Today’s question comes from Calvin Knox from New York, NY. Calvin asks, “How come you never hear of haunted apartments or condos?”
Interesting question, Calvin. You are correct, we do not hear much about haunted apartments or condominiums. I’m not sure whether that has anything to do with the dead’s preference for standalone properties, backyards and distance from neighbors or their own fear of having to hover before a coop board or condo association where the risks of rejection and intimidation are quite high.
I do not pretend to be an expert on the spirit world, or necessarily believe in the universal existence of souls, although I did before I started watching C-Span. However, I made a call to a renowned expert on the paranormal, Dr. Miles Murphy, a professor at Yale University. Unfortunately, when I received Dr. Miles’ bid for his services related to this humble post, I decided it would be best to just plod through your little query on my own. One thing Dr. Murphy did teach me about the spirit world right before we ended our negotiation — there are clearly some experts on the afterlife who believe you can take it with you when you go.
So, I did some research on my own and looked first to the movies, a medium where art often imitates life, with the possible exception of any film starring Adam Sandler. According to the website, Screen Junkies, there are four films that feature haunted apartments. Nothing on Condos unless you count those spooky and mysterious maintenance fees. Ha ha.
One is the original “Ghostbusters”, in which Sigourney Weaver’s apartment is also a direct Gateway to Hell. I checked around to see if there were any connections to real life but could find nothing substantive with the exception of a brief mention in the “Page Six” section of the “New York Post” about hotel maven, Leona Helmsely, who after seeing the film, fired her architect, contractor and business manager for failing to install a gateway to hell in her penthouse suite during its renovation.
Another film that features a haunted apartment is “Dark Water”, starring Jennifer Connelly. She plays a woman living in a dingy apartment that has a constant water leak streaming down the walls. The leaks are attributed to the ghost of a little girl who’s been allegedly hanging around the building. I did look this up and guess what? There is a direct connection to real life, paranormal unexplained leaking wall phenomena — in all dwellings!
The “Leak caused by ghosts or poltergiests” is actually listed as “Probable Cause #2” under the chapter, Never Admit Anything, found in the official “Plumbers and Steamfitters Union Handbook, U.S. Edition”. I called the head of the Local Plumbers and Steamfitters chapter in Staten Island for examples of specific incidents and he told me he would put the entire local on my request, effective immediately, and get back to me very, very soon. Hoping to hear back within the hour so I can add a postscript.
The other two films featuring haunted apartments were “The Grudge 2” and “Poltergiest III”. I didn’t bother to research either of those films, Calvin, because as sequels, the use of apartments rather than houses is strictly about shoestring budgets and having a ghost of a chance of making their money back.
One last thought. Perhaps the reason people don’t report haunted apartments or condominiums is because they’re unaware they’re being haunted. Apartments and condos can be noisy places with clanging pipes, whistling steam radiators, rattling windows, TVs that are turned up too loud and people who sing while listening to music with their headphones on.
These dwellings could be overflowing with ghosts but since there’s always a racket, nobody notices a thing and that’s why we rarely hear about haunted apartments or condos. On the other hand, if you were a ghost, would you want to compete with all that noise? I think ghosts have to be the ultimate people persons — always looking for attention — so maybe houses just give them the best shot at getting noticed. I wish I knew for sure, Calvin, and if you have $10 grand or more lying around, I’ll be more than happy to put you in touch with Dr. Murphy.
This much I do know, I’d rather spend 90 years in an apartment with a ghost than 90 minutes watching an Adam Sandler movie.
© 2013 The Monkey Bellhop and John Hartnett