Ghosts and Gravestones

Ghosts and gravestones often go hand-in-hand.  If you’re looking for ghosts, cemeteries are great places to start.

In my research, I’ve noticed that grave sites are often haunted, particularly unmarked and neglected graves.

However, gravestones can be haunted, even when the person in the grave seems not to haunt it.

I first noticed this at Gilson Road Cemetery in Nashua, New Hampshire (USA).  There, two gravestones seemed to hold residual energy though the grave itself has no apparent phenomena.

Check the gravestone and the grave

The first time I noticed this was when, walking past the Fisk stones near the gate to the cemetery, my EMF meter started beeping and flashing.  This continued for about 90 seconds with no explanation.

Then, the EMF activity stopped, also for no clear reason.

This was before the subdivision was built across the street from the cemetery.  There were a couple of phone lines at the street and a streetlight, but that’s all.

The stone was active.  When another team member checked the grave area, there were no EMF spikes.

Compass activity at the Robbins & Adams gravestones

When I’m at Gilson Road cemetery, the fastest way to see compass anomalies is to rest the compass on one of the flat top edges of the gravestones around the Robbins and Adams graves.

I place my compass on one stone and wait for about 30 seconds, watching the compass needle.  If it starts moving by itself, that usually signals the beginning of ghostly activity at the cemetery.

If nothing happens, I’ll move the compass to the next gravestone, and wait again.

I do this until I’ve cycled through all of the headstones in the front row at the Robbins/Adams plots.

If nothing happens, it may not be an active time at Gilson Road Cemetery.

Chicken or the egg?

People have asked whether the compass triggers the activity, or invites the spirits to manifest.

I have no idea.  It seems that way, but it’s difficult to be sure.

Like the Fisk graves, we’ve seen few anomalies at the actual Robbins and Adams graves… only at the gravestones.

And, in both cases, the EMF activity began after we’d been in the cemetery for awhile.  It wasn’t constant, and it seemed to need attention and encouragement from us.

Note: At Gilson Road Cemetery, this phenomena occurs most often in the late afternoon, near dusk.

Residual energy, ghosts and gravestones

There are a few reasons why gravestones might seem haunted when their respective graves have no activity.

It’s possible that the gravestones absorb the energy of the mourners who visited the graves for many years.  (I’ve seen flowers left at graves over 100 years old.  Some families remember their ancestors for many generations.)

I can think of a few other reasons why gravestones might retain residual energy, but this is all speculation.

The point is: I believe that some gravestones are haunted… but only by residual energy.  No one is haunting the associated grave.

This may explain some of the odd activity at Gilson Road Cemetery’s gravestones.

I’m not certain that the eerie green light above the Joseph Gilson headstone is simply residual energy.

If you’ve had similar encounters — or have alternate theories about ghosts and gravestones — I hope you’ll leave comments at the foot of this article.

Choosing the best cemeteries

Most ghost researchers will never visit Gilson Road Cemetery.  They don’t need to.  Most people can find a haunted cemetery near where they live.

Not all cemeteries are haunted.  Most graves do not seem to be haunted, either.

You need to know what to look for, when you’re ghost hunting in haunted cemeteries.

What makes a grave a good place to investigate?  These are the three biggest tips that a grave might be haunted:

  • Where the graves are located.
  • Whether or not they’re marked.
  • What’s on each gravestone (art and text).

Though I talk about this in extreme detail in my book, Ghost Hunting in Haunted Cemeteries, here are some specific tips for your upcoming ghost hunts:

  • Look for graves, gravestones, or pieces of gravestones just outside the walls of the cemetery. They’re often the best “hot spots” that connect ghosts and gravestones.
  • Unmarked graves and neglected graves are worth investigating.  There’s often a connection between ghost and gravestones that are missing or broken.  (To find unmarked graves, look for coffin-shaped depressions in the grass.)
  • In American cemeteries, 18th and 19th century graves are often the most actively haunted.  So, look for death dates in the 1700s and 1800s.  (In British cemeteries, older is sometimes better.)
  • Artwork and inscriptions can help identify the most haunted graves.  In the 19th century (1800s), different symbols — flowers, hands, Bibles, etc. — can tell a story.  A downward-pointing finger (indicating a life cut short by the hand of God) is a good place to start.  (My book includes a chapter listing the most significant gravestone artwork to look for.)

In addition to the connections between ghosts and gravestones, you’ll often discover eerie energy around the holding crypt in (or near) many cemeteries.  This is usually a small building — or a large crypt built into a hillside — where bodies (usually in coffins)  were stored during the winter, when the ground was too frozen to dig graves.

Though these crypts are rarely in use today, the buildings remain… and often have consistently high EMF spikes (and some EVP) around them.

(Note: Do not open the door or go inside a holding crypt.  In addition to trespassing, these buildings can have very unhealthy air, bacteria, etc., in them.)

Ghosts and gravestones seem to go together.  If you’re looking for a reliable place to encounter ghosts, a haunted cemetery is an ideal place to start.

Photo credits

Skull & crossbones on cemetery gate – barbara delfino, Argentina

Caskets in storage – Samantha Villagran, Mexico