I love finding ghost stories on the internet. There are several websites I go to on a regular basis to find interesting stories. The internet is cluttered with sites that list the haunted locations through out the world and usually do some kind of write up or short description of the haunted site. Often times, the write up seems to be word for word the same on multiple sites so they are obviously getting their little stories from one location that they share or they borrow from each other.
Over the last few weeks, I've gone out and explored many of the stories I've found on these sites. I travelled to their source and interviewed people and read the history books. What I've found is that in most cases there may be a grain a truth in the stories, but much of the story itself is false. It seems that these false stories spread so they are papered over the internet until the lie almost seems like the truth just by the sheer number of times the lie has been told. It reminds me of that game I used to play as a child where one child would whisper in another child's ear and that child would whisper in another child's ear all saying the same thing until it reached the end and the end sentence would bear no resemblance to the beginning one.
An example of this can be found in the Space Camp haunting I found online. According to online sources, there was some kind of explosion during some kind of construction there and this explosion lead to fatalities. The ghosts of the unfortunate victims of this explosion still wander the halls of space camp. After I completed my research, I found that there was never any kind of explosion at space camp. In 1999, a construction worker did fall from some scaffolding, but that is nothing like the explosion described by these sites.
So this creates a big question for me. How much obligation do we, as online ghost story collectors, have to make sure we are telling the truth. It is true that ghost stories aren't held to the high standards of researched truth as other areas, but should we have to make sure a ghost story is at least somewhat based in truth before we retell it? If we don't have some standards is there any difference between our stories and fiction?