Lori Ford, who has owned the Hotel Josephine, 501 Ohio Ave. in Holton, for more than two years, said some people specifically come looking for a paranormal experience, like the ghost hunters who have scheduled an evening investigation Oct. 26. Other people are unnerved by the idea and may avoid the hotel, she said, while some don’t believe in the paranormal and don’t seem to factor the stories in when choosing where to stay.
“It’s a blessing and a curse,” she said. “It hurts our business sometimes because people come in and get freaked out. But I also have a draw for it, especially in October.”
Ford said she doesn’t market the Josephine as a “haunted hotel,” but people who have done Internet research before booking a room often come across stories. She said there were no signs of haunting when she worked at the hotel as a teenager, but phenomena apparently began somewhere in the intervening years because the previous owner mentioned a ghost when she bought the hotel.
Cathy Ramirez, owner of Ghost Tours of Kansas, said some businesses weren’t interested in being involved with ghost hunting when she began offering tours nine years ago, but have changed their minds as the “stigma” surrounding the paranormal faded.
There’s nothing wrong with marketing your place as haunted but it’s often a bit disingenuous. The stories told by some of these haunted locations are rarely verified as true and probably significantly exaggerated. That’s good for business. But notice that we’ve covered stories about stigmatized properties recently. It seems that it takes an effort and some luck to do well with a haunted property.
I once went on a ghost tour after looking into the local lore of Cape May, N.J. What I found was some local amusement and lots of nonsense as well. But, this really isn’t about truth, it’s about advertising.