Article

Understanding Consumer Enchantment via Paranormal Tourism: Part I—Conceptual Review

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Abstract

Tourism-hospitality businesses sometimes market consumer experiences in terms of “enchantment,” although this phrase is often used vaguely or variously. Therefore, we approached the issue conceptually by examining prior research on the experience economy, extraordinary architectural experiences, and accounts of paranormal tourism. Our critical overview suggests that we are dealing with a phenomenon rooted in environment-person bidirectional (or enactive) effects. We subsequently argue for the term “situational-enchantment” to denote a distinct and progressive arousal state characterized by dis-ease or dissonance that facilitates a sense of connection or oneness with a “transcendent agency, ultimate reality, or Other.” An iterative Content Category Dictionary exercise based on target literature specifically mapped this hypothesized state in terms of five competing features: (a) Emotional, (b) Sensorial, (c) Timeless, (d) Rational, and (e) Transformative. We frame this phenomenology within Funder’s Realistic Accuracy Model, which we propose drives an epiphanic process involving attentional, perceptual, attributional, and social mechanisms. Our synthesis of the multidisciplinary literature in this domain helps to clarify the nature and relevance of enchantment as an individual difference that varies across people and is subject to a variety of contextual influences. Accordingly, we discuss how this hypothesized state can be manipulated to an extent within certain people by creating or reinforcing conditions that spur experiential and rational engagement with ambiguous or unexpected stimuli.

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... For instance, one consumer sentiment survey [9] found that about 63% of respondents reported a desire for 'awakenings', i.e., personal or professional experiences that surpass mere comfort or excitement by challenging people's understanding of reality and their own place in it. Also, recent studies of niche tourism products [3,4,6,7] strongly suggest that people are especially drawn to offerings that (a) are immersive experiences which completely surround individuals, so they feel inside and part of their surroundings, and accordingly (b) induce a sense of enchantment in consumers. Thus, whereas products in the experience economy delight consumers' senses and sensibilities, enchanting experiences profoundly stir their psyches and proverbial souls [1,2,16]. ...
... Following the thematic categories presented in [4] this indicates that the consumer experience with the Magic Train most often involved Emotional, Transformative, Timeless, and Rational ideations. • The least frequently selected theme was "Educated" (16.4%), which suggests that the consumer experience with the Magic Train focused less on this aspect of Rational ideations. ...
... Consumers' reactions after riding Porto's "Magic Train" provided strong support for our basic hypotheses, as adult riders reported many feelings and experiences consistent with the experience of psychological enchantment, as defined in [4,6,7]. Most importantly, respondents' overall levels of enchantment showed a positive association with their Net Promoter® Scores. ...
Article
A total of 231 adult tourists, almost exclusively from European countries, filled out an established enchantment adjective checklist upon completion of their ride on the historic city of Porto's “Magic Train”, which is intended as practical transportation to the city's historical sites, shopping areas, the wine cellars, and important buildings. Using paper-and-pencil questionnaires (English and French versions were provided), riders reported feelings and experiences consistent with the experience of enchantment, emphasizing plainly fun and joyful, accompanied by feelings of being amazed, losing track of time, being in awe, and feeling special. Test takers were all adults over 25, and their overall levels of enchantment showed a significant and positive association with their individual Net Promoter® Scores (r = 0.40) and over 90% of these qualify as "promoters". The overall net promotor score across respondents was 87, which must be deemed exceptional. Enchantment thus can serve as a new and engaging brand promise and consumer motivator. Consistent with greater societal interest in awe-inducing appeal of some extreme sport activities, artistic exhibitions, religious and secular pilgrimages, the most important implication is that the current notion of an “experience economy” should be expanded to become an “enchantment” economy.
