New Decade, New Focus

When Hollow Hill first appeared online around 1999 – from its previous GeoCities location – it was one of the only websites explaining how and where to go ghost hunting.

Today, people find my articles and videos through search engines like Google.

However, since around 2004 or so, little has changed at my sites.

Oh, I’ve written hundreds of new articles, added a YouTube channel, more social media, and so on.

But now… bigger changes are needed. Maybe even overdue. (Okay, that’s not a “maybe.” It is overdue.)

And, while one new project is “on hold” for a few months, I’ll have time to work on my websites and books.

Here’s what’s planned for 2020:

  • Streamline so it’s easier to find what interests you the most.
  • Merge content from and at, so everything is – once again – in one place.
  • Add a News Stories page at, instead of relying on social media (mostly Twitter) as a way to share important paranormal research news links with fellow researchers.
  • Create short, highly focused, single-topic books that explain paranormal research in more detail. All will be free in Kindle Unlimited.
  • Update (and perhaps expand) some of my articles and compile them – by topic – into books (Kindle and printed books) for people who prefer to read them offline.

Meanwhile, this website will become my author site. Several paranormal articles from here will move to, even when they’re not exactly “ghostly.”

So, an exciting year is ahead. Thanks for being on this journey with me. I think we’ll have even more fun in 2020.

Lots of Projects… and Fun Ahead

Well, this year, I thought I was going to be so well-prepared for “ghost hunting season” (around Halloween)… but, as you’ve seen, that’s not what happened.

If you’d prefer to listen to this post, here’s the podcast recording:

Fiona’s December 2019 News

Fiona Broome explains why she’s been so quiet lately, what she’s been working on, and what’s ahead for 2020. Ghost hunting, books, fiction, Mandela Effect, and something new. Text version plus links:

Ghost Hunting in Haunted Cemeteries
Click image to download and start reading.

So, anyway…

I did revise and update my most popular book, Ghost Hunting in Haunted Cemeteries. It’s in Kindle right now, and we’re working on a printed edition, too.

Also, I’ve been sharing news – and news stories – with friends and fans via social media. I’m still posting there – usually several times a week – with news stories and comments, mostly related to paranormal research.

You can find me at Facebook (“Fiona Broome News”) and at Twitter.

The Mandela Effect site took center stage starting in early September, when it was featured in Readers Digest and Good Housekeeping magazine. I guess it’s safe to say that the topic has gone mainstream now.

More recently, the Mandela Effect has been confused with a horror movie of the same name. (It’s mentioned in The Mary Sue, and I was pleased with the Hollywood Reporter’s review of it.)

I had nothing to do with the making of that movie. The producers have never contacted me about it, and – since I’m not a fan of horror movies – I’m unlikely to see it.

But, all of this adds up to far more website traffic than the Mandela Effect site can handle. So, to keep the site online, I’ve been scrambling to reduce how much bandwidth it requires.

Mandela Effect Book 1
Click image to download and start reading

That means putting the content into books – books that are free to read in Kindle Unlimited. So far there are 11 books of mixed comments from the original “major memories” page. (There will be 15 books in that series.)

And frankly, since each book features between around 200 to 450 comments… well, they’re easier to read in books, so you don’t lose your place if you stop reading, part-way through. Instead, you can bookmark where you left off.

Eventually, the entire site will be in books, so the information remains complete and readily available. (This is a very big project, but – for me – an important one.)

But, those aren’t the only books I’ve been involved with.

Gallo Family Spirits ghost hunting bookA few years ago, I contributed to several books – including several books  in the Weird U.S. series.

And then there was Ghost Hunting in Tilton, New HampshireIt includes ghost stories, some history, and several locations in that area.

(If you’re interested in NH ghost hunting, I also recommend Haunted Hikes of New Hampshire. Author Marianne O’Connor has assembled a great list of eerie and haunted places you can hike to, and there’s a new/second edition of this book with fresh information.)

More recently, I wrote the foreword to Bobby Gallo’s book, Family Spirits: The Adventures and Evidence of Gallo Family Ghost Hunters. It’s a fun mix of true ghost stories and how-to advice.

Then, Jake Camden – the son of a friend – asked my advice with his new books. His first was The Amityville Haunting of Carl Fitch. It’s a short book that I consider fiction. But, according to him, it’s based on a true story.

It’s a light, fast read, and I’m encouraging him to write more. I think he’s a natural storyteller.

Haunting of Obedience ghost horror storyBut… Jake also co-authored a book that I’d describe as paranormal horror. And frankly, I think it’s a little campy… which can be a good thing (or not), depending on your taste in stories.

The book is loosely based on a case I investigated several years ago. (That case was enough to make me very uneasy about houses with corn fields in the backyard. That’s all I’ll say about the actual case.)

In real life, the experience was creepier than I’m used to. It was a mix of weirdness, to be honest.

But some of the story – as Jake and co-author Abby tell it, anyway –  is clearly fiction. (You should be able to spot the made-up parts, right away.)

And – to answer a question Jake & Abby asked – no, as far as I know, the related TV episode never aired. Frankly, it’s probably better that way. It was a very weird case.

If you’re interested, the book is called The Haunting of Obedience.

For 2020, expect changes at most of my websites, including Hollow Hill and Hallowfields. Also, Ghosts 101 is being revised and updated, and will be published as a book, again.

