Never Trespass on Private Property
By Dave Juliano (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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,
www.shadowlands.net, 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.