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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Are cemeteries haunted?

Ask any new ghost hunting group where the best place to look for ghosts is and most likely the answer will be a cemetery. Why is that? I've asked this question over the years and the response I have usually received was that there were dead people there and that should mean there are ghosts there as well. But there isn't any fact behind this, it's just an assumption.

Cemeteries, like this one on Belmont, are thought to be haunted
even when there is no history of activity. (photo by Michael Banti)

It's assumed that since people are buried in cemeteries, that the spirits are still there and therefore can haunt the cemetery. Most hauntings occur where someone has either died or had some sort of personal connection to the place or perhaps a person there. Cemeteries usually don't have this (there are exceptions as I will explain later). Paranormal groups will wander the cemetery late at night (hopefully with permission) armed with the usual equipment (cameras, voice recorders, etc) and hope they get a photo or an EVP when there was never any evidence that the cemetery had any activity to begin with.

Now I'm not saying that I wasn't guilty of this as well. When I first started investigating in the summer of 2000, one of the first places my group investigated a cemetery. We figured there had to be ghosts there since it was a cemetery. We wandered around for a few hours, taking pictures. Of course all we got were dust orbs, but as I had mentioned in a previous post we didn't know any better. So since we saw "orbs" we felt we were right into assuming the cemetery was haunted. One has to wonder if this could be one of the causes of the assumption that cemeteries are haunted? That someone took photos (for whatever reason) and a dust orb showed up and they assumed it was a ghost. They then tell all their friends they captured a picture of a ghost at said cemetery and then it spreads from there.

There are some cemeteries that are actually haunted, but they have one or two specific ghosts to them. There is a small cemetery outside the town of Paso Robles called Adeliade Cemetery and the story goes that a woman named Charlotte lost her two young children to a dyptheria epidemic in the late 1800's. Distraut over her children's death, she commited suicide. The story continues that every Friday night between the hours of midnight Charlotte would appear and leave flowers on her children's graves. I had the chance to invesigate this cemetery a few years ago and it still remains one of the strangest expierences I've ever had. Unfortunately it's not the norm regarding cemeteries.

The purpose of this article isn't to discourage people from investigating cemeteries, just make sure they have had some sort of activity in the past and that it's from a reputable witness. Don't go into one assuming since people are buried there that there are ghosts there. If I was a ghost, I wouldn't want to stick around where my body was at. I'd rather be at some place interesting. In closing just make sure there's actually something there before you go. And please get permission from whomever owns the property. Even though it is a public place, it does have operating hours and you will be charged with trepassing if you go after closing and without permission. Don't ruin it for everyone else just because you were looking for a thrill.


Unknown said...

Ghost Hunters the brain-child Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson has captivated America’s T.V. viewing public. Originally drawn to it for its skeptical perspective on the popular view of the definition of “Haunting” I have since noticed some curious trends in the team’s methodology. Is this a logical explanation for these?

Doubt begins to creep in when the investigations all take place under the cover of darkness. While a popular theme that most will not think to question, is the T.A.P.S. team playing to a popular assumption that hauntings or the appearance of discorporated souls appear only at night?

* I cannot for the life of me understand why darkness seems to be the perfect environment for ghosts. I grew up reading ghost stories and the horror genera of story telling remains my favorite to this day. And up until just a few years ago, I don’t even know if you could have considered me to be a believer in the “supernatural” as it’s defined today.

On the other hand, I have had some very unusual experiences, shared and unshared, most happening within the last six years (I cannot explain why, not significant have occurred in my life that I believe could be connected to timing of these other unexplainable events). Many of the most peculiar have happened not only in broad daylight, they happened in the middle a throng of people.

So why the assumption that ghosts will only be found at night, if they exist at all?

* What do you make of GHI’s practice in speaking English during EVP sessions in countries where English was not and is still not the native tongue. To avoid making assumptions without evidence (which would be contrary to established scientific method) if the obvious was proven to be true (don’t even ask me how we prove this) it seems more logical to speak in the “entity’s” native tongue rather than English. Even if English was the most widely spoken language at the point of a souls’ discorporatetion, doesn’t make sense to begin the communication process in format that would be common that entity’s collective experience from life?

That is, if they spoke French all their lives before they died, why would we try to communicate in English?

I’m sure these factors and many others are being debated among the experts. Examining the phenomenon of hauntings from a perspective of doubt vs. one of belief left to be debunked is a huge step. I’m fairly sure the T.A.P.S. team is not strictly employing the scientific method (one I see no use of control samples nor do I see a way to create any, just to be fair to both sides). But, a small turn in the right directions usually reaps gains of some sort. Perhaps this is just that turning point.

Only the future will tell. By then, we will all be dead and, perhaps T.V. stars!

-eric said...

I don't know if I believe in 'ghosts,' (truthfully.)

I will say this: where I've personally run into 'something there,' has not been in cemetaries at all.

The most profound paranormal activity that I've experienced (aside from two houses I've lived in,) were:
-a very large building that housed an arts college.
-two somewhat smaller (but very old) buildings that housed performing arts extensions of that college
-various factories that were also very old.
-and (particularly violent) experiences in a huge building that was at once an asylum for the 'deaf and dumb' --but was basically an insane asylum (and a very old one at that.)

The experiences myself and others have had were both daytime and night time ones.

All of them were places where (no doubt) very severe emotional conditions prevailed, (and) where there was very severe trauma (and/or) where folks had died.

I do think, in all cases, these were situations where spiritual entities were feeding off of the charged environment (and) persons who regularly were present.