Friday, December 13, 2013

My Haunted Formula



Back in the summer of 2009, I decided to choose 50 places that are commonly reported haunted, all across the US. I took those 50 places and looked for common features. Then, I started the agonizing part of making sense of all that I found. From this, I created a first version of a haunted formula that took 5 aspects and checked the sites to find out how many of the features they possessed to give it a haunted score. I thought that knowing the features most commonly found, I could identify potentially haunted locations by giving them a rating before even going to check them out. This is the posting from July 2009:

Exhausted. Hate numbers. Really hate making tables.

My curiosity started this whole weird journey into making a haunted formula. I think any of us would be able to say which places feel more haunted than others. It's not just that they have a dark history or are dusty or damp or dark. It's because of the elements that make a haunting possible. This set of circumstances has always intrigued me. All old places would be super haunted if events alone could haunt a place, but some places seem to be stained with a haunting, others seem to move on. What's different?

Here's how it looks so far in the 50 random haunted places I've studied in the past few months:

Geology (in order of most potent geology and then descending in importance)
1. Limestone: 13 of 14 sites with limestone ranked a 5 or 6 on the haunted scale
2. Shale: 12 of 13 sites with shale ranked a 5 or 6 on the haunted scale
3. Sandstone 20 of 22 sites with sandstone ranked a 5 or 6 on the haunted scale
4. Granite 1 of 2 sites with granite ranked a 5 or 6 on the haunted scale.

Sedimentary is a rather vague title for a type of geology and just about all the 50 sites had this kind in one way or another, but then a great majority of the land in the US is sedimentary, so that's not necessarily significant, except that volcanic areas seemed to be very devoid of activity, except mining towns.

WATERWAYS: (I considered if the site was within a mile of running water, stream, river, ocean)
41 of 50 sites had this feature--that is very significant. It's also hard to discover whether or not the other 9 sites had underground springs, so it's a very hard one to judge. Also, people tended to build homes near waterways long ago before we had wonderful plumbing and such. I did not, however, find one super haunted site that did not have water nearby.

TRAINS: This one intrigued me because of the strange correlation, but now I am leaning more toward it being an incidental finding and considering removing it from the formula all together which might alter a few things, but statistically it wasn't horribly impressive and, as I said, people tended to build older homes near trains and trains tended to be built near towns.
32 sites had train tracks nearby, 18 did not.

DEATH/TRAUMA:
42 of 50 sites.

OLDER THAN 50 YEARS:
All 50 sites

CONSTRUCTION:
Masonry/block/brick were 43 of the 47 that could be judged (one place was a sign, one place was a ship, and one place was a cemetery, so construction could not be included)
Frame were 4 of 47.

As I haven't yet started to look at the "hard" proof of hauntings of these places to decide what factors might be most important, such as geology or waterways, I can say that by eliminating trains, I will be having to shift the scoring of many places. I'll keep you updated. This will be quite the tangled process, but well worth it. I think all of us instinctively go to a haunted site and feel these features and know it's haunted, now we have a way to perhaps measure just how haunted it can be with what necessary features.


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