As the author of more than two dozen books about haunted places and ghostly faces across the Mid-Atlantic and as one who has led ghost tours in the United States, England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, I have an obvious appreciation for the accessibility and interpretation of haunted sites here and there.
In the U.S., some of the most allegedly intense ghostly energies can be found on properties administered by the National Park Service. But the NPS has what seems to be an unspoken, unofficial aversion toward things that go bump in their sites.
Visit the Gettysburg National Military Park and ask a park ranger about the haunted hot spots. You're likely to get something along the lines of "that's something we don't discuss" response. Look for a book on ghosts in Gettysburg, and if it's there at all, it's probably in the "fiction" section.
It's not that the rangers are necessarily hostile toward hauntings. It's just, as I was once told, NPS policy.
On the NPS website, there is a tab that digs deep into the management policies of the service. Subject tabs range from use of cell phones to use of Segways. Nowhere are any policies regarding the paranormal to be found.
Across the Atlantic, the caretaker of more than 400 historic properties in England is more than gracious in its preservation and presentation of all things ghostly.
Officially the "Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England," English Heritage is the "statutory advisor" on the historic environment in England.
Go to www.english-heritage.org.uk, do some searching, and you will find such sections as "Creepy Castles & Haunted Homes," "Haunted Tours" and "Hair-Raising Haunted Halloween Fun."
Hip-hip hooray for you, English Heritage!
England has no equivalent to our National Park Service, but does have 15 national parks that have their own governance. I have been to several of them, asked about any resident spirits, and have been courteously rewarded with many tales.
English Heritage has, in fact, released the results of a compilation of unexplainable, eerie stories told by both visitors and staff members at its most haunted sites.
Further, an English group, "Demonic Britain," has published the findings of paranormal researcher and author Lionel Fanthorpe, listing hundreds of unexplained events, boggarts and banshees, ghouls and ghosts, and other reported paranormal phenomena throughout Great Britain.
Fanthorpe ranked the 10 most ghostly regions of Britain, based on the number of credible reports of supernatural activity. Yorkshire is far and away the most haunted area of England, according to Fanthorpe.
Contact columnist Charles J. Adams III: firstname.lastname@example.org.