In the next month or so I hope to be able to announce a project that’s involved lots of travel. It’s not 100% related to ghost hunting, but there is some overlap. So far, it’s been fun and a nice break from everything else I’m working on. And, I’m still working on it.

Anyway, I hope this explains why I’ve been relatively quiet at my websites and in podcasts. Oh, I’m having fun, but yes, it’s been a busy few months.

I hope your holiday season is merry and filled with all good things.

The Conspiracy Issue… Again

Today, yet another news story portrayed the Mandela Effect as a conspiracy. (And – until they corrected their mistake – made it seem like one of my videos said things about Georgia O’Keeffe that I’ve never said.)

The Mandela Effect is NOT a Conspiracy

I’m about to rant, and I’ve said a lot of this before but, apparently, either people don’t know me, don’t listen to me, or what I say doesn’t convey well in text.

Here’s the recording of this article, and yes, it’s says “ghost hunting podcast” when it’s not, but it’s a busy day and I want to clarify this point as quickly as possible… so here it is.

The Mandela Effect is Not a Conspiracy Theory

In this four-minute podcast, Fiona replies to recent articles claiming the Mandela Effect is a conspiracy theory. And yes, it’s a rant, and it has nothing to do with ghost hunting. (Sorry about that.)

From the very beginning, back in 2009, I’ve tried to make it clear that – in my opinion – the Mandela Effect is not a conspiracy.

It’s something quirky. It’s a little bit sci-fi. Mostly, it’s baffling.

I believe that people’s alternate memories can be explained in a variety of ways. I’ve talked about that many times in the past, but if you’re new to the Mandela Effect, the top three on the list are:

  • News reporting errors
  • Simple mistakes
  • And – for fun – perhaps parallel realities, which is where this wanders into sci-fi.

The Oxford Dictionary tells me that a conspiracy is “a secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful.”

I had never taken seriously the idea that the Mandela Effect is part of a secret plan by anyone.

In addition, I don’t see how it’s unlawful.

The only harm could come from people who take it too seriously, or become unreasonably introspective, questioning all of their memories. When the latter happens, I always encourage people to speak with a professional in memory studies or the mental health field.

Back in 2009, when our conversations about the Mandala Effect started, the topic was fun. There was a lot of “wow, this is pretty weird,” when total strangers seemed to share almost identical memories that did not fit recorded history.

I’m sorry that whimsy does not convey well in text.

After a few years, the Mandela Effect went viral. I couldn’t keep up with all of the reports, pranks, spoofs, and trolling. (The latter is a side of the Internet that I find deeply disappointing, but I guess that’s human nature.)

A few years ago, I stepped back from the Mandela Effect website. Oh, it’s still online, most of the time. But there wasn’t a lot more that I could say.

The topic was in the wild, and others seem to be having fun with that – or not -and that was out of my control.

At this point, I’m having difficulty keeping the original Mandela Effect site online. Traffic spikes would require a level of website hosting at a cost that I just can’t justify.

Besides, plenty of other websites now document every possible addition to the Mandela Effect, and they seem to be having fun doing so.

Yes, people have suggested that I could put advertising on the site, but I find that abhorrent. I will not commercialize the Mandela Effect with jarring advertisements that have nothing to do with the topic and serve only to annoy website visitors.

So, I’ll admit that I’m a little bit irked when I’m misrepresented, and people are sent to the Mandela Effect website expecting some juicy conspiracies.

Instead, visitors will find about 8 – 10 years of light banter and whimsical speculation… and the occasional stunned visitor who stumbles onto a lot of memories he (or she) is now questioning.

Oh, I take people’s memories seriously. I never want it to seem as if I’m laughing up my sleeve when people report sincere alternative memories, and their theories about the Mandela Effect. I’m always interested in a fresh viewpoint on the subject.

But I do want made it clear that, from the very beginning, I have rejected conspiracy theories. I don’t believe that there is one unified explanation for the Mandela Effect.

And I certainly don’t think it is evidence of a secret plan by a group to do something harmful. In my opinion, it is not a conspiracy.

I hope that answers people’s questions, and I really hope journalists stop trying to turn the Mandela Effect into something sinister, when it all started out as a fun, engaging conversation… and a bit of a mystery.

Fresh Paranormal Research Sites

Fiona's newest paranormal research site recommendations
Busy? Here’s a four-minute recording of this blog post.

New Paranormal Research Sites

In this four-and-a-half minute recording, Fiona talks about new paranormal research sites – how she chooses them, and how you can find her latest recommendations.

Looking for fresh research sites?

Recently, I’ve been sharing more resources to help ghost hunters (and TV producers, etc.) identify potentially active haunted sites.

These are usually locations I’ve found through academic resources. In other words, I subscribe to some really geeky journals. Then, I check their most interesting stories/reports against my own criteria to decide if related locations might be worth investigating.

If a site fits my “secret recipe” for a haunted site, I’m happy to tell others about the location. I sometimes indicate why I think the site is worth investigating, too.

Active sites v. weaker ones

In my opinion, investigations can be the most engaging when they’re at sites no one else – or very few paranormal researchers – have visited.

From my experience, the more people who trek through a site, especially paranormal investigators, as well as camera crews with electrically powered equipment… well, all that energy can dilute the ghostly energy for future investigators.

But, of course, repeatedly “poking the bear” (definition) can also cause a site to be more active.

It’s a personal choice, but I tend to prefer sites that few people have investigated.

