Haunted trails through the American southwest

'More boo for your buck'
The display in local bookshops is an indicator of how a place packages itself. All photos: Rashmee Roshan Lall

Haunted houses may spook the property market but are extraordinarily good for tourism. Why else would all these places – Santa Fe, Grand Canyon, Flagstaff etc – make a special point of highlighting the ghosts and ghouls in various local properties?

As you can see from the display in local bookshops – the three photos are from three different places along the Amtrak railway trail in the American southwest – different places like to package themselves in much the same way. That’s to say, rich in ectoplasmic slime.

A 2019 working paper by Utpal Bhattacharya and Kasper Meisner Nielsen of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and Daisy Huang of Nanjing Audit University, tried to calculate the extent to which a gruesome history can affect the price of a property.

But a 2018 study by Margee Kerr, a sociologist at the University of Pittsburgh who studies fear, showed that immersive horror experiences are mood altering in a good way. Unsurprisingly, the tourism sector knows that monstrous profits are to be gained from haunted trails.

As one headline-writer once put it more boo for your buck.

“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life”
– Jack Kerouac

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