Ghost-Hunting For Dummies book cover

Ghost-Hunting For Dummies

By: Zak Bagans Published: 12-05-2019

Dive into the ghostly world of the supernatural with America’s leading paranormal investigator 

Inside, paranormal investigator, star, and executive producer of The Travel Channel's hit series, Ghost Adventures and founder of the award-winning Haunted Museum (Las Vegas’ most popular attraction), Zak Bagans takes readers on an exciting journey into the supernatural world. With insider information on the history of ghost-hunting to learning about ghosts with all kinds of temperaments, Ghost-Hunting For Dummies is peppered with true accounts and stories from Bagans' famous cases and investigations.

Featuring expert advice on picking a haunted location, setting up cameras, and dealing with unwieldy ghosts, this book shows how today's investigators use the tools of modern science to study a wide range of paranormal activity.   

  • Take an exciting adventure into the supernatural world
  • Explore haunted sites
  • Get messages from beyond the grave
  • Read true accounts from famous cases and investigations

If you're one of the countless fans of Ghost Adventures itching to get off the couch and track some spirits on your own, this book provides everything you need to know to conduct a successful paranormal investigation.

Articles From Ghost-Hunting For Dummies

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Ghost-Hunting For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Cheat Sheet / Updated 03-10-2022

Ghost-hunting can be exciting, and it can also be physically exhausting and mentally challenging. Most of the time, the main requirement to be a ghost hunter is having a lot of patience. You also need to know what to do, how to stay safe, and how to gather all the information you can to ensure a professional investigation. Investigating the paranormal can be fun, but it’s also serious business and should be treated with respect and an abundance of caution.

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Tips for Paranormal Investigations

Article / Updated 11-23-2019

Paranormal investigations are best conducted with a team of three to six people. This allows you to thoroughly investigate the entire location — without bumping into people from a large group — and to interview witnesses and record their statements without anyone feeling overwhelmed. A small group also allows you to avoid the distractions that arise and complicate investigations for researchers who work alone. Working alone is only recommended if you have many years of experience, and even then, it is best to have others present or nearby for safety and to corroborate any strange things that may occur. On the other hand, a large group is merely pointless, especially in someone’s home, where things quickly become awkward and congested. ©Travel Channel. Ghost Adventures team during an investigation.The following is a checklist guide for investigations. It is meant to be a list of helpful suggestions. Not every guideline works for every ghost hunter, so use what you can from the list and adapt it to work for your own investigations. 1. Make sure that the witness understands what you are going to be doing at their house or location. Make sure that they realize this can be an intrusive process. The more comfortable that the witness is, the better the investigation will go. 2. Divide up the separate functions of the investigation among the team members. Decide who will be handling each aspect: who will be photographing, who will be recording video, who will be using the available equipment, who will be in the nerve center, and so on. 3. Interview the witness in a secluded location with all the team members present. Choose the team member who is the best interviewer to ask the questions. Be sure to ask what they know of the location’s history and ask them to share their experiences there. Has anything affected them negatively there? Do they believe anything has followed them from the location? These are only general questions. More specific questions are suggested later in this chapter. Questions should be asked by one interviewer at a time, and the interview should be recorded on tape and if possible, video. One team member should take notes of everything that is said. Getting all the details of the case in this first interview is essential. The entire team should be aware of the history of the location. If an interaction with a spirit occurs, each team member can ask questions based on what they already know about the place. This helps the interaction to become more personal between the investigation and the conscious presence. 4. After the interview, the team leader should take the group on a walk-through of the location. The tech manager and the nerve center monitor should use this time to determine where all the cameras should go. Particular attention should be paid to those areas where the witness recalled an experience or sighting or where anomalies have been picked up using detection equipment. 5. Another team member should make a photographic record of the location with his camera, documenting each of the locations, particularly the area where the witness reports seem to be most frequent. Using video, another team member should document the location in this manner also. 6. If the phenomenon occurs on a regular basis or has a set pattern, obtain permission from the witness to do surveillance of the area for an extended period. This is often referred to as a ghost watch, because it gets away from an active investigation and becomes more of a “watch and see” experience. In these situations, researchers should come to the location, set up their monitoring equipment, and then wait to see what they can record. We have even been known to this as people sleep. Occasionally, witnesses tell us that the activity occurs only after they go to sleep, so we set up cameras to monitor them. During as episode of Ghost Adventures at Phelps-Dodge Hospital in Arizona, we interviewed a caretaker who told us that something touched him while he slept. We set up cameras, and he was right — we witnessed a presence touching his hand. This type of investigation should be done when you are relatively sure that you cannot explain away the reports of the witnesses, or after your own investigations have turned up something beyond the ordinary. 7. If, when the investigation is over, you have turned up nothing, remember that this does not mean the location is not haunted. Even if you have tracked down all possible natural sources for the phenomena and ruled them out, the ghost could simply have been inactive while you were there. This is why follow-up calls and repeat visits are important. You can’t go to a location where witnesses have documented activity on their own, stay there for three hours, and then state that the place isn’t haunted because nothing happened to you! Just because you showed up does not mean that the ghosts are ready to perform on command. If you have established a good relationship with the witness, they will not mind hearing from you again. Be sure to ask them to call you if anything else happens, and make sure that they keep a record of it. If anything occurs, go back and conduct another investigation, varying your technique to maximum effect.

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The Most Haunted Objects in the World

