2019 – A Good Year for Ghost Hunting Events

[This article originally appeared at FionaBroome.com.]

2019 looks like a good year for ghost hunting events, tours, and vigils. In my previous article, Ghosts & Paranormal Trends – 2019, I described general trends.

In this article, I’m focusing on Google search trends – for “ghost hunting” – in the US and the UK, to see what fans and researchers are looking for.


Summary:  In the US and the UK, an increasing number of people are interested in encountering ghosts, themselves.

In the US, they’re interested in ghost hunting equipment & how it works.

UK fans have maintained a steadier interest in ghosts. In the UK, people are looking for ghost hunting events, especially when they can learn from pros, and test-drive ghost hunting equipment, themselves.

In both countries, to reach wider audiences, TV shows and events could include ghost hunt pros (as “invited guests”), and share how-to sidebars, information, or workshops.


2019 - a good year for ghost hunting events and toursHere are the trends, as I see them.

In the US, ghost hunting enthusiasts seem most interested in ghost hunting on their own. Events and tours (and TV shows) can make the most of this by including how-to information.

And, in the case of events & tours, letting visitors borrow ghost hunting tools.

In the UK, people are looking for ghost hunting events, sometimes with specific people. They’re also looking for ghost hunting equipment, and shops that sell them.

Here are the graphs from late January 2019.

Ghost Hunting Trends

First, “ghost hunting” searches in the US, since 2004. I’m not sure if interest has stabilized or is increasing slightly in the past six months.

Ghost hunting search trends in the US, 2004 to 2019

Here’s a five-year US graph for “ghost hunting” Google searches. I think the 2015 spike can be attributed to Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (2015). 

Also, I think the 2016 decline may related to the announcement that Ghost Hunters’ TV series had been canceled. (Last episode was Halloween 2016.) I think that announcement was a social cue that – in the network’s opinion – the ghost hunting trend was over.

That may have been a self-fulfilling message/prophecy.

5 year trend - Google searches for ghost hunting

Here’s that same search (“ghost hunting”) for the UK, since 2004. There, it looks more stable over a longer period of time, and perhaps declining slightly since early 2013.

Ghost hunting search trends in the UK, 2004 to 2019

Here’s that same Google UK search graph – “ghost hunting” – since early 2014. To me, the past five years look fairly stable, with a downturn after Halloween, but an uptick with the new season of “Most Haunted” and other shows.

Searches for ghost hunting - 5-year trend

Next, I looked at “ghost hunting events.” What I saw surprised me.

Ghost Hunting Events Trends

Google had no graph for that term in the US; there weren’t enough searches. But – interestingly – the areas where Americans search for “ghosts” and “ghost hunting” were places hosting ghost hunting events around the time of the search. 

So, though those searches may reflect recently aired TV shows, I think Americans are less likely to add the word “events” when they’re looking for… well… a ghost hunting tour or event.

By contrast, “ghost hunting events” regularly appears on Google’s “breakout” searches lists for the UK.

Here are the UK graphs for “ghost hunting events” searches, starting with the 2004-2019 graph.

Ghost hunting events interest, UK, 2004- now

In the UK, those searches have been increasing since 2017. Americans should pay attention to this. In my experience, British ghost hunting enthusiasts are often one step ahead of American trends.

That’s what the graphs have indicated since I started tracking ghost hunting interest, around 2004: First, UK searches climb or even reach breakout status. Then I see those same kinds of topics/shows trend in the US.

Related Search Terms – Ghosts, Paranormal, Haunted

Finally, here are some comparisons among related searches. They’re of less value.

In the US, “haunted” searches spike at Halloween because people are looking for haunted houses and corn mazes, etc.  Also, that term seems to perform better than “ghost hunting.”

Some “paranormal” searches may need to be discounted due to searches for movies like Paranormal Activity.

“Ghosts” may also include searches for “Ghost in the Shell,” and the trending PlayStation game, “Ghosts Call of Duty.”

The UK graphs show the same Halloween trends, but a sharper drop in interest for the simple search. But, “ghosts” significantly out-performs “paranormal.” That’s the reverse of US trends.

Ghost-Related Breakout Searches

In related, breakout search terms, the US and the UK were somewhat different. Despite that, I think they point to a visible trend towards personal ghost encounters, at ghost hunting events and tours, or as part of independent teams.

