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.
42 of 50 sites.
OLDER THAN 50 YEARS:
All 50 sites
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.