In a post on Skeptoid blog, I suggest that paranormal-based tourism, such as ghost tours and monster festivals, which are growing in popularity, border on fraud.
“Even if there are long-standing legends of strange events occurring at some location, to suggest that a place is haunted just to freak people out is contemptible.”
“Ghost tours and monster festivals are fun. But, their apparent frivolity disguise an underlying invitation to buy into an idea just because it’s entertaining while having no basis in reality.”
Commenters remarked that I might be getting too worked up over it. Meanwhile, I found this commentary from a local who thinks his town needs one of them monsters to draw tourists and he is not beyond creating one from scratch.
I’m pretty certain many of these monsters have been created from scratch just for this purpose. I have a particular irritation with the Raystown Lake monster, Raystown Ray. The rather obvious manufacturing of stories, horrible photo “evidence” and complete biological implausibility do nothing to dissuade attention from the media and the continued push to publicize the monster.
It’s awfully enticing to believe something mysterious and monstrous lurks in your nearby woods or lake. Makes camping and boating trips a bit more exciting, doesn’t it. (There’s not too much difference between celebrating local myths and our religious holidays.) The problem is, too many people take too much of this stuff at face value. They don’t question WHY the stories might exist. The origin is human, not monstrous. Well, if you consider that someone might be out to make a buck from your gullibility (a “hauntrepreneur”), that’s kinda scary.