Many researchers prefer to investigate after dark.
Are ghosts more active at night? I’m not sure. Maybe the darkness makes it easier for us to notice them. After all, in the dark, we have fewer visual distractions.
For me, it’s more important to investigate at anniversaries. They’re the dates when someone at that site died, or married, or something significant happened. (Birthdays can be surprisingly good days for ghost hunting, too.)
This video shares more about the best times — days and hours — for ghost hunting.
Of course, your results may be different. If you have suggestions, I hope you’ll share them with Hollow Hill readers. Leave your comments (and questions) at this site.
I’ve created a When to Go Ghost Hunting Worksheet, as well as an instruction sheet for using it.
The worksheet includes more than just times and days. I’ve also added lines for possible triggers that may improve your research results.
The worksheet instructions feature even more suggestions related to research, era cues, and other ways to enhance your investigations, specific to each location.
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.
Here’s an interesting pattern I’ve noticed when I’m investigating haunted cemeteries: Where I find one member of a family with a gravestone that seems to stand out, I look for a relative with a second “odd” gravestone.
Usually – but not always – it’s nearby, but not necessarily in the same plot enclosure.
When two or more related gravestones (or graves) hold my interest, there’s usually a story to be told.
For example, the following photos shows the memorial of Capt. Bird Holland. It’s a classic example of the respect given to fallen soldiers in the War Between the States.
This tribute stands out because the inscription is so ornate.
However – for me, as a paranormal researcher – something more than that seemed odd. At the time, I couldn’t put my finger on it.
The unusual Holland family plot
Captain Holland was a widower at the time of his death.
His wife, Matilda Rust Holland, preceded him in 1858, after only one year of marriage.
Her apparent grave is unusual, for another reason: Only leaves fill the space beneath the horizontal stone. (I’ve indicated that space with a red rectangle.)
The leaves are inside some ornate ironwork. I assume her body is there, under the ground, but it is an unusual grave design.
Recently, my research into the Holland family uncovered an interesting history. Bird Holland may have fathered as many as three sons – Milton, William, and James – by a second woman named Matilda Holland. She was a slave on Bird’s father’s plantation.
During or shortly before the 1850s, Bird purchased freedom for those three sons (but not their brother, Toby, who may have had a different father) and sent the them to school in Ohio.
In the Civil War, Bird Holland fought on the side of the Confederacy.
His son, Milton, was a Union soldier and led the troops in a battle at Petersburg, Virginia.
My point is: When you see one unusual gravestone, keep it in mind as you continue your research.
When you find a second, related grave that seems “odd,” historical research may improve your investigation results.
Sometimes, you can do some quick historical research, on site, with your phone… if you have a good Internet connection. (At many haunted sites, phones seem to have connection problems, or batteries go completely flat.)
More often, you may need to visit a local library or historical society.
Frankly, I’d love to ask Matilda Rust Holland how she felt about her husband’s sons.
And, I’d be interested in how Bird felt about his son Milton’s heroism – being awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor – for his valor during the war… fighting for the other side.