With the growing popularity of ghost hunting television shows and movies based on the paranormal, more people are grabbing a camera and tape recorder and trying their luck at paranormal investigation. What started as a fad in the early 90s is fast becoming a real life occupation for some. Paranormal investigation is an activity almost anyone can participate in, and requires as much or as little actual equipment as the ghost hunter wants to bring along. But how safe is ghost hunting? Let’s consider a few factors:
One of the most popular locations for ghost hunting is cemeteries at night. Did you know it is typically illegal to be in a cemetery from dusk until dawn, unless otherwise posted? Fines for being caught in a cemetery during these restricted hours are similar to those you would face for illegal trespassing. In some cases, you may even be jailed if there’s suspicion of vandalism or disturbance. Abandoned and condemned buildings are another favorite haunt for ghost chasers. Most are privately owned, posted against trespassing, and protected by law. These buildings are also prone to be in structurally unsound condition.
Before you decide to go into the night in search of the paranormal, there are a few things you should first take into careful consideration.
1. Always carry proper and legal forms of identification on your person. In the event your presence is questioned by Law Enforcement, this is the first thing you will be ask to produce. It’s also a good idea to make sure your automobile has it’s proper documentation as well, such as proof of insurance and current registration (If required).
2. If properties are posted with “No Trespassing” signs, or time restraints such as “open 9 a.m. to dusk”, the owner’s have the right to summon Law Enforcement, which could result in fines. In certain situations, permits may be required to enter as well. If you’re uncertain about the public access to a location, it’s always a good idea to contact the owner’s or care takers and ask permission before entering. NOTE: Some cemeteries are governed by CITY ORDINANCES, that restrict access, and there may or may not be posted signs to that effect. Always check this if the cemetery is within city limits.
3. In the event you inadvertently cause damage to property, immediately contact the owner or care taker and inform them. Usually terms can be arranged that are satisfactory to all and won’t result in any legal actions, or bans from the location. More often than not, you will be well respected for having taken the necessary actions to correct any “wrong” you may have caused, no matter how inadvertently.
4. And most importantly, PROTECT YOURSELF. Never go on an investigation alone, it’s just a senseless risk to take. You should also check your automobile, ensure you have adequate fuel for the trip and that the automobile is capable of making the trip safely. It’s also a good rule of thumb to tell at least one person who ISN’T going along, what your destination is and an expected return time. Take a cell phone.
5. Always carry a First Aid Kit. Accidents wouldn’t be called “accidents” if we knew when and where they were going to happen.
As long as safety comes first, the fun is sure to follow!