Paranormal News provided by Medium Bonnie Vent > Tales of haunting help, hurt businesses in northeast Kansas


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20 Oct 2013

http://cjonline.com/news/business/2013-10-19/tales-haunting-help-hurt-businesses-northeast-kansas

Tales of haunting help, hurt businesses in northeast Kansas

Some point to increased interest in paranormal activity

Posted: October 19, 2013 - 8:01pm
 
Hotel Josephine, 5th and Ohio in Holton, was built in 1889 by A.D. Walker and named after his 9-month-old daughter. It is one of the oldest continuosly operated hotels in Kansas, and some people believe a ghost is a permanent guest there.  2011 FILE PHOTOGRAPH/THE CAPITAL-JOURNAL
2011 FILE PHOTOGRAPH/THE CAPITAL-JOURNAL
Hotel Josephine, 5th and Ohio in Holton, was built in 1889 by A.D. Walker and named after his 9-month-old daughter. It is one of the oldest continuosly operated hotels in Kansas, and some people believe a ghost is a permanent guest there.
 

All things ghostly and ghoulish are a boon to candy companies and party stores in October, but the paranormal can be a little more complicated for businesses that some believe have customers who stay after their earthly end.

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.”

Hard numbers on how many Americans seek out an encounter with a spirit (as opposed to a staged “haunted house”) are difficult to come by because of the decentralized nature of the hobby, but almost one-fifth of Americans believe they had come in contact with one. A 2009 poll by the Pew Research Center found about 18 percent of Americans believed they had been in the presence of a ghost, and 29 percent believed they had been in some form of contact with someone who had died.

The idea of contacting the dead clearly is connecting with viewers on the small screen. Syfy’s “Ghost Hunters,” introduced in 2004, still is running, with audiences of 1.1 million to 2.1 million, though some paranormal investigators have called its methods into question. Syfy also has run programs called “Notorious Hauntings,” “Paranormal Witness,” “Haunted Highway,” “Haunted Collector” and “Destination Truth,” and in October the Travel Channel runs features about hotels and travel destinations that are purported to house otherworldly guests.

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.

Ford said she personally has heard noises like someone walking upstairs when no one else is there and the spirits seem to make more noise if a living guest is drunk or behaving disrespectfully, but nothing frightening has happened. She said she doesn’t know of any reports of someone dying at the hotel.

“We just feel that people have been on extended stay and they enjoyed staying here,” she said.

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.

“I do have locations that want to be on the tour now that weren’t receptive nine years ago,” she said. “They thought it would take business away from them.”

Paranormal investigation has become mainstream enough that some companies offer a ghost tour as an outing to their employees, Ramirez said. No one is guaranteed to encounter a spirit on a tour, she said, but most people who attend enjoy hearing a bit about Kansas’s history and legends while they try to collect voice recordings or catch something strange on film.

Not everyone who works at a place rumored to be haunted believes the tales. Mike Bowman, general manager of Blind Tiger Brewery, said some people think that “Helen,” a deceased woman associated with the building, is still around. He said he believes the noises and lights people have observed can be explained by the building’s age and by car lights bouncing off its metal equipment. He says he suggests the natural explanations to people who ask about the rumors of a haunting, but some people still enjoy coming to investigate after hours.

“It’s a 100-year-old building and it makes noises, and people need something to blame it on,” he said.

 

Megan Hart can be reached at (785) 295-5659 or megan.hart@cjonline.com.
Follow Megan on Twitter @meganhartMC.



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