Gilson Tee-Shirt – Sad or Funny?

Gilson Tee-Shirt
What’s your reaction to this shirt? Sad? Funny? Something else?

A Gilson Road tee-shirt is available at Amazon. I’m interested in what my friends think about it.

Frankly, I laughed out loud when I saw the shirt.

But when I posted about it at my Facebook page, the reaction was mixed.

Is this tee-shirt disrespectful?

Clearly, some people feel that way. I’m not happy when long-time researchers – who take this field seriously – are upset by those who take ghost hunting lightly.

I’m also sensitive when people ridicule paranormal research, as if we’re stupid, gullible, and prone to an over-active imagination.

Unfortunately, ghost hunting lost considerable credibility over the past few years. A lot of that can be blamed on the editing of ghost hunting TV shows. They were so sensationalized and so preposterous, they started looking like self-parodies.

That was sad.

It’s also a natural decay that happens to most fads and pop trends. I try to be realistic about these things.

On the positive side, I’m seeing a new generation of ghost hunters enter this field. That’s exciting. We need their challenging questions, and their unorthodox viewpoints.

With those fresh viewpoints, I’m also seeing a kind-of-snarky, kind-of-hipster humor. It’s self-deprecating, in a way.

It’s like they’re saying, “Yes, this subject is kind of ridiculous. It interests me anyway. I want to know the truth about ghosts.”

As long as people take the research seriously, I’m okay with the humor, even when it shows up as tee-shirts. If sarcastic humor keeps new researchers from running out the door in terror… that’s fine with me.

I might buy one of these tee-shirts, myself. It could spark an interesting conversation at the grocery store.

Every story I hear and every question I’m asked can be a very good thing.

  • Questions are good. They keep us looking in fresh directions.
  • First-person stories are even better. The more data points we collect, the clearer our understanding of what’s going on at haunted places, including Gilson Road Cemetery.

So yes, my first impulse is to get one of these shirts and wear it, just to see what happens.

On the other hand, I wouldn’t want to offend people. I know that, at times, my humor can be a bit raw and unconventional.

I’d like to know whether this kind of tee-shirt is sad, amusing, or in really poor taste.

Update: One reader gently reminded me that the tee-shirt audience isn’t entirely that “new generation” of ghost hungers.

As she said, a certain generation created the expression, “Been there. Done that. Got the tee-shirt.” And, for her, it’s still a thrill to have a tee-shirt as a memento of an adventure, or a series of adventures.

She’s right. I should have remembered this when I wrote my original article. Also, I know that many of my friends and fans have been part of the Hollow Hill community since the 1990s. I dashed off this article too quickly. I apologize.

What’s your opinion?

Photos from the Haunted Laconia House

Here are three photos you’ve never seen from my Laconia investigation, and a larger copy of one you may have seen.

Ghost Hunting in Tilton, NH(This is a follow-up from my post about the book, Ghost Hunting in Tilton, NH.)

These pictures are from the haunted house near Laconia’s Parade Road. It’s a private residence, but in Colonial times, it had been a tavern.

Much later, according to stories told by the homeowners, someone was locked in the attic, possibly for years.

There’s plenty of physical evidence, including personal belongings from long ago. It’s difficult to tell which had been left there by previous homeowners, and which belong to the current residents.

But few attics have so many marks scraped into the walls and door.

The first photo shows the wall near the attic door, close to an old-school light switch. I’m not sure if the scratched-in date (near the top of the wall) says 1895 or 1896. I think it’s probably 1896.

Either way, it’s creepy.

Laconia haunted house - scratch marks 1895
Haunted attic in Laconia. Is that date 1895 or 1896?

Next, here are the marks on the inside of the attic door (by someone inside the attic). Some look like they may have been etched with chalk.

More hash marks and scratches inside haunted Laconia (NH) attic
Interior of the attic door, in that haunted Laconia house.

Next is a photo you may have seen before (in my article – Laconia, NH’s Ghostly Places) but this is a larger copy. It hasn’t been adjusted or changed in any way, aside from reducing it to fit on this webpage (and adding my name as photographer).

Haunted Laconia attic, with lots of scratch marks.
Even more hash marks and scratches. Some look almost frenzied.

The fourth (next) photo shows an area just to the left of the previous photo. I did adjust the contrast (and I added an arrow) so you can see the date scratched into the wall: 1892.

Haunted Laconia - 1892 scratches in attic
The date is clear: 1892. So, was someone up there for FOUR years…?

If the photo at the top of this article shows 1895 or 1896 scratched into the wood, it’s possible someone was locked in that attic for a very long time. Three or four years, at least. That’s sad, but also shocking.

You can read more of my Laconia story in Rue’s book.

For me, the most chilling part of this Laconia investigation was what people said, afterwards.

