Thrills and Risks

Thrills and Risks

It was recently brought to my attention that a local ghost group is suggesting to folks who frequent cemeteries at night in the hopes of obtaining some good “orb” photos, that it is a good idea to wear dark clothing while on such a mission.  I couldn’t disagree more.

I feel it necessary to address the seemingly popular practice of wearing dark clothing on “ghost hunts” for the chief reason that it represents a tremendous safety issue. 

A few years ago, a member of the New York GHRS went on such a “ghost hunt” to a cemetery with a non-related group (a group who, according to their website, bring weapons such as knives and guns to their “ghost hunts”).  Apparently, it was also their habit to wear dark colors during such events.  This young man was merely following what the rest of the group was doing, walking along the road in the dark, when he was hit by a car and killed.  Yes, the young man was of an age where he should have been of a mind to guard his own personal safety; however, as I understand it, he was doing what he was told by the group leader: wearing dark clothing.  This was a tragedy that should not have happened; might not have happened if they had simply followed simple safety measures.  This tragic event impacted immensely upon the GHRS groups and I believe it has made us all staunch spokespeople of common sense and safety.

I am still bemused at the reasoning given behind wearing dark clothing during “ghost hunts”.  It is explained on this local group’s website that wearing light colored clothing during “ghost hunts” can cause false ghostly images in photographs.  It is stated also that the cause of this is a “flaw” common to Sony, Canon and Nikon digital cameras.  This reasoning is inaccurate.  It is not the clothing that causing the defects, or the brand of camera used, but rather the quality of cameras used, (inexpensive digital) combined with limited knowledge of photography, (poor lighting and incorrect camera settings for starters) and likely the photographers’ hopes to have captured something ghostly.  Perhaps the answer to this is to go “ghost hunting” in the day, or use better cameras, or practice using correct settings.

So really, with the above two mentioned reasons, I see no basis to wear dark clothing while on “ghost hunts”.  It simply does not make sense.  In fact, when one considers the claims, it does make more sense to wear light colored clothing while on these missions.  The only advantage I foresee in wearing dark colored clothing whilst cruising around a cemetery at night is to provide one with camouflage (so as not to be readily seen when one is in a place where one is not supposed to be). 

I would think (and hope!) a good director or team leader would realize these risks and implications and guard against them by following a strict code of safety, ethics and common sense.

Please, if you are thinking of joining a ghost group, do not be afraid to question protocols.  Even if you are new to this field of interest, your voice should be heard.  Do not hesitate to speak your mind, especially when your safety and/or reputation might be at stake.  Most of all, please be safe, plan ahead, and do not place yourself in bad situations.

-Heather Anderson

Update: The local group has amended their article and is now stating that their group wears reflective vests while on “ghost hunts”. 

Disclaimer:  The GHRS and PSICAN groups do not generally support “ghost hunting” in cemeteries.  The GHRS and PSICAN groups do not condone trespassing in any form. 

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