13 Signs That a House Is Haunted

13The only sure sign that a house is haunted is if it has confirmed, paranormal activity.

(But, be sure to verify the thoroughness of past investigations. Even the best teams make mistakes, now & then.)

Without a reliable confirmation, a ghost story could be an urban legend or total fiction.

If you have no trustworthy reports about a location, or you’re among the first teams to visit the site, clues can suggest a house that’s worth investigating.

Look for the following. More than three or four of these could indicate an active haunting.

Even one could be enough, if the site’s history or location is extreme.

1. It has a history of drama, violence, and conflicts between powerful (or highly emotional) people.

If the owners were very wealthy or subject to dire, life-threatening poverty, that’s enough to suspect drama.

But, in many haunted houses, even casual research will turn up a sinister history. (The local cemetery may hold clues.)

2. The house has been sold (or rented) often, and the price seems too low.

Haunted or not? Haunted houseUse real estate sites like Zillow.com to see how recently the house has sold, for how much (compared to nearby houses), and how frequently it’s been on the market.

Look at past years’ records, too. See if there’s a pattern of unusually low prices, frequent sales, or other anomalies.

If everything looks normal, take note of “too low” prices or “too frequent” sales of nearby homes. The story you heard might be about a nearby home, and the report got the address wrong.

3. Residents’ personalities start to change (stress or due to the ghost’s influence).

If you suspect that a house is haunted, ask the owners or tenants. Especially if they’ve just moved in, they may be delighted to share what they’ve heard about their ghosts. (For them, this may still seem like fun.)

Or, they may react with hostility if too many ghost hunters have contacted them, or if friends & family have voiced concerns about the house.

Several times, I’ve investigated homes where the wife confided that her husband hadn’t been sleeping right since they moved into their new home. Or, the husband reported that his wife “wasn’t herself,” lately.

Of course, just the act of moving into a new home can be stressful. Respect people’s privacy.

Always listen to your “gut feeling.” If it tells you something isn’t right, leave your name & contact info with the current residents.

Tell them to contact you if anything seems amiss in their new home. Be sure they know you don’t charge anything to investigate, and they can trust you to keep their concerns in confidence.

Then, leave them alone. There are plenty of other unexplored haunted houses.

Keep looking. You’ll find one.

4. The house is in a steep valley or gorge.

In folklore, it’s an evil omen when a house already “buried” between tall hills or cliffs. At the very least, it can give a sinister impression.

From my experience, many haunted houses are at extreme ends of the happy-to-ominous spectrum.

Either the location is sunny and cheerful and the house seems at odds with the setting, or you take one look at the area and say, “Wow, what a great, dismal place for a haunted house!”

Oil City, Pennsylvania comes to mind immediately. I’d love to go back there and explore its older homes. Don’t let the cheerful photos fool you. I spent just one sleepless night in Oil City, but that was enough. I’m convinced it’s one of America’s most-overlooked haunted communities.

5. The house is on a peak.

This may seem the opposite of the folklore, above. In this case, it’s about history and burial traditions.

In some cultures, including several Native American societies, the ideal place for a burial is as close to the sky (heaven) as you can find.

Also, powerful communities and land owners chose home (and fort) locations where they could look down on approaching enemies.

This kind of history is prime for power struggles that led to hauntings.

(New York’s Morris-Jumel Mansion is a typical “peak” mansion, overlooking the Harlem River. It’s Manhattan’s oldest house and it has a haunted history.)

6. Electrical equipment fails.

One of the surest signs of a haunting is when electrical devices fail or batteries drain for no apparent reason.

During an investigation, if you find AA batteries in random places, those were probably left behind by previous investigators. It’s a good sign that the site is haunted.

(If you find others’ abandoned batteries, pick them up and dispose of them responsibly. Ghost hunters earn a bad reputation when they leave litter behind.)

7. People see lights or figures in the windows, when no one is there.

Yes, this can be a made-up story. It’s a common urban legend.

