PSI’s Dave Wood looks at the curious
moral indignation about paranormal tourism, and asks if tourist spots
can really be defended?
Paranormal investigators are frequently almost puritanical when it
comes to the subject of ‘charging monies’. This view that an
investigator should never charge is often misguided but essentially
correct. If one is claiming to be scientific then one cannot extract
money from vulnerable people based on practices that are not proven to
work, and where ‘evidence’ cannot be guaranteed. However this central
view has developed a curious sub-thought, that somehow linking ghosts
and money is somehow in itself immoral.
This brings us neatly onto paranormal ‘tourist spots’: those famous (as
seen on TV) locations that make a commercial activity of charging
investigators large sums to sit in the dark overnight. Those outnumber
those who find this activity morally reprehensible indignant that they
are being priced out of the market. This view should not hold much
water. If you are serious about investigating the paranormal is it not
better to go to an untouched location? These are hardly in short supply.
PSI’s Haunted Swindon project takes place in a medium-sized town, but
has already identified 75 allegedly haunted locations; many of these
‘live’ cases. Contrast this with the fact that Swindon has no ‘tourist
Conversely if you are not serious, then what is the problem with paying
for a night’s ‘entertainment’. If one does not have the commitment to
research, to work with venue owners and allay their fears then is £30
not a reasonable price to pay for an ‘easy ride’.
From the perspective of the ‘tourist spots’ themselves, the demands of
some investigators is just unrealistic. Some of these locations book in
ghost hunters every weekend
night of the year. Why should they lose money and sleep 50 times a year,
year in year out, for people to look at their ‘ghosts’? The untouched
location will often do this for nothing, but why should we expect places
whose doors are being beaten down to lose out all the time?
So the message is clear. If you’re a ghost hunter or thrill seeker then
put your hand in your pocket for the easy ride, and accept that this is
a market-driven economy. If you cannot afford it then grow a bigger
team; variable control is probably not at the top of your list of
priorities and these places are used to large numbers. If, on the other
hand, you’re serious about investigating you probably avoid these
I, myself, am a converter defender of the tourist concept. But why? Do I
believe in money making? No. The reason is ethics; the old favourite. A
lot of people genuinely are only interested in thrills and
pseudo-science. I cannot stress strongly enough the damage I have seen
inflicted on unsuspecting and sometimes vulnerable locations by groups
of thrill-seekers. Paranormal tourism not only fills this niche in the
market but provides a safe place to go for the ethically unaware where
they can hunt ghosts and not do anyone any harm.
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