After a period of time to rebuild the Collinsport Ghost Society anew and go through the Sumerian, Hindu and Chinese Gods for the Guide to the Mythological Universe, and even write a few on-line short stories (which don’t get a lot of hits, but when they do, they are always complimentary), I have once again began adding and editing new locations to my personal haunted house database.
It’s kind of extensive. It lists locations by city separated by state and country and it really doesn’t get the attention I really need to give it. You know the sort of list. Most haunted house websites have at least one list, usually limited to a few token locations. My lists are no different. Like the others, they don’t impress anyone else but the person devoted to it, and I’m just as fanatical about mine than everyone else is to their own. I’ve got notebooks full of locations from paranormal TV shows to add to it, and I just now realized, “Why am I amassing notebooks of hundreds of locations when I should be adding them directly to the lists in smaller installments?”
It turns out I just may have an idiot gene after all.
At this point, I think I’m more of a paranormal historian; I haven’t done any field research since the Nineties. Anyway, it’s time for my favorite rant: Why can’t everyone else with a haunted house list on the Internet make their list a bit more precise and comprehensive for those among us who are a bit more intellectual?
To wit, here are some of my favorite little snafus and several new ones:
1. No Locations – Okay, so some paranormal website creators like to play artistic license and not add locations. Fine with me; the people who do so are usually listing very well known haunted houses whose locations many of us know better than our own mother’s phone numbers. (Remind me, I still need to wish my mother a Happy Mother’s Day.) You say, “Winchester Mystery House?” – I scream, “San Jose, California!” “LaLaurie House?” “New Orleans!!” “Drumm Barracks?” “Wilmington, California!!!” “Wedgeworth Inn??” “Morristown, New Jersey!!” (That last one is tricky; the Wedgeworth has had several names in its existence.) Now, I can get not wanting to reveal a location’s whereabouts for privacy issues, but what’s the excuse for people who mix together locations in a single list by county, city and street. People, pick one and stick with it!!! Don’t make us do your homework!
2. No Names – If your list includes locations described as “the abandoned house near Six School Road near the St. John’s Mini Mart in Evansville, Indiana,” please let me know so I can tell everyone your real name is “tall goofy-looking guy with the peanut butter addiction who still lives in his parent’s basement.” I will even help you put it on your driver’s license. Again, if you have a location list, keep it consistent; don’t be jumping between named locations and unnamed locations. What’s worse, School Road is NOT even in Evansville; it’s in Wadesville. (“Sorry, Jason and Grant, the house you wanted is a hundred miles in THAT direction!”)
3. No Details – I just love this. “Hastings – Mockingbird Sanitarium – This place is so freaking scary. To get in, we had to cut through the fence, elude the police and break through a basement window. This place is full of a lot of junk like old wheelchairs, forgotten files and dirty bottles. It got so cold we could see our breaths. The location is five stories tall, and we were so scared. Rumor claims the basement has old tunnels to the other buildings. Very Haunted!” – Uh, where in that description did you give us the history or describe the hauntings? It sounds like the only thing haunting the location are you stinking vandals and bored teenagers. Worse yet, some “descriptions” can go on like this ad infinitum without ever giving any details. Of course, this leads to…
4. No Research – Have you ever had a description like the one above, decide to give the submitter the benefit of the doubt and try researching the location, only to find a hundred websites reprinting the same description above everywhere word-for-word. You’re not helping anyone. I’ve got at least twenty to thirty locations for Ohio in my database described as “The location is described as haunted, but no details into the hauntings are available.” Thank you for not doing any homework. At least you’re saving me time by revealing you’ve already plagiarized a site I’ve already integrated into my database. Are mental patients now allowed Internet access?
5. No Brains – Here’s another description I love. I found this description in a list of Indiana locations: “Hawthorne – Old Cemetery – The old tree in this cemetery is so creepy looking. I get chills just looking at it. I think its haunted.” – So let me get this straight, this submitter is scared of a tree? AND thinks this merits adding it to the list? I’d hate to sit next to him through Disney World’s Haunted Mansion Ride. I bet Grandma’s Arboretum gives him panic attacks. I also bet he goes trick-or-treating on Arbor Day.
6. No System – Have you ever run across a website that includes haunted locations AND abandoned structures for urban explorers in the same list? I did! How about a wise guy who mixes haunted houses with Bigfoot sightings and UFO hotspots? I found that guy too. How about a website that can’t decide if it should list haunted houses or haunted house attractions. I found that one too! Now, maybe, I’m just a purist, but I prefer my haunted houses without shaggy apes, extra-terrestrials and mental patients wearing hockey masks carrying chainsaws.
7. No Updates – Have you every run across a location that was placed historically or geographically by a map that was in excess of fifty years old? The countries in Europe have had two World Wars and several skirmishes redefine its map, and Great Britain has moved its county borders a few times too. This makes it very hard to know where a city is now located. One location in Manchester has changed three times over just twenty years. I can’t even imagine what it must be like for people around London. (“You still live across the street? I thought you were in Lower Middlesex. Oh, that IS Lower Middlesex!!!”)
8. No Home – Have you ever been updating a location and then slowly start realizing you’ve heard it before. I mean, there are countless versions of Ghostly Hitch-hikers, Crybaby Bridges, Suicidal College Students, Phantom Brakemen, Spectral Theater-Goers, Floating Orbs… Every state has at least five to eight versions of those, sometimes in the same city, but I’m talking about a location that appears everywhere!!! The Luertget Sausage Factory in Chicago has been included in lists for New York City, St. Louis, Las Vegas, Detroit and Toronto. Now that’s SOME haunted factory; it’s not just haunted, it gets on the bus and moves around the country! And don’t get me started on cemeteries named Town Cemetery and libraries named City Library….
9. No Site – Okay, I’m REALLY nit-picking here, but my OCD wants to make this a Top Ten list, but have you ever had a paranormal TV show or website direct you to a book or website that doesn’t exist. The old Dixie X-Files site for haunted houses in the Southern USA (now long gone) used make references “for more information, check out the…” and then the resource doesn’t exist or you suspect the title is off and you try several variations of the name to try and Google the resource, and then give up and try elsewhere. Yep, been there. I call it the David Copperfield Conundrum. It’s there – No, it’s not!!!
10. No Response – Why bother having a e-mail on your website if you don’t bother answering messages? When I was working on my list for haunted locations in Ohio, I must have sent a hundred e-mails to the Dead Ohio and Forgotten Ohio websites looking for clarifications in their material, and to this day, I have yet to see one response. Does anyone even know if the Shadowlands website is still being updated? They have no locations listed for Poland or Austria, and I sent them everything I have to fill the empty pages. Five years later, their listings for Poland and Austria are still empty. Kind of reminds me of trying to find an employee in the local Wal-Mart to tell me where to find blank DVDs for recording episodes of “Celebrity Ghost Stories.” At least if someone takes the time to send me an e-mail through my websites above, I ALWAYS make the effort to respond even if it takes me a few days to do it.