Why We "Hunt"

Waverly Hills Sanatorium.  I have to tell ya, I can't wait until we make a trip there; there, and to the Eastern State Penitentiary.  I ran across this Waverly Hills website, not too long ago, where Tom Halstead of the Missouri Paranormal Research group posted quite a few incredibly disturbing spirit photos.  Full bodied apparitions in a few cases, and I'll post those here for you to catch a quick glimpse of.

The topic of "haunted places" these days seems to be more of something people talk about when they're looking for a "rush" or a "scare" than they are of places of wonder and curiosity of the human condition.   There was a time in this country, and all around the world, when people considered a haunted environment to be a friendly one.  Where spirits of past relatives came back to such places as old family homes – homes that stayed in a family for generations – to "check on" still-living relatives.  Rarely were there cases of demon possessions or evil hauntings reported, but, with the rise of modern media came the rise of modern "hauntings".  Perhaps they were always there, the demon possessions and evil spirits, and were poorly reported, or perhaps they're simply more prevalent now because, either, media sources have allowed us to become knowledgable of them, or because there are more "beings" presently in spirit form than there ever were before… who knows what the real reasons could be?

When I look at a place like Waverly Hills, or the Eastern State Penitentiary, or a more local environment such as the

Pinelands facility in Maine, I think of the people who were condemned to live their last days on earth in such deplorable conditions that their spiritual well-being never fully recovered.  People who lived a misunderstood life and who died, often times, forgotten.  I remember investigating the cemetery out at Pineland (in Maine) and feeling such a sense of grief and depression for those unnamed, forgotten souls who's only mark made in this world was the one left behind with their anonymous "number" carved on their gravestones.  They lived anonymously, died alone, and seem to exist in a  perpetual state of solitary state of irresolution.   I think that's the human connection thrill seekers lack when they walk into the space of a haunted environment looking for that perfect picture or that perfect EVP.   The thrill of the hunt supercedes the displacement of energies, which we cause as physical beings, when we put ourselves into the space of a restless soul.  We forget how to be human because we forget, lose touch, or have lost touch, with why it is we do what we do – "ghost hunt".  Is it to make a connection with the spirit world?  Or is it just to prove that spirits exist.  Because one of those options shows respect before personal satisfaction, where the other is just self-centered.

Waverly Hills represents a dying ground of immense proportion.  There's no other way to describe it.  No matter how protective the medical staff was, no matter how desperate the situation became, no matter how badly they wanted to succeed, it just wasn't meant to be at the time.  People who weren't ready to die, died miserable, long, drawn out deaths which probably resulted from a slow suffocation they could feel invading their airway(s) for … who knows how long.  Good people, strong people, kids, adults, teens, rich, poor, innocent and guilty… they all died in the same place and in a similar way.   So many, in such large numbers, that no matter what their contribution to society was, they were still a number among numbers.  Good people who'd lived Godly lives, who put family above self, watched as their livelyhood – their mothers, fathers, sons and daughters – died before their eyes, before they, themselves, passed from this world scared, alone, and probably a little ticked-off at the unfairness of the whole experience.

Yet when we think of Waverly Hills Sanatorium today we're more likely to think of TAPS and the gang "going back to Waverly", or of reality shows like "World's Scariest Places" and the rush we get when we see people walking around the place in the dead of night.   Who do we ever see walking into a spirit's "space", a space they've either chosen to walk for … eternity… or a place they've been condemned to for reasons we cannot explain, and cannot remedy for them?  Who?  As Ghost Hunters we're not looking for inanimate objects with no consciousness, we're looking for
proof of spiritual life, life-after-death, and in order to do this we must accept the possibility that if, and when, we run into something spiritual in nature, it's roots are deep within the consciousness of the human experience.  In other worse, "that's a person without a body".  The spirit isn't a thing, it's energy, it's emotion, it's all of those intangible things that make us human.   Why this is so easy for some of us Ghost Hunters to forget, is beyond me, personally.

And the Eastern State Penitentiary?  Sheesh, I didn't even want to start in on this place, but I'm here now so I might as

well do it up.  The Eastern State Penn was designed in good faith with a solid plan for psychological rehabilitation.  The model was extremely progressive.  Basically, the plan was to build a very large institution with extra thick (2+ feet) concrete walls in a strong effort to recreate the conditions of a super-quiet monastery.  This way, the criminals interred there could spend their rehabilitative time focusing on their future successes as responsible and respectful members of society.  The entire facility, from its building design to its daily breakdown of structured, rigid routines of exercise times and meal times, was focused on that 1 goal of maintaining a meditative silence which would last 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Prisoners were not allowed to communicate with each other, or the guards and any attempt at doing so was cause for strict and immediate disciplinary action.   The consequences would start with removing the prisoner's only source of light, "the window to God" which was located in the concrete ceiling.  This "window" was the only window in the prisoner's rooms, and the only thing keeping them out of complete and total darkness.  If removing this light did not work, then the physical torture began.  The torture was "by the books", not something the guards or warden made up on the spot, so it was methodical by design and follow through, which meant that all prisoners were subject to similar disciplinary standards, but that didn't make it any less tragic or traumatic.  

People, by nature, are social creatures.  To deny social creatures the inability to socialize is to deny them the right to be human.  It is also a means of torture the likes of  "no other" because verbal self expression of personal unhappiness falls on deaf ears.  There's nothing more tragic for people, or a person, than the feeling of "loneliness"; of being alone in a struggle in life or -  as we experience in our paranormal investigations – in death.  A person who truly doesn't care about the human experience of others, or of themselves, isn't just a criminal, they are a sociopath.  The criminals at the Eastern State Penitentiary may have done "bad" things, they may have done evil things in life, but if there was one thing many of them did not lack, it was a "will" to have that all important human connection.  If they didn't care about it, many of them wouldn't still be there today.  Whether they're searching for personal resolution, acceptance, or forgiveness… whether they're just looking to be recognized, or looking for a way to take care of unfinished business, the one thing most of them have in common is that they're looking for that "connection".  They're still looking for that "human connection", that "social connection".   You know a place has to be representative of abhorrent conditions when Charles Dickens, the author of some of the most bleak and depressing novels to hit bookshelves world-wide, tours it and subsequently chastises it as a place so deplorable he never wants to hear its name again.  That's the Eastern State Penitentiary; it's a good place gone bad.  Gone very, very bad.

I guess this posting is really about keeping that in mind.  That we ghost hunt, not primarily for ourselves and not primarily for the evidence or the data or the "look what I found!" factor.  We do it because we long to make that "connection".  We want the rewards that come with the struggle to find that connection, yes;  but what we really want is validation that when we reach out, we're reaching out "to" someone.  That the someone we're reaching out to is more than a concept, they're real, and they're wanting to reach back and communicate with us, in return.  If we didn't do it for those reasons we'd be better off chasing Bigfoot or hunting down UFO's because those "things" have been deemed as "physical", in nature. No, we hunt outwardly because we're constantly hunting "inwardly", and it's a good thing for ghost hunters to keep in mind.  Hunt a spirit as you would appreciate being hunted.

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

Click to share thisClick to share this