Karla Hicklin

Proper Conduct in Cemeteries


 Cemeteries are posed as popular investigation sites for a multifarious of paranormal researchers.  The age of the cemetery does not matter, but most researchers prefer the older ones.  They are certain that the cemeteries that have some age on them increases the probability of capturing evidence that exceeds the newer ones.  The astute investigators realize that the more time a cemetery has been in existence it has had more time to accumulate restless spirits.  Of course this is only true if spirits converge in their final resting plots. 

 Why should anyone investigate cemeteries? Theories, such as spirits waiting for loved ones to come visit, is one possibility.  Other researchers believe that cemeteries are portals to the other side.  Another theory is that some spirits are drawn to their former bodies.  Other investigators are certain that spirits do not reside in cemeteries.  They believe the souls of the deceased cling to their loved ones.

  An abundance of other paranormal investigators believe that investigating any cemetery is highly disrespectful to the dead and their families.   A small number of paranormal researchers refuse to visit cemeteries to study for these reasons alone.  They state that a cemetery is a final resting place for loved ones, and should not be disturbed by people traipsing around the graves.  Thrill seekers are often found investigating cemeteries.

 Cemeteries are often popular venues for many amateur ghost hunters, as well as those who are considered seasoned, and professional spirit chasers.  First and foremost, a cemetery is not the place to conduct parties at night.  Old battlefields must also be shown the same genuine respect as cemeteries.  After all, people died on the majority of these battlefields.  This is a highly disrespectful approach for any ghost hunter, and even for someone who is not looking to capture spirits on film, EVP, etc., to act out inappropriately in these types of areas.  Also important to note is that if a person is caught in a cemetery, and many of the old battlefields, after hours without permission, they can be arrested.

In any cemetery or battlefield, genealogists, historians, and descendants of the deceased are often present. People who love to photograph or transcribe headstone engravings frequent these areas as well.  Others may be doing gravestone rubbings, though this has become a less popular hobby due to decaying stones.  Babbling happily and excitedly about ghosts may distract or offend these people.  They expect respectful silence, especially in a cemetery.

 If someone is visiting the gravesite of a recently deceased family member, unsavory comments may upset the visitor.  They often prefer to think that everyone who has crossed over is in a happier place...not lingering around a cemetery.  It seems best to speak in subdued tones, and not approach strangers unless they initiate conversation.

Joking is always inappropriate and remarkably callous. That is not to say a person has to maintain a dour demeanor, but some jokes are in very poor taste.  Of course, some people get a little fidgety, even somewhat nervous in cemeteries, and usually manage to say the worst possible things at certain times.  Avoiding offensive, even laughable, patter can be difficult at times, but try to curtail these behaviors while at any cemetery.

As a guideline, a few gambols to avoid in cemeteries and old battlefields that presumably irritate the dead, and probably annoy the living as well, has been established.

"Didn't mean to shout loud enough to wake the dead!"

When a person comes across a grave marker with a husband and wife’s name inscribed on it, one phrase that should be avoided is obvious.

"This fellow must have been a cheapskate, not giving his wife her own headstone."

While ghost hunting with a person who does not necessarily believe in the paranormal, or perhaps a first time investigator tagging along with another person or group, this next parlance is absurd, and insulting.

"So, when do the ghouls and goblins show up, huh?"

If a person is casually strolling along through a cemetery or battlefield, and they feel exhausted, this verbalism is certainly appalling.

" I'm feeling dead tired."

Some people merely poke fun at ghost hunters.  Here is yet another sentence that is ridiculously rude.

"You’re looking pretty grave."

Those thoughtless remarks should give a general idea as to the wisecracks that should go unspoken in cemeteries and old battlefields.  If someone starts making extrinsic jesters that they accompanied to the resting place, the contrary person they are visiting the cemetery with should stop them immediately or leave.   Everyone has probably witnessed this type of senseless behavior at one time or another.

Something peculiar has also been reported when jokesters visit areas where ghosts are believed to inhabit.   Perhaps, suddenly the prankster speaking the joshing comments twists an ankle, or encounters other odd problems.  Possibly the ghosts were listening?  Maybe the spirits used this opportunity to get even with the sap? Nothing surprises me in this field of study.

Everyone should obey the laws.  If the cemetery states closed dusk to dawn, obtaining written or verbal permission to visit after hours should be secured if they plan to be in the surroundings after the specified curfew.  If a person inadvertently stays past dusk, they are breaking the law.  But mistakes do happen.  It seems best to leave cheerfully, and quickly as soon as the error is realized.

  Likewise, if the gate is locked at a cemetery, or any other assumed haunted location, it is an obvious hint that no one is allowed to visit the private area.  Researchers must always obey the request, and do not disturb the premises in any manner.

If anyone visits a graveyard, protect whatever is in the cemetery.  No one should ever lean on fragile headstones, much less sit on the markers.  Sitting on anyone’s tombstone is absurdly disrespectful.  Bring a lawn chair, or sitting in a different area is strongly advised.   Do not use grave markers and tombstones to relax.  Show some common courtesy for the dead.

The use of shaving cream to reveal inscriptions is also prohibited.  Many of these concoctions contain perfumes or other ingredients that contribute to rapid decay.  Acid rain has already done enough damage to these precious stones.  Holding a halogen flashlight at a sharp angle will reveal nearly as much, and sometimes more than shaving cream will, anyway.

The number one moral rule of anyone visiting cemeteries and any other assumed haunted location is to respect the deceased. The dead consider the cemetery their resting place and home. Visitors, and even the law-breaking trespassers on the property should be considerate.

 Although some paranormal investigators believe it is okay to walk on top of graves, this does not seem wise or respectful.  In addition, if a belligerent territorial ghost manifests, ignoring them is not recommended, either.  Acknowledge their presence by leaving the area. People should always step over graves carefully, and be aware of their surroundings at all times while ghost hunting.  Also, littering is immensely inconsiderate and utterly malevolent.

If investigators wish to capture photographs and/or recordings, loud noises are unadvised.  Unnecessary babble, fuss or shouting is believed to annoy and/or frighten spirits that are buried in cemeteries or battlefield areas.  Speaking in soft tones, but never a whisper, may enhance any chances of snapping stupendous photographs and/or recording first class EVPs.

Some researchers recommend waiting at least half an hour before taking any photos when arriving at a cemetery.  Next, they suggest asking permission from the deceased before snapping pictures or turning any recording devices on.  Many ghost hunters who request permission before preceding forward report prodigious results when analyzing their evidence.        

Employing common sense and good judgment is also essential.  It is generally inappropriate to take a pet into a cemetery.  If a person must take their cat or dog along, be certain the pet is on a sturdy leash, particularly if the animal is frightened easily or becomes anxious of possible spectral appearances.

Cleaning up after the pet is also vital. If an animal drops feces on the ground, or tears anything up in the area, the owner should immediately clean the area the animal disturbed.  Also, if the pet disturbs others, including the spirits, take the animal away from the area, preferably back to its home or a kennel.

The use of common sense is prudent and extremely important.  Do not move objects, and do not remove anything from a cemetery or battlefield unless written permission has been granted.  Leave plants, photographs, flowers, markers, badges, ribbons, and so on, exactly as they were found.   Do not even pick leaves from the trees, and do not steal rocks or stones to add to a collection.  However, if garbage, such as empty beer or soda cans, or if discarded fast food wrappers are strewn around, picking these items up is always a kind gesture

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