China’s Haunted House Testers Get Paid by the Minute

Chinese real-estate agencies are paying so-called “haunted house testers” to spend at least 24 hours in ‘stigmatized’ properties in order to convince potential buyers that they are completely safe.

Real-estate properties where “unnatural deaths” have occurred are really tough to sell, especially in markets where superstition and the belief in supernatural phenomena are strong. Japan, for example, has an agency that specializes in marketing and selling such stigmatized properties, because they don’t really appeal to the mainstream market. China does things a little differently. Apparently, real-estate agencies pay haunted house testers to spend at least one night in problematic homes to prove that they are not haunted.

Photo: Celina Albertz/Unsplash

Hong Kong-based newspaper the South China Morning Post recently posted an article on haunted house testers, who, for a price, travel across the country and check every nook and cranny of potentially-haunted houses to prove that they are completely safe to live in.

According to Zhang, an experienced haunted house tester who gets paid 1 yuan for every minute he spends in a stigmatized property, most of the time it’s real-estate agents and superstitious clients who require his services. He spends at least 24 hours on the property and often calls in via video to show his employers that there is nothing to worry about.

“The new owners don’t dare to visit the property, so they pay someone else to do it, to see if it’s safe,” Zhang said. “This job is not suitable for full-time work, but it can be flexible as an extra income. People who do this job have to travel all over the country, not knowing where their next destination will be.”

“Some of my friends say it’s an easy job, just sleep one night and get paid. They ask me to find clients but most are scared, many give up after the first try,” Zhang added.