Article / Updated 11-23-2019

There are many accounts from paranormal sources of what some researchers have called possessed possessions, items to which ghosts and negative spirits become attached. Older, antique items seem to be especially prone to attachments like this and can include anything from books to mirrors, jewelry, decorative items, clothing, and much more. I became so fascinated with these kinds of items that I opened the Haunted Museum in Las Vegas, where visitors can view and experience hundreds of haunted objects. In the following sections, I list some of the most famous haunted objects in history, including two that I have had personal experience with. One of them, the Dybbuk Box, is on display at the museum. The Dybbuk Box According to Jewish folklore, a dybbuk is a dark spirit that takes over the bodies of living people and uses them for evil. Legend has it that a dybbuk can be trapped inside of a box and prevented from causing mischief — unless the box is opened, that is. Several years ago, the Dybbuk Box, shown in the following figure, came up for sale on eBay. The seller listed a vintage wine cabinet that came from the estate of a woman who survived a World War II concentration camp. The seller, an antique dealer named Kevin Mannis, claimed that the first owner’s granddaughter was terrified of the box, warning him that her grandmother said it held a dybbuk. After buying the cabinet, he was plagued by a series of unfortunate events and recurring nightmares of an old hag that would brutally attack him, causing him to wake up with bruises on his body. He also experienced an overpowering stench of cat urine in his home. Tragically, his mother suffered a stroke while opening the box. Not surprisingly, he decided to get rid of it. The box eventually ended up in the hands of Missouri medical museum director Jason Haxton, who was skeptical about the powers attributed to the box. He soon changed his mind. After acquiring the box, he began to experience a series of medical maladies, including bleeding eyes and strange rashes. He also began to dream of being attacked by an old hag and would also awake with bruises on his body. Kevin Mannis told me that while the box was in Haxton’s basement, a man died there, and his body was found lying next to the box. He eventually became so unnerved by the box that he reached out to scientists and rabbis, who instructed him to build a wooden ark, lined with 24-carat gold, place the box inside, and bury it in the ground. The box was opened during the time that it was owned by Jason Haxton. He retrieved it from its burial site for a special appearance on my television show, Deadly Possessions. I arranged to have the box placed in a containment room so that Kevin Mannis, the previous owner, could confront his fears about the box. When he opened it, he found the contents were intact. There was a dried rose, two coins from the 1920s, a small gold kiddish wine goblet, two locks of hair, an octopus-legged candlestick holder called a shabbat, and an engraving of the word “shalom,” which means “peace” in Hebrew. When Kevin opened the box, the lights in the building started to flash, strange sounds were heard, and strangest of all, Kevin turned to face a wall, and he got a very weird expression on his face. His voice changed, and he started to recite a story about a shadow man. He then started speaking in tongues and making bizarre whistling sounds. He was sweating profusely and began to cough uncontrollably. I purchased the Dybbuk Box from Jason Haxton and placed it on display at the Haunted Museum. Because of the sinister nature of the box, only visitors over the age of 18 who have signed a waiver are allowed to see it. During the time that it has been on display, there have been people who have fainted, become dizzy, and even sick. Visitors have also witnessed a shadowy cloaked figure that has been seen passing directly through the closed doors of the room where it is on display. One of my tour guides has had her face shoved into the case that holds the box by an unseen force. In 2018, my friend, singer-songwriter Post Malone, visited the Haunted Museum. During his visit, we were together in the Dybbuk Box room, and both heard the unmistakable sound of a little girl’s voice. Moments later, something began to affect us. This sensation prompted me to remove the protective case from the box. Something was telling me to open the box. After a very tense moment between Post and myself, I touched the box. I began to panic and to scream, cry, and hyperventilate. Concerned, Post reached out and touched my shoulder. When he did, I felt something pass through my body. When we left the Museum, Post saw the dark shadow figure that so many people had encountered follow us out. The next day, he sent me a photo of a mysterious bruise that appeared on his arm. After his visit, he was involved in an emergency landing in his private jet, his car was involved in an accident, and armed robbers targeted a home in San Francisco that they believed to be his. I believe that a curse from the box affected him in a series of three events. On Halloween 2018, Ghost Adventures aired a live special from The Haunted Museum, when I planned to open the Dybbuk Box myself. During the time that I had owned the box, I had been too cautious to open it because of events that had transpired with it in the past. I had planned to open the box on live television, but in the end, I did not. I am a very empathic person. After the many cases that I have been involved with, my body has become sort of a tuned instrument when it comes to the paranormal. I believe that the Dybbuk Box was aware that we were on live television that night. It had no interest in performing. It does things on its schedule, in its own time, not according to our clock. I felt as though the energy in that room started peaking. It was overwhelming. I could feel that something very bad would have happened if I had opened that box. It was affecting many people in the room that night, and people watching it on television couldn’t understand the seriousness of what was happening. I did not want to sacrifice our safety and health just for the sake of entertainment. It was mostly influencing myself, Aaron, electronic engineer Gary Galka, and renowned psychic medium Chris Fleming. In addition, other things were happening with the production itself that I felt were trying to prevent the box from being opened. This became apparent when Gary Galka and Chris Fleming began receiving some very disturbing messages using different pieces of communication equipment. I believe the Dybbuk Box disturbed and disrupted everything that we were trying to do. And it worked. I made a very abrupt decision to end things with the box unopened. A lot of people questioned my decision, but I know that I did the right thing. I know what the Dybbuk Box had done to me, I know what it has done to others, and I know what it has done to my friends. The coincidences of what they have gone through and the curse of it are too coincidental to ignore. The box remains on display at The Haunted Museum, where it is regularly seen by the thousands of visitors who come to experience it every month. Approach it at your own risk. I say that from experience. I have a bizarre connection to the Dybbuk Box. It will pull me into that room, and sometimes I talk to it in whispers and words that I don’t understand. Sometimes, I cannot even open the door to the room. At other times, I feel that I can control it. It is a very strange relationship that I have with the Dybbuk Box and at some point, perhaps I will be able to truly understand it. The Devil’s Rocking Chair In 2019, I purchased another macabre object for The Haunted Museum. Dubbed the Devil’s Rocking Chair, it is of unknown origin but was passed on to the Glatzel family in the early 1950s. It was simply a piece of household furniture until the summer of 1980 when it became the center of a tragedy that struck the family. The sinister relic became a part of one of America’s most notorious exorcisms, which involved two demonic possessions and an eventual murder. It is believed that the chair, quite literally, was cursed by the Devil. The horror began in July 1980 when David Glatzel, 11, became possessed by a demon. One night, he woke up screaming, claiming that he had been visited by a “man with big black eyes, a thin face with animal features, jagged teeth, pointed ears, horns, and hooves.” David was, everyone agreed, not the kind of kid who liked scary movies or who was likely to make things up, and he was visibly shaken by this experience. He became withdrawn and quiet. His older sister, Debbie, asked her fiancée, Arne Johnson, if he would stay with her family for a while and see whether it would help David get out of his depression. Arne, of course, agreed, but things didn’t get better. David reported more nightmares about the terrifying man, who promised to take his soul. Odd scratches and bruises began to appear on the boy, and all the injuries seemed to happen while he was asleep. Odd sounds, which Arne couldn’t explain, were heard in the attic. Worst of all, David began to claim that he was now seeing the Beast while he was awake. He was always seen sitting in the family’s rocking chair, which the Beast now claimed as his own. David (and later, Lorraine Warren) was the only one who saw the Beast in the chair, but family members often saw it rocking back and forth, seemingly under its own power. The family first brought over a priest to bless the house. This didn’t help. In fact, it made things worse. The sounds in the attic got louder, David’s visions increased, and he began to hiss at his family and speak with multiple voices. He started to quote from Paradise Lost, a book that most 11-year-olds aren’t exactly familiar with. During the night, someone had to stay up and watch David, who woke every 30 minutes, sometimes having seizures. Desperate for help, the Glatzels called Ed and Lorraine Warren, who began making regular visits to their home, bringing more priests with them, and performing exorcisms. Many of those exorcisms took place while David was seated in the rocking chair. The chair itself moved about the house on its own, mysterious disappearing and reappearing in different places. Most incredibly, it levitated on numerous occasions in full view of witnesses, including the Warrens, clergy members, and shocked family members. It happened once while David was sitting in it during an exorcism. After a final exorcism, the demon left David. He soon began to show signs of improvement. However, his sister’s fiancée, Arne Johnson, was not so lucky. Apparently, the demon left David and entered him. He started making the same kind of growls and hisses that David had made, as well as slipping into trances for a period of months before killing his landlord, Alan Bono, with a five-inch pocket knife, stabbing the man over and over as Debbie watched. Bono died a few hours later in the hospital, and Johnson was picked up by the police two miles from the murder scene. Eight months later, Johnson appeared in court with a plan to enter a plea of not guilty, due to demonic possession. For the first time in American legal history, demonic possession was used as a reason for murder. It didn’t work. Judge Robert Callahan refused to accept the plea since there was no evidence to show that Johnson was possessed. Johnson eventually went to prison for his crime. He was found guilty of first-degree manslaughter and received a 10- to 20-year sentence, although he only served 5. Arne and Debbie married after he was released. For many years after the horrifying events of 1980, the rocking chair remained in storage. When the Glatzel family later moved, it went with them. However, over time, it became apparent that there was something very wrong with the chair. Whoever sat in the chair, whether innocently or because they knew its strange history, were suddenly stricken with incapacitating sciatica or abnormal back problems. Some were so bad that they required surgery. Once close family member was unable to walk upright more than ten years after testing the legend of the chair. Today, the Devil’s Rocking Chair is at The Haunted Museum. There are stains on the original cushion from holy water and blessed oils that were part of the exorcisms conducted by Catholic priests and Ed Warren. An evil presence surrounds it, and even before it was on display, it was already causing problems in the building. Soon after it arrived, doors at the museum began shutting themselves and locking, light switches physically turned off, and it created a terrible tension between staff members in the area where the chair was stored. I also heard from the shipper who picked up the rocking chair from the Glatzel house, and he told me that he was plagued by terrible nightmares after coming into contact with it. Like the other cursed items at The Haunted Museum, the Devil’s Rocking Chair will be safely displayed so that creates the least amount of havoc in the building. Even so, there remains the chance that the menacing aura that surrounds it will have an effect on those who are brave enough to visit it. “The Hands Resist Him” painting of Bill Stoneham No one could have known that a photograph that was taken of Bill Stoneham when he was 5 would go on to become one of the most famous cursed paintings in history. At the time, Stoneham’s father was in advertising and did a lot of traveling. His family was staying at his grandmother’s apartment in Chicago to save money. The place was so small that Bill had to sleep on a mat in a closet filled with coats and dresses. He regularly played with a little girl from the neighborhood, and one day, his parents had both kids pose in front of a glass door for a photo. They couldn’t have known that, two decades later, Stoneham would turn the ordinary photograph into a terrifying painting that has become the stuff of Internet legend. In 1972, Bill’s first wife, Rhoann, wrote a poem called “Hands Resist Him.” It was about Bill’s experience of being adopted and never knowing his biological siblings. At the time, the couple lived in California, and Bill was under contract with art gallery owner Charles Feingarten to produce two paintings each month, for a fee of $200 each. With his next deadline approaching, he used his wife’s poem and the old photo of himself with the neighbor girl as inspiration. Stoneham called the painting “The Hands Resist Him,” and he turned it over to Charles Feingarten for a large gallery show in 1974. At the show, the painting was purchased by actor John Marley, most famous for his role as the movie producer in The Godfather who wakes up with a severed horse’s head in his bed. The gallery show also led to the painting’s first press mention when it was reviewed by noted art critic Henry Seldis. And then things got strange. Between 1978 and 1984, three of the men closest to the painting died: Seldis in 1978, Feingarten in 1981, and Marley in 1984. The painting disappeared from public view after Marley’s death and it would be another 26 years before Bill Stoneham heard about his painting again. He would later find out that it had been abandoned behind a California brewery that was turned into an art space. In 2000, the painting resurfaced in a listing on eBay. The family selling it had a chilling story to tell. Their kids claimed that the boy and the doll in the painting were fighting and coming into their room at night, so Dad set up a camera to show them they were just imagining things. There was nothing to be afraid of. Instead, he saw the boy crawl from the painting. He quickly put the painting up on eBay with a disclaimer. These details proved to be a huge draw for buyers. The eBay listing was viewed more than 30,000 times. Some of these viewers even complained to the seller about experiencing supernatural occurrences after merely visiting the listing. They claimed to hear voices on in their homes. Others said that they became ill after viewing the painting. Another claimed to have blacked out. By the time the painting was sold to gallery owner Kim Smith for $1,025, its legend had spread across the Internet. Today, the painting is in storage at Smith’s gallery in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He has been asked to see the painting only a handful of times over the years but still receives messages each week from people who are terrified by it. I tried to purchase this painting for The Haunted Museum but was unable to make a deal with the current owner. However, I was unable to stop thinking about it, so I started doing some research and got in touch with the artist, Bill Stoneham. Oddly, when we spoke, Bill told me that he sensed a strange connection to me and that it was fate that I had called him. He eventually ended up painting for me the prequel to “The Hands Resist Him,” which he called “The Hands Invent Him.” It portrays the inside of the window from the original painting. This was a surreal experience for me, and it ended up becoming even eerier. Bill did not want me to see the painting until it was completed and shipped to me. While the painting was in transit, several staff members of The Haunted Museum and I began hearing the sound of a child’s tricycle traveling the halls of the building. The sound was often accompanied by the ringing sound of a bicycle bell. Around this same time, a light bulb mysteriously exploded in the Oddities Room. It was located above an old coin-op machine that was on display. This particular machine had a long hose coming out of it with a hand on the end. Once the painting arrived, I realized that it depicted a long hose with a hand on the end of it, ringing the bell on a tricycle. I was in absolute shock over this. I had no logical way to explain the connection between the painting and the events that occurred at The Haunted Museum except to say that Bill Stoneham is a very mystical person. He creates tarot cards and is very much in touch with the other side. Somehow, our connection created a link between me and two different versions of the “Hands” paintings. Robert the Doll The life-sized straw doll had been a birthday present for Robert Eugene Otto — or Gene, as his family called — and the young boy loved it. It was given to him by his grandfather, who bought it while on a trip to Germany in 1904. Dressed in one of Gene’s sailor suits, the doll became his favorite toy. He took it everywhere and began calling it Robert after himself. Soon, things became a little strange. The stories say that the Ottos and their servants would often hear Gene in his bedroom, having conversations with himself in two different voices. On many occasions, the family was awakened in the middle of the night by Gene’s screams, only to find the frightened boy in bed, surrounded by overturned furniture and scattered toys. Gene claimed that it was Robert who had messed up the room. When things moved about the house and when toys were broken or lost, Gene always stated that “Robert did it!” And while his parents didn’t quite believe the boy, they were unnerved by the strange events and bothered by stories told by the servants of hearing small footsteps and laughter in the house when it should have been empty. People who passed by the Otto house at 534 Eaton Street in Key West, Florida, even claimed to see the doll staring out the window at them. When Gene left home to study art, Robert was moved to the attic, where he remained for many years. In 1930, Gene married Annette Parker in Paris, and after his parents passed away, he moved back to the Otto home in Key West. He retrieved Robert from the attic and returned him to his old turret room on the second floor, which he turned into his studio. There are many tales in Key West about Annette’s disdain for the doll. Conflicting rumors are still told, some alleging that she died from insanity after locking Robert back in the attic, while others claimed that Gene died with Robert at his side. What we do know is that Gene passed away in 1974 and his wife died two years later. Robert stayed with the house when it was sold to Myrtle Reuter, who owned it for the next two decades. Those who passed by the house always saw Robert looking out of the second-floor turret room window. Today, Gene’s former residence operates as a bed and breakfast called the Artist House, and visitors can even stay in the old turret room. Robert the Doll isn’t there anymore, however. He now lives at the Fort East Martello Museum, safely locked away in a glass box that has been outfitted with alarms. Those who come to see him are warned to be careful. It is said that curses will befall those who take photographs of Robert without asking his permission first. While this seems hard to believe, the walls near his glass case are covered with letters from scores of visitors and nonbelievers, writing to beg for Robert’s forgiveness and asking him to remove the bad luck that he placed on him because of their carelessness. Annabelle The history of Annabelle remains a bit of a mystery, but we do know that it has long been one of the most famous items locked away in the occult museum of haunted and cursed objects that was owned by investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. According to the Warrens, the Raggedy Ann doll was given to a nursing student named Donna by her mother in 1970. Within days, Donna and her roommate noticed that the doll appeared to change positions when no one was looking. When it began to show up in different rooms of the house, seemingly under its own power, they decided to get help. A psychic told them that the doll was possessed by the spirit of Annabelle Higgins, a little girl who had died under mysterious circumstances. The spirit apparently claimed that she only wanted to be loved. Feeling sorry for her, Donna and her roommate gave Annabelle permission to remain with the doll. A short time later, though, the doll — or the spirit inside of it — attacked a friend of Donna’s, and they contacted a priest. The priest contacted the Warrens, who declared that Annabelle Higgins was not a spirit but a demonic entity posing as the little girl. The doll ended up with them, and it was locked away in their museum for safekeeping. Since then, she has been blamed for a number of fatal and near-fatal accidents involving those who doubt the spirit’s power. Not long after opening the Haunted Museum, I invited Tony Spera, Annabelle’s current owner, to bring the doll to Las Vegas for a special episode of Ghost Adventures. I knew the stories. I was aware that Annabelle was said to be so evil that she was kept locked in a case and handled only with gloves and holy water for less than a minute at a time. It was said she was even responsible for harming people and even killing one visitor to the Warrens’ museum in Connecticut. When Tony Spera agreed to let Annabelle out of her case and brought in the doll, we were all warned not to touch her. But as she was placed in the middle of the room, something drew me to her. I touched Annabelle. All the people watching the show saw me do it, as did Tony, who got angry and put her back in the case, warning me that I was in danger. All that I can say to the people who criticized me for touching Annabelle is that while they may think they know what it’s like to be in these kinds of situations, they don’t. I absorb and sense energies around me at a very high level. Whether it’s from living people, residual energy, objects, or from spirits. I’ve been like this my entire life. I am not a psychic medium. I am a sensitive. It’s a rush, it’s draining, it’s exhilarating, and it’s terrifying all-in-one, depending on who or what I’m in contact with. There are layers and layers of negative energy around Annabelle, and I was completely affected by everything that was happening. I became very sad for no reason at all. I truly believe that Annabelle was manipulating me, sending me into a trance. I didn’t want to touch her, but I felt compelled to do so. I simply did not have direct control of myself at that moment. But, yes, I wish that I had not done it. Touching her led to many strange events, and it was a dangerous thing to do. If you ever decide to tempt fate and fool around with a cursed or haunted object, think again. The legends that surround many of them may seem far-fetched but, as many unlucky people can tell you, they got started for a reason.