Problems with posting the information as an article include:

  • The time required to post it as an article, with all the nuances of history and geography that fascinate me. Once the “add new article” screen is open… well, you’ve seen how I like to go on. And on. And on.
  • The time-sensitive nature of these reports. The sooner you can investigate a location, the better. So, I like to share the initial reports as soon as I hear about them.
  • The possibility of my links vanishing, as some news stories don’t remain at the same URLs, or are deleted altogether… and then, in articles, I need to replace those links with the Wayback Machine.

For me, social media has been the answer.

To discover my latest recommendations…

If you want to hear about new, potentially active haunted sites, or threads you can pull to find even more, cool paranormal research sites, follow me at Twitter or at my Facebook Page, Fiona Broome News.  (Or, if you’re a producer, send me a message via either of those sites.)

In most cases, I look for news stories that everyone can access. That way, you don’t have to read through pages (and pages, and pages) of boring academic reports.

Monday is usually my busiest find-new-sites day. Today, I posted links to a couple of UK sites, plus one in the US.  (Some weeks are better than others, and the UK/EU/US balance varies with what journals I’ve received. And I do include other areas – such as Canada – when a site seems especially attractive.)

Oh yes, I am working on other projects – adding recordings to my articles (like this), updating my books and older posts, and expanding my free ghost hunting courses. But, when I can, I share intriguing research site info via social media.


When Art and Paranormal Activity Intersect

When art and paranormal activity intersectOften, after standing in a cold, damp, miserable site for two hours – with  nothing paranormal happening – I think, “there must be a better way to do this.”

But I keep standing there, waiting, because all the evidence suggests the site really is haunted… perhaps dramatically so.

And usually, if I keep waiting, the bone-chilling tedium was worthwhile. If I thoroughly research a site before visiting it, and confirm that it is a likely paranormal site, there’s an 80% chance the site is haunted. Or something paranormal is going on, even if it’s not “ghostly.”

The problem is, ghost hunting can be like waiting at a street corner for hours, hoping to see a green, 1964 Ford Mustang. And your only evidence is that – over the past 20 years – lots of people mentioned seeing one pass that street corner.

Whether you actually see a ’64 Mustang – or think you do – may depend on how long you stand there.

Patience. That’s all.

Are There Better Options?

In paranormal research, I think we need to expand our horizons. Explore offbeat theories that might lead us to something useful.

I mean, really, we’re already delving into topics many people consider too “out there” to take seriously. Why not go all-in, and see where the fringes take us?

Start with speculation, test it, follow-up with brainstorming, and extract the most promising elements.  Amplify those to see what happens. Repeat.

But where can we find fresh speculation? Where are the fringes?

Well… that leads to an article I read. It connected art with a sort-of paranormal headspace.

Art as a Path to the Paranormal

Are you ready to go way out on a limb, into speculation…?

Here’s the link that started today’s “what if?” musings: Susan Hiller, Conjurer of Paranormal Activity Through Conceptual Art, Has Died at 78.

In that article, I learned:

“Hiller eschewed the term ‘conceptual art’, saying she preferred the word ‘paraconceptual’ to describe her practice, given her interest in the supernatural.”

Later in that article, writer Alex Greenberger explained,

“it often seemed as though Hiller wanted to transport her viewers to another dimension or headspace by cinematic or aural means.”

That’s an extraordinary approach.

Would it work? Maybe. I have no idea. I’m not sure whether her goal was more than slightly shifting viewers’ headspace.

Then, I was more intrigued when I read a related article in The Guardian, where Hiller said,

“All my work deals with ghosts.”

Many creatives have expressed something similar as a figurative reference.

I’d love to know how literally Hiller meant that, and how it fits with specific art installations.

EVPs from 1971

In that same article, I read,

“She worked with the experiments of Latvian psychologist Konstantīns Raudive, who believed that tape recorders left in soundproofed rooms could pick up the voices of the dead – including Winston Churchill and James Joyce.”

In the past, I’d read about Raudive, but hadn’t followed-up to learn more.

Today, I found a YouTube video of his 1971 EVP recordings. I didn’t realize anyone was working with EVP, that long ago.  Not this seriously, anyway. (It’s a 5-minute video, and the recording quality is scratchy, but the voices are intriguing.)

What Are We, and What Are Ghosts?

Here’s another point I’m pondering: Hiller said,

“You know, we are pixels; we’re light.”

That reminded me of one of Vivek Narain’s comments on a recent trends article. He mentioned holograms, and – as usual – suggested several unique ways of looking at paranormal activity.

To me, his observations resonate with Hiller’s “we are pixels” explanation. It was interesting synchronicity.

I’m not sure if anyone else follows the connections I see between Hiller’s concepts, experimental work by Raudive, Vivek’s comments, and my research which spans many apparently distinct fields of study.

(I say “apparently distinct” because I’m not certain they’re truly separate, except in how we categorize the phenomena and explain it to ourselves. I don’t mean to sound flippant when I say, “We’re making this up as we go along,” but that’s how it seems, most of the time.)

Question Everything

I believe we need to explore how, when, and where we encounter paranormal activity. We should always question whether there are better research techniques.

After all, standing around in a “haunted” site, waiting for something to happen… it may not be the most productive use of our time.

I’m not sure how far out on a limb we should go, with research techniques. Do we go more electronic, or back to “old school” ghost hunting methods? What about creating environments – as Hiller and Raudive did – that might be more conducive to paranormal activity?

Today, I have no answers to this. Not even a clue.

