What famous locations have been used for ghost hunting TV shows?

Around Halloween, many TV shows feature haunted locations. As they say, “‘Tis the season!”

eastern state penitentiaryUsually, TV producers choose those sites because they look creepy.

Those places are well-known haunts. Something dramatic (and perhaps scary) is likely to happen at least once during the show.

Those same haunted locations can be great if you’re looking for nerves-of-steel investigation sites, too.

Or, they can be too extreme.

Some haunted locations featured on TV

Here are some of them:
Buffalo Central Terminal, Buffalo, NY
Campbell House, Eugene, OR
Essex County Sanitarium, Cedar Grove, NJ
Fort Delaware, Delaware City, DE
Hill View Manor, New Castle, PA
Letchworth Village, Haverstraw, NY
Moon River Brewery, Savannah, GA
New Mexico State Penitentiary, Santa Fe, NM
Pennhurst State Hospital (originally named the Eastern Pennsylvania State Institution for the Feeble-Minded and Epileptic), Spring City, PA
Queen Mary (luxury liner), Long Beach, CA
Sorrel Weed House, Savannah, GA
Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, CO
Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum (later called the Armand Auclerc Weston State Hospital), Weston, WV
Waverly Hills Sanitorium, near Louisville, KY
West Virginia State Penitentiary, Moundsville, WV

On the other hand, if you’re looking for haunted locations near you, visit the nearest public library or large newspaper office. Look through back issues of local newspapers and magazines, from around Halloween. Every year, most periodicals feature local, haunted locations, including some  you can investigate or tour.

What are the best TV shows and movies about real ghosts?

“Best” is in the eye of the beholder. Also, ghost-related movies are usually different from ghost-related TV shows. So, I use different standards when I talk about them.

In general, when it comes to ghost videos on the big or small screen, I’m very opinionated about this topic.

My favorite ghost-related movies include the 1963 version of The Haunting.

So far, nothing else has measured up to that. Not even close.

Although the marsh scene and the ending spoiled the Daniel Radcliffe movie, The Woman in Black, I thought much of it was compelling.

I like many dramatizations of The Turn of the Screw.

The old Roddy McDowell move, The Legend of Hell House, can seem ridiculously dated and sensational. However, some elements in it are excellent.

It’s one of the more popular ghost-related movies that air on TV around Halloween. Expect some unintended laughs, keep your expectations low, and I think you’ll enjoy it.

My favorite ghost-related TV show was probably the Ghost Lab series by the Klinge Brothers. It seemed the most genuine, though I winced at much of the editing.

When I met them — and got past my starry-eyed fangirl moment — they seemed genuine and had some great ghost insights. (They’re the only ghost hunters I’ve gone fangirl over. So, that says a lot.)

Here are a couple of their investigations, from a YouTube video:

I’ve liked some episodes of Ghost Hunters, mostly because I’m dazzled by the locations they visit.

(Well, to be honest, I’m actually envious of the access they have to great, haunted sites. I just wouldn’t trade my privacy for that.)

In terms of the show itself, I know (and like) many of the cast members, so I am biased… and I’ve seen fewer than a dozen Ghost Hunters episodes.

I just can’t watch friends on TV shows, when they’re edited to look gullible, ignorant, belligerent, or… well, very different than they are in real life.

So, I’ve avoided watching Ghost Hunters.

Ghost hunting on YouTube

I like about 3% of ghost-related videos on YouTube. Maybe less.

The other 97% are so silly, hyped, or badly filmed, I can’t watch. Still, when a YouTube video is good, it can be great.

Entertainment v. reality

In general, most ghost-related movies don’t accurately represent hauntings.

Likewise, ghost-related TV shows are edited as entertainment. They don’t show everything that goes on at haunted places. They don’t realistically portray ghost hunting.

Often, the team’s research was genuine. Then, the footage was edited to amuse or entertain the viewing audience.

Remember: these shows aren’t documentaries. In recent years, instead of pretending they’re “reality” shows, producers call them “unscripted” shows.

If you want to know the truth about ghost-related TV series, look for interviews with former stars of Extreme Paranormal.

They’re no longer bound by the terms of their TV contracts, and they’re talking about what really goes on, behind the scenes. It’s more chilling than the ghosts they’ve encountered.

My answer to this question: The best way to identify good, ghost-related movies and TV shows, is to become a ghost hunter yourself. Soon, you’ll be able to spot what’s real and what’s fake.

What’s the difference between a haunted object and a haunted house?

