Forensic Psychology in Hauntings Research

An important aspect of forensic psychology is the ability to show proof, reformulating psychological findings into the language of the investigation, providing information to researchers in a way that can be understood and believed as fact.   The researcher acting as a forensic psychologist must understand the philosophy, rules, and standards of not only qualified hauntings researchers but also the detractors, or debunkers.

In current theory, each proposed haunting centers around a deceased person.  This person would, in his or her life, have had a distinct personality.  It is conceivable that the personality traits would continue if the deceased were to haunt.  Understanding this personality may help researchers identify who the person is, why they haunt, and why they have chosen the particular venue.  This is one of the few ways facts can be solidly introduced into such an unusual research project.  Personality traits of the living are often documented—in the roles they play, the spirituality they employed, and even in the memories of their offspring.

Matching behavior shown during an episode of a haunting to the psychology of those associated with the location while living, may help identify the entity present.  The Lowe Hotel in Point Pleasant, West Virginia is home to several ghost sightings.  In one case, a woman was seen dancing in the mezzanine, wearing a nightgown.  On the surface, this seems illogical until this history of the ownership of the hotel is uncovered.  Psychological factors present in the daughter of one of the owners, who lived in the hotel, match exactly with the reported behavior of the ghost.  In each additional entity behavior, there is a matching psychological profile of someone who attended this establishment in some manner.  When this research is matched, it becomes clear who likely haunts the premises.


Robin Pyatt Bellamy


captjimobrienRiverboat captain James O’Brien.  Captained the “Homer Smith” in 1915, which was owned by the same man who owned what is now the Lowe Hotel.  Several elements of the witness reports for this haunting match this person exactly.








homdemplowejrHomer D Lowe, Jr


DCP03845Fourth Floor Ballroom

Witnesses report hearing classical music coming from the top floor.  This is where the ballroom is and it is generally not occupied.  Most would dismiss this, as the ballroom was created for dancing well past the classical period.  Homer Lowe, however, was a staunch Christian and upon purchasing the hotel began to rid it of the reputation of being immoral.  From a psychological profile standpoint, this follows that there would be strings in the ballroom rather than jazz horns.