So here we have a great example of when the conclusions of the Southwest Ghost Hunter’s Association and myself differ. The central argument is really focused on if the criteria for a haunting were met. The ghost hunters believe it is. I do not.
Over the years I have noticed something that may be affecting the judgment of the ghost hunters. It is the influence of the ghost hunting and paranormal TV shows. While other prisons like Eastern State Penitentiary are depicted on television as being insanely haunted, they are left wondering why Old Main would be any different, especially considering the violent events that transpired there during the riot in 1980. Perhaps because of this, I saw a change in their attitude.
“It must be haunted.”
However what the ghost hunters have neglected to consider are the traits of apparitions as defined by the systematic studies. The witnesses’ descriptions of shadowy figures are in stark contrast to the apparitional descriptions regarding appearance, duration of the event, and distance from the witness. In this regard, the witness accounts are low grade and do not constitute any further investigation. I personally believe the prison is haunted but not by the ghosts of its former inmates. It is haunted by the memory of the horrific events that have taken place there. This, in turn, provides a suggestion that it is haunted which affects the modern day visitors to Old Main.
The building itself is a type of haunt factory as there are so many things that can easily be mistaken for a ghostly encounter. However, these things are not known to the casual visitor which makes the “paranormal” occurrences seem more frequent and tangible. In short, visitors are merely freaking themselves out when visiting the old penitentiary. In a way, I understand this. I too have walked through the grungy dark hallways of Old Main, and the ambiance is indeed quite creepy. When you combine the environment with the knowledge of what occurred there, it is challenging not to be affected by it in one form or another.