... Part I (Drinkwater et al., 2020) of this two-phase study reviewed and synthesized the limited literature on the nature, experience, and relevance of "enchantment" as an individual difference or psychological construct in servicehospitality consumerism. We subsequently proposed the term situational-enchantment to denote an apparently complex arousal state that occurs when a person becomes immersed within a melee of "pleasant" ideations and emotions (e.g., excitement, surprise, awe, and wonder), simultaneously mixed with more "unpleasant" ideations and emotions (e.g., uneasiness, disorientation, tension, or unpredictability). ...
... Consequently, and contrary to common wisdom that enchantment purely reflects positive psychology (i.e., efficacious emotions and experiences; e.g., Bennett, 2001;Filep & Pearce, 2014;Hosany et al., 2015;Kushner, 2018), the conceptualization above emphasizes the role of dissonance or "dis-ease" (i.e., the natural state of "ease" being imbalanced or disrupted) in the formation and maintenance of this hypothesized mental state. Indeed, a qualitative thematic analysis by Drinkwater et al. (2020) characterized the experience of enchantment in terms of five distinctive "target" features: (a) emotional, (b) sensorial, (c) timeless, (d) rational, and (e) transformative. Dissonance can therefore occur on multiple levels, that is, globally there are competing themes (e.g., emotional vs. rational) with specific aspects that are sometimes diametrically opposed (e.g., pleasant vs. unpleasant). ...
... Part II aims to validate the formerly proposed phenomenology for enchantment (Drinkwater et al., 2020) via an empirical analysis of self-reported "enchanting experiences" during paranormal tours. Like Houran et al. (2020), this study neither considers/endorses nor relies on the ontological reality of so-called "paranormal or supernatural" phenomena. ...
Article
Situational-enchantment is a hypothesized arousal state encompassing a potent sense of connection or oneness with a “transcendent power or ultimate reality.” Qualitative research previously suggested that this individual difference involves dissonance around ideations with competing “Emotional, Sensorial, Timeless, Rational, and Transformative” themes. We tested this presumed phenomenology via an online convenience sample of 79 men and 101 women who reported memorable ghostly experiences during a paranormal tour within the last 12 months. Respondents provided a global enchantment rating of their anomalous experiences, as well as selected specific descriptors from a set of 30 items on an adjective checklist (ACL). Analyses revealed that 21 items on the Enchantment-ACL formed a Rasch hierarchy of generally “pleasant” themes that was free of response biases related to age, sex, and latency (time since the “enchanting” experience). This structured sequence contained all five experiential themes, and the resulting Enchantment-ACL measure of this phenomenon showed good internal reliability (Rasch reliability = .82) and a positive correlation with global enchantment ratings ( r = .51, p < .001). The other nine items formed a separate factor containing overtly “unpleasant” ideations. We discuss the results within a cognitive dissonance framework for situational-enchantment, although future research must explore potential nuances related to the construct’s dimensionality and the specific role of pleasant versus unpleasant ideations.
... The pleasurable entrancing harmony between reason and imagination means that the magnitude of the unknown cannot be accounted for except by the supersensible (the spiritual, mystical or magical). Enchantment is said to evoke similarly bewildering simultaneous transcendental joy and environmental disorientation (Bennett, 2001;Drinkwater et al., 2020;Schneider, 1993). So the trompe d'oeil metamorphoses of light installations are designed to produce a mesmerizingly disturbing, contradictory state that encapsulates enchanting experiences. ...
... Also, visitors can choose whether to be enchanted; Holloway (2010) categorises ghost tourism as a modern enchantment in which tourists knowingly participate. Lastly, it is important to make the point that enchantment has also been conceptualised as "situational-enchantment", or highly relative, its affectiveness dependent on individual responses (Drinkwater et al., 2020). ...
Article
This article makes an original contribution to tourism research by examining how enchantment is produced. Light installations are presented as storyscapes, crafted from technical metamorphoses and mythical, fairytale and folklore narratives. The findings uncover the importance of the creative praxis of designers, which infuses the peculiarly enchanting affective agency and presence of their installations. We demonstrate how the production of enchantment differs conceptually from other forms of tourism development by offering visitors disturbing, sublime, uncanny, unexpected experiences. This leads to a reappraisal of the imagineering of tourist enchantment as less programmed and more anarchic. The findings indicate how enchantment can defamiliarise and refresh intangible cultural heritage, opening up the possibility of new imaginative thresholds within the tourism industry.
