What haunted houses tell us about ourselves and our past
NEW YORK » Haunted houses tell us a lot of stories. But those stories are not just about ghosts.
Colin Dickey, the author of “Ghostland,” went around the country visiting haunted houses. He says ghost stories are often ways of helping us confront something disturbing from the past.
For example, it’s not hard to imagine a history of atrocities and violence in an abandoned prison, some of which have turned into haunted attractions like Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia.
Other times ghost stories may revolve around a tragic story like the death of a child or unrequited love. Dickey says we tell ghost stories to “talk about things we might not otherwise talk about.”
Ghost tours can also help historic sites raise money for preservation by bringing in tourist dollars.