But, if the homeowner (or a neighbor) insists that figures are seen in the windows when no one is home, that’s enough reason to investigate.

(This is when the police can be tremendously helpful. They know which houses are reported with unexplained lights, inside, but — when the police get there — they never find evidence. Shepherdstown is among the most famous.)

8. When people live there, they keep the curtains closed all the time.

Closed curtains can indicate a home where people are frightened. But, it might be a sign of someone with an offbeat sleep schedule. Ask about this.

Hiding behind closed curtains
Photo courtesy FreeImages.com

Frightened people hope their uneasiness comes from outside the home. So, they close the blinds, shades, and curtains to shut out the danger.

It may be an unconscious reaction.

They may have an excuse, but it’ll sound hollow. They’ll say things like, “Oh, that’s to keep street noise out,” though the street is obviously a quiet one.

At residential hauntings, when many curtains are always closed, I know someone – or everyone – in the house may be unreasonably frightened.

9. The house still has most of its original/previous residents’ belongings in it.

The Amityville Horror house is a good example of this. At least two families bought the house when it was still furnished by the previous tenants.

Amityville Horror house, based on a photo by Seulatr.

After the DeFeo murders, I suppose the furniture was simply left there. There wasn’t anyone to claim it.

But, when the Lutz family left everything behind as well, that was practically a flashing neon sign: Something was deeply wrong at that house.

It’s normal to find a small bookcase or broken chair in a basement. Small piles of dirt or discarded items are routine, as well.

However, when people abandon large items that are expensive to replace, either they’re moving a long distance or fleeing the house.

Or both.

10. The house holds your attention (or repulses you) 

More than any other sign, a place that seems odd (or even creepy) and you can’t explain why, is worth investigating.

(That’s how I stumbled upon Austin’s “Jack the Ripper” connection. Until I researched what they had in common, I couldn’t explain — even to myself — why I felt drawn to certain Austin locations, over & over again.)

I’m not sure that, all by itself, that one factor is enough to say, “That’s haunted.” But, it greatly increases the likelihood of paranormal activity.

11. There’s a graveyard (or a rumor of one) on the property.

This is especially likely at older home sites, when family cemeteries were routinely placed near the house.

You may need to research the site using very old maps and property descriptions. (When a property was sold to a new owner, the land and features on it may have been detailed in the deed.)

You may hear that, in the 19th or 20th century, the graves were moved to a community cemetery.

What people are less likely to tell you: Even today, coffins, bodies, and even body parts are sometimes left behind. Without ground-penetrating radar and detailed records, it was easy to overlook graves.

If the graves were really old and the wooden (or cardboard) coffins rotted in the ground, finding all of them may have been impossible. (I’m reminded of the New Hampshire home where the owner insisted on carrying a shotgun when she went out to the backyard, after dusk.)

Also, unmarked graves are normal at any cemetery, large or small.

A forgotten grave could explain a haunting. Nobody wants to be forgotten.

12. It has hidden rooms, or rumors of them.

If you know that a house had a secret passageway, a hidden room, or something like a “priest hole,” investigate it.

If you’re not sure, measure the rooms and compare them with the dimensions of the house. A digital (laser) measuring device can save the most time.

A jag in a wall could indicate a chimney or where pipes are routed through the house.

Or, if it’s large enough, you may have stumbled onto a hidden room or boarded-up closet. That site probably has a credible ghost story.

Tavern 27 (Laconia, NH) has several great ghost stories.  When I investigated it, several years ago, the owners still hadn’t found the legendary hidden passage from the attic to the basement.

13. It was part of the Underground Railroad.

In the United States, starting in the 1700s, the Underground Railroad was a network of “safe houses” for runaway slaves. A similar 17th century escape route led from the American colonies to Spanish territories.

In some cases, the locations included hidden rooms. They’re surprisingly tiny.

