Instagram’s Haunted Historian created to build an international paranormal community

Conner Gossel and two friends created the Instagram account Haunted Historian in an effort to create an online community dedicated to cataloguing the world’s haunted locations.

The 25-year-old Dayton, Ohio native launched Haunted Historian with Blake Kendig and Alex Meiring in late 2018 when he was beginning law school.

It was an attempt to keep in touch with his friends back home whom he would do paranormal investigations with, as well as get his fill of the paranormal and the horror genre. He was away from home attending law school at Ohio State.

Back in Gossel’s junior year of high school, he and his friends started their own investigations after being inspired by investigators like Zak Bagans of Ghost Adventures and Grant Wilson of Ghost Hunters.

Gossel, who works as a public relations professional for a marketing firm, has investigated locations like Hill View Manor in Newcastle, Pennsylvania, Brushy Mountain Penitentiary and the Hales Bar Dam in Tennessee.

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Nobody ever seems to talk about it, but our neighbors to the north have some pretty incredible haunts that the public can visit. One such location is Craigdarroch Castle. Heralded as the most haunted mansion in all of Canada, Craigdarroch features every kind of paranormal occurrence a hunter could hope for. And much, MUCH more. The mansion was built in 1890 for Robert Dunsmuir, a wealthy coal baron, and one of the richest men in Western Canada. The cliche of this next sentence almost pains me to say, but Robert died JUST before the castle was complete, leaving it to his wife, Joan, until her death in 1908. Following Joan’s death, Craigdarroch was turned into a military hospital in 1919. It would also go on to serve as both a college and a music conservatory over the years. It wouldn’t be until the 1970’s that the Historical Museum Society would take ownership of the castle, turning it into a public building that attracts 150,000+ visitors a year. Staff, volunteers, and guests have seen some pretty extraordinary things inside the castle. Things that they can’t explain, and which have left them believing in the afterlife once they leave. People have seen the apparition of Joan Dunsmuir walking down the main staircase in a ball gown, and one of the Dunsmuir’s young daughters has been seen standing in the middle of the basement staring at the floor. The smell of candle wax, cold spots, children crying, the sound of piano music, and shadowy figures that have been seen walking across the terrace have all been reported as well. While it is thought that the castle is only being haunted by the spirits of the Dunsmuir family, there almost seems to be too much activity for them alone. Could spirits from the castles days as a hospital be present as well? Staff won’t even venture a guess, but they will tell you that you won’t find a more paranormal destination than their castle. So, interpret that as you will. If you’re looking for a more temperate climate for a summer getaway, consider making Canada your next trip! The Great White North has a lot to offer, including some of the worlds most haunted locations. Happy hunting! #ghost #demon #canada

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“I made the page as an outlet, while I was gone, to stay involved and have a reason to research these places and hear about these places,” he said, in a late April phone conversation. “You know, the whole beginning was to see if I couldn’t build just a small little close-knit community of like-minded people into the same topic matter and who could share their paranormal experiences.”

He recalled mentioning to one of his friends that it would be cool if the page could grow to get over a hundred likes on a picture or to converse.

Now, it’s appealing to a global audience with over 55,000 followers, as well as investigative opportunities like shadowing the Columbus Catholic Diocese on an exorcism in New Albany, Ohio.

“It’s gone beyond the community and to kind of like, like the icon of a global audience. A lot of international followers started coming on,” Gossel said. “They started asking for content in their locales, in their areas and the touch base, not just in America, but all over the world.”

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Asylums and Sanatariums have always stood by a belief that the cure for illness lies in providing a patient with wide open spaces and fresh air. Perhaps they are right, and if they are, then the Tranquille Sanatarium should be looked at as an example, as it is by far the most isolated location of its kind I have covered. Constructed in the earliest parts of the 1900’s, the Tranquille Sanatarium was initially a tuberculosis hospital. Canada’s sick were isolated here for unknown periods of time in an attempt to cure them of their infectious disease. However, what most don’t know is that the building would later be converted into a psychiatric hospital, then catering to the countries mentally ill. Between both of these modes of operation the building saw an unimaginable degree of death, torment, and sorrow. The building, once abandoned, was bought out by a Canadian couple in an effort to preserve its history, and to educate the public on what once happened here. However, much of this remaining history is in the form of terrifying paranormal activity. The two owners, as well as a multitude of visitors, have seen some truly astounding occurrences. From the sound of patients moaning and screaming in pain in their former rooms, apparitions lurking around the extensive tunnel system that runs beneath the complex, and unexplainable footsteps that come running by you, this location is preserving a true taste of horror. Tours are offered to those who might wish to come visit this place for themselves. Seasonal events are offered as well to provide visitors with some festive activities. So if you feel like getting off the grid, and going into the pits of hell, this may be the perfect spot for you. Happy hunting!

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Some of the Canadian locations featured on the Haunted Historian Instagram account include British Columbian locales like Tranquille in Kamloops, Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria and Riverview Hospital in Coquitlam.

With every photo, of every location, there is a lengthy writeup about the history of a given building and the hauntings associated inside its walls.

Continued growth is encouraged as other investigation groups have submitted photos to the trio to post through the Instagram account. And they still get plenty of submissions, including an unnamed sanatorium in Ecuador and another location in Northern Russia for content.

It’s also caught the interest of some production companies who have been tapping into their visual encyclopedia for additional information and location scouting.

“The more obscure, the more out-there — places that we wouldn’t have found — the more valuable the page is,” Gossel said. “I mean, anybody can hop online and do some level of research to find these places, but it’s the international followers and people who are in regions that aren’t as investigated, sending in these places.”

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