During my time as director of Fringe Paranormal I have been on many investigations of alleged haunted locations. Most of these investigations involved us contacting, or being contacted by, the owner of a site. We went in and investigated. That was that. There was no expectation of payment either TO us for investigating or FROM us to get into the location. Once you get into the paranormal arena you discover that there are many places out there around the country that not only welcome people into their haunted spots but that also charge a fee to enter.
This leads to the question: How much would you pay to see a ghost?
Looking around at all of the alleged haunted locations you will find a wide range of prices for admittance. Remember we are talking about sites with “real” activity and not the “Halloween haunted house”. I have seen prices range from $10 up to and beyond $100 and to $300 for one night. Now there does not really seem to be a formula for the charge based on popularity. There are popular haunts that charge next to nothing and there are popular haunts that charge exorbitant prices. It seems that most of the places that do charge started charging about the time that the paranormal became the “in” thing or the popular thing since the emergence of shows such as “Ghost Hunters” and the like. (Paranormal investigation teams have been around way before these television shows).
The Fringe Paranormal team has visited a few “pay-to-play” alleged haunts. For the most part the places we chose had a solid background of activity and were run by people with solid reputations. However, there is one thing that does bother me about the sites that charge for a team to come in and investigate. Truthfulness and integrity are two terms that spring to mind.
Let me begin by saying that I am not alleging that any of the places in operation that charge a fee are falsifying claims. But here is the thing…once some one starts charging a fee the temptation to overstate claims of paranormal activity rears its ugly head. This could also lead to out and out fraud and falsifying of evidence. Remember the old Scooby Doo cartoons of years past? Scooby Doo and his friends investigate haunted and strange activity at assorted locations. Eventually they figure out that the strange activity was really just some stodgy old caretaker trying to scare people off for some reason or other. (Off topic..am I the only one who thinks Scooby Doo started to go downhill with the introduction of Scrappy Doo?)
Overall I think the existence of the places that charge for entrance may actually be good for the paranormal arena. Lets face it, it can be tough to get into places (legally) to investigate, especially if you are new to investigating.
The existence of these places brings the paranormal to the forefront of peoples’ minds and makes locations with alleged activity readily accessible to those with an interest in the paranormal.
Keeping all of this in mind one must really choose carefully which “pay-for play” paranormal locations you choose to investigate. Do your research. What are the claims? How long has the location been reporting said claims? Have the stories about the location been around long before they started charging admission?
Any other thoughts? We invite you to share your good and bad experiences with the “pay-to-play” locations around the country.