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What Makes Some Haunted Places So Popular? (Hint: It’s Not Their Ghosts)

Well, the ghosts factor in obviously, but what is it that really makes some haunted places more popular than others? I’ll give you a hint: it only has two letters. (I’ll reveal the answer later in the post.)

But first, let me explain the catalyst for this post.

In his impassioned post “On to the Next” or “Back to the Same”?, Burt Gummerfan of Gummerfan’s Monster Hunter HQ got me thinking about the popularity of haunted places with his question:

…why is it that the Ghost Hunting community is so enamored of a few well-known, heavily investigated sites?

He named most of the biggies as examples:

  • Waverly Hills
  • Eastern State Penitentiary
  • Sloss Furnace
  • Lizzie Borden House
  • Alcatraz
  • Stanley Hotel

I know a lot of paranormal investigators, haunted places explorers, etc. do seem to go gaga for adding the big haunted hotspots to their “been there” lists. Here’s the comment I initially left on his post:

I know others who feel like you do. To some extent so do I. Sometimes I want to go to the “big” places because, well, they’re big and famous and I want to see them for myself. Also, I figure while I’m there I can check out lesser known areas. One thing I think is beneficial about investigating a place over and over (same groups or different ones) is they can maybe start finding correlations. X happens when Ys going on, etc.

But it does get old after a while when some groups just rehash what’s already been done. TOTALLY agree with you! (Really hate watching it on shows too. Take me somewhere new I haven’t seen before!)

And here was his response:

Well, the subject of different groups actually working together and sharing findings is a whole ‘nuther story, isn’t it? 🙂

I don’t mind seeing any NEW findings from the various “famous” locations, but all to often it’s just more of the same. Plus, so many groups (and TV shows!) are passing up local or lesser-known locations in favor of the “most haunted”, which is really a disservice to the field.

He raises a good point about the disservice aspect, but the more I thought on it, the more I realized why people want to go to the popular haunted places. It’s kind of what I alluded to in my initial comment. People want to see the big places for themselves because they’ve heard about them time and again.

So my two-letter answer for what makes haunted places so popular is: PR.

They got popular because they generated the best PR. And I don’t necessarily mean they hired a PR firm or staff public relations people (although some do). Mostly their hype was generated by people like you and me, the ones most interested in paranormal activity.

Maybe we saw a place on a TV show or read about it in a book (that’s how I found a lot of my Haunt Jaunts, especially in the beginning), then we start chatting with others about them (these days the Internet is invaluable for accomplishing that).

Pair that with any kind of impressive “evidence” (think some of the shadow figures from Waverly Hills or the picture of what might be the ghost of Chloe the slave from Myrtles Plantation) and WHAM! You’ve got yourself a popular haunted place everyone’s curious to see for themselves.

That’s my theory at least. I’d be curious to hear what you think makes some haunted places so popular.

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 on a tennis court somewhere. She currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee.
http://www.courtneymroch.com

15 thoughts on “What Makes Some Haunted Places So Popular? (Hint: It’s Not Their Ghosts)

  1. I agree. When a place ‘hits’ people want to know about it, and the word spreads. When people actually take the time to do a ‘ghost hunt’ or are maybe playing with the idea of going on one, they want to actually see something so where are they gonna go? The places where others have reported going. If a lot of others are seeing things, heck, you might too.
    I’d also have to say that the idea of ‘ghost friendly’ is a fairly new one. I did a story about 20 years ago, or should I say ‘tried’ to do a story for a school report. The place had a reputation and stories, but the powers that be wanted nothing to do with the idea of being haunted. “Embracing your inner ghost” has become a new thing – now everyone wants a ghost!

  2. Isn’t that so funny? There used to be more of that. You’d mention ghosts and people would get all panicky. THey didn’t want you talking about something so taboo. But now that’s the exception, not the rule. And I LOVE your “embracing your inner ghost” AWESOME!

  3. I agree with you that the most popular haunted locations that get the most publicity such as the news get the most traffic of people seeking the paranormal. I know in San Antonio the famous urban legend is the ghost tracks where children push your car off the tracks. That being said, the pushing of the car has been debunked but people still go to this day to see if it works.

    This story runs almost every year or two and I’m sure its a field day with the police department discouraging people from doing placing their car on the tracks.

  4. ZOMBIE ROAD. IF YOU TRY GOING AT NIGHT. THE COPS WILL GIVE YOU A TICKET FOR TRESSPASSING.YOU NEED TO ASK SOMEONE.

  5. Hi San Antonio Ghost Hauntings! THANKS for the comment! And LOL. I would probably fall for the ghost pushing thing. I went to Spook Hill in FL after all. And San Antonio is HIGH on my list of places I’d like to Haunt Jaunt to so I’m very glad to know of you!

  6. YOU HAVE TO ASK FOR A PRMENT. TO ENTER ZOMBIEROAD AT NIGHT. YOU CAN GO ON ZOMBIEROAD DRUING DAY TIME. TO WALK ON IT.

  7. AL MOST EVRY SUNDAY. MY BROTHER AND I . GO FOR A WALK ON ZOMBIE ROAD. WHN ITS NOT TOO COLD. IT IS FUN WALKING ON ZOMBIE ROAD. IT IS REALY QUIITE. WHER YOU CAN NOT HAER THE BIRDS SINGING. AT ONE PARTOF ZOMBIE ROAD. THERS ALLMOST LOT OF PEPOLE WALKING AND RIDEING THER BIKES ON ZOMBIEROAD. THE PEPOLE WHO WALK BY YOU SAY HI TO YOU. AND THER FRINDLY TOO. GOOD TIME TO WALK ON ZOMBIE ROAD IS IN THE MORNING. ZOMBIE ROAD IS OPEN AT 700AM OR 800AM.? THERS A SIGHN POSTED WITH THE TIME ON IT.YOU MIGHT SEE ME WALKING THER ON ZOMBIE ROAD.? I GO FOR A WALK AROUND 10’00AM . OR 11;00AM.

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