This article is from 2021 and may be outdated. We're working on restoring a newer version.
On only a few TV shows — like Ghost Adventures — ghost hunters lock themselves inside haunted places.
To me, it seems a little silly, but it can add to the tension. It’s another way to make ghost hunting look more exciting.
It also increases the likelihood that no one will wander into the location, and corrupt the investigation.
For example, if the team hear footsteps in another part of the site, they’ll want to be sure that no one else entered the building.
But, if anyone really wanted to leave the haunted site, they could open a window and climb out. Or leave through a back door or a basement door.
So, in real life, investigators rarely lock the doors. Not unless it’s a private residence or business, and the doors are always locked after dark.
Of course, being “locked in” is a common plot device in many stories, books, plays, and movies about haunted places.
It’s also used in some “scary haunted houses” created for Halloween.
On TV shows and in movies, I think it increases the tension.
(Does anyone else wonder if the producers provide a room with sofas and food? Or, in derelict sites with no electricity and running water, do they have a discreetly concealed porta-potty for the team’s use?)
Some Ghost Adventures locations look dangerous. That has nothing to do with ghosts.
During filming at those locations, I’d lock the doors, too — to keep vagrants and drug dealers out.
Making that part of the story line — as if they’re trapped inside the site, overnight — is an added bonus.
But, in general, you’ll never see ghost hunters lock themselves inside a haunted site.
If you’re in a dangerous area, or have real concerns about a stranger entering a derelict site while you’re there, invest in some inexpensive bells. They’re often sold as “jingle bells.”
You can string them on a ribbon, and place them on doorknobs or — with a pushpin — position them to make noise if a door is opened. (You can also buy pre-made versions, sold as “potty bells” to housetrain dogs.)
Otherwise, when ghost hunters lock themselves inside a haunted site, it’s because the doors would normally be locked at that hour. I can’t think of any other reason to do so.