Almost every city and town has ghost stories. Many have active hauntings. The biggest challenge for new ghost hunters is to find really haunted places.
Look at the photo to the left. It doesn’t look especially haunted, does it?
That’s a photo of the most haunted wing of one of America’s most haunted houses, The Myrtles Plantation, in Louisiana.
Few places are as haunted as that house. However, no matter where you live, you can find haunted places nearby.
Q. How do I find local ghosts?
Start ghost hunting near your own home. That’s usually the easiest place to find haunted sites.
Search using Google or another search engine. Enter the name of your city, town, state, or region, using words such as “ghosts” and “haunted.”
Remember, a lot of this is based in folklore, and the stories are more fiction than fact. Many websites list every location that is even rumored to be haunted. (I like Dave Juliano’s website, The Shadowlands.) In my experience, only a small percentage of listed locations have actual ghosts. However, if sites are nearby, they’re worth looking into.
Check news headlines for recent reports of hauntings. Search at Google News using words such as “ghosts,” “haunted houses,” and so on. (I regularly review those kinds of reports, but I can’t investigate — or even list — all of them.)
Read books at the library. Most public libraries have a section that includes paranormal books. Also look among books describing your local geographical area, especially folklore. Libraries usually have a section specifically about their town or city, and the region in general.
While “ghost” books — collections of stories — can be unreliable, they are a good place to start.
Ask people. Almost everyone has heard of a few local places with ghost stories and haunted histories. Generally, college, high-school and middle school students know the most rumors about local haunted places.
Check back issues of local newspapers. Most regional newspapers feature haunted sites during the week before Halloween.
Ask the police. Police are often the best resource for information about hauntings. They know which places generate complaints about odd activity–noises, weird lights, and so on–but have no reasonable explanations.
Q. Are there some places almost always haunted?
Yes, and some of these classic cliches can help you to locate haunted places.
Cemeteries are usually mildly haunted. Older cemeteries–from the 19th century and earlier–are far more likely to have ghosts. Explore the oldest sections of cemeteries for the best results. However, many cemeteries are closed between dusk and dawn. Observe local laws whenever you’re ghost hunting.
Abandoned buildings are often haunted. People rarely walk away from a perfectly good house or building unless something’s really wrong with it. What’s “wrong” may be a ghost. A few commercial locations in Salem, Massachusetts, are like that. (However, never trespass on private property. Get permission.)
Theaters — those with a stage the people have performed on — are almost always haunted. Usually, these are fun ghost. Look for ghosts on the stage, in the audience, backstage, and just outside the auditorium doors. Many theaters have a ghost that visits during rehearsals, and can be seen sitting or standing on the balcony.
Most colleges and some schools have at least one poltergeist. Ask students. To narrow your focus, remember that poltergeist activity is usually connected with water or a water source (streams, ponds, and — indoors — faucets). Also look for unusual, mobile EMF spikes.
Avoid investigating private homes when you are new to ghost hunting. Safety issues are just part of the problem. Some people who are troubled by ghosts — or proud of them — may have expectations you’re not able to meet.
These tips will help you find good local haunts. In addition, rely on your gut instinct. If a location looks haunted, it might be a good place to investigate.
Also, be sure to check my Guidelines for Ghosthunters before going on your first ghost hunt.