13 Reasons to Start Ghost Hunting Now

Now is the best time to become a ghost hunter. Here’s why, and how to make the most of it.

1. Reliable Research

13After over a decade of popularity, amateur and professional ghost hunters have identified many genuinely haunted sites. They’ve also debunked places that aren’t really haunted.

By starting your investigations at sites with confirmed hauntings, you’ll have a richer, more chilling experience.

2. Previous Investigations Identified What Happens and Where

Before 2000 (or so), we’d stumble around a haunted site, hoping also to stumble onto ghostly anomalies.

At best, it was a coin flip.

Today, a quick Internet search may turn up reports by investigators and perhaps a few YouTube videos. You may learn exactly where and when to expect certain phenomena.

3. The Best Ghost Hunting Equipment

Ghost hunting’s recent popularity produced several great benefits. One of them was a surge of new, useful and experimental research tools. We have better EVP recorders, better devices triggered by EMF spikes, better digital thermometers, as well as tools to rule out normal (but odd) phenomena.

I still recommend “old school” ghost hunting techniques. Personal observation makes paranormal research thrilling.

But, to confirm an uneasy feeling or the raised hair on the back of your neck, today’s tools are superb.

Fiona Broome's adviceWhat I use: It’s not impressive to look at, but I still use the Ghost Meter Pro. It may have been an “as seen on TV” product, but — from my experience — it really does work.)

I also use dowsing rods, but only to double-check my “gut feeling,” or narrow my research focus to a smaller area.

My main camera is an old-school Nikon Coolpix, because it uses standard AA batteries. In a dramatically haunted location that may drain batteries quickly, it’s easy to reload the camera from a supply of inexpensive batteries in my backpack. Or, someone can dash to the nearest convenience store to buy replacements.

4. Less Commercial Interest

For nearly a decade, too many restaurants, hotels, and tourist traps tried to claim a resident ghost.

Some really were (and still are) haunted, but only on certain days, or in response to specific modern triggers. Sleazy sites omitted those details.

Ghost hunters visited — and sometimes paid a hefty admission fee — but left disappointed.

Now that having a ghost isn’t a guaranteed commercial success, most less-haunted (and never-haunted) sites have improved their advertising.

Some sites still make false claims, but most know: that financial ship has sailed.

When you hear about a haunted site offering paid ghost tours and vigils, it’s usually haunted.

But, double-check reviews, and ask friends who’ve been there, anyway.

Fiona Broome's adviceSites almost guaranteed to give you chills: Tudor World (Stratford-upon-Avon, England), Mary King’s Close (Edinburgh, Scotland), and the Myrtles Plantation (Louisiana, USA).

(Note: at the Myrtles, be sure to stay in the main building or its annex, not a wholly separate building. The closer you are to the haunted mirror in the main entrance, the better.)

5. Smaller Crowds

Now that ghost hunting isn’t as trendy, you’ll have more time (and usually more elbow room) to explore haunted sites when they’re open for investigations.

Between 2010 and early 2017, I stopped investigating most well-known haunted sites. It became too difficult to take photos when people were often in the way.

Focusing on what I was sensing, internally, was nearly impossible.

And then there were the distractions of others’ flash cameras, phone ringtones left on, and the myriad beeps and loud clicks of some EMF detectors.

Today, I’m far more comfortable scheduling visits to haunted locations… unless it’s Halloween or a Friday the 13th, of course.

6. Focused, High Quality Events

Starting around 2004, ghost hunting events became popular. Some were held in locations with history… but no ghosts. Or, to accommodate a large crowd, non-haunted areas were part of the event, wasting investigators’ time.

Today, events are usually smaller and more focused. They’re usually at sites with extraordinary ghostly anomalies, too.

Fiona Broome's adviceI still like events scheduled by Ideal Event Management. Also, when Barry Fitzgerald (of GHI) is a guest at an event, it’s likely to be interesting. Dustin Pari is another investigator whose integrity I trust; look for events he’s speaking at.

That’s a very short list. I’m sure I could add another dozen links. But, they’re the people that come to mind, immediately, when I think about reliable ghost-related events.

