We’re fast approaching the Haunt Jaunting high season. Yes, I’m talking about that month of October when ghost tours, ghost hunting tours/classes, and haunted houses (of the variety that crop up around this time of year) move to the top of everyone’s To Do list.
But something you don’t see too often is reminders about proper haunt jaunting etiquette.
“Ghosts care about manners?” you may be wondering.
Hmmm…that I don’t know. I’m sure some would appreciate you using good manners when you meet or encounter them, but as far as I know they don’t subscribe to the Emily Post school of thought.
Rather, what I’m talking about is how to properly behave amongst your living brethren. Not that many of them care much about the Emily Post rules of etiquette either, but there are certain basics they’ll appreciate you demonstrating. Namely:
- DO NOT TRESPASS – This one can’t be emphasized enough. It’s the one most often ignored but is crucial to keep in mind. If there’s a sign posted saying, “No Trespassing!” “Trespassers Not Allowed” or even simply, “Private Property – Keep Out!” please, do yourself, the property owners, and the cops a favor and DO NOT TRESPASS!
“What’s the big deal? Who’ll care if I’m there or not if they don’t know?”
That’s the kind of thinking that gets a lot of people in trouble. Do you recall a story I wrote not too long ago about ghost hunting trespassers in the news? One lady wound up dead, some boys ended up being arrested. I’m sure they figured their excursions on to private property were no big deal, too. After all, who would find out? They never expected to make a wrong step and need to call for emergency services or that a wary passerby would contact authorities about suspicious behavior.
Yet, it happens. (Not so much 911 being called for an accident as because someone notices people wandering at all hours where they know people shouldn’t be wandering.)
Listen, you can go ghost hunting, exploring for ghosts, and in general show yourself a spooky time but you can do it safely and courteously. Therefore:
- ALWAYS GET PERMISSION FIRST – Just plead your case to the property owners. “I heard rumors you have ghosts on your property and I’d like your permission to check it out.” If you’re with a ghost hunting group, even better. People will usually give you access, but they like to know you’re there. Also, they may like to alert you to any dangers (unsafe floors, hidden wells, etc) and perhaps get you to sign a waiver releasing them from liability in case you do get hurt.
- DON’T GIVE FELLOW GHOST ENTHUSIASTS A BAD RAP – Please keep in mind the rest of us ghost enthusiasts. The majority of us practice good etiquette and respect private property. When others don’t, it gives us all a bad rap. Not cool.