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Oct-06-2007 22:10printcomments

Ghost Hunting: An Increasingly Popular Interest

Real or not real? Ghosts are something some people believe exist, others scoff at the notion. But have they ever had to live in a haunted house?

Bush impeachment protestors
Tim King on an Oregon paranormal investigation, 2005.

(SALEM, Ore.) - "Ghosthunting" has an undeniable appeal as a word, but it probably isn't the best description for those who investigate the undead in earnest.

I have spent my time in this unusual pastime. I find the pursuit of ghosts compelling, humbling, a little unnerving, and sometimes very sobering. There is also a level of inherent sadness that accompanies each story I have investigated.

If in fact ghosts do exist, then they are the remnant of a living, breathing person, who possessed thoughts and feelings and need and demands. Alive or dead, they deserve our respect, and that often is the best tool and basis of understanding for a person who investigates haunted locations.

I have known a number of people who work in this area over the years. Some are Christian, some have no religion, and a couple of people I know well are Wiccan. They all are fascinating people because they go to a good deal of effort to document hauntings and all types of related activity.

I will admit that I have had the hair on my arms stand straight up a couple of times, I've felt the room get suddenly very cold, and I've recorded a few things with my television camera over time that some people would call convincing evidence.


My role has always been just what it is now; that of a reporter and photographer. I do not claim to have any psychic knowledge or anything like that, so I am an unbiased source. When I do witness things that are hard to explain, things that are... ghostly, I simply try to record the moment.

The people who investigate haunted houses and locations vary greatly. They range from high-end scientists who are well funded, to the person who participates in a ghosthunter group as a hobby. In the middle you have people who are active in the field, often media savvy, who are able to convey and communicate what they do very well. They become authors, Web publishers, TV and radio personalities and more.

As we approach Halloween, I will put together a few stories from my personal experiences and if possible, generate new video reports on the various haunted locations I have visited. To give you an idea, that ranges from Southern California, to Oregon, Nevada, Washington, Arizona and Tennessee, to places like a haunted Afghanistan castle, and the battlefields of WWI and WWII in France.

In the end, it leaves me feeling very convinced that human spirits do indeed sometimes linger. It almost always is connected with a sudden or unexpected death, when a person is not prepared or apparently willing, to go.

The most impressive paranormal investigators are those who approach the subject with the goal of helping a spirit move on. They all seem to agree in general on a number of things, and one of those is that all spirits they may encounter are not ghosts, and that spirits can have bad intentions, while ghosts are generally harmless.

Exceptions to that rule include poltergeists which are known for being able to move and throw objects, to stories like the "groping ghost" near an Irish castle archeology site where a pesky spirit constantly grabbed the female archaeologist's rear ends.

There is a lot to know and while most of it is for the sake of intrigue, I hope people seeking answers, (and they know who they are) can find answers to questions they are seeking. Houses with unexplainable occurrences are not exactly a rarity, and a broader understanding of just what might be going bump in the night helps everybody.

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Tim King: Salem-News.com Editor and Writer

Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines.

Tim holds numerous awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), first place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Tim has several years of experience in network affiliate news TV stations, having worked as a reporter and photographer at NBC, ABC and FOX stations in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon. Serving the community in very real terms, Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website. As News Editor, Tim among other things, is responsible for publishing the original content of 65 Salem-News.com writers. He reminds viewers that emails are easily missed and urges those trying to reach him, to please send a second email if the first goes unanswered. You can send Tim an email at this address: newsroom@salem-news.com

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kathy April 21, 2009 8:36 pm (Pacific time)

I have seen a old man ghost in the reed orapa house monday


wade February 27, 2008 7:10 pm (Pacific time)

hi im interested in ghost hunting how and were do i start i live in salem oregon

Wade: send me an email at newsroom@salem-news.com and I'll share some information that you can use to get started.

Tim King


hoya October 27, 2007 11:16 pm (Pacific time)

I here there are tunnels under Salem that run from an old mental hospital to the prison, or there abouts and that they are very scary


Rachel October 12, 2007 1:05 am (Pacific time)

I love all this stuff, it really interests me, I would love a carrer in this type of stuff, It would be way cool. Great story.


ARCANE October 9, 2007 1:09 pm (Pacific time)

In a disposable society even the dead are a source of sport or commerce


Henry Ruark October 8, 2007 8:04 am (Pacific time)

Tim et al: Emjoyed yr story, with some strange relations with a number of previous political sessions, where hair on back of head (albeit not much now) stood stiffly upright, due to philosophy being sermoned. Same sessions now growing increasingly wondrous, per press reports...you can guess which sessions.

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