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If you’re ghost hunting and you’d like to investigate overlooked, extremely haunted sites, “outsider” locations are ideal.
They’re infamous, or they’re practically forgotten. Or both.
In most cases, ghosts connected to infamous people – such as Jack the Ripper – are already well-known.
Often, the places they haunt have been researched by so many people, the ghostly (or psychic) energy can seem diluted.*
In my opinion, the dilution occurs when recent residual energy – from the intense emotions of paranormal investigators – remains at the site.
That’s why I’m always more interested in lesser-known haunts, and unreported sites.
If you want to find fresh, intensely haunted sites, historical research can make a big difference.
One way to simplify your research: start with “outsiders” in history, and places connected to them.
An added bonus: These sites can be “hiding in plain sight.” You might drive past them – or signs pointing to them – daily.
To help you find these kinds of sites, I’ve created a simplified checklist. It summarizes the main steps I take when I’m looking for a haunted site with unreported (or under-reported) paranormal activity, for my own research or as a location scout for TV producers.
(*The related PDF is no longer available, since Google Drive changed their security and linking policies. Until we decide the best way to distribute freebies like this, see the text version of this checklist, lower on this page.)
Related articles at this website:
*There are exceptions to the dilution concept. Here are a few:
- Of course, Tudor World (Stratford-upon-Avon, England) comes to mind immediately. That site is so eerie and so haunted, it breaks all the rules. I’m sure the site has a secret history that’s not been revealed yet – possibly multiple reasons why its ghosts are the strangest I’ve ever encountered. They’ve been there for so many centuries, I don’t think they’ll fade… ever.
- I love England, including London, but there’s not enough money in the world to entice me to spend a night in London’s Highgate Cemetery. It has so many layers of paranormal activity, thousands of investigators could stream through, daily, for a century or longer… and it’d remain one of the most chilling, haunted places on Earth.
- Lizzie Borden’s house (Fall River, Massachusetts) is another weird site every ghost hunter should investigate. Its ghostly energy probably won’t diminish until the real murder story is told. And, oh yes, if you explore the basement, be sure your companions have nerves of steel. I’m not sure those ghosts have any direct connection to sweet-when-she’s-not-angry Lizzie.
- The library at Edith Wharton’s home, The Mount (Lenox, Massachusetts), is a room with an extraordinary level of paranormal energy, no matter how many ghost hunters investigate it. The rest of the house is charming and at least lightly haunted, but the library… it’s in a powerful class of its own.
- And then there are hot-and-cold sites like the Hellfire Club (Montpelier Hill, Dublin, Ireland) which seems to fluctuate between being insanely haunted… and then not haunted at all. Nothing in-between, and I don’t think that has anything to do with how many people investigate it.
*Until I can restore the original, printable checklist, here’s what was in it:
Finding Unexplored “Outsider” Haunts
First, learn the categories of “outsiders” in your area, and where they lived, worked, died, and were buried. Start with the late 19th century, though – sometimes – earlier eras may be fruitful, too.
Tip: At your local historical society or public library, look at 19th century “vanity” books – collected biographies about leading citizens in the community. Where did they live? Then, use a city directory to learn who lived at the opposite side of town. Often, those were the “outsiders.” Related sites can be the most promising places to find less-famous hauntings.
Note: Many of those areas have been gentrified. If they’re still “the wrong side of town,” keep personal safety in mind if you investigate there.
___ 1. Use local resources – historical societies, libraries, genealogical centers – to learn more about your community. Start with the 19th century, especially as the Industrial Revolution took its toll on society, beginning around 1870.
___ 2. Were any people or areas considered “fringe”? Who were the lowest-paid workers in that era? Where did those groups live and work? What’s there, now?
___ 3. Identify past locations of:
Factories and workhouses (or poorhouses)
Hospitals, sanitariums, and sanitoriums
Ethnic & minorities’ homes, churches, and cemeteries
Prisons and prison cemeteries, and any military encampments
Opium dens, gambling parlors, red-light districts
Where homeless people slept
Religious communities (including monks, convents)
Funeral homes, undertakers, and crematoriums
Oddly empty plots of land and abandoned sites
___ 4. Go back 20 – 50 years earlier, and find out what was on that site. Then, go earlier. What was the land used for? If anything changed… when, and why? (Old maps can be helpful.)
___ 5. If you’re in an area with past or current archaeological research, study their findings. (Sometimes, similar information is revealed when a site is dug up for a new building or road.)
___ 6. Start with the most-forgotten (or deliberately concealed) histories, especially if violence or tragedies occurred. Using historical records, gather as much information as you can, including names associated with each location. Use those in your investigation, especially if you’re recording EVP.
___ 7. Double-check access to the locations, hours, and any safety issues. Gather your team and find out if the site is haunted. (This may require three or more visits, to be sure.)
Learn more about ghosts and haunted places at my YouTube channel, Ghost Hunting with Fiona Broome.