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Paranormal Ethics: Preserving Haunt Jaunts

Apparently I have ethics on the brain. Yesterday I wrote about LiveParanormal.com’s Town Hall meeting on ethics that’s happening tomorrow. Today I’m going to talk about another side of the ethical coin: preservation.

It’s been a couple of weeks now, but two people I greatly admire in the paranormal realm, Steve Vaughn of Ghost Eyes and Washington’s Haunted Spots author Linda Moffitt,  both recently posted links on their Facebook pages to stories that amount to this: respecting haunts people jaunt to. (Actually, they both did it on the same day even, April 30.)

The theme in both links was that history doesn’t preserve itself. It requires respect, work, money, and in some cases the judicial system, but above all awareness.

It may be a crazy way to absorb history, but Haunt Jaunting to historical sites is one way I do it. (I love history anyway. Finding out a place I’m visiting has a history of ghosts too just makes it all the more appealing.)

These kinds of stories interest me because historic sites are like species: every day they’re endangered of becoming extinct too. (Some more so than others, but still…any historic site lost is a tragedy.) It’s up to us to show them they respect they deserve.

THE BATTLE OVER BUILDING A WAL-MART NEAR A CIVIL WAR BATTLEFIELD

Steve posted a link to a L.A. Times article about a judge who ruled that residents and preservationists could go forward with a lawsuit to stop Wal-Mart from building a Supercenter near the Wilderness Battlefield in Locust Grove, Virginia.

According to a related article by Associated Press Writer Steve Szkotak, the Wilderness Battlefield was “where Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant first met on the field of battle.” 180,000 soldiers fought on the site during the war. 26,000 were killed or injured there.

More than 250 historians, Civil War preservationists and celebrities such as actor Robert Duvall and filmmaker Ken Burns have taken a stand against the store and its possible impact on the battlefield. The Supercenter planned by Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc. would be outside the limits of the protected national park but within an area where troops prepared for battle, marched, and died of their injuries.

Come on, Wal-Mart. Use that little happy face mascot of yours to roll on back away from building near this site. There’s plenty of other land left for you to pop another Supercenter up on. Why disrespect American history like this?

PARTNERS IN PRESERVATION ROAD TRIP AND GRANT AWARD

Linda had a neat link on her site to a post on PreservationNation: Road Trip with Vintage Roadside #7: Partners in Preservation Seattle-Puget Sound.

From what I gathered in the post, Partners in Preservation had grant money up for grabs for one lucky historic location. I believe there were 25 in the running, but the four locations featured in the post were:

  1. Ferry House at Ebey’s Landing
  2. Port Townsend U.S. Customs House and Post Office
  3. Schooner Adventuress
  4. Point No Point Lighthouse

It was neat to see pictures of the sites, read about their history, and learn what they intended to do with the grant money if they won. (Schooner Adventuress won, by the way.)

I thought it was a really positive, fun way to focus on history, the importance of maintaining it, and how much it costs to do it.

SIDE NOTE: You can help the National Trust for Historic Preservation win $200,000. It’s one of nine non-profits trying to win it in American Express’s TakePart initiative. Click here for more info on how you can help by voting for them and spreading the word.

BUT ARE THEY HAUNTED?

Linda would be better able to tell you which of the four historical sites in the PreservationNation was haunted and what kind of activity they had. (From what I read of Ebey’s Landings history, I’m thinking some ghosts might lurk there.)

There have definitely been reports of apparitions and such as the Wilderness Battlefield.

Have you been to any of the places noted above?

Courtney Mroch
Courtney Mroch, otherwise known as HJ's Ambassador of Dark and Paranormal Tourism, is an author, traveler, and ghost enthusiast. When she's not writing, jaunting, or planning her next trip, it's a safe bet you'll find her on a tennis court somewhere. She currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee.
http://www.courtneymroch.com

6 thoughts on “Paranormal Ethics: Preserving Haunt Jaunts

  1. You know, it’s a tough thing. You can save these historic spots if you bring in ghost hunters on tours and let people hunt them, but then you’re also opening them up to more foot traffic, and yet some of the most avid historians in America come in the form of ghost lovers who have a romantic nature. I’m not trying to promote the ghost hunter industry, but they are financial backing that could be helpful. It also takes angry neighbors. My childhood home a 250-year-old historic site and field hospital for the North and South during the Civil War was slated to be knocked down by a builder. Neighbors and the historical society showed up at every meeting and protected the site. Ghost hunters should always consider themselves to be historians and preservationists. Great post–long overdue!

  2. It’s a sad thing to see a historic building (haunted or not) get knocked down for something new and shiny. But I agree. People do need to come together and preserve these sites. I hate even thinking of turning them in to tourist attractions but it seems that’s one of the best ways to keep them from being demolished.

  3. There is a very haunted house in North Alabama that was once home to one of the most influential men in the confederacy. Until recently, it was in complete decay. It was a mess. It was once a sprawling plantation straight out of Gone with the Wind but had turned to junk. Its been bought, remodeled, and fixed up as a haunted tourism location that will open this Halloween. I figure at least it is beautiful again. Anything necessary to preserve the location is probably worth it, especially when you are fighting giants like Walmart who will destroy anything for a good location for the next supercenter.

  4. Oh wow! Thanks for the comments, ladies. I love hearing what you’ve seen where you live and your views. I agree with you all: it’s one of those lesser of 2 evils things making some historic places open to the public in the name of preservation, but at least it preserves them. And I’ve been to some very strict places: stay on the path, don’t touch things, people that pass through per day are numbered/limited, etc. Those kind of measures sometimes suck, BUT at least it’s helping maintain the history for everyone to enjoy…even if sometimes you do have to take a number.

    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.

  5. From what I gather all the buildigg’s listed have some sort of unexplained activity. Remember when visitng be respectful of the building as well as the spirits and you too may be lucky enough to encouter something or someone from the past!

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