7. Less “Me, Too”

Hooded figure with red eyesMany people are so eager to believe in ghosts, they jump at shadows. They claim that something was surely a ghost, when it was merely startling or odd.

I’m wary when I hear reports of ghostly tropes, like “the hooded monk with the red eyes.”

When looking for places to investigate, those recommendations weren’t helpful. Worse, it was difficult to conduct research at an event where “Dude, run!” moments distracted everyone.

You can’t trust every first-person “ghost story,” but — thanks to a declining number of thrill-seekers — recommendations are more reliable now.

8. Lower Prices

In many cases, haunted sites were able to charge far higher prices during the recent ghost hunting trend. I heard about $150 (and more) for two- or three-hour tours, with no value added. (That is, no food, no private rooms, and no genuine historians or professional ghost hunters on hand.)

Now, pricing is one extreme or the other.

Either the tour (or vigil) has lowered its prices to attract more visitors, or they have to charge very high fees since the site will otherwise be closed to the public.

For me, that’s a coin-flip.

  • I’m not thrilled to be among a crowd who think it’s a big joke, and only signed up because the tour was cheap. But, if the tour is inexpensive and the few other guests are serious researchers, the experience can be great.
  • On the other hand, I expect a lot from a high-priced tour or event. If it’s disappointing, I’m irked. But, since higher prices often deter thrill-seekers and jokers, if the site is truly haunted, it’s worth the money.

In general, you’ll find some great ghost hunting experiences at lower prices than, say, five years ago. But, be sure to research the location ahead of time, to confirm its ghosts.

9. Reduced Modern Residual Energy

Do you believe that past dramatic events leave ghostly residual energy at a location? I do.

But, this means that recent drama — including ghost hunters who encounter scary things (even if they’re jumping at shadows) — also leave an energy imprint.

Several respected ghost hunters — including John Sabol, who recorded EVP that was an imprint of a Ghost Hunters’ investigation (perhaps a “time echo“) — have described those newer layers of energy. So, modern investigations can make ghost research more difficult.

Usually, recent energy is light or shallow. It wears off quickly.

Deeply troubling drama in the past has left a far more indelible energy imprint. And, according to some researchers, those imprints can be re-energized by modern-day triggers.

So, I’m pleased to see smaller crowds and fewer investigations at haunted sites.

In the coming years, we’ll have less distracting, recent energy imprints at the most popular haunts.

10. Fake Claims Abandoned

Some sites may be genuinely haunted, but — during the recent wave of ghost hunting popularity — they (deliberately?) neglected to fix issues that only seemed like evidence of ghosts.

Eerie figure in doorwayI’m reminded of the Lizzie Borden house, where researcher Thomas Spitalere found extremely high EMF readings near pipes (and perhaps wiring) at the top floor of that home.

Though I’m sure Lizzie Borden’s house is haunted, I didn’t overlook normal issues — like elevated EMF — that could merely make a place “feel” haunted.

When we reported this to the woman hosting our investigation, she seemed to shrug it off. At the time, people didn’t understand as much as we do now, about EMF at eerie locations.

Today, sites like that are better informed about those kinds of problems. Most of them make sure visitors’ experiences aren’t affected by normal (not paranormal) issues.

11. Higher Percentage of Serious Researchers

At any haunted location or event, you’ll meet new and experienced researchers. You can learn a lot from serious researchers, if you follow them around and — if it’s okay with them — ask questions.

Now, with fewer trend-followers among the site’s visitors, there’s a far better chance of meeting a serious researcher, and learning from him or her.

12. Better Ghost Tours

During the peak frenzy of ghost hunting, now and in the past, some businesses seized any excuse to outshine the competition.

Today’s ghost tours usually fall into one of two categories:

  • Silly, theatrical performances that emphasize lurid events that may not have happened. (I’m reminded of the stories of New Orleans’ LaLaurie Mansion. The top floor that tour guides used to point to, and talk about a slave girl falling to her death…? That floor didn’t even exist when the LaLaurie family lived there.)
  • Well-researched ghost tours given by guides who’ve studied the sites’ histories, and tell authentic tales based on actual events and hauntings.

If you’re looking for the latter, most can be identified by their advertising. Every tour is likely to indulge in a little hype, but the theatrical ones often highlight their “performances.”