... Independent studies across the social sciences, including the tourism-hospitality literature, suggest that situational-enchantment is a complex arousal state filled with competing emotional, sensorial, timeless, rational, and transformative themes (Baerenholdt, 2016;Drinkwater et al., 2020;Filieri, et al., 2021;Houran et al., 2020b;Ramsay, 2009). This juxtaposition often disrupts the mundane or difficult experience of daily life with a sudden, unexpected, or profound awareness that ultimately culminates in a transformative feeling of connection to a "transcendent agency or ultimate reality." ...
... Our results affirm that enchantment is a normal, accessible, and meaningful part of human experience (Bennett, 2001;Drinkwater et al., 2020) and a positive contributor to tourism-hospitality theory and practice (e.g., Baerenholdt, 2016;Filieri, et al., 2021;Ramsay, 2009). We found that this state is further characterized by predictable displays, which comprise at least five categories of experience labeled "Escapade, Nostalgia, Catharsis, Communion, and Attachment." ...
Article
We examined the state of “enchantment” as a consumer motivator, especially in the context of social and travel restrictions during COVID-19. An online purposive sample ( n = 104) provided narrative data and ratings of past experiences versus future expectations of enchantment. Linguistic cluster analysis revealed five categories of these experiences termed Escapade, Nostalgia, Catharsis, Communion, and Attachment. These categories strongly align to hospitality-tourism offerings, but businesses must help consumers to overcome certain stated barriers (COVID and economic concerns) to future experiences of enchantment. Moreover, people often intend to relive their past experiences of enchantment but will opt for “escapades” when novelty is desired or repeats are unworkable.
... Ghosts are an unusual attribute of a heritage site and attract the curiosity of visitors from around the globe (Heidelberg, 2015). From the point of view of phenomenology, paranormal encounters in heritage sites offer an atmosphere of enchantment to tourist attractions (Drinkwater et al., 2020). These special interest tours are commonly conducted at night; tourists visit haunted places to experience sites related to death in hope of sighting ghosts by taking photographs (Pharino et al., 2018). ...
... In terms of history learning, DeLyser (1999) found that authentic architecture enables visitors to learn about the history of ghost towns. Drinkwater et al. (2020) proposed that the fetishisation of ghost tourism attracts visitors to authentic haunted experiences; haunted locations also hold cultural and historical value for tourists. Some studies have reported that individuals taking ghost tours may be interested in understanding and learning about history, events, and heritage. ...
Article
This study used stimulus-organism-response theory to identify hypothetical relationships among tourist perception, emotion, memorability, and behavioural intention in ghost tourism. A questionnaire survey was conducted, and 445 valid responses were collected at the Liu Ancient Building. The results revealed significant positive relationships between tourist perception and positive and negative emotions. Furthermore , the results indicated that emotion correlated with memorability. With regard to ghost tourism, positive emotions considerably affect memory than negative emotions. Memorability, a precise predictor of behavioural intention, plays a mediating role between positive emotion and behavioural intention, particularly in ghost tourism. This study provides some suggestions for enhancing behavioural intention and guidance with regard to ghost tourism. K E Y W O R D S haunted house, hedonic perception, historical learning, sensation seeking, stimulus-organism-response model
... Une présence fugace, qui apparait par intermittence, de manière discrète, sur les écrans et qui s'invite avec obstination au coeur de l'écosystème des technologies digitales doit-t-elle être interprétée en termes de "vieux vins et nouvelles bouteilles", en l'occurrence, de permanence de l'imagination de l'existence d'un autre monde peuplé des principes spirituels de défunts ou d'entités surnaturelles, donc comme un retour du fantôme, ou comme une réinvention du spectre à travers l'écosystème des nouvelles technologies? Selon le paradigme "hantologique", le spectre est toutefois moins fantôme que signe: il serait traduction, sur le plan symbolique, de métamorphoses de nature politique dans différentes périodes historiques où ils se manifestent: le fantôme ou spectre, qui apparait dans l'Antiquité sur des miroirs, se manifeste désormais sur d'autres miroirs, des surfaces réfléchissant non seulement des images mais aussi des dynamiques sociales et logiques culturelles de temps troublés dont il est la réflexion (sur miroir social, donc (Drinkwater et al. 2020). Et c'est justement cette normalisation et cette légitimation culturelle via les technologies qui explique la visibilité croissante de manifestations spectrales, sur les écrans, au-delà de ces "infrastructures de l'enchantement" que sont les sites hantés, désormais "chassées" interprétées, retravaillées par la culture (Holloway 2010). ...