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Signs of Residual Hauntings

Article / Updated 11-23-2019

The residual haunting is likely the most common type of haunting. Such hauntings are more prevalent than most realize, and a large percentage of paranormal activity falls into this category. When investigating haunted places, be careful not to confuse this type of activity with an intelligent haunting. It is possible that residual hauntings have little to do with what we think of as ghosts. The following signs indicate a residual haunting: Apparitions reported will be like moving pictures and typically will be seen in the same spots, walking down the same hallway, appearing in the same window, doing the same motion over and over. They will be unaware of the living people around them. Such cases do not have any interaction between the ghost and the witnesses. Strange sounds, such as footsteps, voices, knocking, and rappings, are common. There may be high levels of humidity at the location, as this seems to be a possible sign that a residual haunting is taking place. It’s been suggested that water embedded in the location may hold a sort of recording of the haunting that is taking place. Residual hauntings will not involve missing or vanished items, as there is no consciousness present. While windows or doors may be opened and closed, it is because of energy expending itself, not because it is physically being manipulated by spirits. The simplest way to explain this kind of activity is to compare it to an old film loop or a recording. It can be a scene or image that plays over and over through the years. Many of the locations where these hauntings take place experience an event (or a series of events) that imprints itself on the atmosphere of the place. This event can suddenly discharge and play itself at various times, just as a recording would. The events are not always visual either. They are often replayed as smells, sounds, and noises that have no apparent explanation. The famed phantom footsteps that are reported at many haunted locations are a perfect example of this. Often, the mysterious sounds or images that are recorded relate to traumatic events that have taken place and that have caused some sort of disturbance (or impression) to occur there. This is the reason why so many battlefields, crime scenes, and areas related to violence have become famous for their hauntings. A residual haunting may not be caused by trauma or violence, though. Sometimes, the image or sound might be created by an event that has been repeated over and over again. These frequent and repetitive releases of energy also seem to be capable of leaving a lasting impression. A good example of this can be realized from the large number of haunted staircases that have been reported over the years in homes and public buildings. It’s possible that because of the number of times that people go up and down these sets of stairs the energy expended leaves a mark on the site. These locations act like giant storage batteries, saving up impressions of sights and sounds from the past. Then, as the years go by, these impressions appear again as if a film projector has started to run. No one seems to know how this might work, but there are many theories. Some theories have connected atmospheric conditions to residual hauntings. It has been suggested that perhaps barometric pressure, or even temperature, may have something to do with hauntings becoming repeatedly active. Some have noticed an increase in paranormal activity in the winter months, when more static electricity is in the air. It might also have something to do with the phases of the moon. Since the full moon has been known to affect the ocean tides, it is possible that it affects hauntings, too. For years, investigators have referred to the stone tape theory as a possible cause for residual hauntings. This idea suggested that the building materials of various structures could absorb the energy and then replay it again later. Researchers noted that most buildings where residual hauntings occurred were older structures. Of course, this could also be explained by the age of the building. The number of people that passed through an old structure over time, and the tapestry of history played out in it, seemed a more convincing reason for the haunting to occur. One of the most promising theories behind residual hauntings involves water. Thousands of haunted places are associated with water. Many of them are on rivers or lakes or have an underground water source nearby. Since water is a great conductor of electricity, perhaps it can be a conductor of paranormal energy as well. This brings us back to the stone tape theory. The main problem with it is that no one has ever found a satisfactory explanation as to how the haunting that is “recorded” on a location occurs, or how the solid fabric of the location was able to retain the energy of the events that took place. A possible answer to this question was discovered by science many years ago and has only recently been introduced into the paranormal field. For well over two centuries, people have been using homeopathic remedies and medicines to a great degree of success. With these medicines, a natural therapeutic agent is given to a person with an illness, but this agent is often so toxic that in order for the person not to be harmed by it, it has to be diluted with water. In fact, the original substance is often diluted to the point that all traces of the agent are effectively removed. The person is given nothing more than ordinary water. It seems impossible that anyone could be cured of an illness using nothing but water, but it happens. The sick become well using homeopathic remedies, which is why they have been used for so long. Scientists ignored this for years, but people continued to use the remedies, not caring how or why they work. Homeopathic medicines remained a mystery until the 1980s, when a respected French scientist named Jacques Benveniste, an expert in the field of allergies, made a strange discovery. In his research, he was studying a type of blood cell involved in allergic reactions called the basophile. When basophiles encounter something that a person is sensitive to, they activate, causing symptoms like red blotches and itching. Benveniste developed a test that could tell whether a person was allergic to something. He added a kind of dye that turned only inactive basophiles blue. In this way, by counting the blue cells, he could determine whether an allergic reaction had taken place. But then something very strange occurred with his experiments. A technician reported that something had apparently gone wrong. A solution had been diluted so strongly that it was at the level of a homeopathic medicine. In other words, it was now just ordinary water. Even so, a reaction had been observed in the basophiles. They reacted exactly as they would have if placed in the presence of the allergen. Suspecting that an error had been made, the experiment was repeated, but once again, the basophiles reacted. Baffled by what seemed to be impossible results, the team carried out hundreds of experiments, but the results remained the same. The water, diluted to the point that all trace of the original substance was removed, continued to react as if the substance was still present. Dr. Benveniste could come to only one conclusion: The water had a memory. The experiment was repeated over and over again and since that time has been carried out by scientists all over the world. Although it remains controversial, most scientists will admit that water molecules do seem to retain a memory of substances that they have been in contact with. This seems to lend credibility to homeopathic remedies and, by extension, to residual hauntings. Water is a component of almost everything. You wouldn’t know it, but an average brick wall, as one example, is made up of nearly 15 percent water. The human body is, of course, largely made up of water, as is the ground under our feet. It’s not hard to imagine that the water that exists within everyday objects could have a memory of events placed into its molecules. It would work in the same way that we have always theorized that events imprint themselves on locations and become residual hauntings. In the case of a homeopathic remedy, it’s necessary for the water to be strongly agitated during the dilution stage, the same stage where the memories are imprinted. When the water is stirred vigorously, a large amount of kinetic energy is being released into the water. The water also develops a slight electromagnetic charge by this motion, and it could be this charge that implants the memory. To take it one step further, we can look at the experiments performed by Dr. Masaru Emoto in the 1990s, during which he observed the physical effect of prayers, music, and environment on the crystalline structure of water. He hired photographers to take pictures of water after being exposed to different emotions. When he screamed or yelled angrily at the water, it froze into harsh, jagged crystals. But when he spoke loving to it, played music, or read peaceful poetry, the water formed beautiful, tranquil crystals. Compare the event of agitating the water with a violent, traumatic, or even repetitive event that occurs and serves to agitate the physical location. It’s possible that this event could leave a memory imprint on the water at this location, just as the chemical compounds and the stirring motions leave an imprint on the water of the homeopathic medicine. We can even take this idea one step further by examining other ghostly activity that has been associated with residual hauntings. Many investigators have discovered through their own research that residual hauntings often seen to fade away over the years, as if the battery that charges them just seems to wear out. If these hauntings are caused due to some sort of water memory, then perhaps the shelf life of the haunting expires as the water begins to evaporate. As the original molecules dry up, the copy of the memory that they hold becomes weaker and weaker. The original molecules may have passed their imprinted memory to neighboring molecules, but with each successive copy, the memory becomes less distinct. This would be similar to making photocopies of a document; each generation of the copy becoming less clear and more damaged that the one that proceeded it. In time, it’s possible that the memory would just disappear altogether. It’s also been noted that residual hauntings often seem to become more active following disturbances caused by renovations or remodeling. Again, a water recording may offer an explanation for this. Inside of some structures, water may be locked in and prevented from evaporating, like inside a wall or in the foundation. Disturbing that may cause the water that has been stored for decades to be released and in this way, allow its memory to be played. This stored water could hold a higher quality copy of the original event, and this new ghost (which, in truth, would be an old one) might make it seem that the location is active again. Once this water also evaporates, the haunting then fades away once more. This certainly seems to give a lot of credence to the idea of residual hauntings and may open an entirely new series of experiments to bolster the credibility of paranormal phenomena. Many of these experiments can be carried out with relatively simple research on the part of the field investigator, making serious observations and measurements of the amount of water present within haunted locations. A basic hygrometer can keep an eye on humidity levels, and meters can be used to measure the amounts of water within the structure of a building. Over time, we may be able to build a database of water and humidity levels at haunted locations and compare them with levels measured at nonhaunted sites. Doing this, we should be able to establish real evidence of residual hauntings. The question remains, though: When we have ghostly figures, strange sounds and smells, how can we tell the difference between a traditional and a residual haunting? In some cases, the two very different types of activity can manifest in similar ways. However, the most important signs will be different. It boils down to the interaction between the haunting and the witnesses. Apparitions that are seen during a residual haunting, which are mere images, will not interact with the witnesses at the location. The apparition will be little more than a moving picture, or it may appear to be completely solid, but will vanish when approached or confronted. It is possible that the images and activity may be atmospheric in nature. The haunting may be influenced by storms, temperature, artificial energy sources, or even the proximity of living persons. These factors may determine when activity occurs, and it is important that a log of activity is kept. In this way, a pattern can be developed as to when activity occurs, and the researcher has a much better chance of experiencing it.

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Signs of Traditional Hauntings

Article / Updated 11-23-2019

The traditional, or intelligent, haunting is perhaps the most widely accepted kind of ghostly activity, although it is not as common as many might think. In this kind of case, the spirit or entity involved is an intelligent or interactive presence in a haunted location. It is there because of a connection to the site or to the people at the location. Most intelligent spirits will manifest in physical ways to try to interact with those at the location: Slamming doors Windows that open and close Cold chills and a strong presence On rare occasions, the spirit will be seen, and when it is, it will most likely look as it did when alive. This ghost is most simply described as the personality, or consciousness, of a person who once lived and has stayed behind in our world instead of passing on at the time of death. This may happen in the case of murder, a traumatic event, a suicide, or even because of some unfinished business in the person’s life. At the time of death, the spirit refused to move on because of these events. The spirits may also linger because of emotions that tie them to the Earth, from anger to love. In other cases, there is the chance that the spirit didn’t even realize they had died. This may occur when a death is sudden or unexpected, like with an accident or a murder. These spirits now consist of the energy that once made up the personality of a living person. Now that the human body is gone, that energy is all that remains. These interactive spirits can be benign or very negative. This might be explained by the fact that they are the personalities of people who were angry or bitter in life. This often explains the types of activity (or behavior) being exhibited at the haunted location. The spirits are simply human personalities and seem to retain the same traits they had when alive. If a person was kind and caring in life, the spirit will be a benevolent one. On the other hand, if that person was angry or cruel, those qualities are likely to manifest. These negative spirits can be frightening and, in rare cases, can actually harm the living. This is generally not the case, though, and most injuries related to haunted houses occur because of physical objects that are moved or when someone injures himself in an accident because of their fear of the phenomena. In the case of the intelligent entity, the variety of phenomena can include knocking and tapping sounds, noises with no logical cause, disturbance of stationary objects, doors slamming, lights turning on and off, and much more. The ghost tends to manifest itself in physical ways, including cold chills and smells. It usually seems to want to bring attention to itself, and such cases can literally drag on for years at a time. As a ghost hunter, you can deal with this kind of haunting in several ways. Because some of these spirits have remained behind because of some sort of incomplete business, it is a hard obstacle to overcome. The spirits may have remained in this world because they have relatives or loved ones that have been left behind. Or they may have left unfinished tasks that they feel cannot be completed by anyone else. They may not rest because of some injustice that was done to them or perhaps because of something as simple as wanting to be around to see their children grow up. It is worth noting is that the annoyance factor in a case like this will be high. It is likely that the spirit will attempt to get the attention of the living occupants of the location. These spirits can be known for hiding objects, moving things about, turning things on and off, and other nuisances that can be compared to a child seeking attention. It is possible that the spirit may by looking for assistance to cross over or to accomplish a certain task. It has also been documented that the spirit may just be seeking the company of the residents or even the investigators in the case. For the most part, the idea of these spirits remaining behind in this world is rather sad, if not tragic. In all our excitement over finding a ghost, we also must keep in mind that many spirits are confused over what has happened to them and may not even realize they are dead. Many of them may have died suddenly. Others may try to cling to life, afraid of letting go of the tangible, material world. Because of this, they are drawn back to places where they experienced joy, peace, and happiness in life. Many of these spirits may just feel too alive to want to pass on to the other side. These ghosts sometimes need help to be convinced that they do not belong here anymore. They can be shown the right way and introduced to the idea that there is more for them in the next world than there remains for them in this one. There are many ways to approach this and, surprisingly, a number of people who are skilled in such matters. They accomplish their tasks in different ways, ranging from simple explanations to perhaps a prayer offered by a clergyman of the spirit’s faith. While this sounds a lot like spiritualism, it isn’t. In such cases, we can historically verify the existence of the ghosts by connecting their current manifestations, and the rare instances when they are actually seen, to the time when they were among the living. We can take the witness accounts of the ghost and compare them to contemporary photographs or descriptions of the person the ghost is alleged to be. This is where history can literally make the case for us and connect a haunting to a person from the past.