I talked about this house with several friends in Tilton. Every one of them had a story about a relative that had been locked in their family’s attic, years ago. Or, they knew a neighbor or nearby cousin with a relative locked in the attic.

I understand that in the 18th and 19th centuries, mental health facilities could be barbaric. It may have seemed more humane to keep the person at home.

But, in an attic…? And for years…?

That explains a lot about why Tilton and nearby towns are so very haunted.

Ghost Hunting in Tilton, NH

This isn’t my book, but it includes a few of my Tilton area stories, plus one of my ley line articles for ghost hunters, and many of my photos of local haunts.

Other ghost hunters, including Lesley Marden and Jim Fitzgerald, also contributed great ghost stories to Rue’s book.

During January 2018, it’s 99 cents in Kindle.

Ghost Hunting in Tilton, NH, by Rue Taylor Cote.

From the Amazon description:

Ghost Hunting in Tilton, NHIs Tilton the most haunted town in New Hampshire?

Tilton’s ghosts became famous in 2010 when the Ghost Hunters TV series featured Tilton’s haunted 1875 Inn.

After that, many ghost hunters came to Tilton and New Hampshire’s Lakes Region, looking for haunted places.

They found them… Lots of them.

Tilton may seem like a typical New Hampshire town.

After you learn about its ghosts, I think you’ll agree: Tilton is one of the Granite State’s strangest, most haunted towns.

Of course I’m biased, but I think the Tilton-Webster connections are fascinating. The Tilton area seems an odd place for two such eccentric, powerful – and haunted – families to settle, and to be among the area’s ghosts.

The Tilton link to the popular book & TV series, A Handmaid’s Tale, was a complete surprise. I’ll bet there’s more to Peter Tilton’s story, and if two of Oliver Cromwell’s supporters are buried near Tilton’s Connecticut house, in unmarked graves… well, I’d be very interested in investigating there.

Like author Rue Cote, I’m curious about Northfield, too. I’ve researched near the abandoned town center, without realizing anything important had been there. I never knew about the hidden cemetery, either. I’m always interested in haunted sites that have been concealed for at least 100 years.

Tilton is a sleepy little New Hampshire town off I-93, in the Lakes Region. If you’re going to be in that area, I recommend getting this book while it’s 99 cents. Then read it to plan some unique ghost hunting adventures when the weather improves.

(Also, if you have any Tilton-related ghost stories to share, leave them in comments. I’m very interested in that part of New Hampshire, especially since it seems such an unlikely place to have so many ghosts.)

Why You Should Stop Looking for a “Good Scare”

Many people start ghost hunting for fun. They’re looking for a “good scare.”

In my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with that. Not on its own.

Of course, if drinking or drugs are involved, it’s risky to visit haunted places. That’s not just about ghost hunting dangers. A bigger concern may be the police who closely watch “haunted” sites and arrest trespassers.

In fact, many people who thought ghost hunting was a one-time “just for fun” adventure, later become serious researchers.

Looking back, I’d guess that at least 30% of my team members and close associates had a “good scare” story from the past. And, in every case, that’s what sparked their long-term interest in paranormal research.

So, why should anyone stop looking for a “good scare”?

In many cases, maybe they shouldn’t. I’m not sure, and it’s probably a very individual decision.

Today, my warning is about the adrenaline rush and possible addiction. In ghost hunting, it can lead to danger.

A Typical First-Time “Good Scare” Ghost Hunt

Let’s say that Joe and his friends visit a famous haunted cemetery (or a battlefield, an abandoned hospital, or a deserted house).

Maybe they’re just bored, looking for a thrill.

They wander around the site, griping about stupid ghost stories, stupid ghost hunters, and how this visit is a waste of time.

ghostly handThat’s when they encounter something odd.

And, on closer investigation, they realize it’s truly scary.

They run, nearly falling over each other, back to the car.

“Holy crap,” one of them says. “What the heck was that thing?”

“I dunno,” another replies. “I wish we’d never gone there.”

“Me, too,” a third agrees. “Let’s get out of here. Now.”

Eventually, they go home. And, for a few days, each promises himself he’ll never joke about haunted places again.

And Then, the Scare Wears Off

Some time later, Joe decides he was just imagining things. Or maybe he realizes how alive he felt, in that moment of terror.

He decides to revisit the site – his own or with his friends – to see how it looks, now.

One of four things result:

  1. Nothing happens. Joe is disappointed.
  2. The same thing happens, but Joe debunks it.
  3. The same thing happens, but Joe isn’t so scared, this time.
  4. Something bigger and scarier happens, and – once again – Joe experiences that intense adrenaline rush.

If nothing happens, Joe may shrug and laugh about how scared he was. In time, he may forget the whole thing.

