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What haunted houses tell us about ourselves and our past

FILE - In this Sept. 27, 2013, file photo, Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia is shown. The penitentiary took in its first inmate in 1829, closed in 1971 and reopened as a museum in 1994. The site is mentioned in the book "Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places." (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
October 11, 2017 - 12:29 PM

NEW YORK - Haunted houses tell us a lot of stories. But those stories are not just about ghosts.

Colin Dickey, the author of "Ghostland," went around the country visiting haunted houses. He says ghost stories are often ways of helping us confront something disturbing from the past.

For example, it's not hard to imagine a history of atrocities and violence in an abandoned prison, some of which have turned into haunted attractions like Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia.

Other times ghost stories may revolve around a tragic story like the death of a child or unrequited love. Dickey says we tell ghost stories to "talk about things we might not otherwise talk about."

Ghost tours can also help historic sites raise money for preservation by bringing in tourist dollars.

News from © The Associated Press, 2017
The Associated Press

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