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The History of Ghost Hunting
Pliny the Younger
Most are familiar with the so called ghost hunting shows on television. But how long has such activity been going on?
The first reference to a ghost hunt is found in 100 AD by Pliny, the younger,a lawyer, author and magistrate in ancient Rome. The story involved an investigation of a haunted house in ancient Athens.
However, paranormal research organizations like those of today are actually a relatively new phenomenon.
The oldest recognized such organization in the world is thought to be The Ghost Club, founded in London in 1862.
In the mid 1880's, the American Psychological Association suggested applying scientific method to paranormal investigations and the idea found strong support in England.
The result was the Society for Psychical Research whose mission was to study the existence of ghosts or spirits.
Investigators gathered case studies, attended séances and designed tests to validate claims of sightings. They also developed the ''Census of Hallucinations,” which effectively tracked apparitions of persons who were said to have made spectral appearances on the day they died.
Borley Rectory 1892
Similar haunting investigations were done by London's National Laboratory of Psychical Research during the 1920s. In the 1950s and 60s, American independent researchers such as Hans Holzer and Ed and Lorraine Warren began their own investigations. However, long before it became popular as television shows, other serious minded paranormal and parapsychology investigators in the 1970s and 80s were actively pursuing the subject.
Apparently, ghosts have been around since antiquity. Even in biblical times Christian disciples must have believed in their existence. For instance, they thought Jesus was a ghost walking on the water as he approached their boat until he called out and identified himself.
So ghost hunting isn't a modern activity by any means. One of the first known ghost hunters was Joseph Glanvill, a chaplain of English king Charles II in the late 1600s. Glanvill investigated ghostly activity in the British Isles. His most famous case was the Drummer of Tedworth, an early poltergeist case.