But, I applaud Hiller’s work and hope to see some if it in real life, in the near future. I might try some EVP recordings around it. And, I’d be intrigued if her installations resonates – no pun intended – with how we feel immediately before and during a paranormal encounter.

Maybe there is an access point to those experiences. I’m not sure we can deliberately create it, or if it would be safe to try to.

For now, the Hiller story and the Raudive recordings are the kinds of breadcrumbs I watch for.

Nonsense or an Invitation?

If this seems like nonsense, that’s fine. I grew up in the halls of MIT. I spent countless happy hours, playing with strobes and other toys in Doc Edgerton’s lab. That was my childhood context, and – even now – it’s part of who I am.

So, I sometimes geek-out on innovative approaches to research. For me, nothing is too “out there” to consider. (Whether I take it seriously is another matter…)

But, if anything in this makes sense to you, or you can put more of this puzzle together, I’m interested in your theories. Sometimes the “what if?” questions lead to the most fascinating answers.

2019 – A Good Year for Ghost Hunting Events

2019 looks like a good year for ghost hunting events, tours, and vigils. In my previous article, Ghosts & Paranormal Trends – 2019, I described general trends.

In this article, I’m focusing on Google search trends – for “ghost hunting” – in the US and the UK, to see what fans and researchers are looking for.

Summary:  In the US and the UK, an increasing number of people are interested in encountering ghosts, themselves.

In the US, they’re interested in ghost hunting equipment & how it works.

UK fans have maintained a steadier interest in ghosts. In the UK, people are looking for ghost hunting events, especially when they can learn from pros, and test-drive ghost hunting equipment, themselves.

In both countries, to reach wider audiences, TV shows and events could include ghost hunt pros (as “invited guests”), and share how-to sidebars, information, or workshops.

2019 - a good year for ghost hunting events and toursHere are the trends, as I see them.

In the US, ghost hunting enthusiasts seem most interested in ghost hunting on their own. Events and tours (and TV shows) can make the most of this by including how-to information.

And, in the case of events & tours, letting visitors borrow ghost hunting tools.

In the UK, people are looking for ghost hunting events, sometimes with specific people. They’re also looking for ghost hunting equipment, and shops that sell them.

Here are the graphs from late January 2019.

Ghost Hunting Trends

First, “ghost hunting” searches in the US, since 2004. I’m not sure if interest has stabilized or is increasing slightly in the past six months.

Ghost hunting search trends in the US, 2004 to 2019

Here’s a five-year US graph for “ghost hunting” Google searches. I think the 2015 spike can be attributed to Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (2015). 

Also, I think the 2016 decline may related to the announcement that Ghost Hunters’ TV series had been canceled. (Last episode was Halloween 2016.) I think that announcement was a social cue that – in the network’s opinion – the ghost hunting trend was over.

That may have been a self-fulfilling message/prophecy.

5 year trend - Google searches for ghost hunting

Here’s that same search (“ghost hunting”) for the UK, since 2004. There, it looks more stable over a longer period of time, and perhaps declining slightly since early 2013.

Ghost hunting search trends in the UK, 2004 to 2019

Here’s that same Google UK search graph – “ghost hunting” – since early 2014. To me, the past five years look fairly stable, with a downturn after Halloween, but an uptick with the new season of “Most Haunted” and other shows.

Searches for ghost hunting - 5-year trend

Next, I looked at “ghost hunting events.” What I saw surprised me.

Ghost Hunting Events Trends

Google had no graph for that term in the US; there weren’t enough searches. But – interestingly – the areas where Americans search for “ghosts” and “ghost hunting” were places hosting ghost hunting events around the time of the search. 

So, though those searches may reflect recently aired TV shows, I think Americans are less likely to add the word “events” when they’re looking for… well… a ghost hunting tour or event.

By contrast, “ghost hunting events” regularly appears on Google’s “breakout” searches lists for the UK.

Here are the UK graphs for “ghost hunting events” searches, starting with the 2004-2019 graph.

Ghost hunting events interest, UK, 2004- now

In the UK, those searches have been increasing since 2017. Americans should pay attention to this. In my experience, British ghost hunting enthusiasts are often one step ahead of American trends.

That’s what the graphs have indicated since I started tracking ghost hunting interest, around 2004: First, UK searches climb or even reach breakout status. Then I see those same kinds of topics/shows trend in the US.

Related Search Terms – Ghosts, Paranormal, Haunted

Finally, here are some comparisons among related searches. They’re of less value.

In the US, “haunted” searches spike at Halloween because people are looking for haunted houses and corn mazes, etc.  Also, that term seems to perform better than “ghost hunting.”

Some “paranormal” searches may need to be discounted due to searches for movies like Paranormal Activity.

“Ghosts” may also include searches for “Ghost in the Shell,” and the trending PlayStation game, “Ghosts Call of Duty.”

The UK graphs show the same Halloween trends, but a sharper drop in interest for the simple search. But, “ghosts” significantly out-performs “paranormal.” That’s the reverse of US trends.

Ghost-Related Breakout Searches

In related, breakout search terms, the US and the UK were somewhat different. Despite that, I think they point to a visible trend towards personal ghost encounters, at ghost hunting events and tours, or as part of independent teams.

In the UK, these were the top breakout search surges:

  • Ghost hunting equipment (and ghost hunting equipment in the UK)
  • Ghost hunt (probably includes the fiction series of the same name)
  • Ghost hunting events
  • Ghost hunting with (probably includes the TV series)

In the US, search surges highlighted:

  • Ghost hunting apps
  • Ghost hunting shows
  • Ghost hunting tools
  • Ghost Hunter (Note: that was singular, not plural)
  • Ghost Adventures

Yes, the US shows more interest in ghost hunting TV shows.

