Since the tumultuous start to January (2021), I’ve been watching trends in ghost hunting and paranormal research.
They’re not quite what I’d expected… not that I had a clear idea of what might be next.
Frankly, I think anything is possible in the upcoming months.
The graphs – Ghost hunting v. paranormal research
In February 2021, two online search trends got my attention. The first was ghost hunting. It’s going back up. (My website traffic suggested that, too.) Here’s the trend since 2016:
It’s not massively trending, but while ghost hunting had seemed in the doldrums since Halloween 2019, the 2020 spike was a surprise. The question is: will this trend improve?
It’s too soon to tell.
Another trend – but a downward one – also surprised me.
For several years, far more people were searching for “paranormal research,” rather than “ghost hunting.” They were looking for anything weird and unexplained, not just ghosts but also UFOs, cryptids, Bigfoot, and so on.
Have those trends flipped?
Regularly – since 2004 – it’s looked as if the ghost hunting “fad” was fading.
Many people lost interest in ghost-related TV shows after they tried ghost hunting themselves and decided:
- The TV shows were a lot of hype. (And yes, some were.)
- OR, their own experience (at a haunted site) was interesting – and probably paranormal – but not worth pursuing.
- OR, “real” ghost hunting was too expensive and time-consuming.
- OR… perhaps a mix of all three.
But now, ghost hunting is showing signs of life again. (Pun intended.)
That’s partly because – spending more time at home in 2020 – people realized their own homes might be haunted... if only a little. Some paused and decided ghost hunting might be interesting, after all.
2020 may have changed how people think about ghost hunting. I’d like to believe that. The field was beginning to feel stagnant.
Meanwhile, a new generation of ghost enthusiasts are entering the field.
They’ve grown up watching their parents’ ghost hunting shows.
Now they want to experience it for themselves, in real life.
That doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be ghost hunting as we did in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.
In fact, my instincts suggest people are ready to explore ghost hunting as a personal encounter with something extraordinary.
Sure, I could be wrong. Six months from now, the phrase “paranormal research” could be trending again, and “ghost hunting” may ebb until its annual Halloween spike.
Does that matter? Maybe, but I’ve never been someone to follow the mainstream.
- When everyone else was in ooh-and-ahh mode, gazing at their digital thermometers, I was showing friends how to use their hands to find anomalous hot and cold spots.
- When others insisted ghosts only appeared at night and needed a “lights out” setting, I was identifying sites with daytime ghostly activity.
So, yes… I’ll admit it: I may not be the best predictor of trends.
And frankly, I’d rather create my own.
Whatever is next, I think we need to take a wholly fresh look at ghost hunting. There’s more to explore and far more to learn.
Let’s see where 2021 leads us, and what we discover. Every day is a new adventure!
This could be our best year so far.