If you want a genuine experience, look for a tour that stresses the area’s history. They’re easier to find than they were between 2003 and 2015.

13. Breakthroughs and Discoveries Continue

Ghost hunting has followed the Diffusion of Innovations Curve to its conclusion.

In most cases, we’re back at the beginning of that curve. People still involved in ghost hunting are among the innovators and “early adopters.”

It’s a good opportunity for serious ghost hunters. I hope you’ll be part of the new wave of research and discoveries in this field.

And, in addition, it’s fun again.

 

Ripon Prison and Police Museum, Yorkshire

Ripon Prison historical plaqueMost Haunted’s Season 19 takes viewers into haunted Ripon Prison and Police Museum, during Episode 7 (airing 26 May 2017 on Really).

The Ripon Prison — originally known as Ripon Liberty Prison — dates back to the 17th century. The current building was the prison site from around 1816 – 1878.

After the enactment of the Prison Act of 1877, the building was empty for about nine years. Then, it became the local police constabulary station through 1958.

It became a museum and visitor attraction around 1984. Today, it offers many opportunities for ghost hunters.

From my current research, no reported ghost has a specific name and history that can be verified.

Several researchers reported a spirit called “George.” (That seems to be a surprisingly popular name among British ghosts.)  He’s described as a warder, not an inmate.

Note: When addressing prison ghosts, try using both “warder” and “warden.” The former is an older term and more popular in Britain, especially in connection with prisons.

However, warder’s secondary meaning (in history) includes “a truncheon or staff of office or authority, used in giving signals.” (ref. Dictionary.com) So, a warden might carry a warder, and a “watch out for the warder!” message might be more about an impending assault than a prison guard.

Another spirit is called Mary, Meg, or Margaret. She’s too young to have been a prisoner, unless she was there with her mother. (In past centuries, babies and very young children might be in a cell with their mothers, particularly if there was no one else to take care of the child.)

However, always be cautious when a prison ghost claims to be very young. In some cases, the spirit is actually malicious. (Remember: Prisons held criminals.) That spirit may be hoping you’ll drop your guard/protection, and he (or she) can achieve viciously self-serving goals.

In both past descriptions of Ripon Prison investigations, and the early reviews of this Most Haunted episode, it sounds as if something very dangerous — possibly not a ghost, but something much darker — might be loose.

One of the most useful triggers I’ve found in my research was the 2013 opening of an exhibit of photos of “lady prisoners,” at Ripon Prison.

Link: The wanted Victorian women: History mugshots reveal the cunning faces of England’s Nineteenth Century bad girls.

From my experiences, images of possible ghosts — especially unsavory men and women from the past — can leave an imprint. This can trigger a residual energy haunting, or even give the ghost a reason to actively haunt that location. (After all, people see him or her there.)

In the case of Ripon Prison, those photos may help investigators match ghostly figures and apparitions — as well as psychic impressions — to specific faces and names.

A casual survey suggests that Ripon Prison’s ghosts are an equal mix of prisoners and wardens or police officers.

That’s somewhat unusual. In most prisons I’ve investigated, the site’s ghosts were mostly prisoners or mostly wardens and guards, not in equal number.

If you’ve been to Ripon Prison and Police Museum, I hope you’ll leave a comment with your observations.

Note: Remember that many hauntings are related to extreme emotions and feelings. So, at a prison, you may encounter ghosts (and residual energy hauntings) related to feeling powerful (wardens) and victimized (innocent prisoners).

If you use questions that show admiration (for spirits reliving their glory days) or sympathy (for those unjustly jailed), you may have better investigation results.

Ripon Prison and Police Museum seems very active and offers many kinds of ghostly encounters.

Most report:

  • Footsteps where no one can be seen
  • EMF spikes, including some that respond to yes/no questions
  • A screw (prison machine) that turns by itself and makes loud metal-on-metal noises (Reported by Simply Ghost Nights)
  • Physical manifestations, such as objects moving on their own, including table tipping.

However, since Ouija boards and dark rituals have been used at Ripon Prison — certainly in recent years, and possibly while the building was empty — use stronger than usual measures to protect yourself and your team.

