Respect Is a Necessity When Hunting Ghosts

by Anna

Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Richard Southall, author of How to Be a Ghost Hunter, Haunted Route 66, and the new Haunted Plantations of the South.

I have been writing about the paranormal for close to twenty years, and have been interested in the topic for much longer. Not only have I written How to Be a Ghost Hunter, Haunted Route 66, and the upcoming Haunted Plantations of the South, but I have been the guest of several radio shows and have been interviewed for newspapers and television shows. Needless to say, I know a few things about the topic.

This blog is not to brag about my knowledge of ghost hunting, but to point out that there is one common thread that all of my experiences have in common: respect. Now that ghost hunting has gone mainstream (in part to social media shows such as Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures), there are literally hundreds of paranormal groups in every state and throughout the world.

Whether you belong to an official organization, are part of a loosely-knit group of colleagues, or consider yourself a lone wolf, respect is crucial in literally every part of an investigation. In my opinion, investigators should show respect for any location visited, any person interviewed, and the deceased and loved ones or descendants of the epicenter of a haunting. Regardless of how an investigation is conducted, word spreads—and eventually a reputation can developed.

I know that it sounds like common sense, but that respect can separate us from simple vandals. A perfect example of what I’m writing about is the recent loss of the Lebeau Plantation House in Louisiana. A few years ago, a group of “ghost hunters” broke into the mansion and accidentally set it on fire. The subsequent blaze destroyed a historical landmark that was nearly two hundred years old. Needless to say, actions like this tend to give serious paranormal investigators a proverbial black eye.

Being respectful—or not— to any eyewitness or other interviewee can give you the reputation of either being very professional or sloppy in your investigative methods. Confidentiality and discretion are crucial to any investigation. Eyewitnesses who contacted you or agreed to an interview will still have to live in an area long after the investigation is over. Although we believe that a place may be haunted, other people in a community may not. As such, there may be unforeseen ramifications for the eyewitness.

Finally, the dead need to be respected. Once a spirit or ghost has been positively identified, it is likely necessary to visit the graveyard or former residence of the deceased. Going to such an area warrants a great deal of respect as we conduct the most exciting part of a ghost hunt. This means that an investigator leaves no trace after the investigation has concluded. If requested, offer to let loved ones listen to any EVPs or show them any other evidence that has been gathered in an investigation. Doing so may even help an investigator conduct a more thorough investigation.

Our thanks to Richard for his guest post! For more from Richard Southall, read his article “Haunted Plantations of the South.”

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