Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Unconventional Haunts

Greetings my unconventional conventionists! (Bonus points if you got that reference!) Today's post is all about the unconventional---specifically, unconventional places that seem to have a high concentration of hauntings!

Come find me!
Now, I'm a firm believer that any location has the potential to be haunted and there are definitely some places in particular where it is pretty much assumed some type of activity is going to occur. These places, which can be found on multiple lists throughout different paranormal books and websites, usually include hospitals, asylums, schools, theaters, battlefields, cemeteries, mansions, hotels, and prisons/jails. More in-depth lists also tend to include places such as museums, churches, historic sites, train depots and railroad tracks, tunnels, forests, and roads.

These are all great places, many of which live up to their haunted reputations...but sometimes I find it a little boring always writing about the SAME types of places on here over and over again. I love a good night's stay in a haunted hotel, or investigating one of the many jails/prisons that embrace their haunted history with public hunts...but I'm all about the unusual. That's why I decided to take a look at some locations that definitely seem to have more than their fair share of ghost stories, but that don't necessarily fit the classic mold of what a haunted location should be. In no particular order:

Unconventional Haunted Locations

1. Lighthouses---I'm really suprised that lighthouses don't make the cut on these routine lists more often, because seriously, I cannot think of a single lighthouse that DOESN'T have some type of ghost story attached! But why are lighthouses so haunted? Could it be that their shape or close proximity to salt water channels and funnels energy in a unique way? Are they influenced by area shipwrecks and drownings that they could not prevent? Or is it because a lighthouse keeper devotes his entire life to spending every waking moment, desperately tending to the lighthouse, keeping it going and protecting so many that even death cannot break that commitment? Whatever the cause, there are enough haunted lighthouses in the world to warrant a whole website devoted to the phenomena. Check it out at: Haunted Lighthouses

2. Any bridge in Ohio---If you have never heard of a Crybaby Bridge, you are NOT from Ohio, lol. Bridges tend to be hot spots of potential paranormal activity, but many of the stories are nothing but simple urban legends, including the phenomenon of Crybaby Bridges. Usually, these stories are pretty similar---a scorned woman kills herself and/or her baby by jumping off a bridge. If you stop your car on the bridge, you can hear crying and splashing, see lights, and if you're lucky, your car might even stall or be pushed by unseen hands! Crybaby Bridges are so prevalent in Ohio that they now have their own website. The Crybaby Bridge Project seeks to document these, and separate the legends from any grains of truth that might be buried within.

3. Zoos---More and more I've been seeing stories about haunted zoos.The bond between humans and animals is a complex one, and one that isn't always good. I think that complexity of emotions contributes heavily to why so many zoos are starting to develop a reputation for being haunted. Two examples you can find on Theresa's Haunted History include the phantom lioness of the Cincinnati Zoo and the tale of a murdered zookeeper of Houston Zoo.

4. Bowling Alleys---I have no real theory as to why more and more bowling alleys are coming forward with their ghost stories, but there doesn't seem to be any set reason why. Is it the infrasound involved in the machinary and crashing of bowling balls, or is it just simply history? Two examples can be found on this blog, Colonial Lanes in Huntington, WV,  where an employee was murdered years ago, and Kentucky's Rose Bowl Lanes, built atop the site of a deadly accident.

5. Apartment Buildings---Out of all the different types of residential dwellings, apartment buildings tend to be the most haunted. Just like hotels, you've got a high turnover rate. Most people outside of really big cities see apartments as temporary, so there are a LOT of different people with a lot of different energies coming and going. Unfortunately, apartment buildings are often the victims of some negative stereotypes. Apartment living is cheaper, its seen as a temporary living situation, and since the occupant doesn't actually OWN the space, there is often a distinct lack in pride of ownership and individualization.  Those traits tend to attract negative, and even dangerous activities, such as drug use. And, as part of life, deaths also will occur in apartments. Unfortunately, apartments are notoriously difficult to investigate. Sounds, smells, and other signs of a haunting could simply be neighbors nearby....and trying to get the records as to who actually rented the individual apartment in a larger complex is frustrating and sometimes impossible.

6. Amusement Parks---If I have to become a ghost, I'd love to haunt an amusement park! Of course, you have amusement parks where sudden, tragic deaths have occurred, and you've got amusement parks that were built atop land with a storied history...but when it boils down to it, couldn't some of these hauntings simply be people wanting to hang onto a good time? Two of my favorite haunted amusement parks in this area are of course, Kings Island, with its multiple ghosts, and Huntington's Camden Park, where Native Americans, spooky feelings of being watched, and a woman in a polka dot dress still rule the grounds.

7. Antique Stores---If you believe that objects can be haunted, cursed, or hold attachments, then the idea of haunted antique stores makes perfect sense! There are a LOT of very personal, and very OLD items that pass through the walls of these stores, each with a story to tell. As a bonus, many antique stores are located in old, historic homes and buildings! I have had the pleasure of investigating a local antique store, which wishes to remain anonymous, but you can find other stories about the Greater Columbus Antique Mall and Nevada's Dake House antique store right here on my blog!

8. Libraries and Bookstores---Here's another place I'd LOVE to spend my eternity! Reading and collecting books is a huge part of my life, and it's a love I share with a lot of other people. And, similar to antique stores, books are objects that can hold attachments, and stores and libraries can often hold a history all of their own. Here are a few bookish haunts you can find at Theresa's Haunted History: Portsmouth Ohio Public Library and WV's Kingwood Library.

9. Courthouses---I'm convinced that West Virginia has more haunted county courthouses than any other state! But why are courthouses so haunted? Many of our county courthouses are historic buildings, making their way onto the National Register of Historic Places, so plenty of years have passed in which to pick up a ghost or two! Plus, courthouses were often where the local jail was located and sometimes the site of local executions. There are literally so many haunted courthouses in West Virginia alone that I'm just going to share the Haunted WV link and let you browse for yourselves if you'd like more info!

10. Retail Stores---It seems weird that a modern retail chain store would be haunted, but again, I firmly believe that ANY place has the potential to have paranormal activity. I actually used to work at a haunted Dollar Tree! We'd have stuff fly off the shelves right in front of us, vacuums would seemingly unplug themselves, and we'd chase phantom shoppers through the aisles after closing. Unless there is some sort of strange incident connected with the store itself, most of these hauntings seem tied to the land the modern store was built atop. This is the case with the Toys R Us ghost and WV's own haunted Kmart.

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