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Places to Hunt for Paranormal Activity

Article / Updated 11-23-2019

The following is a list of some of the places where paranormal researchers have had good luck in finding ghosts and hauntings throughout the years. After each category, I noted a couple of locations that we investigated on Ghost Adventures that I felt really illustrated the reason why each of these types of locations made the list. Haunted houses Many private residences, and not just old ones, have a tainted past that may include murder, suicide, or some other tragic event. Many times, these events cause a place to become haunted when the spirits connected to the event choose not to leave. These spirits can be positive or negative and haunted houses boast all kinds of different phenomena. Residual hauntings are also common, especially in older structures. In some cases, the history of the house itself may not reveal the reason the location is haunted. It might be the land itself, which is why many new homes also become the scene of hauntings and unexplained events. Finding a source for the haunting may require researching the history of the land. It may have once been occupied by another house, a building, a farm, or perhaps even an old cemetery. Lemp Mansion In 2014, we investigated the Lemp Mansion and Brewery, along with the Cherokee Cave system that once stored the Lemp’s lager. After years of tragedy and several Lemp family suicides, the house has become known as one of the most haunted places in America. ©Travel Channel. Ghost Adventures at Lemp Mansion. Lizzie Borden House In Fall River, Massachusetts, we were locked inside of the Lizzie Borden house in 2011. This was the scene of one of the most infamous murders in American history. Cemeteries In most cases, ordinary cemeteries are not haunted. They are simply repositories of earthly remains. However, many burial grounds do become haunted. When a house becomes haunted, it is usually because of events that occurred prior to someone’s death, or because of it. A haunted cemetery is the opposite. Hauntings occur because of events that happen after death, including tragic events, desecration of graves, vandalism, and rituals that can open portals within the confines of the cemetery. A tremendous amount of research into cemetery hauntings has been done over the years and, although controversial, these sites remain worthy of further investigation. One thing to be careful of, though, is to check into your state and local laws about entering cemeteries after dark. Some areas expressly forbid it whereas others allow it as long as the cemetery is not posted against trespassing. Be very careful to make sure that you are not breaking the law. Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery In 2012, we took part in an incredibly active investigation at what’s been called one of the most haunted burial grounds in America. It is a haunting caused by grave desecration, grave robbery, and devil-worshipping rituals. Concordia Cemetery We traveled to El Paso, Texas, in 2017 to investigate this haunted cemetery where countless ritual jars are left on graves and where “Night Stalker” serial killer Richard Ramirez was introduced to the occult rituals and devil worship. Theaters The entire range of the human emotion is expressed inside of a theater and this seems to attract spirits who use this energy to manifest. A theater also inspires a lot of devotion from the people who work and perform in them, causing many of them to remain behind after their deaths. The saying goes that “every good theater has a ghost” and many theaters are prime locations for all kinds of spirits. You can normally expect two very different types of hauntings in these locations, both traditional haunts, and residual ones. Thanks to the massive expressing of energy that goes on inside of the buildings, you can expect to hear reports of ghostly footsteps, phantom applause, voices, laughter, and more. All these phenomena normally signal that residual energy is present. You should also take note of the hundreds of stories about haunted theaters where the ghosts of former actors and staff members linger, which makes them a favorite spot for many ghost-hunters. Yost Theatre We did a lockdown at the Yost Theatre in Santa Ana, California, in 2013. This venue that dates back to the early 1900s now plays host to some of the world’s best electronic DJs and also, a number of spirits. Silent Movie Theatre In Los Angeles, in 2017, we took part in a lockdown at the infamous Silent Movie Theatre on Fairfax Avenue. During the investigation, information emerged about the double-murder of the theater’s owner and a candy counter girl, about the strange death of a silent film preservationist who lived at the theater, and we made contact with deceased actor Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. Ghost towns You don’t have to believe in spirits to enjoy a visit to one of the ghost towns that can still be found across the western landscape of the United States, but you may become a believer if you do. The abandoned mining towns and once-thriving settlements of the region were once filled with people, along with their hopes and dreams. But fires, disasters, deaths, and mines that eventually stopped producing forced the residents to move on to better places. Today, these towns exist as collections of buildings and other structures telling the story of years gone by. The chaos, violence, and desperation of long ago have left an impression on these places and hauntings from the past, as well as former residents themselves, often linger behind. Bannack Ghost Town In 2014, Ghost Adventures traveled to Montana and the ghost town of Bannack, which is now a state park. We investigated Hotel Meade, the former site of the county courthouse of Beaverhead County. During the lockdown, we included more buildings, including the “crying baby house,” which was believed to be used as a quarantine hospital to isolate children with scarlet fever, the old Methodist church, the saloon, the schoolhouse, and also the pond where a teenage girl drowned in 1916. Virginia City, Nevada In the original documentary film, Ghost Adventures, we traveled to Virginia City to investigation the most haunted locations in the ghost town — the Silver Queen Hotel, the Old Washoe Club, the Virginia City Cemetery, and a cabin near the Yellow Jacket Mine. That visit turned out to be so compelling that we returned in 2011 and were locked down at the St. Mary’s Art Center, the Silver Queen Hotel, and the Miner’s Cabin at the Yellow Jacket Mine. We returned to the Washoe Club once more in 2018 for a chilling exchange with the spirits. Our visits to ghost towns have produced some of our most compelling evidence. Schools and colleges Many schools have had tragic events that had led to hauntings. Some may be caused by deaths on campus, either those of students or staff members, whereas others may be caused by the energy that lingers from having so many young people clustered together. The best way to pursue ghost stories and sightings at a college is to pass the word to a student or two that you are interested in hearing their stories or by talking to someone on the security or maintenance staff. Teachers and custodians are the best contacts for other schools. Keep in mind that ghostlore plays a big role in the alleged hauntings on every campus. Nearly every school has a local legend or rumor about a murdered co-ed, a vanished student, or a death that never actually occurred. They make great stories for late night parties but don’t have much resemblance to reality. Do not dismiss such stories entirely, though. They may still have some element of the truth to them as explanations for a genuine haunting that is taking place. Lewis Flats School In 2018, we investigated the mysterious Lewis Flats School in Deming, New Mexico, which was located on land that is haunted by the spirits of the Apache, who waged a violent struggle against settlers in the region in the 19th century. Albion Normal School One of the most sinister schools that we have investigated was the Albion State Normal School in Idaho, where we did a lockdown in 2017. The school was believed to contain dark energy, caused by occult graffiti, which was affecting the staff. During an interview, both investigator Jay Wasley and the witness were marked by strange symbols that appeared behind their ears. Haunted hotels Thousands of people pass through the hotels and motels in every city and small town each year. With all those people coming and going, it is not hard to imagine that there may be a ghost or two around. A little investigation into the history of an older hotel may find that a suicide or murder has taken place there. Even newer hotels often have events that occur, including murders, rapes, assaults, and mysterious deaths. Each of these emotional events can certainly leave a haunting behind. Many investigators believe that residual hauntings are like “leaving a little piece of yourself behind” and hotels are the perfect place for this to occur. Keep in mind that unless your location is a historical bed and breakfast, an abandoned motel, or an old hotel that advertises its ghosts, asking at the front desk may not do an investigator much good when trying to secure a haunted room for the night. The best way to find out about stories that are not so well known — and which room may have an otherworldly occupant — is to ask one of the maintenance staff or the housekeeping workers. You just might discover they have a good story to tell. Be prepared to spend some money, though. You can’t investigate a haunted hotel without spending the night there. Stanley Hotel Most people know the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, as the inspiration for Stephen King’s book, The Shining, but the hotel is truly haunted. In 2010, we investigated the hotel and found that its reputation as a haunted place is well deserved. Crescent Hotel This historic hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, is considered one of the most haunted places in the country. For years it was a resort hotel, but later it became a cancer hospital operated by a phony doctor named Norman Baker. Hundreds died there and left many restless ghosts behind. We investigated the hotel in 2019, captured a curtain moving on its own, and made contact with an active and very notorious spirit. Battlefields and crime scenes These two types of locations go hand-in-hand. They are linked because of the tragedy that occurs at both kinds of sites. These locations deal with a sudden loss of life and this can sometimes cause a spirit to linger behind in confusion. There have been many cases over the years of spirits who reportedly did not realize they were dead or whose life ended so abruptly they did not cross over. The tragedy and the trauma involved can also create residual hauntings as the terrible events reply themselves over and over again. Many witnesses report seeing lines of troops on battlefields, still marching to battle, or hearing the sounds of guns, screams, and cries from long ago. Perryville Battlefield Although not as famous as other American battlefields, we found that this battlefield in Kentucky is just as haunted. Perryville was the scene of the most destructive Civil War battle in the state, ending with more than seven thousand men wounded, killed, or missing. The battle marked the South’s last serious attempt to gain possession of Kentucky and today, is one of the most unaltered Civil War sites in the country. Freakshow Murder House Few places are as sinister as a murder site, which we discovered in 2017. We investigated the scene of a 1996 double murder in Los Angeles’s Chatsworth neighborhood. During the lockdown, we tried to help the current owners of the house, who sell and store oddity antiques in the house, by gathering evidence of paranormal activity. Hospitals and asylums Working hospitals frequently have tales of ghosts and hauntings they are no doubt the hardest places for any researcher to get into for an investigation. In many cases, even getting permission to hear the anecdotes from people who work there among the spirits is difficult. Hundreds of hospitals have resident ghosts — from phantom nuns to spectral patients — but getting anyone to talk about them is nearly impossible. Most investigations at locations that fit into this category must be done after the hospital has closed down. Spirits are said to linger behind at scores of abandoned hospitals and mental institutions. It seems that the former residents have left an impression behind, especially in cases of mental disturbance or extreme tragedy, when both residual impressions and conscious entities can leave an indelible mark. Waverly Hills Sanitorium This former tuberculosis hospital in Louisville, Kentucky, has definitely earned its reputation for being extremely haunted. In 2010, we did a lockdown at the hospital for search for evidence of the spirits that remained behind from the thousands of patients who died there. We were not disappointed. Rolling Hills Asylum Also, in 2010, Ghost Adventures went to Bethany, New York, for a lockdown at this haunted former asylum. During its years in operation, the homeless, alcoholics, orphans, tuberculosis patients, and the criminally insane all took refuge at Rolling Hills. The led the building to become a mixing pot of tragic cases and dark personalities, which has led to the haunting of today. Jails and prisons When compiling any sort of list of the most haunted places in America, prisons and jails fall high on the chart. The amount of trauma, pain, and terror experienced by men who are incarcerated often leaves a lasting impression behind. The horrible events carried out by such men, which led to them being locked away from society — along with the horrible events that occur behind prison walls — often cause the spirits of the men who lived and died behind bars to linger behind. America’s prisons, jails, and reformatories can be terrifying places for those in this world and the next. Alcatraz This “escape proof” location is one of the most famous prisons in American history, but it is also one of the most haunted. Dubbed the “Evil Island” by Native Americans in the region, “The Rock” served as a federal prison from 1933 until 1963, housing some of the most infamous criminals in American history, like Al Capone, George “Machine Gun” Kelly, and the “Birdman of Alcatraz,” Robert Franklin Stroud. It has been plagued by tales of inmates tortured by unseen entities, as well as dozens of ghosts. We had many strange experiences while on Alcatraz in 2013, especially in the solitary confinement Cell 13, where an entity with glowing red eyes may have been responsible for the death of an inmate. Yuma Territorial Prison In 2016, we investigated what has been called the “Hell Hole Prison.” The Yuma Territorial Prison earned the nickname thanks to the intense heat of the location and the inhumane punishments that the inmates faced for even the smallest infractions. Our lockdown that night included contact with former inmates who perished under such inhumane conditions.

