This past Halloween I saw something I hadn’t seen in Halloween’s past: debates surrounding ghost tours and haunted houses. Specifically, people protesting them and working to shut them down because they felt they’re disrespectful and/or not politically correct.
In year’s past there has been a religious element against ghost tours and haunted houses. Halloween lovers have all met the types: people who believe celebrating Halloween is satanic and/or evil so they ban the festivities –and in some cases they condemn those who revel in them.
But last year the theme seemed to be a push to make Halloween more PC by whatever means necessary –including drastic ones like shutting tours or haunted houses down.
Here’s a case I’ve been watching with a lot of interest the past few months. One that’s now had an interesting outcome that I think is most unfortunate and which I hope doesn’t set a precedent for the closure of other ghost tours.
PICTON’S GHOST TOUR ENTERTAINMENT VALUE DISRESPECTS TOWN’S TRAGEDY
I read an article back in September 2010 by Ben Pike in the Macarthur Chronicle called “Picton Ghost Hunts future in doubt.” Not too long after that article I read another article about the same issue: “Australia’s most haunted turn ghostbusters” by Vikki Campion.
Both articles were about the same thing: a ghost tour in an Australian town that, after 13 years in operation, found its business license in jeopardy while the city’s council decided whether or not to keep letting it operate.
Those for it say it’s bringing in business. Motels, cafes and gas stations all benefit.
Those against say it disrupts the eternal slumber of those who died tragically and are trying to rest peacefully in the cemetery where they’re buried. Also, some residents don’t like the type of people who come to check out the area on their own. They say they’ve had to deal with vandals and trespassers.
I understand both sides. That’s the tricky part of being interested in a field that’s ultimately pretty morbid and macabre and based on a lot of suffering. There needs to be respect.
Apparently the tour company has been respectful, so that’s not exactly the problem. It’s just rubbing some the wrong way.
And sadly it seems the people against the tour continuing have won the fight. Just this week Vikki Campion wrote how the Picton ghost tours were forced to shut down.
This is a very sad turn of events. One I hope does not set a precedent for others looking to shut down tours they’re opposed to.