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.
- Price gouging, and
- 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…