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