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Ghost Hunting and Genealogy
  More and more, professional genealogists play an integral part as members of ghost hunting teams. As a rule, professional teams understand that they need to do their ghost hunting homework before entering a site to collect supernatural data. Genealogists do ghost hunting research every aspect about the history of the land, house, and previous owners of the house. As a result, the ghost hunter genealogist verifies ghost stories and unexplained phenomena with documented events and historically accurate research.

This type of sleuthing calls for someone skilled in genealogy research techniques. Some genealogists become ghost believers because while documenting the past in cemeteries and other popular haunted places, they unwittingly record EVP and photograph places or people shadowed by strange orbs or transparent ghostly images. Sometimes family portraits turn out to be haunted art and require more genealogy research.



Genealogy Tips For Ghost Hunters
1. Research the Home :
When researching the home genealogists primarily review title records to determine the actual age of the home in addition to the many owners the home sheltered through the years. Ghost hunters become intrigued about reported supernatural activity in a home when they learn the house was built on top of a cemetery. Even though construction over a cemetery may not be legal in most states, some construction workers, eager to finish a project, may cover up what they find and continue building. Another red flag would be if someone died in the home. You can learn this information from interviews, death records, and researching newspapers stored on microfilm at the local public library.

2. Research the People living in the home :
Genealogists develop a family tree of the owners living in the home. Title searches may list the head of household, but not each person. You may find more detailed information about the inhabitants of the home in census records. Again searching for stories stored on newspaper microfilm in the public library may help uncover details about deaths in the home. Knowing specific rooms where a death occurred helps ghost hunters narrow down parts of the house that they want to set up their supernatural phenomena tracking equipment.

3. Are Characters In Ghost Stories Real ?:
Sometimes local folk lure gives names to ghosts that haunt a building, place or person. Genealogists first attempt to determine if the person described in the stories actually existed through birth, marriage, and death records. Then, genealogists must determine if that person even lived in the home. In some cases, the ghost in question may have only visited the home a few times.

4. Make Your Genealogy Research Helpful to Ghost Hunters:
Put the pieces together and provide questions for ghost hunters to ask ghosts while on location in a haunted house. Ghost hunters often times use EVP as part of their research. Experienced EVP specialists ask questions of the ghosts and then wait for a response to be recorded on a voice recording device. They try to ask relevant questions to receive a more understandable response. This is where the genealogist becomes invaluable because the ghost hunters become informed about possibly family members or events related to the ghost of which they are trying to form a connection.

5. Understand the law and Adhere to ghost hunting ettiquette :
Genealogists and ghost hunters alike must become acclimated with research ettiquette. Before entering a dwelling, expressed permission by the owner must be given. If you enter and are asked to leave, you should because a disagreement will not end in your favor. Always carry identification, so you can explain who you are when asked about your intentions. Some historical sights that many believe to be haunted are blocked from public access, so researching these regulation is advised as well.

6. Determine The Best Time To Hunt Ghosts:
Genealogists search newspaper archives that report the time of the year and/or day that a tragic event occurred that explains the historical trigger of supernatural phenomena. Many ghost stories and reports stem from a four day battle in the town of Gettysburg during the Civil War. The battle of Gettysburg occurred during the first week of July. A large portion of ghostly activity is reported during the summer months. Some ghost hunters also believe that the best time to hunt ghosts is between 2 and 3 days before and after a new or full moon.


Examples Of Genealogist Hunting Ghosts
Ghostly Pictures :
Paul Bunnell , a descendant of Benedict Arnold , snapped some photographs a home site that was owned by a distant family member. After developing the photos, Bunnell noticed an unexplainable blue light glowing from a grove of trees. Bunnell took the photo to a psychic. After holding the picture, the psychic offered clues that led Bunnell to discover the indictment of a family member, Benjamin Bunnell, who was found to be a carrier of counterfeit notes. In this case, Bunnell discovered genealogy leads that derived from the world of the paranormal.

Graveyard Sounds :
Not even trying to open a door to the supernatural, a historian visited her family graveyard in order to recite the tombstone inscriptions into a tape recorder microphone. When the historian reached her grandfather's tombstone, she commented that everyone loved him very much. That evening after reviewing the tape, the historian clearly heard the words, "Shut up". The historian's father also concluded that the voice distinctly sounded like his father's own voice.

Ghostly Genealogy Discoveries :
John Musgrave, the author of Slaves, Salt, Sex, and Mr. Crenshaw, ironically discovered during his research of the Crenshaw estate in Illinois that he was a descendant of the infamous owner, John Hart Crenshaw. During the early 1800s, Crenshaw illegally kidnapped freed black men, women, and children. Crenshaw worked his captives in the local Saline County mines or sold them to Southern Plantation owners. Horrific events occurred in the attic of the Crenshaw home where he enslaved his captives.

After Crenshaw was arrested and the activities in the Crenshaw home became public knowledge, the home assumed the name, The Slave House. Throughout the years, the dwelling attracted many ghost hunters. Few brave living souls have lasted a full night sleeping in the haunted attic. A dominant ghostly character, named Uncle Bob, was believed to have fathered at least 300 children during his imprisonment by Crenshaw. Some women feel a tap on their shoulder when visiting the attic, which is believed to be Uncle Bob.

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