Also, some of those rooms — once hidden — were later converted to root cellars or other storage areas. If the cellar seems odd or divided, ask if the homeowners know its history.

When a home was used as an Underground Railroad site, intense fear — both the slaves’ and the homeowners’ — could explain a residual energy haunting.

(If you investigate an old cellar or hidden room, be sure to take precautions in case the air isn’t safe.)

Many other features suggest a house that may be haunted. These are the top 13 that came to mind, when I wrote this article.

If you can suggest other “red flags” that indicate a haunted house, I hope you’ll leave a comment about it.

13 Reasons to Start Ghost Hunting Now

Now is the best time to become a ghost hunter. Here’s why, and how to make the most of it.

1. Reliable Research

13After over a decade of popularity, amateur and professional ghost hunters have identified many genuinely haunted sites. They’ve also debunked places that aren’t really haunted.

By starting your investigations at sites with confirmed hauntings, you’ll have a richer, more chilling experience.

2. Previous Investigations Identified What Happens and Where

Before 2000 (or so), we’d stumble around a haunted site, hoping also to stumble onto ghostly anomalies.

At best, it was a coin flip.

Today, a quick Internet search may turn up reports by investigators and perhaps a few YouTube videos. You may learn exactly where and when to expect certain phenomena.

3. The Best Ghost Hunting Equipment

Ghost hunting’s recent popularity produced several great benefits. One of them was a surge of new, useful and experimental research tools. We have better EVP recorders, better devices triggered by EMF spikes, better digital thermometers, as well as tools to rule out normal (but odd) phenomena.

I still recommend “old school” ghost hunting techniques. Personal observation makes paranormal research thrilling.

But, to confirm an uneasy feeling or the raised hair on the back of your neck, today’s tools are superb.

Fiona Broome's adviceWhat I use: It’s not impressive to look at, but I still use the Ghost Meter Pro. It may have been an “as seen on TV” product, but — from my experience — it really does work.)

I also use dowsing rods, but only to double-check my “gut feeling,” or narrow my research focus to a smaller area.

My main camera is an old-school Nikon Coolpix, because it uses standard AA batteries. In a dramatically haunted location that may drain batteries quickly, it’s easy to reload the camera from a supply of inexpensive batteries in my backpack. Or, someone can dash to the nearest convenience store to buy replacements.

4. Less Commercial Interest

For nearly a decade, too many restaurants, hotels, and tourist traps tried to claim a resident ghost.

Some really were (and still are) haunted, but only on certain days, or in response to specific modern triggers. Sleazy sites omitted those details.

Ghost hunters visited — and sometimes paid a hefty admission fee — but left disappointed.

Now that having a ghost isn’t a guaranteed commercial success, most less-haunted (and never-haunted) sites have improved their advertising.

Some sites still make false claims, but most know: that financial ship has sailed.

When you hear about a haunted site offering paid ghost tours and vigils, it’s usually haunted.

But, double-check reviews, and ask friends who’ve been there, anyway.

Fiona Broome's adviceSites almost guaranteed to give you chills: Tudor World (Stratford-upon-Avon, England), Mary King’s Close (Edinburgh, Scotland), and the Myrtles Plantation (Louisiana, USA).

(Note: at the Myrtles, be sure to stay in the main building or its annex, not a wholly separate building. The closer you are to the haunted mirror in the main entrance, the better.)

5. Smaller Crowds

Now that ghost hunting isn’t as trendy, you’ll have more time (and usually more elbow room) to explore haunted sites when they’re open for investigations.

Between 2010 and early 2017, I stopped investigating most well-known haunted sites. It became too difficult to take photos when people were often in the way.

Focusing on what I was sensing, internally, was nearly impossible.

And then there were the distractions of others’ flash cameras, phone ringtones left on, and the myriad beeps and loud clicks of some EMF detectors.

Today, I’m far more comfortable scheduling visits to haunted locations… unless it’s Halloween or a Friday the 13th, of course.