Also, before going there, I’d research Thomas de Grey (1781–1859), 3rd Lord Grantham, the designer of the cell block.  Sometimes, designers and architects leave their own imprint (or even revisit) sites they’ve built. That’s doubly true when the designer’s name is permanently visible on the building. (See the plaque in the photo, above.)

I’d also explore ghost stories and anomalies reported at Newby Hall, Grantham’s home, and look for connections. I’d especially look for references to “alchemy” associated with Newby Hall or Grantham.

Note: The most famous (or infamous) “ghost” of Newby Hall is from the 1963 photo by the Rev. F. K. Lord. To me, it looks like the photo was altered or it’s a double exposure. (Photo analysis in the 1960s wasn’t entirely reliable.)

Link: The Ghost of Newby Hall

However, the photo’s provenance prevents me from dismissing it altogether.

Here’s a short YouTube video that shows the Ripon Prison building. As an investigator, I note at the amount of metal (which can hold residual energy) and the age of this building. Also, all prison sites feature “trapped inside” and “you can’t leave here” cues.

To me, Ripon Prison and Police Museum looks like a great place for a ghost vigil… as long as you take adequate precautions, of course.

NOTE: This is my last report about “Most Haunted” until I’m able to see the shows, myself. (As of early June 2017, the show’s videos are no longer on YouTube, and my U.S. viewing resources no longer offer the Really channel. I’m hoping the latter resolves, soon.)

Slaughter House, Liverpool – Albert Williams

Is the ghost of Albert Williams real? When I watched the April 2017 “Most Haunted” episode filmed at the Slaughter House in Liverpool, I was intrigued.

Albert Williams is a name that Yvette received from spirit, during the investigation. According to Yvette’s impressions, Albert “looked after horses,” may have been pushed down the Slaughter House stairs, and fell to his death, around 1913.

Was he the same spirit in the “possibly 19th century” impression received by Billy in the earlier investigation?

Or, did two young men die there, in separate tragedies?

And was the searching (and probably distraught) mother Emma, not Meg or Mary? The names sound similar and could be confusing, especially if the psychic impression isn’t clear.

It’s too early to be certain.

Meanwhile, I was not optimistic about finding a likely Albert Williams. Williams is the third most popular surname in modern Britain, with nearly 300,000 people sharing the name.

Also, the given name of Albert — often a tribute to the memory of Queen Victoria’s husband — was very popular in that era.

I expected to find too many “Albert Williams” around Liverpool.

To my surprise, a likely match emerged early in my research. In fact, this was one of those times when the research seemed too easy.

Did he want me to confirm his identity? I can’t rule that out.

Here’s the most likely match for the Albert who contacted Yvette.

Albert Williams (1900 – c. 1913)

Albert Williams was born in 1900 in Liverpool, Lancashire, England, to Emma Graham, age 36, and Alfred Williams, age 40.

“Our” Albert Williams is shown in the following screenshot from the 1901 English census. I’ve circled his name on the census page. The family lived on Anglesea Road in the town of Liverpool. (Note that, in 1901, Albert’s father was a blacksmith.)

Albert Williams Slaughter House 1901 census

Next, here’s the 1911 census. (Again, I’ve circled “our” Albert Williams.)

Albert Williams - 1911 census - Liverpool

In 1911, Albert’s father was working as an Engine Smith (engineer) for the Cunard ship line.

Blacksmith workshop, photo courtesy GraphicStock

One of Albert’s older brothers, George, was an Apprentice Blacksmith.

(Remember, their father had been a blacksmith for most of his adult life.)

So, in 1913, it would be reasonable — in fact, likely — that young Albert (around age 12 or 13) might have “looked after horses” in Liverpool.

He might have worked in or near the Slaughter House location, too. It was a popular commercial area.

So, is this a match for young Albert who haunts the Slaughter House?

It’s more than likely. Here’s why.

I’ve found no records for this Albert Williams after 1911.

That suggests that he died young. Maybe as early as 1913.

Of course, there may be another explanation. Maybe I’d find this Albert Williams in later records, if I dug deeper.

Or, maybe this is the Albert Williams who died at the Slaughter House location around 1913… just as Yvette said.