Twenty years ago, a business’s paranormal history was often downplayed or kept hidden, known only by the owners and a select few employees. Owners feared the idea of operating a haunted establishment would be ridiculed and reports of ghostly activity viewed as merely a publicity stunt. Over the past decade that view has changed and the popularity of the paranormal as entertainment has turned the unexplained into an important part of some businesses marketing plans.
From restaurants and hotels to museums and roadside tourist attractions, businesses are now ready and willing to tell the stories of their haunted pasts and marketing those experiences to the paranormal media. For a business that is truly being affected by unexplained events there may be nothing wrong with this. It allows an outlet for those living and working with the activity, provides opportunities for continued research and can make some entertaining television. But what happens when less than ethical business owners allow or encourage actual events to mix with lies and embellishments in an effort to market the paranormal aspects of their business?
The competitive nature of paranormal investigators may help encourage these deceptions. The need to find the next exciting site to explore can cause some researchers and producers to focus less on the documented history of a location and rely primarily on the stories being told. When this happens, they can easily and unintentionally fall victim to a business’s desire to gain from the marketing of a paranormal history. With the growing availability of paranormal media, any business hoping to profit from its popularity can find investigators to document and publish an investigation while planting the seeds for future interest. Regardless of the business owners accuracy or honesty, if the stories they tell are interesting enough, a business can soon draw the attention of other paranormal investigators and journalists, creating a buzz that is eventually noticed by the more mainstream paranormal production companies.
Paranormal investigation does not require an entire video production crew, but it helps if you are planning on marketing your business to the paranormal community. There are certainly plenty of local and qualified groups of investigators able to document the activity so why do many businesses willingly make the rounds of paranormal television? A single appearance on one of the popular cable or broadcast networks shows almost always leads to appearances on others as competing shows fight for stories to tell and locations to film. Once these businesses have made the rounds of the paranormal television shows, many of them use their appearances and haunted history as marketing tools aimed at paranormal enthusiasts.
Every business has to promote itself and successful marketing incorporates both current trends and popular ideas. Using a mysterious past and reports of recent experiences may be effective marketing but when a business actively pursues publicity for paranormal activity, especially when that publicity is as as high profile as television shows, their motives have to be questioned. Besides researching the history of a location, investigators should look at other factors such as the business’s financial condition and whether or not it is currently marketing the suspected paranormal activity to the public. Investigating these areas may appear to be intrusive and unrelated to paranormal research but doing this may help reveal the true purpose behind a business’s willingness or eagerness to invite paranormal researchers to their location.
Businesses marketing themselves to the paranormal media have little to lose by inviting investigators into their locations The stigma of a haunting has been replaced by potential customers eager for a glimpse of faint shadows or the feel of an unexplained breeze upon their necks, especially when those customers can say that the experience took place at a famous location. Unfortunately there are businesses willing to exploit both customers and the paranormal community. The general willingness of many investigators to support the existence of alleged activity when an investigation yields no results makes this deception even easier. Claiming that the spirits just didn’t want to show themselves during a particular investigation, investigators attach their credibility to stories that may have no basis in fact and unwittingly publicize businesses that are intent on coning future customers. Paranormal researchers are constantly on an uphill climb to gain and maintain their credibility and a business intent on exaggerating or falsifying paranormal activity does more than just deceive their customers, they lower the public’s opinion of the entire paranormal field.