As a paranormal investigation team, the SPIRITS of St. Petersburg is often questioned about local cemeteries as haunted hot spots. Surprisingly, cemeteries are not as ghost-infested as one might think. Cemeteries may hold the remains of the dead, but not always the shades.
Technically, the notion of the grave as a ghostly hangout possibly started with one of the oldest civilizations in western civilization: the Egyptians. Their complex mythos counted three individual pieces to the soul: the ba, ka, and the akh. All three were required to survive in the afterlife and if one died, all was lost. Thus, these ancients built and left their greatest treasures to the world in the form of elaborate tombs.
The ba was the personality of the dead, represented in the form of a human-headed bird. This soul could leave the tomb and wander through the land of the living where it could take on multiple forms. To make sure that this soul returned to its proper place of burial, the Egyptians created elaborate and often complimentary works of art depicting the deceased. Just like us, the ancients did not relish a disembodied entity wandering about.
The ka was literally a double of the person that was created by the hands of god at the moment of conception. It was represented as a human figure with raised arms, or as a pair of disembodied arms. The ka lived within the heart of the individual and was expelled at death. It could not leave the tomb and had to stay close to the body at all times. Due to its heavy dependence upon the physical form, the body had to be mummified. However, the Egyptians knew that mummies also crumbled over time, so the ka was given a second chance by the ability to live in a tomb painting of the deceased. Strongly dependent upon the corporal world, the ka also required physical offerings to survive -- namely, food, drink and clothing. This responsibility fell to freinds and family to leave offerings at the tomb for this reason.
The final part of the soul was the akh. This piece travelled to the otherworld where, upon passing judgement, it could take its place in the afterlife. This soul fragment was also depicted as a bird. The famed Egyptian Book of the Dead, which is actually a series of compiled funerary documents, advises this soul upon its journey.
It is fascinating to note that modern cemeteries contain many of the same ideas. When American visit graves of the dead, they often leave flowers or other momentos. Out of respect for the departed, family members, or perhaps entire strangers, take time to keep the graves neat and clean. Tombstones are, themselves, dedications to the dead, keeping the person's name alive through the centuries. Like the Egyptians, we engrave sacred images on these stones and some even contain pictures of the deceased.
As such, it is interesting to note how often the SPIRITS team gets reports of a haunted graveyard. For the most part, we have not found substantiation to this notion at many of the areas we visit. Sunnyside is one of those that falls into the legend category. Perhaps it is that the graves are located across from a school that allows for some of the lore. Afterall, what child doesn't love the idea of a good ghost story? It may harken back to some long lost belief that humankind once held, but which has never fully left the shadows of the subconscious mind.
Word of Mouth: Some have reported seeing "something" moving through the cemetery, especially late at night. The SPIRITS found little activity, though one section did provide EMF spikes to the question "Is someone with us?" and "Can you confirm that you are still with us?" The cemetery also houses the victim of a cold case file that is described as "lore". A young woman was killed and her murderer never found. We attempted an EVP session with her and had some response via EMF, but nothing on EVP.
The cemetery was established in 1905, but has residents born in the 1800s. Many of the graves are relatively modern. It is in a high traffic area and across the street from a school.
What equipment did you use on this investigation?
Audio recording devices
Electro Magnetic Field Meter (EMF meter)
3. What phenomena did you experience on this investigation? (Please check all that apply)
Temperature related phenomena (hot or cold spots)
Sensation of energy
Odd behavior of equipment
Other (please specify below)
Comment: EMF meter did a very strange and slow "bounce" with the needle.
4. In review of the footage, recording, or photographs taken at the location, which of the following did you find? (Please check all that apply)
Other (please specify below)
Comment: Possible partial manifestation photo. It is very light and hard to see. At one point towards the end of the investigation, we asked if the entity was present (spike on EMF). We asked if it would be in photograph (spike).
5. What technical observations did you note during the investigation? For purposes of categorizing data, please post your first name, followed by your response.
Strange behavior of the EMF meter. It did spike in parts of the cemetery for "Are you with us?" But would not spike for "Are you buried here?" "Are you what people claim to see moving here at night?" It did spike for "male", it did spike for "Old part of the cemetery" and "Will you be in a photograph?" It almost consistently spiked for "Are you with us?" in the center and "old" part of the cemetery. EVP (8.3 minutes) had nothing (too many background noises). Only one other photograph had an orb in it. All other photos were nondescript.
6. What sensitive observations did you note during the investigation? For purposes of categorizing data, please post your first name, followed by your response.
I felt dizzy upon shortly after arriving at the cemetery for a brief amount of time.