If it’s 2 (Joe debunks it) or 3 (Joe isn’t so scared), he may decide he’s kind of interested in this. He learns more about ghost hunting, goes on a few ghost hunts, and becomes a serious researcher.

Joe, frightened - a good scare or not?If something bigger & scarier happens (point 4), Joe may quit going to haunted places. He figures he’s learned his lesson.

Or, he might decide he likes that “good scare,” and go looking for bigger and better scares.

That’s when he’s at risk.

Sure, maybe he tells himself he’s ghost hunting, or looking for UFOs, or something else.

But, what he’s really doing is looking for another adrenaline rush.

It can become an addiction, as Joe looks for progressively more terrifying encounters.

That’s the Danger

If Joe doesn’t understand the real risks – physical, emotional, and spiritual – at haunted places, he’s a danger to himself.

Physical risks include stumbling or falling because he’s not watching where he’s going, or he’s ignored warnings about uneven footing, weak floorboards, etc.

Or, eagerly pursuing “a good scare,” he might forget to put on his respiratory mask at a site with deadly mold or rodent droppings.

Emotional and spiritual risks include being tricked or attacked by a malicious entity.

demonic face - provoking demons is never a "GOOD scare"If Joe is on your ghost hunting team, he could provoke spirits best left sleeping. (Joe might do this deliberately, or without thinking about it.)

Or, he might recommend a site that’s truly dangerous, thinking everyone is on the same page.

What to Do

If you’re Joe, pause and think about your ghost hunting goals, as well as clear warning signs that it’s time to stop. Put them in writing. Tell a trusted friend (or team member) what they are.

Consider going to scary movies – the bigger the movie screen, the better – for a safer “good scare.”

If Joe might be on your ghost hunting team, sit down with your members. As a group, discuss each person’s goals and limits (time, money, travel distances, fear/boredom levels) in paranormal research. Find out which kinds of sites (or hauntings) intrigue them, and what they’d rather avoid.

When everyone knows more about fellow team members, they can support each other’s goals. Your research results may improve.

And, if anyone is searching for increasing “adrenaline high” moments, you can follow-up with a private conversation about potential risks.

A “good scare” can be a fine foundation for future serious, paranormal research. Many ghost hunters started that way.

The only time it’s a danger is when the person doesn’t realize he (or she) is seeking a thrill, and deliberately looking for an increasingly terrifying experience.

Know the difference, for yourself and your team members.

Some Ghosts of New Orleans

Ghost Hunting podcast - Hollow HillThis is another one of my earliest podcasts. I recorded it in October 2006, shortly after Hurricane Katrina. The following topics are part of this 20-minute recording.

NOLA - Pirates Alley, on a foggy, rainy night
Pirates Alley in New Orleans.

Hotel Monteleone appears to be a portal of some kind. (That’s true of many French Quarter locations.) This hotel is unusual because people not only encounter the hotel’s ghosts, they seem to connect with their own loved ones, as well.

Jackson Square‘s vivid military history is just one reason why it’s among New Orleans’ most haunted areas.

Pirates’ Alley is named after the ghost of pirate Jean Lafitte. He and his brothers – and perhaps other pirates – appear in that alley by the cathedral, especially on foggy nights.

Brennan’s Restaurant is a popular, internationally famous restaurant. It’s also the home of four ghosts. Two appear upstairs. Two appear downstairs.

New Orleans is still among America’s best places to encounter ghosts. Some areas of New Orleans are still in recovery, even in 2017 as I’m updating this.

But, the French Quarter was barely touched by the hurricane and the flooding that followed. So, it’s still a wonderful old city with a great, ghostly history.

Related links:
The haunted portrait of Comte LeFleur : Three photos of his changing portrait.
Hotel Monteleone – One of New Orleans’ most elegant hotels is also one of its most haunted… in a good way.
New Orleans online – Learn more about one of America’s best vacation spots.
Brennan’s Restaurant – Visit for world-class dining… and a few encounters with real ghosts.

Listen now

New Orleans book: In this podcast, I mentioned a book that, late in 2006, I’d nearly completed. However, my publisher and I weren’t able to agree on several important issues. So, I’m sorry to say that book wasn’t published and I don’t expect to resume work on it.

Glitches: The sound quality isn’t very good, but – in 2006 – after two weeks of truly weird things happening to the recording, I decided to post it anyway.

Then, in 2009, when we changed Hollow Hill’s format and had to re-import all the files, this one file kept giving us problems. I’m not sure why, but it makes me wonder just what I said in the podcast that results in these weird glitches.

If the sound isn’t red-hot now (after Nov 2017), maybe the ghosts are playing pranks? Sometimes, their humor eludes me, but I try to smile anyway.

Music by: Devin Anderson (I think he’s now Devin Anderson Wiley)