When I wrote about Paranormal Tourism here on Skeptoid blog, I got flak from people who thought I took too hard of a line, that it was all in fun and people don’t really believe this stuff.
Ghost tours attract families for an after-hours casual walking trip. It’s a fun and safe thing to do. The paranormal experience is just out of reach so as to not be particularly frightening and the guides are meant to be entertaining and not pushy regarding belief or disbelief. They let YOU decide. What’s the harm in using local legends to boost tourism?
Ghost tours and monster festivals are fun. But, their apparent frivolity disguise an underlying invitation to buy into an idea just because it’s entertaining while having no basis in reality. I don’t begrudge businesses for offering ghost tours as a way to explore a location and it’s history (because I think there actually IS a way to do it in an unobjectionable way), but it can easily go beyond entertainment and, thus, contribute to the promotion of paranormal belief in our society. It’s the 21st century; we need to move beyond that low level of understanding.
Well, I still stand by my opinion that paranormal tourism promotes nonsense belief in the paranormal. People love stories and will accept them as true simply because it’s interesting and mysterious.
There is a new site out for the UK that sells tickets directly to ghost hunts and events. Don’t think this is going away soon – it’s a big business.