Haunted Cemeteries Lure Ghost Hunters In Springtime

Haunted Cemeteries Lure Ghost Hunters In Springtime
© 2010 Patricia Marin - www.examiner.com
March 30, 2010

It’s springtime and a ghost hunter’s fancy turns to cemetery investigations! When the warm breezes blow and the scent of blooming flowers is in the air, what better way to spend an evening than visiting your favorite city of the dead to check out the action. I love cemeteries. I love to wander aimlessly, admire the sculptures, read the headstones, and salute the lives once lived. Cemeteries are treasure troves of stories, each one individual, unique, and precious.

But are cemeteries the right place to capture evidence of paranormal activity? In my experience, not necessarily. I’ve never had much luck with getting EVPs or anomalous photos in graveyards (unlike the photographer who snapped the famous Bachelor’s Grove photo shown here). Maybe that’s because I believe that the vast majority of those who have shuffled off their mortal coils are long gone, on to the wonders of the next world or at least to the nice warm McMansion down the street. Although the local cemetery may be a scenic place to relax on a warm afternoon, wouldn’t an eternity spent here get awfully boring?

Others disagree and claim that cemeteries are the most haunted spots around. However, the resulting photos are frequently the bane of serious paranormal researchers. Because they’re often taken at night, generally under humid conditions that invite mist, ground fog, and similar effects, perfectly natural meteorological events are mistakenly labeled paranormal. People also don’t understand that simply because it’s cold and you’re not sweating, there is still humidity in the air. When the temperature and dew points are within 10-15 points of each other, for example, formation of ground fog is highly likely. And don’t get me started on orbs!! Orbs, of course, will show up as if by magic on the vast majority of dusk or nightime cemetery photos. Even if I may be willing to concede that a teeny, tiny percentage of orbs MAY be something other than moisture, dust, insects, reflections, etc., I’m definitely NOT going to accept that “cemetery orbs” are anything other than natural and explainable.

The Football Field Experiment

Troy Taylor, in his book “Field Guide to Haunted Graveyards,” talks about an experiment he and three other researchers conducted one evening. They went to a cemetery chosen at random and took photos. They found that the photos were filled with orbs. Next, they went to a nearby football field about the same size as the cemetery. They walked around for a few minutes and then started taking photos. They found that these photos were also filled with orbs.

So, does that mean they were lucky enough to stumble on to a haunted football field as well as a haunted cemetery? No, what it means is that they tramped around both areas and thereby stirred up dust and pollen, resulting in lots of lovely orbs. ‘Nuff said.

Ghost Girl at Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery

During a routine investigation of Bachelor's Grove cemetery near Chicago by the "Ghost Research Society," an investigator took this photo in an area where they had detected some equipment anomalies. The small, abandoned cemetery was empty except for their group, but when the film was developed this image of a young woman appeared. Bachelor's Grove cemetery is considered to be one of the most haunted cemeteries in America. It is rumored that over 100 instances of paranormal phenomena (including apparitions) have been recorded here.

Tips for Investigating Cemeteries

Do your research. What is the history of this cemetery? Who is buried here? What events might have caused this location to be haunted?

Get permission in writing from the caretaker. If you don’t, you run the risk of getting arrested, plus you’ll give paranormal investigators everywhere more bad publicity. Responsible paranormal researchers never trespass.

Visit the cemetery in daylight prior to any planned investigation. Get a map or plot from the caretaker or sketch out your own, especially if there’s a particular area that interests you. You’ll want to have all the landmarks and topography of the location(s) clearly marked.

If you’re interested in doing grave rubbings, again be sure to check with the caretaker for permission first.
Be sure to bring your ID and health insurance card with you, along with the written permission you obtained. Local police may stop to investigate if they think there’s activity in the cemetery; in fact, you might consider alerting them ahead of time.

If it’s damp, foggy, or raining, cancel and re-schedule for more favorable conditions. Under those conditions, you can’t trust any photo or video evidence you may obtain.

Bring plenty of flashlights and batteries, as well as a first aid kit.

Make sure your camera lenses are clean, put your long hair in a ponytail, remove any camera straps, and be aware of your fingers when taking photos. Even experienced photographers can put a finger in front of the lens once in a while. If you suspect that anomalous black shadow may actually be your thumb, do everyone a favor and ‘fess up promptly.

Use a photo log to record time, date, location, and conditions.

Use an investigation log or ask team members to carry small notebooks and a pen to jot down additional information, such as equipment readings, psychic impressions, visual sightings, etc

Obtain the official record of temperature, dew point, and other meteorological data from the National Weather Service online.

Do not smoke during the investigation – ever. Be careful of mists from hot drinks, too. Make sure everyone has enough water. Dehydration is dangerous.

Investigate in teams. Designate a central staging area and a departure time.

Keep an eye on your equipment and also watch for intruders of the human variety. Unfortunately, cemeteries can attract gangs and vandals.

Bring a trash bag and always clean up after yourselves.

Review your evidence carefully and schedule follow-up visits and research if required.