In the UK, these were the top breakout search surges:

  • Ghost hunting equipment (and ghost hunting equipment in the UK)
  • Ghost hunt (probably includes the fiction series of the same name)
  • Ghost hunting events
  • Ghost hunting with (probably includes the TV series)

In the US, search surges highlighted:

  • Ghost hunting apps
  • Ghost hunting shows
  • Ghost hunting tools
  • Ghost Hunter (Note: that was singular, not plural)
  • Ghost Adventures

Yes, the US shows more interest in ghost hunting TV shows.

But, the prevalence of interest in ghost hunting apps, tools, and equipment also suggests a growing popularity in personal ghostly encounters.

What’s Ahead in 2019?

Ghost events, tours, and vigils can use these trends for greater success in 2019. Especially in the UK, including popular/expert ghost investigators can attract more guests to sites and events. (That’s not news. Every ghost hunting event is more appealing when it features recognized stars and popular researchers.)

Of course, ghost hunting TV stars – British and American – draw the largest interest.

Large-scale events may also benefit by including authors of paranormal fiction, if they’re well-versed in ghost hunting.  (Michelle Belanger – who starred in Paranormal State – comes to mind, as she’s developed a successful career in paranormal fiction, too.)

And, in the US, shows may benefit from including segments explaining ghost hunting tools and techniques, with how-to advice.

Likewise, I’m seeing a growing interest in US events featuring stars of past ghost hunting shows, including Ghost Hunters (and Ghost Hunters International), Paranormal State, and Ghost Lab.

(Would ratings rise if they’re guest investigators on newer shows? From related, continuing “where are they now?” questions in my email, I think so.)

2019 may be a good year for ghost hunting. I won’t pretend that I see massive upticks in any single trend, at this time.

But, if you consider the graphs and breakout searches, I see potential for a new – perhaps younger and more analytical- audience.

They could spark a new wave of enthusiasm for ghost hunting shows and events, and haunted sites that are open to overnight stays and tours.

Ghosts & Paranormal Trends – Jan 2019

Ghosts and paranormal trends - January 2019 report[This article originally appeared at FionaBroome.com.]

In recent months, ghosts and paranormal topics have been trending in interesting directions.

(Note: I use specialized software for this research. It’s not just Google Trends.)

In general, global interest in ghost hunting is starting to increase, but with an emphasis on personal experience and how-to information.

In the US – and globally – people are still very interested in Ghost Adventures. Both Ghost Hunters and Most Haunted attract fresh searches, as well.

The spike that occurred with Netflix’s Hill House has been more about “hidden” ghosts in the series.

Also, people want to know what happened to Nick Groff (which many spell as “Nick Goff” when they’re searching), and they’re still asking, “Is Ghost Hunters real?”

In the UK, “Are ghosts real?” is the question most people are asking. And, they’re interested in watching Most Haunted, Paranormal Lockdown, Ghost Adventures, and old/full episodes of Ghost Hunters, not necessarily in that order.

Trending Interest in Ghosts & Paranormal Topics – 30 Days

Here are some graphs representing mid-December 2018 through mid-January 2019.

First, here’s the only topic trending in the UK, among searches focusing on the word “ghosts.” (And eliminating searches related to the PS4 game, “Ghosts Call of Duty.”)

Ghosts trends in the UK - Jan 2019

Here’s what’s trending for “ghosts” in the US. Aside from “what room do ghosts avoid?” (probably a gaming question), searches doesn’t show much interest in ghosts, per se.

Trending searches for "ghosts" in the US

Trending Searches – 90 Days

Three-month trends show something different. However, remember that these include searches starting in mid-October, just before Halloween.

The first shows worldwide searches that focused on “ghosts.” Obviously, The Haunting of Hill House dominated those trends. But, they were interested in finding “hidden” ghosts in the Netflix series.

The Ghosts of Christmas Eve searches could be about the 2018 Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert, or about the 1999 movie, or both.

Worldwide searches for "ghosts" - 90 days (Jan 2019)

The next breaks down similar online searches, but only in the UK. Again, Hill House’s “hidden” ghosts captured interest. (In a US-only study, the results were nearly identical to the graph above.)