Article
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This paper explores the new forms assumed by ghost apparitions, through the screens of new communication and information technologies. It analyses the diversity of the manifestations and the channels through which these new ghosts circulate. It opens up a reflection on the continuities and ruptures of the relationships between technologies and spectres. Moreover, the paper ends up in a discussion on the status of the "spectre" in the context of hyper-mediatised societies. keywords: ghosts ; screens ; hauntologie ; spectrality ; ontology C'est un fait déjà bien établi et documenté que le développement extrêmement rapide des technologies de la communication et de l'information a généré une réorganisation plus ou moins profonde, toutefois, des systèmes de pensée et d'action sur le monde qu'en anthropologie il est coutume d'appeler "cultures" (Escobar 1994). Dans un monde où les écrans ont colonisé les agencements matériels dans lesquels vivent et s'expriment les humains, où les formes culturelles sont recalibrées par la multitude des technologies qui opèrent désormais dans tous les compartiments de l'existence au point qu'on a évoqué la révolution numérique comme une rupture anthropologique majeure pour l'humanité (Rieffel 2014). Laissant ici de côté l'immense domaine des transformations enregistrées et étudiées dans le domaine de l'impact de ce processus sur les formes culturelles, l'organisation économique ou les dynamiques sociales, c'est sous l'angle de l'anthropologie toutefois qu'il sera ici question d'un domaine en pleine effervescence et émergent: celui des rapports entre technologies digitales et apparitions spectrales-aussi intégré dans le paradigme de l'hauntology. Que les avancées technologiques ont donné lieu à des adaptations dans le domaine des religions établies, le fait est désormais bien documenté et continue de l'être: les grandes organisations religieuses comme les nouvelles mouvances spirituelles ou "ectaires" se sont en effet largement approprié la vaste gamme de technologies d'information et les nouveaux circuits médiatiques. Les ajustements, mutatis mutandis, à ces nouvelles contraintes matérielles et communicationnelles forment un domaine d'étude assez bien documenté à ce jour (voir les volumineux travaux de Heidi Campbell, aux Etats-Unis). De la même manière, mais avec une étape supplémentaire vers ce qui fera le coeur de cet article, les formes les plus évanescentes cependant particulièrement signifiantes en contexte de digitalisation avancée comme le sont nos sociétés, la magie (surnaturelle) sous ses différentes formes (traditionnelle ou réinventée) a aussi trouvé sa voie (ambivalente, car elle peut être véhiculée par les technologies ou générée par elles…) au sein de l'écosystème des médias et des technologies digitales (Obadia 2020). Pour autant, dans la multitude des images qui se déploient dans cet écosystème sociotechnique, il en est certaines qui intéressent anthropologues et technologues, pour des raisons identiques, qui relèvent également d'une certaine approche par les croyances, mais qui s'inscrivent dans un univers de perceptions et de conceptions encore plus nébuleux: cet univers se construit autour des images "fantômes" (ghost images) qui sont autant d'apparitions fugaces, troubles et troublantes, parce qu'elles ne ressortissent pas à l'idée d'une mécanique bien huilée des technologies digitales, dont sont vantées l'efficacité et les ouvrent la voie à des processus de
... We should emphasize that fear is not the only possible response to ghostly episodes. Often, percipients also reference a sense of "enchantment" that disrupts normal waking experience with a sudden, unexpected, or profound awareness that ultimately culminates in a transformative feeling of connection to a "transcendent agency or ultimate reality" (Holloway, 2010;Drinkwater et al., 2022;Houran et al., 2022). The interplay among all these dynamics should be explored in-depth, as they may mediate contagion effects. ...
