Trailer-Park Ghosts, Tollbooth Spooks

Underachieving Apparitions With No Home to Haunt

By Buck Wolf

Oct. 29, 2002 --   It's bad enough to be undead. But what if you're damned for all eternity to a dump?

You can only hope that when you shuffle off this mortal coil, you'll have a decent place to haunt — a Gothic mansion, with cobwebs, creaky steps, and tastefully placed trap doors — straight out of Martha Stewart Living Dead magazine.

Can't you see the Versace leather-upholstered coffin? In the kitchen, a stainless-steel cauldron bubbles up a traditional blood daiquiri for the sobbing hag who materializes on the staircase at midnight, pining for man who stole her heart two centuries ago.

You'll have a squalling black cloud of bats over the roof and, for hours of family fun, a torture chamber in the dungeon. Is that too much to ask?

Sadly, for many ghosts, it seems that the modest dream of having a house to haunt will never be anything more than a Stephen King novel.

Today, ghosts are being reported in trailer parks, toll booths, fast-food restaurants and laundry rooms. Couch Potatoes of the Damned

"You'll be surprised all the places you'll find a ghost," says Leslie Rule, author of Coast to Coast Ghosts (Andrews McMeel) — who documents haunted toy chests, TV studios and brew pubs.

Perhaps it's just a sign of the times. Now, even ghosts have housing issues.

But let's not be bleeding hearts. Perhaps these ghosts are just underachievers — couch potatoes justifiably damned for all eternity to a McDonald's. Maybe if they had done more with their lives, they'd be doing more with their afterlives.

This Halloween, The Wolf Files looks at some nontraditional hauntings.

1. Unhappy Campers: Is there an unnatural feeling of unrest in your doublewide? Does the simulated-wood paneling sometimes sweat blood … even when you're not drinking malt liquor?

When a real tear streams down the face of your velvet portrait of Elvis and his eyes start to move, your trailer might be haunted — and not by regular ghosts.

Redneck apparitions are giving a whole new meaning to "white trash," according to Larry Weaver of Durham, N.C., who lived in a trailer for seven years and founded

"We know ghosts haunt locations — not just houses, so why not?" says Weaver. He says he started the Web site as a joke, only to find that many trailer-park residents really believe they own a rolling haunted house that's propped up on cement blocks.