6. Focused, High Quality Events

Starting around 2004, ghost hunting events became popular. Some were held in locations with history… but no ghosts. Or, to accommodate a large crowd, non-haunted areas were part of the event, wasting investigators’ time.

Today, events are usually smaller and more focused. They’re usually at sites with extraordinary ghostly anomalies, too.

Fiona Broome's adviceWhen Barry Fitzgerald (of GHI) is a guest at an event, it’s likely to be interesting. Dustin Pari is another investigator whose integrity I trust. And, the Klinge brothers are still innovators in the field, who speak honestly about ghost hunting.  All of them are worth listening to, at events.

That’s a very short list. I’m sure I could add another dozen links. But, they’re the people that come to mind, immediately, when I think about reliable ghost-related events.

7. Less “Me, Too”

Hooded figure with red eyesMany people are so eager to believe in ghosts, they jump at shadows. They claim that something was surely a ghost, when it was merely startling or odd.

I’m wary when I hear reports of ghostly tropes, like “the hooded monk with the red eyes.”

When looking for places to investigate, those recommendations weren’t helpful. Worse, it was difficult to conduct research at an event where “Dude, run!” moments distracted everyone.

You can’t trust every first-person “ghost story,” but — thanks to a declining number of thrill-seekers — recommendations are more reliable now.

8. Lower Prices

In many cases, haunted sites were able to charge far higher prices during the recent ghost hunting trend. I heard about $150 (and more) for two- or three-hour tours, with no value added. (That is, no food, no private rooms, and no genuine historians or professional ghost hunters on hand.)

Now, pricing is one extreme or the other.

Either the tour (or vigil) has lowered its prices to attract more visitors, or they have to charge very high fees since the site will otherwise be closed to the public.

For me, that’s a coin-flip.

  • I’m not thrilled to be among a crowd who think it’s a big joke, and only signed up because the tour was cheap. But, if the tour is inexpensive and the few other guests are serious researchers, the experience can be great.
  • On the other hand, I expect a lot from a high-priced tour or event. If it’s disappointing, I’m irked. But, since higher prices often deter thrill-seekers and jokers, if the site is truly haunted, it’s worth the money.

In general, you’ll find some great ghost hunting experiences at lower prices than, say, five years ago. But, be sure to research the location ahead of time, to confirm its ghosts.

9. Reduced Modern Residual Energy

Do you believe that past dramatic events leave ghostly residual energy at a location? I do.

But, this means that recent drama — including ghost hunters who encounter scary things (even if they’re jumping at shadows) — also leave an energy imprint.

Several respected ghost hunters — including John Sabol, who recorded EVP that was an imprint of a Ghost Hunters’ investigation (perhaps a “time echo“) — have described those newer layers of energy. So, modern investigations can make ghost research more difficult.

Usually, recent energy is light or shallow. It wears off quickly.

Deeply troubling drama in the past has left a far more indelible energy imprint. And, according to some researchers, those imprints can be re-energized by modern-day triggers.

So, I’m pleased to see smaller crowds and fewer investigations at haunted sites.

In the coming years, we’ll have less distracting, recent energy imprints at the most popular haunts.

10. Fake Claims Abandoned

Some sites may be genuinely haunted, but — during the recent wave of ghost hunting popularity — they (deliberately?) neglected to fix issues that only seemed like evidence of ghosts.

Eerie figure in doorwayI’m reminded of the Lizzie Borden house, where researcher Thomas Spitalere found extremely high EMF readings near pipes (and perhaps wiring) at the top floor of that home.

Though I’m sure Lizzie Borden’s house is haunted, I didn’t overlook normal issues — like elevated EMF — that could merely make a place “feel” haunted.

When we reported this to the woman hosting our investigation, she seemed to shrug it off. At the time, people didn’t understand as much as we do now, about EMF at eerie locations.

Today, sites like that are better informed about those kinds of problems. Most of them make sure visitors’ experiences aren’t affected by normal (not paranormal) issues.

