A “haunted house” is supposed to be the only tangible thing in the paranormal realm. It’s a real building. Certain effects are repeatedly described, always by more than one person, so that the witnesses are believable. You would think therefore that a study or investigation of a “haunted house” would be taken more seriously and presented far more professionally than they are.
One side rationalizes and dismisses the effects– sounds, creaks, groans, doors slamming, “shadow people”– as the odd effects of an old house and the tricks of light and shadows. The other side– the “believers”– each have their own axe to grind.
Haunted houses are not believable because they are not investigated seriously. Only the theories are rehashed.
Taking two of the most famous cases highlights the inconsistencies that plague the genre.
The haunting of the Amityville Horror house was set in motion by the blessing of the priest on the house. He heard a deep voice order him to “Get out!” and he got slapped in the face. The Lutz’s came to believe that demons possessed the house. The church would not exorcise the house because the church does not believe objects can be possessed, only people.
Hans Holzer also investigates. He believes in ghosts. To him it’s an irritable Indian chief on horse back, which he snaps in a polaroid. Therefore it is surviving personalities which are to blame.
Demons and surviving personalities (ghosts) are not the same thing.
The Haunting in Connecticut
Ed and Lorraine Warren are called in here as well in order to investigate. Eventually, the church comes in to exorcise the house (apparently they believe houses can be possessed now). After the exorcism the house is clear. The haunting is lifted. Yet the hands are found missing from the Madonna statue used in the ritual. That’s a little disturbing.
However, in a documentary, the Warren’s nephew speaks of an encounter with a ghost in the house, in which the ghost said “Do you know what was done to us here?” The house had been a funeral home before turned into a family home. The inference is that ghosts haunt the house, the spirits of those corpses abused by a sadistic funeral director.
So again, we have both– demons exorcised by the priests and surviving personalities– ghosts.
You cannot have both!
Every famous “haunting” becomes surrounded by those who try and work every angle. The result is the consistent presentation of the inconsistency in all haunted house stories.
A haunting is so ambiguous that the only consistent thing about it is the inconsistency of the theories. They are all based on interpretation or. . . quite frankly on grandstanding.
Yet all haunted house stories do begin with one consistent thing. They all share this. And it is what begins the “haunting.” We’ll look at this in our next post.
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Since 1990 Gian J. Quasar has investigated a broad range of mysterious subjects, from strange disappearances to serial murders, earning in that time the unique distinction of being likened to “the real life Kolchak.” However, he is much more at home with being called The Quester or Q Man. “He’s bloody eccentric, an historian with no qualifications who sticks his nose into affairs and gets results.” He is the author of several books, one of which inspired a Resolution in Congress.