Sunday, October 09, 2011

Is There A Cultural Bias in Ghost Hunting?

I went to Conclave yesterday and attended a panel on ghost-hunting. Listening to the two panelists, something occurred to me. I was struck by how most of the examples of hauntings occurred in settings which were not in areas with heavy Latino or African-American populations. Also, I was struck by how many of the identified "hauntings" occured in either wealthy or rural areas, or sites with ancient histories---old museums, old libraries, old mansions,etc.

What about some house in a depressed area in Chicago? What about a trailer park somewhere in Austin? What about an apartment in a low income housing complex in St. Louis?

It gave me pause.

Having lived most of my life in Detroit, and having done research on the metaphysical within the city, I know people who have either claimed hauntings, or beliefs in things which can be considered paranormal. Some white, some people of color, some poor, some well-to-do.

So, why, I ask, is ghost-hunting so "white bread?" At least that's my perception. I don't think I've ever seen the crew from the "Ghost Hunters" heading into a house in a depressed neighborhood. Sure, they've gone to a building in a rough area, but they were usually there to go to an old theater or factory owned by someone outside the community.

I posed these observations to the panelists. One responded that most ghost hunting shows were appealing to a certain demographic, and were therefore focusing on their pre-conceptions of what a haunting should look like. Or, it was offered, perhaps different cultures are less likely to be receptive to outsiders.

Maybe. But I think the door is left wide open for other conclusions.