Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Greater Questions Raised About 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.


  1. It is too bad there isn't any info on the actual persons who lost their lives. I think a lot of a haunting depends on the person doing the haunting. Were they weak and a follower or were they the leader and took charge? Was the person who committed suicide on any medication that maybe pushed them to suicide?
    On the other side, does the natural water ways or the geology of the area in some way trap them there? As always, you are right on the cutting edge of the questions that should be asked. I appreciate that there is a site like this to come to to help answer questions and raise new ones.

  2. Thanks, Kimberly. These are some of the deeper aspects I'll be probing as I continue the research into the stories behind the hauntings and the "proof" other groups have captured of hauntings in the sites. When I saw the full-body apparition in a mining town, I looked at my notes and realized there was an electron flux alert which has to do with geomagnetic forces and I wonder if perhaps an event occurs in an ideal place with the perfect spark such as a change in geomagnetic forces, that it somehow embeds itself or perhaps imprints itself for replay. I think there can be intent, as well. The house I grew up in was an ideal setting and was in fact quite haunted, but my father died in Arizona and promised to haunt it and was actual seen in the suit we buried him in at Aspen Grove after his death when the residents didn't know he'd passed. My entire family vowed to haunt the place and so far we have my parents and sister and brother and a close family friend all supposedly there. I hope to go back some time and try to do a study about that. There are some famous haunted places with no history of someone dying there, so it makes you wonder if conditions can be such that they are able to inhabit that space.

  3. Hi Autumn,

    Amazing work you've put in to this theory...I love that you are seeking a scientific understanding of hauntings and paranormal phenomena.

    This is exactly what the field needs, people like you who want to piece things together methodically, without all the hysteria.

    Awesome job, lady!

    I just watched a rerun of the old 1979 movie The Amityville Horror. Even though it turned out to be a big hoax, it's still a pretty spook tale.

    Hey, have you ever heard of Graceland being haunted?

  4. Autumn -

    I love this theory of the elements and structures...it's so interesting. I'm also very happy that I came across your blog.

    I'm stoked to continue to follow your blog and see where it goes.

    My friend Zach and I used to do a lot of ghost hunting and urban exploration and abandonment. He does more of it now, as I've moved further south and rarely get to meet up with him to go. You should check out his website though - it may help you with your research...it's www.thewaningmoon.com. He focuses mostly on Ohio, Maryland, Penn, and WV...I'll have to give him the link to your blog as well!

    I am going to go back and catch up with your blog - I think it's absolutely amazing that you lived in Aspen Grove...so interesting!

    Love your blog! Take care.

  5. Osborne family;
    So glad that you like my blog. I know it's a pretty niche thing discussing ghost hunting theories, but I'm very open-minded to ideas and yet logic-minded enough that I want to follow through with them. I have no idea where this journey will take me, but I hope that next time I'm back in WV to visit my family in the Hinton/Nimitz area, that I get a chance to do some more studying. My hope is to some day get a team together and a film crew to document me doing a study at Aspen Grove. My parents and two siblings and a family friend vowed to haunt it and besides the Civil War soldiers (north and south) who died there, I'd expect to make some contact with them. That place was definitely like a giant recording device. We even once got a recording of my sister pounding on the walls in anger being replayed a few times years later. That's partly how I came up with this theory that the right environment makes a good recording device for holding spiritual energy. I could do a huge series just on WV stuff. That place has an even more potent feel than Northern VA. I think the mining helps stir things up too. We have something similar in the west with the land begin stirred up by mining. I've been doing some studying of these areas and I hope to do more (when the weather isn't in the 110's that is). I'll check out your friend's site. My son and I like to document abandoned sites--it's an obsession for us. Welcome on board. :-)

  6. Thanks for your comment on Valley Forge. I spent more than 4 hrs. there walking around and just snooping. Since I love things to do with History, this is where you can find me.

    Since the house was closed by the time I got there, I never did get the chance to go inside. I had been inside the last time I was there, but have never felt a "presence" watching me. Guess I just don't have what you do. Sorta wish that I did.

  7. Wow some really great thoughts here Autmnforest!! before I go any further I thought I would type in an idea i had while reading #2-maybe if hauntings can happen in places without the actual incidents the material that is picking up whatveer it is-is reading peoples thoughts, That might sound silly at first but I instantly thought of this when I rememebered recent incidents of being woken up out of a dead (no pun intended for this blog:) sleep by neighbors-the last time at 445 am -if anything could pick up my ugly thoughts when this stuff happens it wouldnt be pretty -especially as I am almost an insomniac anyway and each precious minute of sleep i get I need! but I would never actually "do" what my thoughts are at the time-best to you as always and thanks for your great blog!!

  8. Corker; I bet if you go inside the building this time, you'll probably notice it since you'll be checking for the sensation. Most folks like you and my mom are historians first, so you're really into the photos and the artifacts and stories. If you go there again, let me know if you felt it. It's sort of like having a silent caretaker.

    Totally agree about Amityville. I know it was hyped up, but darn-it, the place actually has some fair conditions for a haunting.

    You're right about that. I think should I suspend my usual skeptical mind and see spirits as the souls of the departed, they could certainly visit anywhere they like, but the conditions that might best suit them staying could be these conditions. Otherwise, I think we're talking mostly about recordings in the environment of events. I think it's entirely possibly for someone to haunt their own home if they had say domestic violence or someone mentally ill in the house with the right conditions, events could be retained. I had a sister who used to get pissed at my mom (when she found her pot stash) and she'd bang on the walls. Years later when she was away at school, I could occasionally hear the wall banging and her muffled voice. Now, that's scary.