An Introduction to Casino Hauntings
When imagining haunted places, most would-be ghost hunters name castles, dungeons and sanatoriums such as Waverly Hills as a likely place to spot a spook. However, as our new series of articles on haunted casinos in the United States will demonstrate, gambling parlours and casino resorts also house their own resident phantoms.
With so many people wagering, winning and losing in casinos across the globe, it's not surprising that some of them decide to stick around, even in death. We'll take you on a guided tour of the paranormal hotspots in Deadwood and Las Vegas and will detail reports of apparitions in the likes of The Luxor. In our series of articles you can get to grips with the ghosts of Las Vegas and Deadwood and experience your very own paranormal tour with two of the areas leading experts. To read about the supernatural side of Vegas, check out our Haunted Las Vegas article. Alternatively, to find out about Deadwood’s ghosts, read our article on Haunted Casinos in Deadwood. If you're new to ghost hunting and hauntings though, we recommend you read on for advice and explanations from two ghost experts, Janice Oberding and Mark Rowland.
When speaking with Mark Rowland, a lead investigator at the Black Hills Paranormal Investigations unit, he noted the difference between what’s known as “residual” and “intelligent” hauntings. Mark suggested that the former is “where the spirit, ghost, entity repeats itself regardless of its surroundings. Like a video tape, it is just a playback of an event.” An “intelligent haunting” though, is, as it sounds, “paranormal activity that is caused by an intelligent or conscious spirit.”
It’s not just the types of hauntings that prospective investigators have to pay attention to, as the evidence they capture can appear on audio, video, or even in photos. Janice, who authored The Haunting of Las Vegas, took the time to inform us about two very different kinds of evidence: Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) and what’s known as orbs. EVPs are “believed to be the recorded voices of the dead” and are usually caught on “digital or tape recorders”. Orbs are “the little balls of light that appear in digital photographs.” Whilst orbs used to be considered as paranormal phenomena, nowadays “the majority of orbs are considered to be dust, bugs, moisture or some other anomaly, not paranormal”, however, Janice notes that there is still “much debate” about the true nature of orbs.
Waverly Hills: A paranormal hotspot
Investigation groups like the Black Hills team often visit a location with a variety of hi-tech equipment which they can use to capture supernatural activity. Mark’s team currently utilises a digital video recorder, two digital video cameras, eight digital voice recorders and three thermometers, as well as other gadgets. Whilst groups such as the Black Hills are able to bring scientific knowledge to an investigation, they remain as much in the dark as you and I when it comes to figuring out what actually causes hauntings. When asked why the deceased tend to hang around locations such as casinos, Mark suggested that, whilst it’s hard to give a “definite answer” to such a question, “just about any location that is prone to trauma, violence, grief would have the potential to be a good location for a haunting.”
There’s also the theory that ghosts tend to “act up” when remodelling on a building is taking place. With so many casinos being built and renovated in Las Vegas, this may explain why so many visitors at casinos such as The Luxor experience paranormal activity. However, Janice believes that whilst some of the ghosts which frequent Vegas casinos may be “displaced... most of the ghosts are there because they love the place.”
Now that you're acquainted with the paranormal side of life, we recommend you read our articles on Vegas and Deadwood for more expert advice from Janice and Mark.