The Reliability of Internet Ghost Stories

I love finding ghost stories on the internet.  There are several websites I go to on a regular basis to find interesting stories.  The internet is cluttered with sites that list the haunted locations through out the world and usually do some kind of write up or short description of the haunted site.  Often times, the write up seems to be word for word the same on multiple sites so they are obviously getting their little stories from one location that they share or they borrow from each other.

Over the last few weeks,  I've gone out and explored many of the stories I've found on these sites.  I travelled to their source and interviewed people and read the history books.   What I've found is that in most cases there may be a grain a truth in the stories, but much of the story itself is false.  It seems that these false stories spread so they are papered over the internet until the lie almost seems like the truth just by the sheer number of times the lie has been told.  It reminds me of that game I used to play as a child where one child would whisper in another child's ear and that child would whisper in another child's ear all saying the same thing until it reached the end and the end sentence would bear no resemblance to the beginning one.

An example of this can be found in the Space Camp haunting I found online.  According to online sources, there was some kind of explosion during some kind of construction there and this explosion lead to fatalities.  The ghosts of the unfortunate victims of this explosion still wander the halls of space camp.  After I completed my research, I found that there was never any kind of explosion at space camp.   In 1999, a construction worker did fall from some scaffolding, but that is nothing like the explosion described by these sites.

So this creates a big question for me.   How much obligation do we, as online ghost story collectors, have to make sure we are telling the truth.  It is true that ghost stories aren't held to the high standards of researched truth as other areas, but  should we have to make sure a ghost story is at least somewhat based in truth before we retell it?  If we don't have some standards is there any difference between our stories and fiction? 


Atrueoriginall said…
"most cases there may be a grain a truth in the stories, but much of the story itself is false"

All too true.

There is a rash of new ones that have cropped up overnight in regard to the paranormal. The majority of them aren't even from the states, they're from Latvia. They'll come into a site just like yours and run their cursor completely over your text and post it in their blog as if it's theirs. No mention and no link back.

We can blame Google for that since these new blogs cropping up everywhere and stealing text (and pix) are only in it for the AdSense pennies and nothing more. They'll have multiple blogs going at once and no original material whatsoever.

When I trip over such, I tell the originator of the text (for what it's worth) because the one infringing could care less and won't respond or even allow your comments. As well, their domain info is usually private.
Atrueoriginall said…
I meant to mention that I do pick up a couple of them that I can see fudge a little but they're clean sites and their intention is tourism $$ and not AdSense. Nothing wrong with a bit of capitalism.
Jessica Penot said…
I feel niave. I had no idea that there were sites that just copy and paste for money. Does adsense really pay enough to make that worth the time and the effort?
Pangs said…
I think much of it comes down to how it is presented. Though it may be taken as obvious, people should make the distinction between verified facts and what is word of mouth or what is akin to an urban myth type story that has morphed and become larger than itself.
Atrueoriginall said…
On The AdSense thing, test for yourself. Any day Google is going to change your plan anyway. They do this to everyone after about 2 weeks.

In order to get good ad hits you need your ads to pertain to your topic and/or subjects. Google (AdSense) will very soon - not be posting any such ads that match your tags (labels). They are now because they're giving you a taste.

So what they'll do here soon, is tell you that if you want paranormal, ghosts, etc., ads then you have to run even more ads. Some of these additional ads run through your paragraphs and above and below posts and are not just on your sidebar. Some of them are flat obnoxious.

It was great a while back for paranormal bloggers when Paranormal Activity was getting ready to release because those ads were in all of the paranormal blogs 'if' you were on the secondary program, which you'll be notified about shortly. They usually wait two weeks for you to get a taste and then they take your paranormal oriented ads out and you get everything under the sun, including penis enhancement. lol

I already went that route and discovered that they had a plan after two weeks of having AdSense. That's a sneaky deal because here you are with what you think will work and then they go take it away and make it so that you can't have any kind of ads that pertain so they'll get hit on - only if you up the number of ads in your blog.

It stinks. That's not business, that's dirty pool.

So, for that reason I quit AdSense. I have a blog that gets avg 260,000 a quarter year so it was pulling about $8.00 a week (whoop-de-do) when they went and did that number on me.

It's not worth it for me. I'm non-commercial and I'll remain that way. I'm more community minded and not in it for the money since I have much at stake in both communities (UFO and paranormal).

I just felt 'taken' by them, so forfeited the money I had accumulated and got rid of AdSense. You have to make $100.00 before they send you a check so I had to forfeit what I did have on account for my blogs for those two weeks, which was about $22.00 total for three blogs. See, they make out all over the place.

AdSense is a 6 billion dollar profit operation for Goggle in 2009 and it represents 31% of their total revenue. Mega bucks.
Courtney Mroch said…
GREAT article, Jessica! So much of it is just stories and legends repeated. Then there's the new stories people have. I can't verify any of my personal experiences. I had no "proof" or evidence of what happened to me at the Shiloh Inn in Utah or Harry's in St. Augustine. So people find those stories and can believe them or not. I think ultimately that's what it all has to be about. Sharing "possible" haunted places and the stories which built up their reps. But it's really up to the person to decide for themselves.

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