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Fieldwork studies of "haunted houses" can offer ecologically valid insights for model-building or theory-formation in consciousness studies from parapsychological and conventional perspectives. The interactionist hypothesis asserts that these anomalous episodes are a phenomenon rooted in environment-person bidirectional influences. Although prior research has examined the role of various physical factors in some haunt cases, relatively recent findings in environmental psychology suggest the potential involvement of six "Gestalt influences" that transcend discrete variables as conscious-or unconscious-stimulants of witness experiences. These meta-patterns in the psychology of spaces or settings involve: (i) affordance, (ii) atmosphere, (iii) ambiguity and threat anticipatory processes, (iv) immersion and presence, (v) legibility, and (vi) percipient memory and associations. Thus, haunted houses might be variants of "enchanted spaces or extraordinary architectural experiences." New research designs are thus recommended to scrutinise the presence and impact of Gestalt influences and enactive processes in parapsychological contexts.
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Place attachment is significant in tourism marketing as it influences revisit intentions and destination loyalty. Drawing upon the Place Attachment theory, this study examines how memorable tourism experiences and well-being influences destination attachment in tourism. Well-being is operationalized as hedonic and eudaimonic well-being. Data was collected from 430 recent travellers to investigate the relationship between memorable tourism experiences, hedonic and eudaimonic well-being, and place attachment. The frequency of visits was included in the investigation as a moderating variable. The results show that memorable tourism experiences significantly influences place attachment, and that hedonic and eudaimonic well-being fully mediates this relationship. The frequency of visits do not influence these relationships. Tourists develop an attachment to a destination when their experience is memorable, satisfying and enhances their purpose and meaning in life. This study contributes to the literature on destination attachment and positive psychology. Discussion of the study findings and implications for academics and practitioners conclude the paper.
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Community-based festivals celebrate a sense of community and place. Communities across the United States (US) and elsewhere have turned to various community-based events to celebrate local heritage and culture. This study investigates the relationship between the attributes of a historical re-enactment festival and participants’ perceived value. Drawing on means–end theory and event experience literature, we examined event attributes, perceived benefits, and attendees’ perceived value in the context of a historical re-enactment festival in the Midwestern US. The results highlighted the importance of four attributes of historical re-enactment festivals, namely historical re-enactment, social interactions, event design, and physical facets. Each factor contributed differently to attendees’ perceived value of such a festival experience. In addition, perceived benefits of attending such an event mediated the relationships between event attributes and perceived value. Theoretical and managerial implications of these findings are discussed.
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Imaging of the living human brain elucidates the neural dynamics of hypnosis; however, few reliable brain patterns emerge across studies. Here, we methodically assess neuroimaging assays of hypnosis to uncover common neural configurations using a twofold approach. First, we systematically review research on the neural correlates of hypnotic phenomena; then, we meta-analyze these collective data seeking specific activation and deactivation patterns that typify hypnosis. Anchored around the role of top-down control processes, our comprehensive examination focuses on the involvement of intrinsic brain networks known to operationalize cognitive control and self-referential cognition, including the executive, salience, and default networks. We discuss how these neural dynamics may relate to contemporary theories of hypnosis and show that hypnosis correlates with activation of the lingual gyrus—a brain region involved in higher-order visual processing and mental imagery. Our findings help to better understand the neurobiological substrates comprising the appellation hypnosis.