To be honest, it can be difficult to tell the difference.  Mostly, it’s a case of trial-and-error. The Haunted Collector TV series presented a basic view of what’s involved.

From my experience, the size of the haunting can be a hint.  Characteristics can vary, too.

Haunted houses

Most actively haunted houses have distinct, ghostly phenomena. The ghost may appear in just one room or in a variety of locations throughout the house.  You sense that a spirit is involved.  It’s aware of you.  It responds to what you do, and it’s not the same activity, over and over again.

Other haunted houses might have residual energy. For example, a cold spot may appear every night at about 10 PM. It’s likely to last around 20 minutes. If nothing else happens, it’s probably just ghostly energy stored at the site.

A space clearing can reduce or eliminate that kind of problem.

A haunted object can affect an entire house, too

A haunted or cursed object can affect a small area, a room, an entire floor, or the whole house.

It’s smart to investigate using an EMF meter. See if one object is the focal point of the ghostly activity. Unless an object is magnetized or runs on electricity, it shouldn’t affect your EMF meter.

What to do if you suspect a haunted object

  1. Remove the object.
  2. Take it several miles away.
  3. See if the problems stop.

If everything seems normal (or gradually becomes normal after a week or two), the problem was probably the object.  Don’t burn it.  Contact someone like John Zaffis. He’s an expert in that field. (He’s also very different from how he’s seemed on TV.)

Unfortunately, tests like this require a lot of trial and error. If the house contains more than one haunted object, the process can be nightmarish. (No pun intended.)

In the 19th century and early 20th century, newspapers often talked about haunted and cursed objects. Many people still recognize tales of the curse of the Hope Diamond.

However, that may be all they recall.

Until the Haunted Collector TV series, haunted objects had been pretty much forgotten.

As a result, few ghost hunters know how to find haunted objects. Even fewer are experts in the field.

I have no idea what percentage of haunted houses are actually plagued by haunted objects. It’s too early to guess the impact of haunted objects in this field.

Energy from a ghost and the energy from a haunted object… well, they’re different.  It’s difficult to articulate.

How I detect a haunted object

Old typewriter - can be haunted
Old, everyday objects can be haunted. They don’t have to “look creepy.”

First of all, when I’m near a haunted or cursed object, my reaction is more like, “Uh-oh. Something is not right, here.”

In my head, I can practically hear the shark-is-on-the-way music from the movie, “Jaws.”  I’m uneasy.  I feel unsafe.

Investigating, I usually zero-in on an object.  That’s when I’ll tell the owner to remove whatever-it-is before I return for a more complete investigation.

Haunted houses…? No problem. For me, haunted objects are a different matter.

I absolutely, positively do not like haunted objects. And, among haunted objects, creepy dolls are the very worst… in my opinion, anyway. Some defaced photos and advertising images are a close second.

Where to see a haunted object

If you want a first-hand encounter with haunted objects, go to any old, dusty antiquities museum.

– The Hope Diamond is in the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in Washington, DC, USA.
– I’m uncomfortable with some objects at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Cambridge, MA, USA.
– Also in the U.S., John Zaffis has displayed his personal collection of haunted objects. Ed & Lorraine Warren — John Zaffis’ aunt and uncle — had a similar collection in a separate museum. I’m not sure if either John’s museum or the Warrens’ collection are open to the public. Check their websites for more information.
– Several buildings at the Tower of London (England) contain objects that I consider haunted.
– The British Museum, London, England (UK) is another place to sense haunted and cursed objects. (And, admission is free.)

Many of those wonderful old items were donated by people who were eager to get the objects out of their homes.  Bad memories or bad energy…?  Beauty (and unearthly energy) may be in the eye (or “gut feeling”) of the beholder.

Note: This is different than diminishing residual energy stored in objects. For fun, a few of us frequent antiques shops to compare notes as we “read” the energy on objects displayed.

Even at museums, it seems like haunted and cursed objects stand out. They may as well have neon arrows pointing to them.

Antiques stores are great training grounds

You can learn to read this kind of energy, so you can spot a haunted object in a client’s home.

Almost every antiques store has at least one haunted object, whether the owners realize it or not.

(I regularly use an EMF meter to confirm my reactions to objects. Weirdly, no one who works at them has ever asked what the EMF meter was, or why I was using it.)

Thrift shops aren’t nearly as good for this kind of research. Their objects rarely have the history — and layers of energy — you’ll find at antiques shops.

To tell the difference between a haunted object and a haunted house, the test can be simple.

If you remove a haunted object from a house, the house settles down in a day or so.

If the house is haunted by a ghost or residual energy, it remains active.