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10 of the Most Haunted Places in America

Article / Updated 11-23-2019

Ghosts are out there. That has been the point of Ghost Adventures all these years — to find that evidence, to experience that place, to come face-to-face with the spirit world and to tell our fans all about it. We have searched the country for haunted locations and found places that are rife with paranormal activity. I have compiled a list of what I believe are some of the most haunted places that I have personally encountered. Read on — or better yet, visit them — if you dare. Goldfield Hotel In the almost ghost town of Goldfield, Nevada, is the historic and very haunted Goldfield Hotel. The hotel opened in 1908 to great fanfare. Considered to be the most luxurious hotel between Chicago and San Francisco, the Goldfield Hotel appealed to society’s upper crust, making it an immediate success. Soon after the hotel opened, it was sold to George Wingfield, primary owner of the Goldfield Consolidated Mines Company, and hotel entrepreneur, Casey McDannell, who managed and operated the hotel. Reportedly, several ghosts are at the old hotel, the most famous of which is a woman named Elizabeth. According to the legend, Elizabeth was a prostitute that George Wingfield visited frequently. When she turned up pregnant, she claimed the child was Wingfield’s, who for a while paid her to stay away, fearful of how the scandal might affect his business affairs. However, when she could no longer hide the pregnancy, Wingfield was said to have lured her into room 109 of the hotel, where he chained her to a radiator. Supplied with food and water, she was left there until her child could be born. Some say that Elizabeth died in childbirth, but others contend that Wingfield murdered her after the child was born. Her baby was then thrown into an old mining shaft. Afterwards, rumors abounded that Elizabeth continued to visit Wingfield, and the sound of a crying child could sometimes be heard coming from the depths of the hotel. The legends state that Elizabeth’s apparition has been seen with long flowing hair, wearing a white gown, and looking terribly sad as she walks the hallways, calling out to her child. Others have reported her being sighted in room 109, which is often described as being intensely cold. Elizabeth does not walk the hotel alone. Ghosts of two suicides haunt rooms on the third floor. Near the lobby staircase, the spirits of children are said to play pranks on visitors. And then there is the ghost of George Wingfield himself, who makes his presence known with cigar smoke. Many believe that the Goldfield Hotel is a gateway to the next world. True or not, it has more than its share of strange phenomena, including footsteps, unexplained noises, and even poltergeist activity, as was seen during one of the Ghost Adventures investigations of the building. Washoe Club During the days when Nevada’s Comstock Lode was turning miners into millionaires, the Washoe Club in Virginia City was created by mining magnates, artists, and writers as a place of luxury. It soon gained a reputation throughout the West as a place to find extravagant accommodations, but it began as an idea. From February 1875 through 1881, the Washoe Club went through various stages of prosperity. A disastrous underground fire in 1881 wreaked havoc on the production of mines and on the ability of the Washoe Club members to continue to indulge in luxury. A number of ghostly stories — and first-hand accounts —surround this place. The notoriety of the Club as an actively haunted place began back when the first Ghost Adventures documentary film aired on television. It included a scene at the Washoe Club where an apparition walked across the floor for a mind-boggling seven seconds. There are tales of a brothel that used to be on an upper floor. The story goes that a blonde prostitute was murdered on the third floor, and her killer took his own life in despair. There was also a young girl allegedly killed in the basement. Many have reported seeing the ghost of the prostitute on the spiral staircase that once led up the wealthy men’s club upstairs. In fact, she has been seen so many times that patrons of the new club began calling her Lena. She has also been seen in front of the wall across from the bar. Anyone who visits the Washoe Club will take something away with them — whether it is an appreciation of the history or a paranormal encounter. It is a place where I have never been disappointed. Crescent Hotel In the remote resort town of Eureka Springs, Arkansas, stands the gothic Crescent Hotel. Called by some the Grand Old Lady of the Ozarks, the hotel has served as many things over the years, and yet strangely, each incarnation has contributed to the legion of phantoms believed to walk the corridors of the building. The Crescent Hotel was built on the ridge of West Mountain between 1884 and 1886. The Crescent Hotel drew people from all over the country for the next decade, but as times changed, the wealthy began to have less interest in the “healing waters” and business for the entire town began to decline. In an effort to keep the hotel open, it was used as the Crescent College and Conservatory for Young Women, starting in 1908. The school became an exclusive academy for wealthy young ladies. The school closed in 1924, and the hotel shut down five years later. On July 31, 1937, the hotel was sold to Dr. Norman Baker, a quack and flim-flam artist who claimed to have a cure for cancer. He spent a grand sum remodeling it into a hospital and then moved in with his medical staff and 144 patients. While scores of patients succumbed to their cancer, no reports exist to say that anyone was actually killed by Baker’s treatments. Local rumor, however, had a different story to tell. The legends say that when remodeling was done at the hotel in later years, dozens of human skeletons were discovered hidden within the walls. Truth or fiction, federal authorities caught up with Baker, and he was charged with using the mail to defraud the public about his false medical claims. He was convicted in 1940 and sentenced to four years in Leavenworth. The hospital closed, and Baker vanished into history. The brooding old hotel stayed closed until 1946, when new investors took it over and began trying to restore the building. It wasn’t long before the ghost stories began. Staff members began to receive frequent reports of strange happenings in the rooms and hallways. Guests have awakened in the night to find figures standing over them. Spirits have been seen sitting quietly in the lobby, vanishing when approached. A woman in a nurse’s uniform has been seen pushing a gurney down a hallway later at night. An apparition near the staircase has been identified as Norman Baker himself, perhaps still trapped in the building where he harmed so many sick and dying people. Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum The story of the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, formerly Weston State Hospital, is a familiar one in the long line of woeful tales from American asylums. It was a designed to provide a safe place for the mentally ill, and like so many others, began with good intentions, only to become overcrowded and undesirable in the 20th century. But if one thing sets this place apart from others like it, even those with a reputation for being haunted, it is that the place once known as the Weston State Hospital is said to be infested with ghosts. When the Civil War began in April 1861, the Weston State Hospital was still in the early stages of construction. Weston was invaded by the Seventh Ohio Volunteer Infantry, who used portions of the completed hospital as a camp. During the war, the area where Weston was located became part of the newly organized West Virginia, which provided funds for work on the hospital after the war. The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum was finally completed in 1881. Its name was changed to Weston State Hospital in 1913 in an effort to remove the stigma caused by the words “lunatic” and “asylum.” Originally designed to house just 250 inmates in peaceful solitude, the hospital held 717 patients by 1880. The numbers continued to climb into the 1950s, when more than 2,600 patients were packed into filthy, overcrowded conditions. The asylum was overcrowded, which led to other problems, including violence. By the 1980s, the hospital’s population was finally reduced due to changes in the treatment of mental illness. The hospital was finally closed in 1994 and sold at auction in 2007. New owners renovated the crumbling building and began offering historic tours. After the construction work began — and the tourists began to arrive — those who spent any amount of time in the asylum began to realize that the living were not alone in the old hospital. The dead were present, and they were making themselves known. The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum was made up of different wards to facilitate the treatment of various kinds of patients. On the third floor, Wards C and F held the more physically violent men and women, with only a single locked door separating the two wards from each other. Many who have visited Ward F have reported being touched on the shoulder, pinched, or had their clothing pulled and hearing, whispers and, most eerily, the sound of the creaking wheels of gurneys being pushed down the empty corridors. In Ward 2, located on the second floor, victims of a double suicide and a brutal stabbing have been said to wander the dark hallways, their dragging footsteps clearly being heard as they shuffle along the dark passageway. Witnesses claim to experience an icy grip of cold as the footsteps brush past, only dissipating when the sound is no longer heard. If a single floor is more infamous than all others, it’s the fourth floor, which was reportedly haunted even in the days when the Weston State Hospital was still in operation. The sounds of banging, footsteps, maniacal laughter, and haunting screams have been heard all over the floor. It is a place known to be so eerie that hospital workers refused to go up to the fourth floor without an escort. One of the haunts of the fourth floor is said to be the spirit of a nurse. Legend has it that she was murdered decades ago by a patient who hid her body in an unused stairwell for nearly two months before her body was discovered. Without a doubt, the most famous lingering spirit of Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum is that of the young girl who has come to be called Lilly. She appears to be a child, perhaps three or four years of age. She wanders the hallways of the old hospital and seems particularly active when visitors ask her to play. No one knows who she was, although numerous legends surround this lost little soul. A tour guide playfully rolled a ball down a hallway for her one night, only to have it abruptly change directions and return to them by some unseen force. Queen Mary The Queen Mary, shown in the following figure, was commissioned in 1934 and for many years was the undisputed ruler of the oceans. She set sail on her maiden voyage in May 1936 and quickly became known as the ultimate form of international travel. In 1939, the British government commandeered Queen Mary into military service. They gave her a coat of gray paint and started using her to transport troops. The Queen Mary was able to avoid the enemy torpedoes during the war, she was unable to avoid tragedy. The horrific event occurred on October 2, 1942. The ship was sailing on a choppy ocean around the north of Ireland. She carried 10,000 American soldiers, bound for the Clyde River, where the men would disembark. Tragically, Queen Mary collided with a British warship, HMS Curacoa, killing 338 of the men on the other vessel. Queen Mary suffered only minor damage, and there were no injuries aboard the liner. After that, she served unscathed for the remainder of the war. Her post-war service was largely uneventful. In October 1967, Queen Mary steamed away from England for the last time. She ended her 39-day journey in Long Beach, California. The city had purchased the old liner, and she would be permanently docked as a floating hotel, convention center, museum, restaurant — and one of the most haunted places in America. In addition to the wartime accident that caused Queen Mary to collide with another ship, other mishaps and bizarre deaths aboard claimed lives and left lingering spirits behind. Several members of the crew who died in various bizarre accidents are claimed to haunt the ship. A woman in white haunts Queen Mary, usually lurking around the main lounge in a white, backless evening gown. The stories say that she usually strolls over to the grand piano as if listening to music only she can hear or dances alone for a few moments before vanishing without a trace. Security guards, crew, staff members, and visitors have all been troubled by incidents that seem to have no explanation. Doors open and close on their own. They are locked one moment and then standing wide open the next, triggering alarms in the security office. This happens most often near the swimming pool and while the guards always look for the intruders, no one is ever found. Other reports of unexplained happenings include strange noises like footsteps when no one is there, banging and hammering like work being done on equipment, voices, cold spots, inexplicable winds that blow through areas that are closed off, lights that turn on and off, and more. The strange events aboard Queen Mary continue, and it seems certain that events of the past have left an indelible impression on the decks, corridors, and cabins of the ship. They repeat themselves, over and over again, and create a haunting that is rivaled by few others in the annals of the supernatural. Pennhurst State School The sprawling Pennhurst State School and Hospital was one of many mental hospitals that became overcrowded. It had opened in 1908 as the Eastern Pennsylvania Institution for the Feeble Minded and Epileptic. It was meant to be self-sufficient, a small community of its own with a power plant, farm, hospital, morgue, barber shop, and firehouse. It had been designed to house no more than 500 patients, but by 1912, the institution was severely overcrowded, and staff members were unable to give proper care to each patient. This led to terrible abuses. Mistreatment and inhumane and dangerous conditions continued until 1968, when a new report about the hospital inspired a legal fight to correct the problems. The case went on for almost two decades before Pennhurst was finally closed. When one considers the dark and harrowing past of the institution, it comes as no surprise that the Shame of Pennsylvania” has a reputation of being one of the most haunted places in the country. Today, the old asylum is shrouded in ghost tales and reports of paranormal activity. Visitors have claimed to hear voices, shrieks, and murmurs of pain from former inmates of the facility. The hauntings are terrifying for multiple reasons. Aside from the typical fear of the paranormal, the ghosts of Pennhurst serve as a collective reminder of just how cruel society can be toward its own members. Numerous investigations have taken place at Pennhurst — including those conducted by Ghost Adventures — and evidence of spirits has been obtained in the form of video, photographs, and eerie messages through EVP. Shadow figures and apparitions have been seen in various buildings. Objects have been hurled through the air, and many visitors claim to have been touched, pushed, and pinched by unseen hands. Some have also reported hearing the sounds of sinks being turned on and toilets flushing, even though no running water or bathroom fixtures are in the building. Bobby Mackey’s Music World The building that stands today as Bobby Mackey’s Music World has a long and bloody history in the northern Kentucky and Cincinnati area. It started out as a slaughterhouse in the 1850s. Only a well that was dug in the basement, where blood and refuse from the animals was drained, remains from the original building. The slaughterhouse closed in the early 1890s, but it gained lasting notoriety a few years later after the decapitated body of a young woman named Pearl Bryan was found nearby. The murder trials that followed were some of the most spectacular in the state and led to the hanging of the two killers. The murderers refused to say what had happened to Pearl’s head. Many believe it vanished into the well at the slaughterhouse. After the murder, the building was silent and empty for many years. It was eventually torn down, and a roadhouse was constructed on the site. During the 1920s, it was a speakeasy and popular gambling joint. After Prohibition ended in 1933, the building was purchased by E.A. Brady, who turned the building into a thriving tavern and casino. After pressure from mobsters in Cincinnati that led to voilence, Brady sold out to the gangsters. The building re-opened as a nightclub called the Latin Quarter. It was during this period that the legends about the building gained another vengeful ghost. According to the stories, the daughter of the club’s owner, a young woman named Johanna, fell in love with one of the singers who was performing there and became pregnant. Her father had the singer killed. Johanna became so distraught that she attempted to poison her father. She failed but did succeed in taking her own life. Her body was later discovered in the basement of the club. According to the autopsy report, she was five months pregnant at the time. Business did not fare well after this. During the early 1950s, new owners of the bar were arrested several times on gambling charges. In the 1970s, it became known as the Hard Rock Café, but authorities closed it down in early 1978 because of some fatal shootings on the premises. In 1978, Bobby and Janet Mackey purchased the bar. Carl Lawson was the first employee hired by Bobby Mackey. He lived alone in an apartment in the upstairs and began reporting that he was seeing and hearing bizarre things in the club. Lights turned on and off, the jukebox turned on by itself, even when unplugged, and doors unlocked on their own. The first ghost that Lawson spotted in the place was that of a dark, very angry man behind the bar. A short time later, Lawson began to experience visions of a spirit who called herself “Johanna.” She would often speak to Lawson, and he was able to answer her and carry on conversations. The rumors quickly started that Lawson was “talking to himself.” Lawson claimed that Johanna was a tangible presence, though, often leaving the scent of roses in her wake. Odd sounds and noises often accompanied the sightings, and Lawson soon realized that the spirits seemed to be the strongest in the basement, near an old-sealed up well that had been left from the days when there was a slaughterhouse at the location. Although he wasn’t a particularly religious man, Lawson decided to sprinkle some holy water on the old well one night, thinking that it might bring some relief from the spirits. Instead, it seemed to provoke them, and the activity in the building began to escalate. Stories from staff members and customers attracted the attention of writers and ghost enthusiasts, who came to regard the bar as a place they had to visit, at least once. Many came and were too frightened to return. Strange activity continues to occur at Bobby Mackey’s Music World, despite several attempted exorcisms of the site. It’s as though the dark and bloody history of this place refuses to let go of the hold that it maintains on the present. And that bloody past will likely continue reaching out from the grave for many years to come. Winchester Mystery House Legend has it that the story of the Winchester Mansion, shown in the following figure, began after the death of the husband and daughter of Sarah Pardee Winchester, a young woman from a wealthy New Haven, Connecticut, family. Her husband, William, was the heir to the Winchester rifle fortune and left his widowed bride very well off. After the death of William and their daughter, Annie, Sarah became a recluse, teetering on madness. She grieved deeply, and like many others at the time, she visited a spiritualist medium, hoping for comfort. However, the medium had a dire warning for her — there was a curse on the family, caused by the thousands of deaths attributed to the repeating rifle that the Winchester company had invented. Sarah was told that she needed to start a new life and build a home for the spirits that had fallen because of the terrible weapon. If she continued to build the house, she would live. If she stopped, she would die. Shortly after the séance, Sarah sold her home in New Haven and, with a vast fortune at her disposal, moved west to California. In the Santa Clara Valley in 1884 she found a six-room home under construction and convinced the owner to sell it to her, along with the many acres of land that it rested on. She tossed away any previous plans for the house and started building. For the next 36 years, they built and rebuilt, altered and changed, and constructed and demolished one section of the house after another. Sarah remained a recluse in San Jose. In all the years that she lived in the city; she was only seen outside her walls one time. In April 1906, the house was badly damaged by the San Francisco earthquake. It took workmen hours to rescue Sarah from the room in which she had been sleeping. On September 4, 1922, Sarah died in her sleep at the age of 83. In time, the house was sold as a tourist attraction. It initially was advertised as having 148 rooms, but the floor plan was so confusing that every time a room count was taken, a different total came up. Today, the house has been declared a California Historical Landmark and is registered with the National Park Service as “a large, odd dwelling with an unknown number of rooms.” Based on the haunting activity that is still reported there, the Winchester Mystery House seems to have more than its share of ghosts. Some of the first paranormal reports occurred back in the 1970s, when visitors and staff members began reporting strange sounds, footsteps, and voices that could not be explained. Staff members have the most compelling tales of spirits in the house. Many of them have claimed to see the ghost of Sarah herself among the maze of rooms. A security guard for the house once admitted that they often have a lot of false alarms at the house, with the security system being tripped, even though no one is ever found inside. Strangely, when they go to investigate, the alarms are usually found to have been triggered from the inside, even though the exterior alarms have not been bothered. Security guards have also reported banging doors, mysterious voices, cold spots, and doorknobs that turn by themselves. There is no question that this is one of the most unusual homes in the entire country, and, if all the stories are to be believed, it is one of the most haunted houses, too. Waverly Hills Sanitorium America was Tuberculosis ravaged America during the 1800s and early 1900s. The idea of seeking “healthy air” gave rise to the expansion of sanatoriums. Hundreds of thousands of people perished within the walls of the hundreds of hospitals, which could be found in almost every town, county, and state across America. In 1900, Louisville, Kentucky, had one of the highest tuberculosis death rates in America. To try to contain the disease, plans were made for a two-story wooden sanatorium on a windswept hill in southern Jefferson County. The land where the hospital was built had been purchased by Major Thomas H. Hays in 1883, and he constructed his family home on the hilltop. He called it Waverly Hill. An initial wooden hospital, with open air pavilions and tents for the patients, opened in 1910. It eventually proved inadequate. More construction was completed, but it was not until 1924 that work began on the Waverly Hills Sanatorium that still stands today. It opened two years later. Treatments for tuberculosis were sometimes as bad as the disease itself. While the patients who survived both the disease and the treatments left Waverly Hills through the front door, many others left through what came to be known as the “body chute.” This tunnel was constructed at the same time as the main building, and it traveled 500 feet to the railroad tracks at the bottom of the hill. The tunnel allowed workers to enter and exit the hospital and supplies to be transported to the hospital. Staff members began using the motorized cart to discreetly lower the bodies to the bottom of the hill and into waiting hearses or onto a passing train. Some claim that tens of thousands died there, but records show that approximately 6,000 people died at Waverly Hills between 1911 and 1961. It may not be as many as some legends claim, but it is still a tremendous number of deaths to have occurred in a single structure. Waverly Hills closed in 1961. A year later, the hospital reopened as Woodhaven Geriatrics Sanitarium. The reputation of the place suffered after allegations of abuse and patient mistreatment. Budget cuts led to horrible conditions, and in 1982, the facility was closed by the state of Kentucky. The buildings and land were auctioned off and changed hands many times over the course of the next two decades. It was finally sold to the current owners in 2001. The former hospital soon gained a reputation for being haunted, and stories began to circulate of resident ghosts. Visitors told of slamming doors, lights in the windows when no power was in the building, strange sounds, and eerie footsteps in empty rooms. Perhaps the greatest — and most controversial — legend of Waverly Hills was connected to the fifth floor of the building. Room 502 is where, according to the stories, people had seen shapes moving in the windows and had heard disembodied voices. According to the stories, a unmarried and pregnant nurse committed suicide by hanging herself from the light fixture in room 502 in 1928. In 1932, another nurse who worked in the same room jumped from the roof to her death. Literally hundreds of paranormal investigations have been conducted at Waverly Hills, including those with the Ghost Adventures crew. Visitors, volunteers, and investigators have experienced ghostly sounds, heard slamming doors, saw lights appear in the building when there should have been none, had objects thrown at them, have been struck by unseen hands, have seen apparitions in doorways and corridors, and much more. This place can turn just about anyone into a believer in ghosts. The Haunted Museum I don’t think that I could have picked a better location for The Haunted Museum, shown in the following figure. The 1938 mansion, owned by prominent Las Vegas businessman Cyril S. Wengert, already had a history of ghosts when I bought it. Soon after, I heard from the State Bar of Nevada — the attorneys who owned the place — that the house was very haunted. I knew right then that my prayers of finding a historic building had been answered. I got inside and realized the first time I walked through it that I could feel spirits. And then I learned that all the employees would line their offices with salt at the door because many of them had been personally affected by attachments that followed them home. I have since discovered that the house was abandoned in the ’70s and it became known as the “witch house” because of the dark rituals that took place in the basement. My interest in a museum dates back to my initial interest in the paranormal as a child. For 15 years before opening The Haunted Museum, I traveled the world investigating the paranormal. The objects I have collected are placed in the museum in a way that hopefully doesn’t put people at risk, but I can’t guarantee that. That’s why everyone who comes in must sign a waiver. Since the museum has been open, hundreds — probably thousands — of people have been affected by the objects inside. But people are aware of the risk when they enter the rooms. The Haunted Museum is a collection of dark and light, and it’s a place of curiosity for people to come and maybe have an experience.

