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How much would someone have to pay you to sleep in a haunted house for a night? A recent report from California Contractor Bonds surveyed more than 1,000 people in the U.S. to find out "what incentives it would take for them to stay in a haunted house," and most people weren't willing to do so for free. But the study found that of all the age groups, "millennials [were] the most thrill-seeking generation with 11 percent of millennial respondents saying they would do it for free." In general, over half of the survey participants said they would rather sleep in a haunted house if they got paid $10,000 to do so, and only if could bring a group of friends along. The same participants reported that they'd rather do that than stay in it alone for $1,000,000, and twenty-five percent said if the allegedly haunted house is in the middle of nowhere, there's no way would they sleep in it, no matter how many zeros came after that dollar sign.
These findings tell us a lot about what people are most afraid of. Perhaps people feel less vulnerable when surrounded by friends, even if they didn't really believe that something truly dangerous would take place in a supposedly haunted house. But if you've ever watched a horror movie, then you know the more, not necessarily the merrier...
Another notable finding is that 57 percent of people would rather sleep in a haunted hotel than a haunted house. Maybe that has to do with the fact that a hotel room feels less sprawling; the smaller a space, the fewer places for ghosts to hide, and more people down the hall, should you need help fending off a particularly restless and relentless spirit.
Somewhat surprisingly, the results of the survey are drastically different when it comes to buying and living in a haunted house. To be fair, the study changed up the lingo a bit and asked participants if they would live in a house someone died in, removing the word "haunted." So 70 percent said they would "buy a house that someone died in if the price was right. But the more complicated the house’s backstory, the less willing people are to take the plunge," according to the survey. The percentage drops to 28 when it comes to buying homes people were murdered in.
That's likely because ghost stories tend to crop up when something bad happened to someone while they were alive, and that person didn't find a resolution before they passed. As University of Southern California professor of Anthropology Tok Thompson says, "very often in ghost stories, there's a possibility that the ghost can be appeased, that you can acknowledge the wrongs, give them a proper burial, whatever the case may be," and then the haunting, and the story, both ends. Not to mention, if something violent happened in a home, the house can serve as a sort of memorial and reminder of that event, which can create distress even if the potential buyer doesn't believe in ghosts.
So before you accept any money or dares, it's worth asking why the house has a reputation as haunted. The kinds of ghosts lurking in the hallways, whether symbolically or literally, will help you decide whether or not you'll get a good night's sleep there. A sweet caretaker looking over the place? Sure. An evil serial killing ghost who refuses to split the rent? No, thank you.
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