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Countdown to Halloween: Haunted Haunts and How to Survive Them

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By Chris Kavan - 10/07/10 at 10:23 AM CT

Starting this Thursday and every Thursday this month, I'll be covering some horror themes and how you can get out alive. Today, I'll be covering the various dark and haunted places that seem to come alive when you least expect it - plus, how you can get out alive!

1) The Overlook Hotel in The Shining - Nothing like taking your family to vast and empty hotel for the off season. Too bad the place has a history of murder, lots and lots of murder. Also, it doesn't help that your husband is a little... off. Still, as long as you have plenty of food, heat and can contact the outside world... wait, scratch that last one - luckily your son has a mystical connection and can still reach out and touch someone.

2) Amityville - Sure, the true story was pure bunk, but Hollywood can always take any old story and embellish it to the point of ridiculousness. Anyway, it's never a good sign if your walls start dripping blood or a plague of flies decides to hang around. Also, if you happen to notice a pit to God knows where in your basement, leave it alone.

3) Poltergeist - Not even suburbia is safe - at least not if you don't happen to know what's under your house. If you start to notice things moving on their own and your daughter (or son) happens to start having long conversations with the white noise on TV, maybe it's time to look into a new place. Plus, get rid of that creepy clown doll, it's not helping anyone.

4) The Grudge - Once again, make sure you know what you're getting into before you move in (or even enter) a new place. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Haunted houses are bad enough, but when they follow you home, you just know you're screwed.

5) House on Haunted Hill / Session 9 - Look, I don't care if you're getting good money, hanging around places like condemned insane asylums or prisons is just asking for trouble. Even if there's no real ghosts - it will get inside your head and the idea a place is haunted is just as bad as the real thing. It can make people do crazy things.

So, what do you do when confronted by a malevolent force of evil? Well, for one thing, maybe it's best not to confront it at all: Rule 1: Do your research. Before taking that dream job or getting a steal on a new house or accepting an invitation to a party, for your own sake, do a little digging. Make sure there aren't multiple unexplained homicides connected to your new digs. Make sure there aren't complaints by former tenets of sudden drops in temperature, loud noises and things moving for no good reason. Also, make sure the former tenants are still alive - always a good thing.

Rule 2: If you've ignored rule 1 and have started experiencing strange things: leave. Sometimes you may be followed - hey, if you yourself are haunted (see Paranormal Activity), then it's time to call in an exorcist or something, but if a place is haunted, accept it and move on. You can find a new job or a new house - rent out an apartment or something for awhile, just get away. It's not worth potentially losing your mind or your life over.

Rule 3: Now we're in dangerous territory if you've left and you're still in danger. I don't believe that a place can be so badly cursed it will follow you, but if you awaken something so evil it can't be stopped you have two choices: call in the experts or destroy it yourself. Depending on the situation, professors, priests and psychics or even random ghost hunters might be able to help. Either that or make a plan to demolish the place and salt the earth. Sometimes you have to bitch slap evil to make it stop - just make sure you get it before it gets you.

Next week: Stopping the Unstoppable Killer

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