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The Dark Side of the Ghost Hunters Effect

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A while back I wrote about the Ghost Hunters effect being an Oprah-esque boon for paranormal tourism. Ghost Hunters has certainly sparked the imaginations of the masses. Smart non-profits found a way to cash in on that by offering ghost hunts to help supplement their revenue streams.

However, during my talk with Brooke, SCARED!’s case manager, last Thursday, I learned about the dark side of the Ghost Hunters effect. One I wasn’t aware of. Actually two.

  1. Price gouging, and
  2. Lock outs


Maybe “price gouging” isn’t exactly the right term, but it’s close. Basically what we’ve got in this scenario is a prime example of economics at its finest, which is that demand and supply determine price.

In the case of paranormal tourism and haunts people want to jaunt to, certain hot spots are more in demand than others –due in part because of their reputation for having more active hot spots.

But some places have taken advantage of the notoriety shows like Ghost Hunters have brought them and charge other paranormal investigation teams exorbitant prices to investigate there.

One of the places Brooke brought up as an example of this is Eastern State Penitentiary. Interestingly enough, days later Autumnforest, not knowing of my chat with Brooke, singled-out that same Haunt Jaunt for the same reason in a comment she left on my post about ethics in paranormal tourism.

I’d say Eastern State’s regular tour prices are very reasonable. $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, $8 for kids. But if you want to investigate there with your team? Be prepared to shell out upwards of two grand (if not more)…for four hours.



Okay, so say you and your team have a few extra thousand dollars and don’t mind paying such steep fees. Great. Money will unlock that door.

But what about the places where it’s not even about the money?

Part of Brooke’s job as case manager is finding locations willing to let them come investigate. However, another problem Brooke said she runs into is lock outs, or places that won’t let them in.

Autumnforest has also alluded to this problem, but from a different angle. She left a comment on my proper Haunt Jaunting etiquette post about a hotel in downtown Phoenix that won’t even book you a room if they find out your a ghost hunter. All because some wanna-be ghost hunters acted unprofessionally.

In Brooke’s case it’s also a Ghost Hunters-induced issue –but one caused by the “real” Ghost Hunters, not just some wanna-bes. They’ve got certain markets locked up, which locks out other teams out. Not literally, but figuratively via contracts.  They strike deals with certain locations which gives them exclusive access.

Now why would they want to do that? Heaven forbid someone else come along and find evidence they could’ve taken the credit for. (Or debunk evidence they created –er, I mean claimed to have found.)

But that’s another topic for another day…

Courtney Mroch
Courtney Mroch, otherwise known as HJ's Ambassador of Dark and Paranormal Tourism, is an author, traveler, and ghost enthusiast. When she's not writing, jaunting, or planning her next trip, it's a safe bet you'll find her in one of three places: on a tennis court somewhere, on a yoga mat somewhere, or watching a horror movie somewhere. She currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee.

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9 thoughts on “The Dark Side of the Ghost Hunters Effect

  1. Nice article Courtney!

    Greed comes with crazes, and this article shows prime examples of that. 2000 to do a ghost hunt? Insanity!

    Lock-outs? You have got to be kidding me.

    There’s no decency in the world anymore. People are either out to get a buck, profit on anothers misfortune, or undermining the competition. This field should not be anything near competitive, in fact it should be cooperative in nature, yet while there are TV shows out there looking to give a show to a up and coming team, people will do just about anything to slip into that position. As you stated Courtney, a lock-out occurs and basically the presiding team can do whatever they want, up to falsifying data. Another problem with that is properties where the owner -wants- to show paranormal activity in order to capitalize on it’s attraction, they lock-out the location so as not to let a team debunk/illuminate certain evidence.

    2000? Sheesh. I would tell that person, 2000 for a lifelong contract, all evidence gathered is mine, I come and go when I please…

  2. That is nuts…..shelling out $2,000 for only 4 hours of investigating the place. No thank you. So far the Copper Queen Hotel and other places in Bisbee AZ are enjoying their haunted places notoriety. The Copper Queen gives haunted tours and has yearly ghost events especially at Halloween. This has been a big tourist boom for them. I do believe that the Whaley House in San Diego will let you pay a fee to investigate the place at night alone. I don’t think that the fee is a crazy $ 2,000 and not sure how long they let you investigate. Most places that I have toured don’t mind the ghost hunts as long as you don’t disturb the other guests.

  3. And that’s why I prefer to investigate private houses – I’m not there to gather proofs, I’m there to help people out. Even if I would go to public site, here in Poland no body thinks about earning money on ghost tours, yet.

    I know one thing for sure – when the real haunt will get nasty, they will pay people like me to come and send the demons back to hell… in a matter of speaking of course ;).

  4. So true, so true… I wanted to do Bird Cage and found out they charge $150 for 2 hours minimum. Ouch! This reminds me of movie theaters–they make their real profits on the concession stand and these businesses don’t make the $ on the daytime tourist tours but the nighttime hunters. Admittedly, if I were still in my childhood home and someone wanted to come and do a study of it, I would be extremely nitpicky about who I allow. Businesses should always check into the reputations and length of time the hunters have been around and any articles written up about them. You shouldn’t just let strangers into your place, but then there’s a lot of overnight-slapped-together hunting “teams” that come and go and have no clue how to go about it respectfully or ethically. For private places, I’d leave it to the discretion of the owner and their own level of curiosity. For government museums and historic parks, it’s really a way to supplement the gov’t dollars that aren’t out there to keep up the place–I say go for it! If you have a business like an antique shop or a B&B, you need to think first if you want to be known for a haunted destination or not. If you do, you open yourself up to everyone. So far as Eastern State and Trans-Allegheny and the like, if someone wants to buy a place like that with their own bucks–they could make some serious ghost hunting cash from these teams going nightly and special events and Halloween’s. The ultimate question is–do you want to hunt with 20-40 people tromping around and not being respectful of you in the corner doing an EVP session? And, do you really think a place that has that much traffic will be really active? The next level of ghost hunting is to make ghosts come to you. The old concept that they’re limited to locations is a bit ridiculous. After all, they have no limitations without a body. The question is–how to bring them to you? The right location, like in an active mining site? On the right day when it’s geomagnetically active? With the right people–someone trying to contact a specific relative? What is the combo that works (sans the Ouija board and seance). Perhaps the next level of ghost hunting will be folks who create a room high enough in EMF and infrasound frequency to stimulate a haunting and let people go int and test it under controlled conditions…

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