Never Trespass on Private Property

By Dave Juliano (

Too many times we see amateur ghost hunters or kids who want a thrill break into abandon buildings and get caught.   Many of these people also vandalize the property.   Abandon houses and buildings are private property.  You are trespassing if you enter the property.   You also degrade the reputations of real investigators in the process.    I encourage anyone who would like to see real research continue to turn in anyone you know of that has trespassed or vandalized something while looking for ghosts.   Most police departments will take anonymous tips and stake out an area if they know there are going to be more illegal entries into a sight.   There are so many places that amateur ghost hunters and thrill seekers can go without trespassing but apparently part of the thrill is the breaking and entering plus the vandalism.   Time after time the finger gets pointed at this website as the reason for the vandalism.   There are disclaimers on all the pages telling people not to trespass.   The people who are responsible are the people who decided to vandalism and trespass, period.   Quite often true researchers and websites are blasted in the news but in rare cases like the one below, the journalists were responsible and respectful enough to get our side of an event.   I appreciate the opportunity they gave researchers to be heard on the subject. 

“Teens’ caper haunts real ghost-hunters”

Marissa Yaremich, New Haven Register Staff

WEST HAVEN — It’s often difficult enough for professional paranormal researchers to convince skeptics that the intangible world of ghosts and demons exists.
But add a group of thrill-seeking trespassers, stolen booze and the police, as happened here last week, and the field’s credibility suffers tremendously, ghost hunters say.
"It’s upsetting because I put so much time into documenting (the paranormal) and going to these places ... that in a way this is a psychological blow," said Christine Kaczynski, an independent paranormal investigator who says she has documented ghosts and demons nationwide for 30 years.

Last week, police arrested 17 teenagers and young adults on various criminal charges in the break in at the West Haven Buckle Co. based on a Web site’s claim that the site, dubbed "Hell House," is haunted.

Some of the suspects also face burglary and larceny charges because they allegedly broke into a boarded-up restaurant near the Campbell Avenue buckle factory and stole numerous bottles of liquor.

They proceeded to indulge in the alcohol inside the factory as they waited for apparitions to appear, according to police.

With police now on heightened alert for trespassers, Kaczynski said she’s concerned that the group’s illegal actions will affect bona fide paranormal researchers visiting public locations.

"Those kids brought down our credibility a lot, because it will make it more difficult to investigate (public locations)," she said.

Kaczynski is also an organizational member of the New Haven Ghost Trackers, which always obtains permission before accessing sites of paranormal interest, she said.

John Zaffis, also a paranormal investigator and director of the Paranormal Research Center of New England in Stratford, said he too is disappointed by the youths’ so-called ghost-hunting.

"I’m definitely, definitely, not in favor of someone partying or drinking during investigations, as it alters your state (of mind). You need to be very careful during investigations," he said.

In addition to posing a safety danger in an unstable building, Zaffis said such searches mostly lead to unnecessary property damage.

The youths in West Haven, though, were not arrested for damaging property inside the buckle factory.

With more than 1,000 paranormal cases and 32 years of experience behind him, Zaffis said such arrests take away from the scientific importance of paranormal research.

"It’s important to have people with you who understand and are involved in this work, so you don’t get into (such) major situations," said Zaffis, who is a worldwide lecturer and teaches basic ghost-hunting courses at the Paranormal Research Society of New England (

The site on which the West Haven youths allegedly based their search,, is reputable among professionals, who often rely on its collections of urban legends, personal ghost sightings and hauntings as a resource, said Kaczynski, who has her own Web site,

Shadowlands founder and co-director, Dave Juliano, added that "too often" the Web site gets blamed for delinquent actions, despite posting warnings against trespassing.

"I am very glad (the youths) were caught, and hopefully this will remind people to stay out of places unless they have permission" from the property owners, Juliano said in a written statement.