The “haunting as news story” (about which I’ve blogged a couple times already) has become not merely a curiosity, it seems, but a persistent journalistic motif. Everybody’s getting in the act now. Here’s an AP report via Fox News (WebCite cached article):

Baseball teams fear ‘haunted’ Milwaukee hotel

The Pfister [Hotel] is Milwaukee’s most regal address, having hosted every U.S. president since William McKinley and scores of celebrities who can take a self-guided tour of the hotel’s Victorian art collection. Today, it’s the place to stay for upscale business travelers and out-of-town visitors, including many Major League Baseball teams. Commissioner Bud Selig, a Milwaukee native, is a frequent visitor.

But some players don’t care for the 116-year-old hotel’s posh accommodations and reputation for privacy. They swear it’s haunted.

Yes, folks, this is exactly the sort of urgent, breaking news we need the AP and Fox News to provide us! That ballplayers are afraid of a hotel because — they say — it’s haunted. They can provide all sorts of stories to back up this claim, and the article itself lists a number of them. There are even some Milwaukee locals milking the presumed haunting of the Pfister for their own gain:

Allison Jornlin, who leads haunted history tours for the folklore research organization Milwaukee Ghosts, said guests have reported seeing a “portly, smiling gentleman” roaming the halls, riding the elevator and even walking his dog. The apparition is said to resemble Charles Pfister, who founded the hotel with his father, Guido.

“His ghost is thought, usually, to behave very well,” Jornlin said. “But MLB players seem to bring out his mischievous side.”

Why’s that?

“Obviously, he’s a Brewers fan,” Jornlin said.

But even some of the Brewers won’t stay there in the offseason.

There’s a problem with this assumption; Charles Pfister cannot have been a Milwaukee Brewers fan … he died in 1924, but the team didn’t arrive in Milwaukee until 1970. (There was a Milwaukee Brewers team in Pfister’s time, but they moved long ago, and have been the Baltimore Orioles since 1954.) This means Jornlin’s claim is chronologically impossible!

No matter how commonplace these stories are … strange tales being passed around, do not make a true haunting. Haunted houses (and hotels, and any other structure you can name) are mythology, not reality.

With mass media outlets suffering due to the recession, and newspapers failing around the country, one would think journalists could find something more substantive to report on, than “hauntings.” But I guess not. Sigh.

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One Response to “Yet More Haunting Journalism”
  1. […] as news” motif I’ve noticed over the last couple of years and have blogged about on numerous occasions. At any rate, here’s the venerable Hartford Courant‘s puff-piece on this […]