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I Click On Dead People

October 26, 2000|Robert Burns | Robert Burns is an assistant business editor of The Times. robert.burns@latimes.com

It's spooky time again. Plastic pumpkins with their horrific smiles are lurking around every corner. And soon little princesses and Harry Potters will be swarming the streets in search of sweet prey.

So let us call upon the dead on the Web and search for the uncalm spirits who wander the Internet seeking to become the ghost in your machine.

Why just ghosts? Aren't there plenty of scary things on the Net? Yes, we've seen Barney's home page. But surfing for other things that go bump in the night was a bit disquieting. A search for vampires turned up way too many pages, even Web rings, put up by people who think they actually are vampires (or "vampyres" for the more pretentious poseurs). We'll save a tour of their sites for Mental Health Month.

For this Allhallows Eve, it's ghosts and hauntings only.

The Los Angeles area is frightening on many levels. Real Haunted Houses (http://www.realhaunts.com ), a site that identifies haunted places in many U.S. states and a few foreign countries, lists a few juicy ones. Examples? In Norwalk lurks the ghost of an overweight man named Sandy, who attacks the living. "Reportedly, some have died," the site warns. That is one cranky ghost. And next to the Home Depot in Alhambra there's a haunted house, caused, no doubt, by the angry spirits of anyone who's ever waited in the return line on a Saturday afternoon.

At the Southern California Ghost Hunters Society home page (http://www.scghs.com ), you find more detailed local ghost stories and some photos. We were also informed that the geomagnetic field was quiet. Thank goodness. Evidently solar activity has some influence on ghosts. What, they tan?

Beverly Hills has its own ghost hunting society at http://members.aol.com/talon1331/private/index.html because, well, if you can't take it with you, just don't leave.

There are a few more local ghost stories at http://www.hotad.com/ghost.html , including one about Beachwood

Drive and another about Hollywoodland, which is sort of the terminus of Beachwood under the Hollywood sign. Great. As if all the SUVs careening along those narrow canyon roads aren't frightening enough.

Not all show-biz spirits are in the Hollywood Hills. For a list of celeb ghosts, as well as other Tinseltown ectoplasm, try Hollywood Hauntings at http://gothic.vei.net/hollywood.

The Queen Mary in Long Beach has its own page of ghost stories at http://www.ghostsandlegends.com/index.htm . The site asks "Do You Believe?" After a Dramamine we're pretty easy.

In San Diego, there's the famous Whaley House (http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Crete/8136), which boasts at least eight ghosts, including that of a dog. We didn't realize there was such a housing crunch in San Diego.

We know you are a sophisticated bunch, so we'll be a little less parochial now. Phantasmata are universal, after all.

A number of sites offer photos of ghosts, but Home & Garden Television has a ghost cam at http://www.hgtv.com/HGTV/ghost/launch.htm#. It's set up in a bedroom of a Charleston, S.C., mansion. We're not sure why this spirit is hanging around, but we'd rethink that metal bed. Bad feng shui.

The International Ghost Hunters Society (http://www.ghostweb.com) is also big on solar activity. There's a lot of info on this site and way too much stuff for sale.

For a virtual haunted house, visit the Bonegarden Estate (http://www.bonegarden.com). The loading time really scared us. Another online haunted house is Link's at http://www.link4u.com/haunted.htm. The Haunting (http://www.angelfire.com/ca2/buckspook/index.html) is yet another interactive spook fest. The pop-up ad from Angelfire somewhat quelled the sheer terror we would have normally felt here.

You can join other ghost hunters at the Spirit Society (http://www.ghosthunter.org) and read field reports on paranormal investigations. They seem like nice people, so we don't understand the image of Casper in a gun sight.

Finally, if you'd like an extra revenue stream by claiming your house or business is haunted, visit http://www.members.home.com/roddydouglas/ghost-front-door.html. There, you'll learn how to fake ghost pictures.

But they are the only faked ghost pictures on the Web.

Really.

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