~ Written By Katie Harper ~

Hi, my name is Katie, and I’m a taphophile.

Although outwardly I appear perfectly normal (but for what some would call too many tattoos) you will frequently find me in a cemetery. I enjoy researching, writing about and photographing cemeteries, for both the ever-present invitation to walk through history, and the peaceful quality native to beautiful old New England burying grounds.

As such, I take what may be an unpopular stance among so-called “serious” paranormal researchers who tend to look down upon those who hang around in cemeteries looking for ghosts. Though I have never encouraged hanging around a cemetery after dark without permission or otherwise trespassing against posted guidelines, I certainly think a budding ghost hunter could choose many worse locations to investigate.

When discussing why certain places are haunted, the most prevalent theories state that the deceased will haunt a location based on the strength of their emotional tie to it. In light of this, I don’t believe that cemeteries are usually haunted by the spirits of the dead buried there. The dead have no real emotional or habitual ties to the cemetery, and wouldn’t naturally choose or be drawn to haunt it – excepting, of course, the ghosts of my fellow taphophiles and perhaps the caretaker!

However, I have obtained some interesting “anomalies” while investigating cemeteries, both during research conducted by the Northeast Spectral Science Society, and while wandering out on my frequent daytime photography trips.

But if cemeteries are not haunted, as so many studious paranormal investigators are so quick to claim, how can this be? Well, barring any as yet undetermined natural causes falling outside our extensive battery of debunking methods, we have to assume that something paranormal is indeed present.

Though the interred don’t really care, there is without doubt a strong emotional imprint left by the LIVING who visit these cemeteries. This can potentially lead to what may be a residual haunting, or a memory stuck in rotation like a CD player on repeat. These memories play whether our gadgets and gizmos are there to record them or not.

Additionally, the burial customs and rituals of so many cultures tend to perpetuate the heavily symbolic nature of the process of death. Our subconscious minds tend to revere the cemetery as a highly charged and mystical locale, whether we are consciously superstitious or not. I believe this charge can act like a beacon to entities who feed on fear or sadness, leading them to stick around.

Taphophile or not, we shouldn’t ignore the possibility of cemetery haunts or leave graveyards out of our research schedule. Though many of the ghost stories and legends may be based on flights of fancy, there’s a chance one or two of them just might be true!