Simply Paranormal UK, who charge the public to attend ghost-hunting themed events at allegedly haunted places across the country (“act like what them people on the TV do for a night and pay us for the privilege”) have caused offense after referring to a now-closed mental health treatment centre as a “lunatic asylum” in their publicity of an upcoming event in Leicester.
The Leicester Mercury reported that ‘in a posting on Facebook, Simply Paranormal UK used the term when announcing an event in May this year. The posting said: “We are pleased to announce another Mental Asylum. The Towers Lunatic Asylum in Leicester – Ghost hunting never got even more exciting.” The Towers began its life in 1869 as the “Leicester Borough Lunatic Asylum” but its name has changed over the years.’
Ghost hunting… never got… even more exciting…
Terrible sentence structure aside, the name change was prompted, I’m sure, when it became obvious that describing those with mental illness as “lunatics” wasn’t actually very helpful or nice. But why on earth would a paranormal tourism company give a crap about what is helpful, decent or right? Ghost Tourism event companies never cease to scrape the barrel when it comes to decency! I’ve previously written about a similar company called Compass Paranormal who ran an event in what used to be a Prisoner of War camp… and let’s not even get started on the company saying “…another mental asylum” as though these places are collectors items. Ugh.
It’s not just Most Haunted though. You can watch any of the range “reality” ghost hunting shows out there and the chances are that you will see the hosts put on a show of bravado and “confront” ghosts and “antagonise” ghosts because their priorities lie with having a scary, fun time and not with being decent people. Of course the companies who make a fast profit by imitating these television shows are going to behave in the same way.
They don’t care about the legacy of the people whose ghosts they claim to be chasing, they just want to ramp up the fear factor to sell tickets and you don’t do that by saying “hey everyone, we’re investigating a premesis in which people received treatment for a variety of mental illnesses that will probably have little or no impact on our event.” The fear factor comes from referring to such a place using outdated language like “lunatic asylum” which loosely suggests that mentally ill dead people are scarier than regular ghosts and there aren’t enough adjectives in my dictionary to describe how fucked up that is.