Haunted houses tell us a lot more than ghost stories. They also tell us about our past and about our obsessions.

In this episode of "Get Outta Here," AP Travel editor Beth Harpaz talks about haunted houses with Colin Dickey, author of "Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places." Dickey explains that whether or not you believe in ghosts, haunted house tours offer a lot more than entertainment or unexplained phenomena. They reveal unsettling chapters of history, telling stories about people who lived tragic lives or who didn't quite fit in. They sometimes showcase unusual architecture: a Gothic monstrosity or a mansion whose owner built lots of eccentric additions. Ghost tours can also bring needed tourism dollars to fund preservation of historic sites.

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New episodes of "Get Outta Here!" are published every Wednesday. Host Beth J. Harpaz is travel editor for The Associated Press, a volunteer Big Apple Greeter and a licensed tour guide in her native New York City. She recently completed a quest to visit all 50 states.

Before becoming travel editor, where most of the news - thank goodness - is about happy people going on nice vacations, Beth covered politics, disasters and all manner of mayhem for the AP. And not to reveal her age, but she also worked for several newspapers way back in the 20th century and even wrote three books.

She does not own wheeled luggage but instead carries her belongings around the world in an ancient backpack and various tote bags.

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For more trip ideas, travel trends and destination news from Beth and the rest of The Associated Press, follow @AP_Travel on Twitter and check out the travel tab of the AP News mobile app.

For a full list of podcasts, go to the AP podcast page on APNews.com or subscribe on iTunes at http://apple.co/2s2ruHY or Stitcher at https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/associated-press/get-outta-here-the-ap-travel-podcast