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Friday, May 13, 2005

Scaring up profits from the paranormal

OK, here's one of the least likely places I expected to find a story about the paranormal. I believe M Valdemar is correct when he posted on his blog that we are about to see a huge surge in popularity in horror as people turn supernatural terrors, fictional or otherwise, to escape the nightmare of daily existence. From Business Week:

To the right person, it would be downright eerie. Electronics equipment -- electromagnetic-field detectors, white-noise generators, infrared motion sensors -- jumping off store shelves for no apparent reason. Groups of otherwise sensible people paying good money to spend a night in a soon-to-be-closed movie theater. Folks on the Internet trolling for brass dowsing rods and crystals that ward off negativity. This is the lucrative business end of the paranormal. Skeptics may scoff at ghosts and UFOs, but the profits some businesses are making off the spirit world are no mere phantoms. Scores of small businesses, selling ghost-hunting equipment, ghost investigation services, and even ghost counseling, are booming outside of their prime season, Halloween. Several companies recently introduced new devices billed as ghost detectors. And a cable TV show dedicated to ghost hunting is conjuring up viewers for the Sci-Fi Channel. TV TIE-IN. The business is thriving thanks to enthusiasts such as Justin Faulk, an electrical engineering student at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater. The 21-year-old has been a ghost hunter for three years, prowling abandoned buildings, haunted houses, and cemeteries. Faulk owns $2,500 worth of ghost-detecting gear, including equipment designed to check for changes in electrical fields that might indicate either the presence of UFOs -- or defects in home wiring. Faulk says he recently took his gear out to an abandoned hospital that's said to be haunted. He walked into empty rooms with peeling paint that invoked intense feelings of fear. He saw pebbles tossed across a narrow hallway from an unseen source -- but no definite signs of ghosts. "In most haunted places, there are no knives flying out of the cabinet, like in the movies," laughs Faulk, who is thinking of going into business making ghost detectors himself.
Entire article well-worth the click.


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