I was surprised to see people ask “how many ghosts visited Scrooge?” Related searches continued to spike after Christmas, as well. (If you count just the main ghosts, there were four: Marley, and the ghosts of past, present, and future.)

Searches for "ghosts" from UK browsers - Jan 2019

Paranormal Searches

Stepping back a bit, here are 90-day results for “paranormal” searches in the US. Paranormal Activity continues to hold interest, with Paranormal Lockdown attracting attention, too. Regional interest in Paranormal Cirque spiked, and then vanished as the show continued its tour.

Searches for "paranormal" in the US - Jan 2019

In the UK, the 90-day “paranormal” trend is about the same, minus the Paranormal Cirque interest.

90 trend for UK searches on "paranormal"

Ghost Hunters Searches

Narrowing my research focus, I checked 90-day searches, worldwide, for “ghost hunters.” Clearly, Saturday Night Live’s parodies are popular, and people still want to watch Ghost Hunters’ full episodes.

But… people still ask if Ghost Hunters was fake. And, in related trends, Ghost Adventures seeps in, as well.

90-day trend "ghost hunters"

Compare that with “ghost hunting” searches, worldwide. They want to go ghost hunting, or at least learn about ghost hunting equipment.

Venues offering ghost tours might do well to lend ghost hunting tools to visitors. (Even wire coat-hanger dowsing rods can be useful. Just be sure to curl the wire ends, so no one is jabbed by a sharp point.)

Search trends for "ghost hunting" - Jan 2019

(In a future article, I’ll elaborate on the increasing interest in ghost hunting events, vigils, and tours.)

Ghost Adventures Searches

Ghost Adventures seems to hold its audience – and thrives in searches, worldwide. Further down the list (not on this screenshot), people were searching for “what happened to nick in ghost adventures” and “ghost adventures halloween special.”

(The question about Nick isn’t a surprise. At one of my websites, the most popular article answered a similar question about Grant Wilson and Ghost Hunters.)

Search trends for "ghost adventures" - Jan 2019

Most Haunted Searches

Most Haunted is gaining moderate traction in worldwide searches, too. I’m pleased to see their 2019 shows present ghost hunting in a more realistic context. Somehow, Hill House turned up in related searches. And, of course, people are asking “is Most Haunted real?”

However, I was surprised to see a surge in questions about “the most haunted town in America.” I’m not sure if that’s related to a Travel Channel series, or something else. (If you know, leave a comment.)

And maybe someone should contact John Zaffis‘ team, since “most haunted object in the world” has a few search spikes.  (Oh. Wait. That search was probably about Post Malone being “cursed” by a haunted object.)

"Most Haunted" search trends - Jan 2019

Summary

Both Ghost Adventures and Ghost Hunters remain popular in Internet searches.  Netflix’s Haunting of Hill House may have been a short-lived trend, and mostly about clever imagery.

In Season Two, they may bring more depth to the story. There’s plenty to explore, and leads to follow from Shirley Jackson’s original book.

In ghost hunting – and ghosts, in general – trends seem to favor ghost hunting equipment, and how it works. I’m not sure if those searches are by aspiring ghost hunters, or people who want to understand what they’re seeing on TV.

I think ghost hunting is rebounding after some YouTube videos, TV shows, and movies took things to a ridiculous extreme.  (Did anyone really believe that “shadow people” hide under your bed, and might kill you…?)

For those who continue serious paranormal research… well, we’re still rebuilding credibility.

Recently,  Most Haunted’s Eden Camp episode was helpful; it showed a more accurate view of ghost hunting, while still including some thrills to hold the audience’s interest.

I’m optimistic about ghost hunting in 2019, and trends suggest a good year for haunted sites that offer “ghost tours” or overnight stays.

In terms of TV shows, I think there’s a fresh audience for ghost-related programming. But, to get the best ratings, producers will need to understand what’s changed in ghost hunting, over the past couple of years.

Fresh angles and new approaches can bring viewers back to ghost hunting shows, but producers will need to make sweeping changes without sacrificing what intrigued people back in 2003.

In general, I believe innovators will be the winners in 2019.

In my next article, I’ll explain why Google trends suggest an uptick in popularity for ghost tours and ghost hunting events… and how this field can deliver what ghost enthusiasts are looking for: 2019 – A Good Year for Ghost Hunting Events, Tours, and Vigils.