But, the prevalence of interest in ghost hunting apps, tools, and equipment also suggests a growing popularity in personal ghostly encounters.

What’s Ahead in 2019?

Ghost events, tours, and vigils can use these trends for greater success in 2019. Especially in the UK, including popular/expert ghost investigators can attract more guests to sites and events. (That’s not news. Every ghost hunting event is more appealing when it features recognized stars and popular researchers.)

Of course, ghost hunting TV stars – British and American – draw the largest interest.

Large-scale events may also benefit by including authors of paranormal fiction, if they’re well-versed in ghost hunting.  (Michelle Belanger – who starred in Paranormal State – comes to mind, as she’s developed a successful career in paranormal fiction, too.)

And, in the US, shows may benefit from including segments explaining ghost hunting tools and techniques, with how-to advice.

Likewise, I’m seeing a growing interest in US events featuring stars of past ghost hunting shows, including Ghost Hunters (and Ghost Hunters International), Paranormal State, and Ghost Lab.

(Would ratings rise if they’re guest investigators on newer shows? From related, continuing “where are they now?” questions in my email, I think so.)

2019 may be a good year for ghost hunting. I won’t pretend that I see massive upticks in any single trend, at this time.

But, if you consider the graphs and breakout searches, I see potential for a new – perhaps younger and more analytical- audience.

They could spark a new wave of enthusiasm for ghost hunting shows and events, and haunted sites that are open to overnight stays and tours.

What are your thoughts about this? After studying these trends for nearly a month, this article and my previous one are condensed overviews. I’m happy to answer questions or consider alternative opinions. Please leave comments below.

Ghosts & Paranormal Trends – Jan 2019

Ghosts and paranormal trends - January 2019 reportIn recent months, ghosts and paranormal topics have been trending in interesting directions.

(Note: I use specialized software for this research. It’s not just Google Trends.)

In general, global interest in ghost hunting is starting to increase, but with an emphasis on personal experience and how-to information.

In the US – and globally – people are still very interested in Ghost Adventures. Both Ghost Hunters and Most Haunted attract fresh searches, as well.

The spike that occurred with Netflix’s Hill House has been more about “hidden” ghosts in the series.

Also, people want to know what happened to Nick Groff (which many spell as “Nick Goff” when they’re searching), and they’re still asking, “Is Ghost Hunters real?”

In the UK, “Are ghosts real?” is the question most people are asking. And, they’re interested in watching Most Haunted, Paranormal Lockdown, Ghost Adventures, and old/full episodes of Ghost Hunters, not necessarily in that order.

Trending Interest in Ghosts & Paranormal Topics – 30 Days

Here are some graphs representing mid-December 2018 through mid-January 2019.

First, here’s the only topic trending in the UK, among searches focusing on the word “ghosts.” (And eliminating searches related to the PS4 game, “Ghosts Call of Duty.”)

Ghosts trends in the UK - Jan 2019

Here’s what’s trending for “ghosts” in the US. Aside from “what room do ghosts avoid?” (probably a gaming question), searches doesn’t show much interest in ghosts, per se.

Trending searches for "ghosts" in the US

Trending Searches – 90 Days

Three-month trends show something different. However, remember that these include searches starting in mid-October, just before Halloween.

The first shows worldwide searches that focused on “ghosts.” Obviously, The Haunting of Hill House dominated those trends. But, they were interested in finding “hidden” ghosts in the Netflix series.

The Ghosts of Christmas Eve searches could be about the 2018 Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert, or about the 1999 movie, or both.

Worldwide searches for "ghosts" - 90 days (Jan 2019)

The next breaks down similar online searches, but only in the UK. Again, Hill House’s “hidden” ghosts captured interest. (In a US-only study, the results were nearly identical to the graph above.)

I was surprised to see people ask “how many ghosts visited Scrooge?” Related searches continued to spike after Christmas, as well. (If you count just the main ghosts, there were four: Marley, and the ghosts of past, present, and future.)

Searches for "ghosts" from UK browsers - Jan 2019

Paranormal Searches

Stepping back a bit, here are 90-day results for “paranormal” searches in the US. Paranormal Activity continues to hold interest, with Paranormal Lockdown attracting attention, too. Regional interest in Paranormal Cirque spiked, and then vanished as the show continued its tour.

Searches for "paranormal" in the US - Jan 2019

In the UK, the 90-day “paranormal” trend is about the same, minus the Paranormal Cirque interest.

90 trend for UK searches on "paranormal"

Ghost Hunters Searches

Narrowing my research focus, I checked 90-day searches, worldwide, for “ghost hunters.” Clearly, Saturday Night Live’s parodies are popular, and people still want to watch Ghost Hunters’ full episodes.

But… people still ask if Ghost Hunters was fake. And, in related trends, Ghost Adventures seeps in, as well.

90-day trend "ghost hunters"

Compare that with “ghost hunting” searches, worldwide. They want to go ghost hunting, or at least learn about ghost hunting equipment.

Venues offering ghost tours might do well to lend ghost hunting tools to visitors. (Even wire coat-hanger dowsing rods can be useful. Just be sure to curl the wire ends, so no one is jabbed by a sharp point.)

