Tombstone is known for its silver mining and gun fights. It was the epitome of a wild west town. The town is dependent now on tourism. The image is enhanced by the town’s multiple paranormal themed tours. Earlier this summer, a scam artist tempted paying tourists to visit historic Tombstone but there was no tour, no lodging, no experience.
Source: Gullible is as gullible does
The current investigation in Tombstone is attempting to uncover the defrauding of numerous people around the United States and Canada, says Deputy Ivan Bernal of the Tombstone Marshal’s Office.
As television reality shows such as Ghost Adventures and Ghost Hunters are becoming more popular, The Bird Cage Theatre in Tombstone began offering ghost tours and allowing private groups to go on paranormal investigations. This was one of stops the scam artist promised the tourists they would see.
Bill Hunley, the manager at Bird Cage Theatre, claims the house is definitely haunted but that he won’t guarantee that visitors will have a paranormal experience while visiting. Of course not, because it’s all about what anomaly will be interpreted as “paranormal” by the visitors. Hit or miss.
The risk of paranormal tourism for customers is that they are never guaranteed to get their money’s worth and have the experiences such paranormal tours offers the chance to have. But that doesn’t stop such tours from being profitable. As this piece notes, an abandoned location with some rich history will yield “ectotourism” dividends. (That’s a really terrible word.) The West Virginia Penitentiary attracts paranormal seekers, not history buffs.
“Once we did paranormal tours, we really had to get serious about it,” Park noted. “We said, ‘Okay, we have to treat this like a business and not like folks are just coming over and visiting.’” People and groups now book tour dates in advance online, with 70 percent of tour sales arriving from the Pittsburgh market. Visitors haven’t balked at the $950 Private Paranormal experience for a total of as many as 20 people who arrive at midnight and basically rent the facility until 6 a.m.
The nonprofit set up in West Virginia makes some profit off this. They are surprised how much people will pay to spend a night in a creepy location.
Paranormal tourism also includes UFO sites and Bigfoot camping trips. However, such tours and adventures deliver mostly fictional accounts and possibly false history instead of accurate information. Worst of all, the events promote belief in the paranormal.
The Federal Trade Commission notes companies won’t be in trouble as long as they don’t guarantee anything specific. As long as they are not deliberately deceiving the audience, they’re in the clear, from a legal stand point. It’s up to people themselves to weigh the risks and gamble on such tourism.