In the first edition of my book, Ghost Hunting in Haunted Cemeteries, I listed signs and symbols to look for on or near gravestones. The artwork and inscriptions can tell a story.
(Until the photo gallery is restored at this site, the following illustration shows the kinds of pictures I’ve featured.)
Left to right: Wooden grave marker (TX), iron headstone (Henniker, NH), and a zinc monument designed to look like granite (Nashua, NH).
Note: When I’m selecting graves to investigate, I’m always interested in expensive and ornate grave markers. Among them, I focus on neglected and damaged stones, as they usually tell a tragic story of a once-great family or individual.
When a gravestone was expensive, it usually represents an individual or family with wealth and power.
Since that burial, something changed so the grave hasn’t been maintained. It could be enough reason for a haunting.
It would be simple to say, “avoid metal when ghost hunting in haunted cemeteries.”
Unfortunately, the metal issue is more complex. Like many things we encounter when ghost hunting, there are two (or more) sides to this topic.
Metal can retain magnetic charge. That can happen for a variety of reasons, and it’s so common, you must do a baseline check of anything metal near your equipment. You’ll also look for things that might contain metal, including reinforced cement walls and some gravestones that have been mounted with metal supports (inside) or broken headstones repaired with metal.
One of the biggest surprises was when we were investigating a Northfield (NH, USA) cemetery and kept seeing strange, fleeting EMF spikes near the stone wall surrounding the cemetery.
We finally found some barbed wire that a tree had grown around – the wire was barely noticeable at dusk, but we found it on a follow-up visit in daylight (photo below) – and parts of it seemed to retain magnetic energy.
So, look carefully for any metal that might need a baseline check.
However, as I said, there’s another side to this: Metal might attract ghostly energy, as well. We’re still trying to figure this out, but – for now – I recommend looking for metal when you’re in a haunted cemetery. As long as you do baseline checks, so the metal doesn’t skew your EMF readings, you might benefit from nearby metal.
Here’s what I’ve found:
Metal – and I don’t mean just shiny, reflective metal – seems to increase the likelihood of orbs. As you can see in the photos, below, orbs show up around old, corroded and mossy metal.
We seem to record better EVP around metal in cemeteries. Is it acting like an antenna or an amplifier? I have no idea.
Then there’s what seems to happen to metal at some cemeteries. As some photos show, the metal – especially wrought iron – seems to get twisted. It’s unlikely anyone stood there and did that with their bare hands.
The twisting is difficult to explain. Initially, I figured the iron fences had been taken down at some point, and stacked, and some of the metal bent under the weight. Or, I thought a branch might have fallen and bent the metal on impact.
Those are reasonable explanations for some twisted cemetery fences, but that’s not enough to explain the volume of distortion I’ve seen in haunted cemeteries across the U.S. and Britain.
(Until the photo gallery is restored at this site, the following thumbnail illustrations show the kinds of pictures I’ve featured.)
Every (larger) image includes the kind of metal you should watch for, so you don’t get false EMF (magnetic) readings.
Cemeteries are great places for paranormal research. Just watch out for metal and – of course – the ghosts.
Unlike broken and discarded headstones, severely damaged above-groundgraves and crypts may not be as useful for paranormal research. Not if you’re looking for ghosts, anyway.
It seems to be one extreme or the other.
Either the ghost shows up to complain whenever he (or she) realizes an audience is present… or the ghost has long abandoned the grave.
Either he’s crossed over, or he’s followed the body (or selected pieces of it) to wherever it’s stored, now.
In my experience, many empty graves and open crypts also attract something non-ghostly.
I know that something seems to frequent those sites, and it’s not human. Never was, unless it’s the ghost of a completely emotionless sociopath.
I avoid whatever-it-is. Too often, it’s malicious.
Ovilus responses are weird.
EMF can be even stranger.
I haven’t tried EVP at those locations.
It’s not a ghost, so I’m not interested.
You may feel differently. Investigate at your own risk.
Above all, do not enter an open crypt. That’s trespassing, and the air inside could make you ill, at the very least.
According to local lore, bodies in crypts in New Orleans (and probably other very hot climates) decay to dust within a year. So, those warm-climate crypts are probably less risky than those in more northern locations.
However, you still run the risk of inhaling dust from rat droppings and health-endangering bacteria and viruses.