Friday, March 8, 2013

The Greater Questions of Ghostly Habitation

In wanting to answer the question, “why are some places haunted and others not?” I began my research in what physical elements and history need to combine to make an ideal setting for a haunting.

Reviewing the haunted formula research I’ve been doing, I’m faced with questions that rattle in my head. I’d love to share them with my readers to see what sort of observations you make.

These two questions are in the forefront:

1. Can a place have a fantastically ghoulish history of blood and agony and yet not be haunted because the physical elements are weak, such as the building is of frame construction or the land is geologically not ideal?

Here are some examples of these types of places:

Moore House (aka Villisca ax murder house) This was the site of multiple murders by an ax-wielding maniac in the early 1900s. Conditions: Frame construction (weak), volcanic/sediment soil (weak), and no waterways nearby.

Hollywood Sign, Hollywood, CA. This is the site of a woman hanging herself from the sign many decades ago. Conditions: Wooden, no waterways, volcanic/sediment.

Myrtles Plantation, St. Francisville, LA. Apparently, a slave woman poisoned and killed some of her master’s family members and a man was shot and died inside the house later on. Conditions: Frame construction (weak), sediment soil (weak).

2. Can a place have no history of actual death/trauma in it, but have the ideal elements and still be haunted? (This is often heard in stories of the previous owners haunting the place, even when they did not die there)

Here are some examples of these type of places:

Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, CO: Famously known as the hotel that inspired Stephen King’s “The Shining.” Granite/quartz/shale, masonry building, waterway nearby. No death reported in the main hotel, although there was a report of potentially a homeless lady freezing to death in one of the buildings.

Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery, Midlothian, IL: Stone headstones, waterway nearby, limestone ground. Only dead are buried here (jeez, we hope).

Bullock Hotel: Sandstone, limestone, shale, sandstone building, waterway nearby. No death reported, but original owner said to haunt it.

We can actually compare places with a similar history and dissimilar hauntings. The Battery Carriage Inn in Charleston, SC had someone commit suicide by jumping from the roof. The Hollywood Sign had a woman hang herself from one of the letters. The Battery Carriage Inn has a great deal of phenomenon. The Hollywood sign has weak and flimsy scattered reports. Of course, it’s still impossible to discern whether the rich Civil War history in Charleston might influence the building, as what occurred with it during the war was rather vague. Unfortunately, you can’t get real controlled sites to observe, you can only look for trends.

So far, I feel comfortable to say that some places, like much of the romantic haunted Hollywood spots are more romance and grief for missing stars than actual haunting substance. Because of the weak conditions, much of the haunting is exaggerated desires of those who simply miss favorite figures that are familiar to them. Places like the Deep South are heavily stained with history, some of which remains. However, had the occurrences from the Deep South occurred in the core set of haunted states around Illinois to Pennsylvania, Ohio to West Virginia, they may have, in fact, been more overtly haunted. Conditions in the South including excessive water (sometimes worse than not having a running stream) and more weak marine sediment soil might not be as perfect for a haunting containment; however, the construction of buildings to withstand hurricane winds with brick and stone and wrought iron are actually helping to make up for other weaknesses in the environment somewhat.

Of course, my theories are only that. It’s still so early in the research, but I can instinctively see trends that make me able to state these viewpoints.

I’d love to hear everyone else’s ideas and theories too. This is how we find trends and decide how to focus the research. Thanks for following along and waiting to see where this is going. I’m as curious as ya’all.

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