Search trends for "ghost hunting" - Jan 2019

(In a future article, I’ll elaborate on the increasing interest in ghost hunting events, vigils, and tours.)

Ghost Adventures Searches

Ghost Adventures seems to hold its audience – and thrives in searches, worldwide. Further down the list (not on this screenshot), people were searching for “what happened to nick in ghost adventures” and “ghost adventures halloween special.”

(The question about Nick isn’t a surprise. At one of my websites, the most popular article of 2018 – even after all these years – answers a similar question about Grant Wilson and Ghost Hunters.)

Search trends for "ghost adventures" - Jan 2019

Most Haunted Searches

Most Haunted is gaining moderate traction in worldwide searches, too. I’m pleased to see their 2019 shows present ghost hunting in a more realistic context. Somehow, Hill House turned up in related searches. And, of course, people are asking “is Most Haunted real?”

However, I was surprised to see a surge in questions about “the most haunted town in America.” I’m not sure if that’s related to a Travel Channel series, or something else. (If you know, leave a comment.)

And maybe someone should contact John Zaffis‘ team, since “most haunted object in the world” has a few search spikes.  (Oh. Wait. That search was probably about Post Malone being “cursed” by a haunted object.)

"Most Haunted" search trends - Jan 2019


Both Ghost Adventures and Ghost Hunters remain popular in Internet searches.  Netflix’s Haunting of Hill House may have been a short-lived trend, and mostly about clever imagery.

In Season Two, they may bring more depth to the story. There’s plenty to explore, and leads to follow from Shirley Jackson’s original book.

In ghost hunting – and ghosts, in general – trends seem to favor ghost hunting equipment, and how it works. I’m not sure if those searches are by aspiring ghost hunters, or people who want to understand what they’re seeing on TV.

I think ghost hunting is rebounding after some YouTube videos, TV shows, and movies took things to a ridiculous extreme.  (Did anyone really believe that “shadow people” hide under your bed, and might kill you…?)

For those who continue serious paranormal research… well, we’re still rebuilding credibility.

Recently,  Most Haunted’s Eden Camp episode was helpful; it showed a more accurate view of ghost hunting, while still including some thrills to hold the audience’s interest.

I’m optimistic about ghost hunting in 2019, and trends suggest a good year for haunted sites that offer “ghost tours” or overnight stays.

In terms of TV shows, I think there’s a fresh audience for ghost-related programming. But, to get the best ratings, producers will need to understand what’s changed in ghost hunting, over the past couple of years.

Fresh angles and new approaches can bring viewers back to ghost hunting shows, but producers will need to make sweeping changes without sacrificing what intrigued people back in 2003.

In general, I believe innovators will be the winners in 2019.

In my next article, I’ll explain why Google trends suggest an uptick in popularity for ghost tours and ghost hunting events… and how this field can deliver what ghost enthusiasts are looking for: 2019 – A Good Year for Ghost Hunting Events, Tours, and Vigils.

ESP and Paranormal Research

Does ESP affect paranormal research? Does ESP affect paranormal research?

It’s a question I’ve discussed with several people in relation to multiple topics, but especially ghost hunting.

Here’s a quote that may be relevant:

“Comments by Captain Ed Mitchell, the American astronaut, during a radio interview in January 1973, helped to strengthen the growing interest in psychokinesis. He told listeners of experiments in which metal had been fractured by this mental process. ‘It’s an ability that can be trainable,’ he said.”

[from “Ghost Hunting, A Practical Guide” by Andrew Green]

Mr. Green also believed psychokinesis has a connection to hauntings. Describing poltergeists, he said:

“This phenomenon, one of the most publicized and so often misunderstood, is comparatively easy to establish as nothing more than psychokinesis (sometimes referred to as telekinesis), though exactly how this operates is not yet fully known.”

Poltergeists – Psychokinesis (PK) or PK Plus an Entity?

Many 20th-century ghost hunters believed that a living person was the source (or nexus) of the energy. But, was it that person’s subconscious wish to make the noises or move the objects? Or, was some kind of entity involved, as well?

In my opinion, the latter is more likely, but I’m not sure how we could prove that.

In history, one of the most famous poltergeist cases involved the Fox sisters. Many associate them with the founding of the 19th-century Spiritualist movement.

No matter what the truth about the apparent activity around the Fox girls, their home had a long history of poltergeist activity. That’s why few tenants stayed there, even before the Fox family moved in.

Testing the ESP/Psychokinesis Connection

In The Ghost Hunter’s Guide, 20th-century paranormal researcher Peter Underwood wrote about testing during a ghost hunt.

“I have found it useful to have with me a pack or two of Zener cards to test the possible ESP of the nexus of the poltergeist and other occupants of the house.”

That’s an interesting thought, but I’m not sure what it would prove, one way or the other.

I would like to see if – during ghost hunts – psychics test differently than they do in not-haunted locations. Again, it probably wouldn’t prove anything, but it might be intriguing.

If the results were much better at the haunted location, something at the location – perhaps ghosts or paranormal energy – could be a factor.

Psychokinesis and Conjuring Up Philip

It’s important to consider the effects of ESP and psychokinesis (PK) in the Philip case, as well. Could all of that phenomena be attributed to ESP and PK?  We may never know.

The following YouTube video is the tip of the iceberg, in terms of the full Philip experiment. (If you can find – or borrow – a copy of the book, it’s essential reading for serious paranormal investigators.)