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10 Signs Your House Is Haunted

Article / Updated 11-21-2019

Wondering whether your house is haunted? When strange things begin to happen in the average person’s home, they start looking for an explanation. The first thing to do is to try to see whether the strange noises and other occurrences that you believe are taking place have a natural explanation. Do you have window leaks that might cause cold drafts? Could the footsteps in the attic be caused by mice? Try not to let your imagination run away with you. This is easy to say and much harder to do. People are frightened by the unknown and by things that they don’t understand. Before you start ghost hunting, try to relax and keep your eyes and ears open for anything on the following list of signs that could mean your house is haunted. Unexplained temperature drops One of the easiest ways to tell whether spirits are present in your home is by paying attention to the temperature. If you experience unpredictable shifts in temperature, this could mean that you are indeed in the presence of an otherworldly entity. The reason for this is pretty straightforward. Ghosts require energy, and when they are present, they pull energy from the environment. Accordingly, their presence is directly associated with sudden drops of temperature. Electrical glitches Electrical glitches can include anything from ringing phones with no one on the other end of the line to flicking lights, televisions that turn on an off, and more. Problems with electricity is a classic clue that reveals a ghostly presence is nearby. Ghosts exist within another dimension and need conduits to make contact, which is why audio and video recording devices have become so well-known as methods of communicating with the spirits. Unusual smells One of the most common ways to identify the presence of a ghost is through scent. Ghostly smells will usually be somewhat familiar, like perfume, flowers, or the distinctive aroma of pipe tobacco. Sometimes, the scents can be less pleasant, like that of sulfur, which has been connecting to negative hauntings. The smells can manifest and then disappear with no explanation. Movement of objects If you start seeing doors open and close or notice that things seem to disappear from one part of the house only to show up in another, unrelated spot, you may have a ghost. It is not often that ghosts build enough energy to interact with physical objects, but it does happen. Unidentifiable sounds The clomping sounds of boots on the staircase, footsteps going up and down hallways, and disembodied voices in the night are all signs that your house is likely haunted. While strange sounds are often more closely connected to residual hauntings, it is also possible that you have a spirit on your hands who wants your attention. Odd behavior from your pets If your pet begins spending an inordinate amount of time in a certain area of your home or having a reaction to something that is unseen by you, then it is very possible they are making contact with a paranormal entity. Animals can pick up on sounds, smells, and sights that are not detectable to humans. In addition, dogs are also known to foresee imminent earthquakes, tornadoes, and other natural phenomena. So, it is no surprise that your pet can also feel the presence of a ghost. Feelings of a nearby presence Many people who find themselves living in a haunted house will speak of feeling a presence in the house that they cannot explain. This may manifest as feeling someone standing over your shoulder, close behind you, or even in the room with you when you can see no one is there. It is also possible to feel as though you are being watched, wherever you go in the house. It is possible that a spirit is trying to make contact with you but is unable to get your attention in any other way. Sensation of being touched Ghosts also try to get your attention through touch, perhaps a tug on your hair, a touch on your shoulder, or, in more negative situations, a push on a staircase, scratches, bruises, or worse. If this is something that you start experiencing in your home, then it is very possible that you have an unwanted presence there. Seeing shadows and movement If you suddenly start seeing the apparition of a person standing in a corner, who vanishes when approached, it has become very obvious that you have a ghost situation. Most sightings will be much more subtle, though. You may start to see flickers of movement out of the corner of your eye, but when you look straight at the spot, nothing is there. You might also see shadows that do not belong, moving in the opposite direction of the light. If this becomes a common occurrence, you may have spirits in the house. Feelings of depression and sadness When you have feelings of overwhelming sadness and depression in your home, it may not just be because of your mental state. There may be an outside influence, especially when the feelings tend to go away once you leave the house. In many cases of negative and oppressive hauntings, homeowners are plagued by heavy feelings and depression, which cannot be easily explained. This may be a clear sign that something is wrong with your property. Actions you can take If you are experiencing any, or most, of the items on this list, then it is possible that your house may be haunted. If you can, try to determine whether your possible ghostly activity has a natural cause. Keep a log or journal The next thing to do is to keep a log or journal of any activity that occurs in the house. This is a great way to not only recall the events when they are fresh in your mind but also to see whether a pattern of activity exists. In your log or journal, record the following details: The exact time and date when the activity occurred Everyone who was present and what they experienced The weather conditions at the time Discovering a pattern to the events can help find a cause for them later on, or it may reveal a natural cause of the activity, such as the furnace kicking on at a certain time or a nearby freight train passing by. If the activity is determined to be genuine, it will make it easier to decide on the best time or day for a paranormal investigation. Decide what you want to do That brings us to the next decision you will need to make. You can either learn to live with the novelty of a ghost in your house, or you can get in touch with a legitimate paranormal researcher to help you understand it better. You may be unwilling to share your house with a ghost and want to get rid of it. If that is the case, an investigation team can help you determine the veracity and extent of the haunting first. Contact a qualified paranormal investigator It is now time to get in touch with a qualified paranormal investigator who can come into your home and determine what sort of activity is taking place. This is not as easy as it sounds. Hundreds of websites on the Internet claim to be affiliated with paranormal research, and it would seem that you have scores of ghost-hunters to choose from. Unfortunately, this is not the case. But the following is a bit of helpful information that can help that may help you choose an investigation team for your home. Make sure that they have a telephone number to make contact with. Also, make sure that the contact information on their website lists a first and last name of the persons who are actually doing the investigations. Try to determine from the website whether the investigators are someone that you would like to have in your home. Remember, the website is the method of advertising that they chose to offer their services through, and if the site is questionable, the ghost-hunters might be, too. Anyone can put up a website, but the quality of the material on it will speak volumes about who is behind it. Legitimate investigators will not charge for their services. If you are asked to pay for an investigation, then you should look for someone else. Only services that produce concrete and tangible results are worthy of payment, and paranormal research is too unpredictable for that. In most cases, very little may occur in an investigation, and no one should be expected to pay for that. Once you believe you have found an investigator that you are comfortable with, you need to check his qualifications for an investigation. Ask how long he has been involved in paranormal research and about investigations in the past, especially those involving private residences. Once you have a ghost-hunter to work with, they will need to determine whether an on-site investigation of your home is needed. They will do this by asking a lot of questions and will need to know that you have already tried to rule out natural explanations for the phenomena and perhaps even that you have compiled dates and times for the reported events. Prepare for an on-site investigation Should the researcher then decide that an investigation of the house is warranted, then prepare for an “invasion.” Even though most research groups will consist of no more than five to six individuals, a good team can seem like many more. An investigation can be very invasive, and photographs and video will be taken of the house. The investigators will ask you to describe the events that occurred (perhaps several times), and your statement will be recorded. They will ask you dozens of questions, and many of them will seem unconnected and perhaps even embarrassing. Bear with them, however, because the questions do have a purpose, and the investigators will be working to try to not only legitimize your story but also to determine whether the reported activity is real. Here are some things that you should be aware of when it comes to paranormal investigations: The investigators should not be drinking or smoking at any time. The investigators should arrive at your home with open minds. No one is trying to debunk your reports but must keep an open mind to all possibilities. Good investigators must remain noncommittal until they have had a chance to gather their evidence. Make sure that the investigators seem to know how to use all their equipment. If there is anything that you do not understand, be sure to ask them to explain what it is used for. If they cannot, you may have a problem. Unless the investigation was set up through you with a local television station or newspaper, the investigators should not be accompanied to your home with a reporter or media person. This should never occur without your permission. The investigators are duty-bound to keep all aspects of your case confidential unless they have your permission to disclose anything. You can help by making sure that everyone who experienced anything unusual is present on the night of the investigation and that you keep away friends and relatives who want to come over to watch the proceedings. This can be very distracting to you and to the investigators and can interfere with an accurate investigation. If you become uncomfortable with what is going on at any point in the investigation, you have the absolute right to call a halt to everything. The investigators are present at your request and are guests in your home. They should be given the respect that such a title signifies, but they also must respect your feelings and fears as. As the investigation continues in your home, the team members will divide up their duties and while you are being thoroughly interviewed, other investigators will be filming and mapping the house, taking photos, and looking for any anomalies with their equipment. They will likely ask you to show them where any odd happenings took place and may ask you to recreate what you were doing when they occurred. Follow up If activity occurs during the investigation, this will be exciting for everyone involved. If it does not, and yet the investigator believes there is a strong possibility of genuine phenomena, he may request a follow-up investigation. A good investigator researcher will always follow up on a case. If you do not hear from him and the phenomenon persists, then call him yourself. Do not be afraid to get in touch with him and ask him to come back. It is possible that an investigator will tell you that they believe your house is haunted. You may be comfortable with that, or you may want to try and get the haunting to stop. However, unless your investigator is psychic, they will not be equipped to get rid of the ghosts that may be haunting your house. Most ghost-hunters are merely investigators. They do not talk to ghosts and do not see them around every corner. This normally means they will contact an outside source. If you have a family minister, the ghost-hunter will likely suggest that you get in touch with this person and ask them to come to the house and to pray for the soul of the spirit that is present. This is not an “exorcism” but simply an attempt to get the ghost to leave in peace. It can be of great benefit to you and your family, as well. If a willing minister is not available, then the investigator should be able to suggest or find an expert in getting rid of ghosts. They may not be a professional medium or psychic but someone who is sensitive to spirits and who has a good reputation. It should be someone the ghost-hunter has either worked with before or someone who was referred through a legitimate source. Paranormal research has several goals. Not only is the investigator seeking evidence of ghosts, but he or she is also there to help the person who called them in to investigate the case. It is the investigator’s main responsibility to alleviate the fears of the witness and to help them deal with the activity they are experiencing. The homeowner should ever be shut out of the investigation but should be treated with the utmost respect. We all know that we fear the things that we understand the least.

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10 of America's Most Haunted Cities and Towns

Article / Updated 11-21-2019