11. Higher Percentage of Serious Researchers

At any haunted location or event, you’ll meet new and experienced researchers. You can learn a lot from serious researchers, if you follow them around and — if it’s okay with them — ask questions.

Now, with fewer trend-followers among the site’s visitors, there’s a far better chance of meeting a serious researcher, and learning from him or her.

12. Better Ghost Tours

During the peak frenzy of ghost hunting, now and in the past, some businesses seized any excuse to outshine the competition.

Today’s ghost tours usually fall into one of two categories:

  • Silly, theatrical performances that emphasize lurid events that may not have happened. (I’m reminded of the stories of New Orleans’ LaLaurie Mansion. The top floor that tour guides used to point to, and talk about a slave girl falling to her death…? That floor didn’t even exist when the LaLaurie family lived there.)
  • Well-researched ghost tours given by guides who’ve studied the sites’ histories, and tell authentic tales based on actual events and hauntings.

If you’re looking for the latter, most can be identified by their advertising. Every tour is likely to indulge in a little hype, but the theatrical ones often highlight their “performances.”

If you want a genuine experience, look for a tour that stresses the area’s history. They’re easier to find than they were between 2003 and 2015.

13. Breakthroughs and Discoveries Continue

Ghost hunting has followed the Diffusion of Innovations Curve to its conclusion.

In most cases, we’re back at the beginning of that curve. People still involved in ghost hunting are among the innovators and “early adopters.”

It’s a good opportunity for serious ghost hunters. I hope you’ll be part of the new wave of research and discoveries in this field.

And, in addition, it’s fun again.

 

Walpurgis Night – The Other Halloween

Moon in trees - haunted WalpurgisMany ghost hunters think Halloween is the only night when “the veil is thinner between the worlds.”

That’s not true.

The last night of April can be equally spooky. In fact, I think it’s one of ghost hunting’s most overlooked opportunities.

April 30th is sometimes called Walpurgis Night. (That’s the English translation of the German and Dutch holiday, Walpurgisnacht.)

It is exactly six months from Halloween, and it can be just as good for ghost hunting.

April 30th Festivals

The last night of April is the eve of the feast day of Saint Walpurga, also spelled Walburga and Waltpurde (c. 710 -779), who was born in Devonshire, England.

During Walpurga’s childhood, she was educated by the nuns at Wimborne Abbey in Dorset. (Sites around Wimborne have many ghost stories. Knowlton Church may be one of the most famous; see my “for further reading” links, below.)

Walpurga traveled to Francia (now (now Württemberg and Franconia) with two of her brothers. There, they worked with Saint Boniface, her mother’s brother. Eventually, Walpurga became an abbess and, when she died, she was buried at Heidenheim. Later, her remains were moved to Eichstätt, in Bavaria.

This festival is known by many other names — especially Beltane — and celebrated in a variety of ways, from the May pole to the Padstow Hobby Horse (‘Obby ‘Oss).

Walpurgisnacht in Heidelberg
Walpurgisnacht celebration in Germany, photo courtesy Andreas Fink

In Germany, it’s still Walpurgisnacht, and widely celebrated. (In folklore, it’s also called Hexennacht, or “Witches’ Night.”)

In Sweden, the celebration is Valborgsmässoafton, the Festival of St. Radegund of the Oats. In Finland, it’s Vappu. Other events include the Roman festival of Flora.

April 30th in History

Whether by plan or by coincidence, many significant events occurred on April 3oth.

  • Christopher Columbus received his commission to explore starting April 30th.
  • It’s the day George Washington took his first oath of office as American President.
  • The Louisiana Purchase took place on April 30th .
  • On the last day of April, 1937, Filipino men voted to grant suffrage to women in their country.
  • April 30th was also the day the Viet Nam war ended, Virgin Radio first broadcast, and American automaker Chrysler filed for bankruptcy.