(If that video doesn’t appear automatically, here’s a link –

Many questions come to mind.

  • How much poltergeist activity might be psychokinesis (PK) instead of ghosts?
  • If poltergeist activity is a two-part phenomenon – the spirit and the (living) energy source – does it matter whether PK is involved?
  • If an historian is on-site during an investigation, how many psychics’ (and others’) “impressions” are actually mind-reading or ESP?
  • In famous cases such as the Amityville Horror house, how much of the disturbance was contributed to, by the residents?

The ESP/ghosts/psychokinesis/poltergeists knot is difficult to untangle. I don’t know how we’d even begin to separate these kinds of activity.

I’m interested in your thoughts about this topic, and any way we could distinguish paranormal activity from psychokinetic abilities.

Do Paranormal Researchers Attract Ghosts?

Do paranormal researchers attract ghosts? It looks that way...Different things can spark an interest in paranormal research.

For many people, it started with a childhood interest in ghost stories, or an experience that – as adults – they still wonder about: was it really a ghost?

That’s why they go looking for ghosts, or evidence that proves (or disproves) their existence.

But, now and then, someone asks me if ghost hunters live in haunted houses, or even attract ghosts.

People want to know if we “take ghosts home,” or feel uncomfortable if we move into a house… and later find out it’s haunted.

Attracting or Repelling Ghosts

I’m not sure how many ghost hunters attract ghosts. On my New Hampshire team, one person – the one we called “ghostbait” – certainly attracted them.

If he was part of an investigation and the site was haunted, weird things would happen. It was almost guaranteed.

Of course, this is a chicken-or-the-egg question: Did “ghostbait” attract ghosts because he was a ghost hunter, or did he become a ghost hunter because he naturally attracted ghosts?

At the other extreme, we sometimes included a friend who described himself as a “walking banishing ritual.”  If he was within a dozen feet of an anomaly, ghostly activity would halt.

The tragedy was, that latter friend was eager to encounter ghosts, and it rarely happened when he was there.

So, I’m confident that some people attract (and others repel) ghosts, naturally. In both cases, these people didn’t actively do anything to affect the ghosts.

Can one develop those qualities? I have no idea.

It’s possible that some experienced ghost hunters seem to attract ghosts, when they’re merely more observant. After a few dozen investigations, they know exactly what to look for, if the site is haunted.

  • That could be a sense of where the ghosts are, at a particular location.
  • It could be something they detect with their five (or six) senses.
  • Or, it could be a personal reaction – a “gut feeling” – that the site is haunted.

Living with Ghosts

Some – not many – ghost hunters live in haunted houses. Usually, they’re happy to share the space with a benign spirit who once lived there.

Some paranormal researchers aren’t so happy about that discovery.

In a January 2019 article, “This Paranormal Reporter Didn’t Find Her Next Story… It Found HER,” the reporter’s reaction surprised me. She said:

“[T]his is the kind of thing I ask for when out in the field,” she writes, “but sitting in my own living room, I’d rather not experience the unexplained.”

She finally called out to whomever it was, asking them to stop bothering her… and immediately, they stopped.

All seemed normal again until she went to bed. Once the lights were out, the noise returned… but this time it was coming from the living room. Something — or someone — was walking through the house.

Disturbed by the unseen intrusion, Roncace nevertheless does not want to know what’s causing it.

However, Ms. Roncace is a reporter.  At the time she wrote about her haunted house, perhaps she hadn’t investigated intensely haunted places.

I understand not wanting to live with a ghost. It can be unsettling… no pun intended.

But, as a homeowner, I’d definitely want to know more about the ghost – who’s causing that walking noise, and why.

At the very least, it might help me become a better paranormal researcher.

Choosing a Haunted House

Choosing a Haunted House?I’m okay with ghosts. They don’t scare me. I’m interested in their history, and if there’s anything I can do to help spirits “cross over.”

If they’re merely visiting, or keeping watch over the house – or those in it – that’s fine with me.

(I often joke that ghosts are great roommates – they don’t take my food from the refrigerator, and they never leave the toilet seat up.)

So far, I’ve lived in three haunted houses. Only one had an annoying ghost; we remodeled the house, and he left.

But, if I were house-hunting, I probably wouldn’t ask a realtor to show me haunted houses.

If I were, here’s what I’d look for:

  • A house with a documented history that supports its ghost stories. Let’s say the ghost is supposed be to haunted by one of King Henry VIII’s mistresses. I’d be certain the house – or at least the land it’s on – had a documented connection to that woman & her family.
  • Ghostly phenomena that aren’t entirely poltergeists.  Otherwise, when the previous tenants moved, they may have taken the poltergeist with them.
  • A price that’s a little (or a lot) lower than the estimated value of the house. Most people think of a ghost as a “defect,” so the house should sell for less than it would without the ghosts.
  • No malicious or sinister phenomena. No history of Ouija board use in the house, or rituals (however well-intended) that might summon a dangerous entity.
  • No history of extreme mental illness among recent residents. You don’t want them returning – in living form or as ghosts – if they were deeply disturbed. (And then there’s the question of what triggered the illness, and if the house’s spirits were involved.)

Other Considerations

Some paranormal researchers choose homes based on their eerie reputations or locations.

For example, some UFO enthusiasts want to live near where UFOs are regularly reported.

On the other hand, I don’t think I’ve ever met a cryptozoologist who wanted to live in a “triangle,” like the Bridgewater Triangle or the Bennington Triangle.

