Not so fast on ‘ghamping’ in Burrillville: Conjuring House markets campsites without permits

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BURRILLVILLE – Last month, headlines in news outlets across the world, from NBC and FOX News, to India Times made the announcement: the owners of the Conjuring House, a renowned haunted property in the woods of Rhode Island, would now offer guests the chance to camp on the ghostly land.

Bookings for “ghamping” – or ghost camping – went live on the website for the Burrillville-based paranormal business, with select dates available from June to October.

Around a week later, Jacqueline Nunez, owner of the property at 1677 Round Top Road doing business as Bale Farm, LLC, applied for the permits needed for the activity.

Nunez submitted an application for a special use permit on Friday, May 26, an approval required to operate a campground in F-5 and A-80 zones in town. Her proposal to ultimately create 12 outdoor sites for overnight stays has received a positive recommendation from the Planning Board and will go before Burrillville zoners for a hearing on Tuesday, June 27.

“They came up with a great idea and just moved on it,” said Town Planner Ray Goff of the initiative.

According to the application, the business will offer seven tent sites on the 8.5 acre lot in the first year, along with one site featuring a stationary trailer and a tent for staff members. Two more tent sites are planned for the future, with guests to utilize porta potties and enjoy, “minimalist rustic accommodations.”

Pets, guns, fireworks, alcohol, drugs, campfires and screaming are prohibited, according to a write-up on the rules.

“TCH is one of the most famous haunted locations in the world,” notes a proposal submitted with the application. “Based on information and belief, the land is as haunted as the house.”

The rules cite the town’s 10 p.m. quiet time, but investigations will continue throughout the night, with guests encouraged to explore their own site and other areas without tents after 1 a.m.

The business already has two parking areas that accommodate 29 vehicles, and additional parking for six along a “wagon trail,” which leads to the lower/wooded sections of the property, notes the proposal. Security includes a gated entrance, a 32-camera surveillance system and a 24/7 caretaker. The business, Nunez notes, installed a new septic system in 2022 to handle tourism traffic throughout the year.

Guests will not be allowed to bring their own tents, chairs or RVs, with accommodations provided, and propane grills for cooking. No showers will be offered, and guests will have to pay extra if they want to stay during the day, or be forced to leave and return if they’re staying for two nights or more.

“Do not provoke, ridicule, challenge or disrespect the spirits,” the rules note.

Nunez notes that the business is expected to attract some 200-225 guests in the summer who eat at local restaurants and shop at other local businesses.

“Our bookings across all of our offerings attract people from all around the world as well as our large following from areas within 100 miles of Burrillville,” she notes. “We attract seasoned paranormal investigators, the paranormal curious, history buffs, broadcast production companies and social media influencers looking to create content for their YouTube channel or other streaming platform.”

In the proposal, Nunez notes that before buying the property she did a deep dive on the paranormal tourism industry and learned that up to 50 percent of people take paranormal activity seriously and 60 percent believe that places can be haunted by spirits

She states that since the business first opened in 2019, no complaints have been filed about any guest who booked an experience – only unregistered guests doing “drive-bys,” or pulling over to take pictures.

“We have strongly considered the impact on our neighbors and have therefore placed all of the sites away from Round Top Road and in our lower fields, and the wooded areas over our foot bridge,” she notes.

According to the application, the business will be seeking special event permits to comply with nights already booked by guests as it goes through the process of zoning.

In the meantime, the business continues to accept reservations for 20 pre-selected dates throughout the season. The Conjuring House website currently lists a cost of $400 for a one night stay on a site that sleeps up to four people.

The Burrillville Zoning Board will hold a public hearing on the proposal on Tuesday, June 27 starting at 7 p.m. at Town Hall at 105 Harrisville Main St.

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