-Free Paranormal Page

I give it points on the name, but the website is lazy on some levels, like using original e-mails for half the locations in its haunted house list. It’s not very exhaustive; I can’t tell if anyone has worked on it in a while. Several of the locations are hardly original or elaborate; many are easily recognizable, but a few fresh locations. Besides that, it has a lot of nice photos.

E-Mail Response Time: No contact attempted

HauntMasters.com

This is a very neat Tennessee-oriented site with some locations from North Carolina and Virginia. It lists locations by county and city and the research is exhaustive. Photos of rare locations are included. While I’m not a fan of sites limited to specific areas, I think this one has its merits.

E-Mail Response Time: No contact attempted

GraveAddiction.com

I’m partial to websites with expansive lists of haunted houses, but where this site lacks in that regard, it makes up in its depth of research. Its list of haunted cemeteries is a bit Ohio-centric and it does feature abandoned locations and this time, they’re treated in a separate list from the haunted ones. It does feature a few unique locations I’ve not seen on other sites.

E-Mail Response Time: Good, one e-mail, one response

JohnNorrisBrown.com/Ghosts & Spirits of Tennessee

This is a nice website dedicated to haunted Tennessee, but I haven’t been back to this site in a while. I’ve got twice the locations this website does, but it does have several rare photos. The descriptions are very good but not expansive.

E-Mail Response Time: One e-mail sent twelve years ago – the site could be abandoned.

Ghostpage.com and Powow.com

The material on these sites is brief, short and to the point, but nearly identical on both sites. Who ripped off who here? The lists are only focused on the most popular locations. I’m not sure if these websites are still around anymore.

E-Mail Response Time: No contact attempted

Release-me.net

The site almost entirely recycled its haunted house lists from the Shadowlands and then added some new links and graphics. This may have got the site shut down because I can’t find it anymore.

E-Mail Response Time: No contact attempted

Mountain State Spirit Seekers

The site seems to have the generic links and layout of most ghost society web-sites. Their haunted house list is separated by county, which even after I cut out the haunted houses I knew about, I still had a lot of research to do to find the locations.

E-Mail Response Time: Fair, one e-mail, one response but no return response to second e-mail

Dixie X-Files

This was a very nice website for while it lasted with good descriptions, links and images. Beyond that, I don’t remember much about it, but I still have a few printouts of a few of the locations.

E-Mail Response Time: No contact attempted

Ghosts.org

This British-focused site was a printing nightmare for me. No matter what I did, I got excessive empty pages and blank areas on pages that should have only printed on one page, but instead went on to two or three. Typos galore with misspellings, missing names, incomplete descriptions, data erroneously misplaced and inserted in the wrong places with odd tags to the descriptions that have nothing to add to the descriptions. The site looks very professionally done on the surface but if you read closer, you’ll find odd gaps in the text (like “anniversary” expanded into “annive rsary”).

E-Mail Response Time: No e-mail contact available

PHOTO CREDIT

Image from Art Explosion 500,000.

William Collins
William C. Uchtman has spent much of life listing haunted locales from across the world. He is the author of “Volunteer Ghosts,” a book dedicated to listing obscure haunted houses in Tennessee. He is also the creator of the Collinsport Ghost Society website (The Collinsport Ghost Society http://www.angelfire.com/tv2/collinwood/collinsport_ghost_society2.html), a fictional ghost society for fictional haunted locations from television and the movies. He also maintains or is affiliated with the following websites: * The Nitpicker Society for Dark Shadows http://collinwood.zoomshare.com * The Official Guide to the Mythological Universe http://www.angelfire.com/planet/mythguide/mythguide.html * Unsolved Mysteries Wikia http://unsolvedmysteries.wikia.com * The Our Gang Wikia http://ourgang.wikia.com * The Marvel Appendix http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix
http://www.fanfiction.net/~thor2000

2 thoughts on “In Search of a Paranormal Website (One Paranormal Website at a Time)

  1. William, thank you so much for sharing this awesome post. I greatly respect your haunted database project and appreciate the effort you’re pouring into it to find the kind of haunts you’re trying to locate. Again, thanks so much for sharing the process on how you go about locating some of the haunts you find!

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