And I don’t know anyone who’s chosen to live near a Hum or a Mystery Boom.

So, if you’re looking for a haunted house to live in, be sure the sellers understand the difference between hauntings and other paranormal phenomena… unless you’re okay with Bigfoot howling outside your window.

What Makes a House “Suddenly” Haunted?

Can a not-haunted house suddenly become haunted? Maybe.

Ms. Roncace, the paranormal reporter, had lived in her home for nearly 20 years without evidence of ghosts.

So, why did a ghost suddenly show up? Had she attracted one, or brought one home from a haunted site?

It’s unlikely a ghost followed her home. It’s rare for a ghost to leave the site that he or she haunts. Hardly any ghosts follow people.

It’s possible that something concerned the ghost enough to make his (or her) presence known.  A good example is Ms. Roncace’s story about the ghost knocking on Ms. Roncace’s dresser, when her daughter was ill.

Also, poltergeist activity could explain the noises in the kitchen. The movie she was watching, The Omen, could have been a trigger.

The footsteps she heard might have been more poltergeist activity, or something different.

More likely, it’s a residual energy haunting. That phenomena was likely to stop after a week or two, or even sooner.

It’s possible that Ms. Roncace attracted a ghost… but that’s unlikely.  Most ghosts are trapped – or choose to stay – in the primary location where they haunt.

And, if you’re a ghost hunter, it’s an asset if you can attract ghosts at haunted locations. Unless, of course, ghosts frighten you. In that case, it’s best to find another hobby.



Paranormal Research and “What If…?”

The importance of asking "what if?" in paranormal research.Almost all of my paranormal research starts with “what if…?”

I’ll bet your interest in ghosts, etc., began the same way:

  • What was that thing I heard/saw? And what if ghosts are real?
  • Everyone says that house/battlefield/cemetery is haunted. What if they’re right?
  • Ghosts can’t be real. I won’t believe in them. But what if something really is going on, at that “haunted” site?

My “what if…?” questions seem to multiply, like wire coat hangers in the basement wardrobe. Or dust bunnies under the sofa.

This morning was no exception. I had an idea for a new Hollow Hill article.

It was going to be about one particular archetype in ghost hunting.

I started to research the idea, based on a series of related, haunted places in the U.S. and the U.K.

Within minutes, I realized this topic is too big for an article. It’s a book. (Like I don’t already have a dozen books to update & re-release… right?)

So, I’m sitting here, printing pages & pages of information about repeating patterns in this kind of research.

And I’m editing Thursday’s article for Hollow Hill. In it, I’m speculating about a possible light effects connection with ghostly activity. (It’s another “what if…?” question, but – in this case – I didn’t think of it, myself. I just amplified it to include other, similar anomalies.)

I’ll put aside the book idea from this morning’s research. My next editing-and-updating project must be my “Is Your House Haunted?” book.

Why? Well, there’s no way I can reply to all the emails from people asking if their homes are haunted. And, frankly, most probably aren’t… but some sound like they are.

My book will help people rule out unusual (but normal) reasons a house can just seem haunted.

Trending: Hill House

I think most of this concern relates to the “The Haunting of Hill House” TV series on Netflix.

That show is an interesting revision based on Shirley Jackson’s wonderful book, and what may be my favorite “haunted house” movie of all time, “The Haunting” (1963).

Here’s a YouTube video from the original movie, featuring one scene.

If that YouTube video doesn't show on this page, see it at

That 1963 movie is a powerful example of a terrifying paranormal investigation. (It also inspired Disney’s “Haunted Mansion” attraction.)

No, most ghost hunts and vigils aren’t even close to that dramatic, but many can be just as scary… in more subtle ways.

Likewise, the Netflix “Hill House” series isn’t realistic. The tropes in it are fun, and it includes a few good scares, but that’s not what happens in haunted houses.

Hill House and Sleep Paralysis

At least half of the latest emails in my in-box sound like sleep paralysis.

That is, the person thinks he (or she) has woken up – or didn’t fall asleep yet – and has been visited by a disturbing figure (usually a scary looking ghost). The victim usually feels paralyzed, cold, or numb… and terrified.

The incident can seem to last forever, but – in actual fact – it’s usually just a few minutes.

And then, the person is left with a sense of horror, a racing pulse, and pumping adrenaline. Sleep is difficult to resume, if the person can get back to sleep at all.

The problem is, it can seem a lot like the ghost at the foot of the bed (or over the bed) in shows like Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House.

And that’s why people write to me.

They want to know what if it’s real? What if it happens again?

The Benefits of “What if…?”

It’s easy to brush off people’s concerns, saying “you have an over-active imagination.”

I won’t do that.

I’ll point to reasonable, scientific explanations, and let the person decide if that’s the answer. (Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t.)

More important: I believe the “what if…?” impulse is a healthy one. It keeps us interested in the world around us – seen and unseen.

Usually, those questions leads to simple, fact-based answers. The person sighs with relief. What they experienced was normal, not paranormal.

But, sometimes that’s just the beginning, and further research leads “down the rabbit hole,” as in Alice in Wonderland.

Either way, it’s important to keep your critical thinking skills engaged.

And, in my case, it’s even more important to stay focused on my current projects. They include updating my websites and my books. That will keep me busy for much of 2019.

But, I’ll confess that this morning’s research – and the connections I discovered, among iconic haunted houses – sings a siren song. I’m always intrigued by “what if…?” questions.

So far, I’m resisting temptation.