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Ghosts Good For Hotel Bookings

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Ian Topham
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The following article appeared in the Los Angeles Times in April 2010 and highlights how Ghost Hunting has helped tourism in an American town.

This hotel will never give up the ghosts

Your room might already be occupied, but that's just part of the attraction at the exquisitely spooky Jerome Grand in Arizona.

The bedcovers provide false security. People died on this floor, on the ones above and below. The Jerome Grand Hotel's history has chapters written in blood. Souls at unrest loom, folks say.

Pulling the sheets over your face won't hide the questions that hit seconds before slumber: Is the darkness empty, or is someone there?

The caretaker who hanged himself in the boiler room. The handicapped man who wheeled himself off the balcony. The executive who shot himself in Room 32. The unfortunate maintenance man, Claude Harvey.

Of Jerome's supposed spectral residents, maintenance man Harvey is perhaps the noisiest. The 1926 Otis elevator killed him -- came down on his head in 1935. Accident, murder, suicide? Still unclear. But visitors say strange noises emanate from the shaft where he was found.

The cab moves, unbidden, at all hours. "They say he plays with lights too," said front desk clerk Debra Altherr.

As haunted hotel legend seems to dictate, there's also a "Lady in White." A guest reportedly woke one night to see her standing at the end of his bed, waving her finger.

In a book at the front desk, guests report these and other paranormal testimonies: footsteps, moaning, heavy breathing and untouched doors flying open. But the devoted hunt for digital proof on the hotel's ghost tour, which provides an electromagnetic-field meter, infrared thermometer and a camera.

Ghost hunting has become a fad -- popularized by paranormal television shows such as "Most Haunted" -- and the boom is felt keenly in Jerome.

"Most hotels are down 20-30% in the area," said Bob Altherr, Debra's husband and co-owner of the Jerome Grand Hotel with his brother, Larry. "We were down only 2% last year."
Of approximately $500,000 in tourism the town of 450 receives annually, Mayor Al Palmieri figures the ghost-hunting crowd deposits a sizable chunk that is still expanding.

Film crews hoping to catch ghosts materialize often, and lately have been trespassing in the cemetery or in supposedly possessed buildings. "That's starting to become an issue," said Police Chief Allen Muma, who owns the Ghost City Inn Bed and Breakfast.

Ghost-hunters' favorite spot in town is the Grand, which sits 5,200 feet above sea level, edged into Cleopatra Hill, watching over the town and the Verde Valley.

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Re: Ghosts Good For Hotel Bookings

Ghost research does seem to have become a branch of the tourist industry in the last couple of decades.

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Joined: 15 Oct 2008
Re: Ghosts Good For Hotel Bookings

I remember there was a seedy club near to the house where I grew up.
To say business was bad would be an understatement: there was never a soul in sight.
Then one of the owners suddenly started saying the place was haunted: furniture was rearranged during the wee hours of the morning and he said he heard "disembodied voices" and felt chilly hands touching him... needless to say that's just what the place needed.
It was now packed full of people until 3 AM in the morning (closing hour) coming from far afield to "see the ghosts".
So, yes it works.


"Louhi spoke in riddled tones of three things to achieve: find and catch the Devil's Moose and bring it here to me. Seize the Stallion born of Fire, harness the Golden Horse. He captured and bound the Moose, he tamed the Golden Horse. Still there remained one final task: hunt for the Bird from the Stream of Death"

-Kalevala, Rune XIII-

Ian Topham's picture
Ian Topham
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Re: Ghosts Good For Hotel Bookings

I studied Tourism and Heritage Management at college and in many respects this website grew from an interest in our haunted heritage and trying to provide information on places people may want to visit in the UK.



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