Ghost stories, just like the deeds and words of our Founding Fathers, are an essential part of American history. Eerie encounters with the unknown have been with us since the first settlers arrived on our shores. Even before that, the Native Americans had their own tales of mysterious lights, eerie apparitions, and sinister spirits. Tales of hauntings — and the haunted — have always been with us. Nearly every community in the United States can claim at least one haunted house. Some have dozens, with the degree of how haunted each home might be varying by its history and, of course, by the person telling the story. Regardless of the truth behind every story, there is no denying the fascination of ghosts and the supernatural have to a large percentage of our population. Yes, there are still many who scoff at the existence of ghosts. However, many great people, even American presidents like Abraham Lincoln, Harry Truman and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, have harbored a belief in the spirit world. Ghost stories are an integral part of America, and so I would like to take you along for a coast-to-coast (or perhaps we should say ghost-to-ghost) tour of the most haunted places in America. Virginia City, Nevada Virginia City — where we filmed the first Ghost Adventures documentary — developed as a boomtown with the 1859 discovery of the Comstock Lode, the first major silver deposit discovery in the United States. Dozens of mines opened, drawing miners, suppliers, saloon owners, prostitutes, and outlaws, from all over the west. The population peaked in the mid-1870s, with an estimated 25,000 residents. In October 1875, what was called the Great Fire destroyed most of the city and left 2,000 people homeless. The city was rebuilt, but the output of the mines began to decline a few years later, ending Virginia City’s glory days around 1880. The town remains today as a time capsule of the 1870s. Many of the grand buildings remain but now serve as home to spirits. Haunted places in Virginia City include the Silver Queen Hotel, Piper’s Opera House, Mackay Mansion, Gold Hill Hotel and Saloon, and, of course, the Old Washoe Club, which also makes the list as one of the most haunted spots in the country. Gettysburg, Pennsylvania The small town of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania is one of the most active paranormal hot spots in the country. It was at this place where Union troops under command of General George Meade clashed with Confederate soldiers under General Robert E. Lee, resulting in the bloodiest battle of the Civil War. Over the days of July 1 to 3, 1863, more than 51,000 soldiers were killed, wounded, or went missing. The carnage from the battle has left a permanent mark on the town, and there are literally dozens of haunted places in Gettysburg and on the surrounding battlefield, including the Jennie Wade House (once home to the only civilian killed during the battle), Devil’s Den, Little Round Top, Iverson’s Pits, National Soldier’s Orphan Homestead, Gettysburg Engine House, and many others. New Orleans, Louisiana New Orleans is one of the most unique cities in America — and one of the most haunted. Founded by the French in 1718, it was a colony into which France dumped its prisoners, criminals, and prostitutes. Built on the swamps of Louisiana, the city flew the flags of both France and Spain before becoming an American city in 1804. Destroyed once by fire, inhabited by pirates and voodoo priests, devastated by hurricanes and disease, the scene of a bloody battle during the War of 1812, and held by both Confederate and Union forces during the Civil War, the city has seen more than its share of history — and more than its share of ghosts. Ghosts are found everywhere in New Orleans, from homes to hotels, churches, taverns, restaurants, and even alleyways. Some of the most famous haunted places include St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, Bottom of the Cup Tea Room, Beauregard-Keyes House, Gardette-LePrete Mansion, Andrew Jackson Hotel, Antoine’s, Old Absinthe House, Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, Bourbon Orleans Hotel, and, of course, the LaLaurie Mansion, which was known as The Haunted House in the city for decades. Hollywood, California Although it’s officially been a part of Los Angeles for many years now, Hollywood is a world of its own. The “movie capital of the world” has drawn would-be actors, dreamers, and movie buffs since the first silent filmmakers came to California in the early 1900s. What began as a scheme for moviemaker Mack Sennett to make extra money with a low-cost housing development called Hollywoodland became a movie colony for artists, writers, and actors who came west to make it big. Today, Hollywood remains not so much a city, but a state of mind. It hasn’t been incorporated since 1910, but it retains a strange allure for those with an interest in history, crime, and hauntings and for those who lived their life against the backdrop of the silver screen. Dozens and dozens of hauntings are in Hollywood, most connected to the broken dreams faced by those who came to this place — and never left. There are haunted movie studios, haunted cemeteries, and haunted hotels like the Knickerbocker and the Hollywood Roosevelt. Some of the lingering spirits — as famous is death as they were in life — include Rudolph Valentino, Erol Flynn, James Dean, Jayne Mansfield, William Desmond Taylor, Thelma Todd, Sharon Tate, George Reeves, Bob Crane, and even Marilyn Monroe. Salem, Massachusetts Salem, located on the northeast coast of Massachusetts at the mouth of the Naumkeag River, was founded in 1626 by Roger Conant and a group of immigrants from Cape Ann. At first, the settlement was named Naumkeag, but the settlers preferred to call it Salem, derived from the Hebrew word for peace. The city grew into a thriving port and one of the largest cities in the state, outside of Boston. Of course, the events for which Salem is best remembered began in 1692. A local physician diagnosed several teenage girls as bewitched, which resulted in the hanging of 19 persons and one being crushed to death. When the hysteria had played itself out the following year, an edict was issued that released all people from prison who had been accused of witchcraft — but by then, the damage was done. It should come as no surprise that an old city known for its rich witchcraft history and maritime trade is home to many legendary ghosts. Spine-tingling tales began as far back as the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, and today, the city is rife with spirited sites, ranging from Bunghole Liquors, a former Prohibition-era funeral parlor to Cinema Salem, an independent movie theater. Other spine-chilling locations include In a Pig’s Eye, Murphy’s, Hawthorne Hotel (named for Nathaniel Hawthorne, author of The House of Seven Gables, which is also in town), Old Burying Point Cemetery, and, of course, the Witch House, or the Corwin House, which was the home to Judge Jonathan Corwin, a lead figure in the Salem Witch Trials. Savannah, Georgia Established in 1733 when General James Oglethorpe and 120 colonists decided to build a city on a bluff along the Savannah River, Savannah became the first settlement in the last American colony of Georgia. A few decades later, it proved a strategic port city in the American Revolution and during the American Civil War. In 1778, the British took Savannah and held it until 1782. Eventually, a land-sea force of French and American troops reclaimed the city’s independence. During the Civil War, Savannah suffered from sea blockades so fierce that its economy crumbled. Saved from the fires set by Union soldiers throughout the Southeast, the city was offered by Union General William Sherman as a Christmas present to President Abraham Lincoln. It’s been said that Savannah was spared from fire because General Sherman was so impressed by its beauty that he couldn’t destroy it. Over the centuries, Savannah has suffered devastating fires, war, and yellow fever outbreaks that claimed the lives of thousands. But it survived and rebuilt itself, playing host to resilient citizens — and plenty of ghosts. Haunted places include the site of Gribble House, where notorious ax murders occurred, Marshall House, Factor’s Walk, Madison Square, Moon River Brewing Company, and the infamous Pirate’s House, one of the oldest structures in the city. San Francisco, California In 1835, an American, William Richardson, became the first permanent resident of a settlement then known as Yerba Buena. As more people came to the region, California achieved its independence and the town began to grow, but nothing like it would a few years later. On January 24, 1848, the first gold was found at Sutter’s Fort, in the California foothills. Within months, San Francisco (renamed from Yerba Buena in 1847) became the central port and depot of the frenzied Gold Rush. Over the next year, arriving “forty-niners” increased the city’s population from 1,000 to 25,000. The city was lawless and wild, with its Barbary Coast district full of prostitution and gambling. Construction of the Central Pacific Railroad drew thousands of laborers from China and San Francisco’s Chinatown quickly became the largest Chinese settlement outside of Asia. On April 18, 1906, a massive earthquake shook the city. The tremors broke water mains and triggered fires that raged for four days, killing 3,000 people, destroying 25,000 buildings, and leaving 250,000 homeless. The city rebuilt quickly with an improved city center and hosted the lavish Panama International Exposition just nine years later. San Francisco has continued to endure, drawing writers like Mark Twain and Jack London, becoming a center for the 1950s beat poets and for the Haight-Ashbury hippie counterculture that peaked with the 1967 “Summer of Love.” A city with such a long and storied history is undoubtedly a place to find a myriad of ghosts. Haunted places in San Francisco include some of the most legendary spots in the country, like Alcatraz, the infamous “escape-proof” prison located in the bay, and the Winchester House, which is in nearby San Jose. Other haunted places include Haskell House at Fort Mason, Neptune Society Columbarium, Curran Theater, San Francisco Art Institute, Queen Anne Hotel, and Sutro Baths, which was, in 1896, the world’s largest indoor swimming pool establishment. It burned in 1966, but today accommodates more ethereal guests. Alton, Illinois This small Mississippi River town started out as a ferryboat landing in 1814 but soon grew into a thriving port. Author Mark Twain once referred to Alton a “dismal little river town,” largely thanks to the dark history that the city experienced, which included death, disease, disaster, violence, murder, and even the scars of the Civil War. The town has endured over time, becoming home to the first state penitentiary in Illinois (later turned into a Confederate prison during the war) and to Robert Wadlow, the tallest man who ever lived. Dozens of haunted places are in this small community, including the Mineral Springs Hotel, a 1914 building that attracted visitors from all over the Midwest to its mineral baths. The former hotel, shown in the following figure, has more than its share of ghosts, including a man who drowned in the pool, and at least two documented suicides. One of the most active sites is the First Unitarian Church, haunted by a former pastor who hanged himself in the building. Other sites include the old penitentiary, Alton City Cemetery, Enos Apartments, a former tuberculosis sanatorium, and the McPike Mansion. Vicksburg, Mississippi The land where Vicksburg is now located had a brutal history before the city was ever settled. The French built Fort-Saint-Pierre (1719) on the high bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River in 1719, but it was wiped out by Native Americans ten years later. In 1790, the Spanish tried again, and a sprawling community grew that was named for a Methodist minister named Newitt Vick. The settlement prospered as a shipping point. Because of its strategic location, Vicksburg was besieged by Union forces for 47 days during General Ulysses S. Grant’s campaign for control of the river during the Civil War. Vicksburg surrendered on July 4, 1863. Since that time, the city has wrestled with racial unrest, has continued as a shipping port, and has become a tourist spot. The town’s long, and often bloody, history has left many ghosts and haunted places behind. Among them are the Vicksburg National Battlefield, McNutt House, the Genella Building, Kuhn Memorial State Hospital, and McRaven Mansion, which was used as a field hospital during the Vicksburg siege. At least 12 Confederate soldiers died here and were buried on the grounds. Charleston, South Carolina The new colony of Carolina got its start in April 1670 when travelers landed at Albemarle Point. They named the first community Charles Town in honor of their king, Charles II, but it did not have an auspicious beginning. They battled the French, Spanish, hostile natives, pirates, and rampant disease, but nevertheless, the community grew into a busy seaport. Ships carrying raw materials, deer skins, rice, indigo, and eventually cotton were exported to England and commerce was born. Ships returned heavy with staples and luxuries of Europe which lent a cosmopolitan air to the growing community. Even in its infancy, it had the reputation of being a “Little London” in the semi-tropic wilds of the New World. By 1740, Charles Town was becoming the most critical port in North America for exporting, and an economic boom surged across the colony. The American Revolution brought an end to Charlestown’s golden age. It would be divided by slavery, state’s rights, and eventually, the Civil War. Battles occurred around the city, wreaking havoc on the plantations, homes, and citizens. Thousands died, and parts of the city burned. It would take years to recover, but by the early 1900s, Charleston was again a cultural center. The history of the city was preserved, and it remains one of the most beautiful cities in the South. With a rich history that dates back more than 300 years, it is no wonder that it has so many ghosts and haunted places. Among the spooky sites are the Battery Carriage House Inn, For Moultrie, Dock Street Theatre, Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon, the Powder Magazine, Pink House, Poogan’s Porch, Boone Hall Plantation, USS Yorktown, and the old Charleston Jail, which is haunted by the spirits of many inmates who died during their imprisonment, from murderers and pirates to prisoners of war and slaves.

