People often ask us at the New York Paranormal Society if we’ve ever investigated famous “haunted” locations, like Eastern State Penitentiary, Fort Mifflin, or, well, insert any local allegedly haunted asylum/hospital/penitentiary here. And our answer is always “no.” Not because we are not interested, and not that we wouldn’t love to investigate these places, but mainly because they charge paranormal investigators to conduct their investigations. And they charge a lot, usually. When we first started doing this, our clients used to ask us how much WE charged. Which, of course, was nothing. But nowadays, when a group is asking to investigate a location, they are usually presented with a fee. Mainly because the location has either been featured on TV shows like Ghost Hunters or Ghost Adventures, or because they realize the money-making potential of what they have on their hands because of those shows. And while we of course support any business with historical significance, the fact that these places are often literally laughing to the bank with our money just doesn’t sit well with us. Take this story for example, with my main point in bold.
Hartford, Conn. — The sale of 49.65 acres of the former Norwich Hospital property on the Norwich side was approved by two General Assembly committees on Thursday, as the buyer expressed a desire to create something that will bolster Eastern Connecticut’s tourism and entertainment industries.
“It was wonderful,” Thames River Landing LLC President Ron Shelton said after the Finance Revenue and Bonding Committee approved the sale in a unanimous voice vote. The Government Administration and Elections Committee also approved the transaction.
Shelton’s Farmington-based company will buy the acreage for $300,000 from the state and later plans to demolish most of the 27 buildings currently standing on the site.
A mixed-use development is planned but Shelton gave no further details.
Department of Administrative Services Commissioner Donald DeFronzo and Shelton spoke before both committees in Hartford. When asked about possible uses, DeFronzo alluded to interest in the former psychiatric hospital from television shows focused on supernaturalism.
“Maybe it will become a center for paranormal research,” the commissioner said, provoking laughter from committee members.
After his appearance before the finance committee, Shelton said he would like to consult with the Preston town government and Mohegan Sun as he shapes his development.
Preston bought 393 acres of former hospital land on its side of the municipal boundary in 2009 for $1 but has yet to finalize any redevelopment agreements. Mohegan Sun is directly across the Thames River.
“It benefits everyone to work in harmony,” Shelton said.
State Sen. Cathy Osten, D-Sprague, and state Reps. Timothy Bowles, D-Preston, and Emmett Riley, D-Norwich, attended the finance committee meeting.
“I’m happy; everything is going well,” said Osten, whose district includes the Norwich tract.
The sale is expected to close in 60 days. The executive and the commissioner both noted Shelton has been eyeing the property for several years. During a state-run bidding process, seven entities expressed interests in portions of the land, but Thames River was the only one that wanted all 49.65 acres, DeFronzo said.
Attorney General George Jepsen’s approval is also required. The attorney general had not received notice from the General Assembly, spokeswoman Jaclyn Falkowski said late Thursday afternoon.
The property’s value is assessed by the Norwich city government at more than $10 million and the sale will enable the city to begin collecting $247,000 a year in tax revenue, DeFronzo said. The City Council wrote a letter to both committees endorsing the sale.
The wide difference between the assessed value and the sale price is explained by the fact that a “sizable” environmental cleanup, with one estimate as high as $5 million, will be required, the commissioner said.
And here’s a snippet from yet another article:
Finance committee members joked about the strong interest in the entire former hospital property by ghost hunters and paranormal researchers, suggesting that could be included in Thames River Landing’s entertainment proposals.“You’re going in the right direction,” said state Sen. Toni Boucher, R-Wilton, of the finance committee. “Good luck to you. I think that’s a wonderful idea.”
Here’s the thing – and I’m talking mainly to my fellow paranormal investigators here: we paranormal investigators do a lot of hard work. Most of us do thorough historical research into any location before investigating. We take time away from our friends and families so that we can investigate. We spend our own hard-earned money on gas, tolls, batteries, video tape, equipment, websites, and all of the other little expenses that it takes for us to keep our groups functioning. So if we do this for free (and often at our own hefty expense), why should we be required to pay $1,000 to spend a night in a museum or penitentiary, that wouldn’t be open during those overnight hours anyway? I can understand having to pay a guard or other employee to make sure the group was supervised, but the prices most of these places charge is just disgusting. And most of these places have an overnight staff anyway. It’s sad to see these business using us as just another cash-in on a fad, but that’s what they see us as. We don’t charge for investigations, and we shouldn’t be charged for investigations. Something that people used to be grateful for is now something that people simply use in order to generate more business and hopefully get on TV (to further increase their profits). It would behoove us all to boycott this practice, so that these places start realizing that our services should not be paid for by us. But until all groups stop paying the fees, these places will continue charging, and more and more locations will start realizing they can squeeze our field for lots of money.