Cemeteries and hauntings – what you need to know

Almost everyone has heard a scary ghost story about a haunted cemetery or graveyard. Many are afraid of visiting the cemetery after dark for fear of encountering a ghost. But are these fears called for?

Contrary to common belief, most cemeteries are not haunted. In rare cases when they occur, violation, disturbance of graves, rituals, or emotional anchoring are to blame. Cemetery hauntings are caused by something that happened after death, not during life as common hauntings.

Cemeteries, graveyards, and burial sites are sometimes connected with scary stories and lore about hauntings. Many of these ghost stories are just made up. But occasionally where there is some truth to the claims. Let’s dig deeper into the subject of haunted cemeteries.

Are cemeteries haunted?

Contrary to what many think, cemeteries are often not hotspots for hauntings. Burial sites are seldom haunted, but the cause is often disturbance or violations of graves when it happens. In some cases, it is thought that cemetery hauntings might be caused by rituals performed on the grounds.

Houses, dwellings, or estates are often more prone to hauntings than graveyards. It is thought that the spirit has a strong connection to the site and therefore doesn’t want to part with it after death. In other cases, violent deaths, suicides, or other tragic deaths might lead to haunting. This seldom takes place in a cemetery.

There are exceptions to the rule, though. There are records of hauntings outside the cemeteries as people not baptized or outlawed were buried outside the cemetery wall. Babies were left to die (or killed) because the mother was unmarried are also buried outside the fence.

The same goes for people that commit suicide. This place is often a hotspot for hauntings as their burial was connected with great tragedy and sometimes shame.

There are also records of hauntings due to emotional anchoring. This means that the loved ones had such deep grief that they could not let the dead transcend. The deep emotions might make the dead want to stay.

Emotional anchoring

It is thought that emotional anchoring might cause cemetery hauntings. This means that a loved one had such intense grief that the dead could not transcend. As with everything paranormal we don’t know if the dead makes a “decision” or not to stay in the world in between. The theory is that the intense love connecting the decieced and the living were so strong that it could not be broken.

Disturbance and vandalism

Another cause of cemetery haunting is the disturbance of graves. When graves are disturbed or vandalized, the spirits get upset and can’t find peace. When unmarked graves from old cemeteries or crime scenes get disturbed by, for example, construction work onset of hauntings is seen.

Disturbances might not be caused harm. In some cases, you need to move graves or do examinations. Archeologists might need to disturb graves to conduct their work. The work is not meant to cause harm but can onset hauntings in some cases.

Violation of graves, such as robbery and theft, are known causes of hauntings. The grave was disturbed, and the dead might have lost something very precious. Some stories of hauntings are made to scare off looters, but some stories are thought to be true. Removing, for example, the scarabs from a mummy might make the offender cursed.

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Rituals and black magic

It is thought that conducting rites of black magic on the holy ground might onset hauntings. The rites disturb the dead on a spiritual plane. The souls of people that were not kind in life might be lured from the shadows. The harmful rituals might give them the energy to manifest and haunt the grounds.

Development of cemeteries

Old cemeteries sometimes have unmarked graves running outside the wall. When the cemeteries grow, sometimes there is a need for the wall to be moved to make room for more burials. This might cause disturbance of graves, which lead to hauntings. The same goes for old graves removed to make room for new “inhabitants.”

Forgotten or neglected graves

Graves that are not cared for or never visited might lead to hauntings. If the spirit were anchored to a loved one, the absence might spark an onset of a haunting. When the person they love doesn’t come and visit, the spirit might become uneasy. The spirit might wander the cemetery in search of their loved one. This is thought to be common among mothers and children. I might be a child searching for his or her mom, or the other way around. It is also thought that this can happen to spouses and lovers.

The grief is so intense when a child or a parent dies that it might cause an emotional anchor. This is also thought to be one of the reasons for family graves. It helps the spirits to find peace; their remains are together for eternity.

Folklore and ghost stories

The common belief that cemeteries are haunted comes from folklore and ghost stories. In most cases, folklore and sagas have a message. The message was to protect children and estates from harm or burglary.

In Scandinavia, for example, we have the “Lyktgubben.” Lyktgubben was an elf that cursed anyone trying to take another man’s land wrongfully. All these sagas, ghost stories, and legends scared people not to commit crimes or act unlawfully. You have to remember that there was no legal system as we know it today. The legend had the function of keeping things in order and people safe.

There is a myth that if you rob a grave, you will get cursed. This is one way of protecting the graves from robberies. The same goes for ghost stories of cemeteries after dark. The lore is to keep people away from the graves during the night. With the help of scary stories, the graveyard was clear of graverobbers (or kept them at bay).

Ghost stories often revolve around cemeteries. This is because of the lore and the mere fact that it’s the place of the dead. But this doesn’t mean cemeteries, in general, are hotspots for hauntings.

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Claudette Beaulieu

A certified paranormal investigator, accredited demonologist, and psychic stuck in the Victorian era.

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