The newspaper industry in the US is rapidly collapsing under the weight of too many expenses and not enough advertising revenues. There’s no longer enough money to keep batallions of nosy reporters on staff to report fully on current events or root out things like corruption, corporate excess. Instead, they just regurgitate whatever comes into the wire services, and they write stories based on made-up crap, instead of offering real “news.” A prime example of this that we’re seeing, here in Connecticut, is reporting — packaged as “news” — about hauntings; and worse than that, writing that states that these hauntings are “real.”

The latest example is in today’s Hartford Courant:

It’s hard to stump the staffers at Connecticut’s historical landmarks — they’re pretty well versed on their buildings’ one-time occupants. But there’s one common question for which they have no adequate answer: Is this place haunted?

Very old buildings commonly come with lore about spooky happenings, but rarely does anyone really explore these tales. To that end, officials with Connecticut Landmarks have tapped the East Haven-based Connecticut Paranormal Research Investigators (CT-PRI, for short) to get to the bottom of things.

We know this outfit is “the real deal” because of its pedigree:

The five-member CT-PRI was founded by Christine Kaczynski, who introduces herself as “coming from a family of exorcists in Greece.”

Gee, how comforting to know there’s a heritage there. Why, of course we can take her word for things!

This story includes the caveat:

A design engineer by day (she doesn’t charge for ghost-hunting), she’s been working in the paranormal field for 35 years and formed the group five years ago.

OK, so she doesn’t “charge” anyone for mucking around in their homes looking for ghosts. She just makes appearances, presumably for money, and sells her stories to book authors, which happen to have been the ways the Warrens made their living; and she gets Hartford Courant reporters to generate free publicity for her.

Then we have this confusing little claim:

Kaczynski points out that they’re not actually looking for hauntings, which are malevolent spirits, but for spiritual presences.

I may not be hip to the latest metaphysical lingo, but I honestly do not see how a “malevolent spirit” cannot also be a “spiritual presence.” Then again, I’m just a skeptical, cynical heathen, so what the hell do I know?

I’ve caught the venerable Courant reporting (laughably) on what it called “known hauntings” before, and just a little while ago another paper in northwestern Connecticut pulled much the same stunt. This is a trend that I hope stops very soon.

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