April 30th to May 1st

Offenham - May Pole danceMay 1st, also known as May Day, is a holiday in many countries around the world.

Among some, it’s known as International Workers’ Day or Labour Day. For many years in France, May Day was the only holiday of the year when employers must allow employees the day off.

So, in countries celebrating May 1st as a workers’ holiday, the night before is ideal for ghost hunting; you won’t need to go to work the following day.

Ley Lines and More trivia

The night between April 30th and May 1st is when bonfires lit on the peaks of the St. Michael’s Mount line — one of the best-known ley lines in the world — formed a line pointing directly towards the May Day sunrise.

(I’d spend Walpurgis Night at — and investigate — any of those peaks that are open to overnight visitors. At the very least, those sites should retain residual paranormal energy.)

And, if you want a somewhat ghoulish cast to the day, look to the Czech Republic’s čarodějnice traditions, and Germany’s Brocken Spectre celebrations.

In other words, the days (and nights) of April 30th and May 1 st have a deep significance almost everywhere around the world… and it’s been that way for millennia.

Many ghost hunters — including me — look forward to Walpurgis night as “the other Halloween.”

Ghost Hunting around Walpurgis Night

Ghost hunting at the end of April can be as eerie and powerful as Halloween.

In fact, sometimes it’s better, because we’re not dealing with as many crowds and party goers looking for a “good scare” at haunted sites.

For example, Salem (Massachusetts) can be practically a ghost town (pun intended) on the night of April 30th.

Around April 30th, I’ve seen a higher number of shadowy figures — definitely not living people — at Salem’s Howard Street Cemetery.

When the weather is good, that’s an active late afternoon (and night) at Gilson Road Cemetery, in Nashua, NH, too.

In London, England, watch the windows of the Tower buildings, after dark. I don’t think those fleeting, whitish figures are always guards.

Jamaica Inn, England, sign
photo courtesy MilborneOne

It should be a good night to stay at the Jamaica Inn in Cornwall, England, too.

On the other hand, Tudor World (formerly Falstaff Experience, when I investigated it) is such an intensely haunted site, I’m not sure it’s a good idea to be there at Walpurgis. (Any other night…? Yes, but only if you have nerves of steel. It’s one of the weirdest haunts I’ve ever witnessed.)

And in general, around late April, fewer ghost hunting teams converge on the best haunted sites.

All in all, Walpurgis night may not have the popular, modern traditions of Halloween, but it has a very powerful foundation in history, folklore, and a wide range of spiritual traditions.

It’s not a solstice or equinox, but — in spite of that or perhaps because of that — Walpurgisnacht, like Halloween, deserves special attention.

What’s behind the mystique of Halloween and Walpurgis night? No one knows, for sure. However, both are supposed to be nights when the spirits can enter our world.

That makes April 30th as important as Halloween for ghost hunting.

Busy on April 30th?

When May Day falls mid-week, I add investigations at the nearest weekend, too.

I’m not certain that these kinds of festivals — Halloween and Walpurgis night — are “on-off” switches. I think the spectral energy intensifies and then wanes, for a few days on either side of the celebrated dates.

However, I might be wrong; we really don’t know why those two dates were set aside with ghostly connotations. (And why didn’t ancient people simply merge the festivals with the respective equinoxes so close to them? It’s an interesting question.)

Add April 30th to your ghost hunting schedule. I think you’ll be glad you did.

For further Reading

Also, for those who want more confidence in the ancient roots of April 30th, I recommend Goddess Obscured: Transformation of the Grain Protectress from Goddess to Saint, by Pamela C. Berger.

Her book references a variety of grain-related festivals celebrated at the end of April, similar to the harvest festivals of Halloween or Samhain, in the northern hemisphere.

ghosts

If you have ghost hunting insights related to Walpurgis, I hope you’ll share them in comments, below.

And, if you investigate Jamaica Inn or Tudor World, especially around Walpurgis, I’d like to know how intense it was.

