Date of Award

5-2018

Degree Type

Report

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

First Advisor

Lynne McNeill

Second Advisor

Jeannie Thomas

Third Advisor

Ryan Moeller

Abstract

It has become common in Salem, Savannah, New Orleans, Edinburg, or Gettysburg, to witness groups of people being led through the darkened streets as part of a ghost tour or haunted history walk. An altered form of commercialized legend tripping, these companies offer guided tours, feature spooky stories, and often showcase local history. However, the trend of haunted heritage tourism, especially in the form of ghost walks and haunted history tours, has spread beyond places with national or international reputations for hauntings and is now growing in small towns whose stories are rarely shared beyond the local populace.

This thesis examines a seasonal Utah haunted heritage event—Logan Ghost Tours (LGT)—and identifies the constraints that are being faced due to commodification. Annually they deal with issues of legal, physical access to locations, tour time, and travel distance while formatting a tour for the public. I look at the pragmatic constraints that result from the commodification of this recognized folk genre, the ways in which this company responds to those constraints, and the resulting impact on the form and content of the tour.

Through the purposeful selection of buildings and stories, the Logan Downtown Alliance has brought attention to specific locations and highlighted their significance to the town within the context of the tour. Regardless of the historical accuracy of the tour's content, the Downtown Alliance and their collaborators continue to identify meaningful spaces in Logan and fill them each year with stories and many diverse people to experience them.

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