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Ghost Hunting: What You Should Know Before You Go

Article / Updated 11-21-2019

Before deciding to enter the field of paranormal research, you need to know how to gather the right information to prove your efforts and how you're going to pay for this research. The following discussion walks you through some things you may not have through of when you first became interested in ghosts. Gather information The first stage of any investigation is to gather all the facts. You should interview witnesses, examine the site, and exhaust all the possibilities. This is the first, and perhaps most important, step, and unfortunately, this step has led to the often-disappointing conclusion of what seemed to be a promising case. Incidents that first seemed to be linked to a haunting are often explained away by a presentation of possible solutions. Only if the case survives this first step is it worth pursuing any further. If it does, and the haunting involves what may be recurrent phenomena, then it’s time to monitor the area and possibly have a chance to observe the happenings for yourself. Being a ghost-hunter can be a lot like being a detective. As an investigator, you must learn to use your observational skills. Even if you’ve mastered the skills of field work and equipment, you still have to develop the skills you need to observe your surroundings with a critical eye. To do so, you must access the location objectively and let go of any preconceived notions you have about the site or situation. Always consider the facts and then make your own observations and judgments. Keep accurate records You always need to take good notes to keep track of the events during your investigations, even if someone else is simultaneously filming the investigation. Notes can be a valuable way or recording important information because a camera can’t catch every angle at once, nor can it show what you may have experienced personally, like a touch, cold spot, or impression. Follow these pointers when recording your experience: Make note of anything you think is significant and record any possible ordinary explanations. Later, eliminate all events and discrepancies that seem to be suspect and the ones for which natural explanations exist. List the remaining items separately, in order of significance, so that your list makes logical sense. Don’t discard the less significant items. Instead, move them to the bottom of the lost and make note of them as the investigation proceeds. It’s possible that they may move up the list if they’re repeated. Analyze your evidence of life after death Seek meaningful probabilities from the facts that you have gathered so that you can eliminate the guesswork from your conclusions. Dispassionately reviewing the evidence from your personal experiences allows you to add them to your audio recordings, equipment readings, and video recordings to make a balanced assessment. You need to connect the paranormal activity that has been reported in the location to a person who once lived there. Being able to do so creates powerful evidence of life after death. City directories and obituaries are a couple of resources you can use to find the occupants of the location you are researching. Obituaries are like small biographies and are often written for the newspaper by funeral homes or by the relatives of the deceased. They often tell something about the deceased and his remaining family, as well as details about funeral services and where he was buried. The cause of death may or may not be listed in the obituary, but you can watch for clues within the notice as to what may have happened. Words like died suddenly may indicate an accidental death, a murder, or suicide or possibly just a heart attack or a stroke. The words lingering or long illness could suggest cancer, heart disease, or tuberculosis. Here are some other ways to find information about the occupants of the location: Death certificates: Death certificates are the official documents that record people’s deaths and were first created to determine the frequency and distribution of fatal diseases. Many states did not have such a plan in place until the early 20th century, but modern death certificates are completed by several people. If a person dies in a hospital or other institution, then a nurse or staff member fills in the time and date of death. The doctor fills in the cause and then the funeral director, or one of their staff members, fills in the rest. The information is then retyped onto a new, blank form and then is returned to the doctor for their signature. After that, the funeral home then goes to the registrar for a burial permit. Usually, the funeral home will keep a copy of the certificate on file. Death certificates, which are filled with vital information, can be confusing and hard to decipher but the more modern they are, the more they are likely to contain. Sometimes, information can be in error and often the cause of death can be obscured or covered up to protect a person’s reputation or privacy. This is especially common with older certificates. For example, instead of suicide, you may find the cause of death was listed as accidental, or instead of abortion, you may find uterine bleeding. On older certificates, causes of death will often use archaic words for diseases so be sure to have some sort of glossary on hand while attempting to decipher them. Funeral home records: Although this is a possible source for research, it’s not a likely one. Many funeral homes will not have a problem accommodating you for research on people who have been dead for many decades, they are unlikely to grant you access to anything recent. Funeral home records are private and so they are within their rights to restrict or deny access to records. Also, because they are private, the content in the records will vary from one location to another and from one time period to another, as well. Institutional records: If your subject died in a hospital, asylum, tuberculosis sanatorium, poor house, or prison, then his death would have been recorded in that institution’s records. These registers, which usually predate state ward registrations, may be kept in a separate death book or among the other entries in the main register book. Information is going to vary in them from one place to the next and certainly from one time period to another. In many cases, the institution (especially with asylums and tuberculosis hospitals) will have closed years ago and so finding the records may be tricky. To find out if the records still exist, contact the town, city, or county, or even the state historical society. They may have some idea to help you find them. Autopsy records: Many death certificates can tell you if an autopsy was performed on your subject and if so, that record will then be filed with the hospital or with the coroner’s reports. An autopsy is performed when a cause of death is uncertain, questionable, or suspicious. If the medical examiner suspects something unusual, then no consent is needed from the family for an autopsy. The details of these records are fascinating and just may provide many clues to the researcher in search of the strange. Coroner’s records: If you learn from your research that your subject died in an unusual way or under strange circumstances, you will want to check and see if a coroner looked into the case. Both medical examiners and coroners investigate suspicious deaths and the position of coroner predates that of medical examiners. The coroner, an elected position, was responsible for examining dead bodies for any sign of foul play. No special education was required, and it was not necessary to be a doctor. By the late 19th century, many states and cities began replacing the position of coroner with that of the medical examiner, who is required to be a physician. Some locations still use the elected coroner position or a combination of both. If the coroner decided that the death appeared to be from criminal negligence or murder, then he held what was called an inquest and the records of these affairs hold huge amounts of information for both crime buffs and ghost researchers. Juries were appointed and witnesses were called to testify. The postmortem findings (autopsy records) were included, as well. Most coroners’ reports are open to the public and should be followed up with newspaper research. There may be an obituary that was written, or, if the death was unusual, an entire report. If the death turned out to be murder or linked to a crime, there also be subsequent articles and possibly even court records if the case went to trial. This information will assist you with what is perhaps the most important part of your research: connecting the ghost in the house to a person who once lived there. Acting like a detective, you have now linked the past to the present and have real evidence of life after death. How to pay for the research Most ghost-hunters do not go into the field without thinking about how much it will cost them financially. Ghost-hunting is not usually a job that you can make a living at. Although paranormal investigating can be rewarding on a personal level, it is not a particularly lucrative field. Most people who go into it do so primarily for the unselfish reason of helping other people. While most investigators never charge for their services, many teach classes, write books, work as media consultants, and make money from peripheral aspects of the paranormal. Others accept donations or asked to be reimbursed by their clients for hotel costs and travel expenses. Opinions differ widely, and there is frequent debate about the ethics of charging for investigations or allowing clients to reimburse for expenses. Some won’t charge a client under any circumstances, while others accept payment only from organizations and never from individuals. The other costly aspect of paranormal investigation is the equipment involved. If you want to build your own ghost-hunting toolbox, acquire equipment as your budget allows. Many different kinds of equipment, in many different price ranges, are available for use in the field. Spending a small fortune on equipment that you may not even use is far too easy, so be sure to keep your investment to a minimum until you’re sure that your interest in the paranormal will continue. Even then, owning the most expensive equipment that is available isn’t essential to a reliable investigation. Investigators have shown significant results using very inexpensive gear, so be sure not to let the cost of equipment discourage you. It can’t be stressed enough that the most important tool in an investigation is yourself.

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