I’m also very interested in any hauntings in or near the former site of Wimborne Abbey. I haven’t visited it, yet, and it intrigues me.

How can I see a ghost?

If you’d like to see a ghost — an actual apparition — you may need to investigate a lot of haunted places.

Many long-time ghost hunters have never seen a ghost. Not one that they were sure was really there.

Apparitions — ghosts that you can actually see — are rare.

Most of the time, people think they may have seen something, but — at the time — it surprised them so much, they didn’t instantly think “ghost.”

  • It may have been an unexplained flicker of light or a shadow.
  • It might have been just part of a ghostly figure, like a face that was there one moment, and gone the next.
  • It could have been a full apparition that they mistook for someone living, dressed in a costume. (That’s common at some living history events.)
  • It could have been a full or partial apparition the person saw for just a second, out of the corner of his or her eye. And then, it was gone.
  • In many cases, the ghostly image shows up as a reflection in a window, mirror, or shiny surface like a table top.
  • It may be a shadowy figure, whether or not it’s a “shadow person.”

However, seeing a ghostly figure that looks “like a ghost” (either solid or translucent) and realizing it’s a ghost while you still see it… that’s so extraordinary, I can’t recall anyone talking in those terms.

ghostly mist
My own (film camera) photo from Gilson Road Cemetery, Nashua, NH

In other words, if you want to see a ghost, be observant. Notice everything, especially the things that make you do a quick double-take.

Chances are, you won’t be sure it was a ghost until minutes after it’s vanished. And, even then, you may have doubts.

Keep your expectations low. Don’t insist that you have to see a ghost to believe in them.

Some people see anomalies. Some only photograph them. Others hear anomalous sounds or voices. Yet others only record them. And so on.

As you investigate haunted sites, you’ll develop a “sixth sense” related to your unique way of tuning-in to ghosts.

It may not be anything visual. If it is, let me know what you experience. Leave a comment at this article. I’m always interested in apparitions… when they happen, where, and exactly what they look like.

Few people actually see a ghost, but — if you do — it can be extraordinary.


Did you like this article? You can read answers to 100 more ghost hunting questions at another of my websites: Ghosts101.com.

Kinds of Cemeteries

If you’re planning to investigate ghosts in haunted cemeteries, you’ll need to know which cemeteries are in your community.

Different kinds of cemeteries can provide different research opportunities and results.

An abundance of metal in a haunted Columbus (TX) cemetery.
This Columbus (TX) cemetery is lovely, and has an abundance of related ghost stories. Even in the daytime, visitors may see (or photograph, or record) anomalies.

Generally, I look for cemeteries with graves from the 19th century. I prefer cemeteries that are open to the public from dawn to dusk, or later.

However, if a haunted site has been over-visited or over-researched, its energy can be diluted.

In my opinion, the lingering residual energy — from startled or enthusiastic ghost hunters — can mask older residual energy from the ghost, or impressions from the ghost himself.

So, private cemeteries can have an energy advantage, as long as I can get permission to investigate them.

Here are some categories of cemeteries:

  • Church graveyards, usually next to the church, but they may be moved if the real estate becomes valuable enough to justify the move. (That’s the case next door to Salem’s “Witch House.“)
  • Family plots and cemeteries. They’re where early homesteaders (and others) sometimes buried their relatives. Today, those graves may remain — marked or unmarked — near old homes. Others may have been moved to community cemeteries. (And, in some cases, bodies or body parts may have been overlooked.)
  • Battlefield cemeteries. Sometimes they’re just pits where the bodies were buried, en masse, with or without a marker.
  • Community cemeteries, sometimes built around earlier church graveyards or family plots. Research their history to find out what was there. In some cases, like at South Street Cemetery in Portsmouth (NH, USA), the site may have included a gallows.

I describe other kinds of cemeteries — and some of the pros & cons of researching them — in my book, Ghost Hunting in Haunted Cemeteries.