Public sites are among my favorite locations for research, and also for training new team members.
I’ve also talked about the importance of using haunted cemeteries for those purposes. (That’s why I go into such detail in Ghost Hunting in Haunted Cemeteries.)
They’re still my most important research and training sites.
However, sometimes you’ll want a fresh and unusual location. To find those locations, dusty old books can be among your best friends.
Here’s an example of my book research.
Along coastal New Hampshire (USA), a massacre site — and related burial ground — are on property that’s open to the public. The magnitude of the violence that occurred there… well, it should be an excellent investigation site.
Frankly, I was saving this location for my own research. However, with an overloaded writing schedule in 2011, I’m not sure that I’ll have time for this Rye site… not in the near future, anyway.
The site is related to a 1691 massacre that I’ve briefly mentioned in the past.
I found it described in a dusty old book in the library at Harvard University. Fortunately, the book is also online. It’s called The History of the Town of Rye, New Hampshire: from its discovery and settlement to December 31, 1903. (You can tell from the title, this isn’t a book that many people look at.)
Several stories in that book suggest sites that could be haunted. However, the story that begins on page 245 is probably the most lurid and promising for paranormal research.
The tale was summarized, “… a party of savages, variously estimated at from twenty to forty, came from the eastward in canoes and landed at Sandy Beach. They did not attack the garrison house there, but killed some of the defenceless families living on or in near vicinity to Brackett’s lane (now known as Brackett road), took a number of persons captive, and burned several small houses.”
The story is grisly, involving the loss of about 20 people. Most of them were buried at the Brackett Massacre Burial Ground. [Link to photo & map.]
Driving directions: Brackett Road runs parallel to Rte. 1A. From either the center of Rye or from Rte. 1A, take Washington Street (in Rye, NH) to Brackett Road and turn north. Massacre Marsh will be on your right, shortly after you cross a small stream. If you get to Geremia Street, you’ve gone too far.
Though some websites mention fierce mosquitoes at the burial ground, one person joked that the insects seem to attack everyone except descendants of the Brackett family. (Yes, I know she was kidding, but I still pay attention to quirky comments like that one.)
The massacre occurred long ago. The burial site may not be haunted. The massacre site — around Wallis Sands beach — is far less likely to be active since the energy has be diluted by centuries of tourism.
However, this is such an overlooked episode in history, and the burial site has had so little attention (before this article appeared, anyway), it could be excellent for research.
You can probably find similar sites in your own area, using similar research methods.
During the chilly winter months — or sultry summer days — you may enjoy spending time at public libraries with really old, regional books. Often, those books are kept in a room used by historians and genealogists.
There are no shortcuts in this kind of preliminary research. You really do need to sit down and browse a lot of dusty old books.
Tip: Bring change for the copy machine. Many of the best old books cannot be taken out of the library. Though you may find several books reproduced online (such as the Rye, NH book), don’t count on it.
Whenever I think I’ve taken enough notes, I usually regret not photocopying relevant pages in the book/s.
People often ask how I find such great haunted sites. Though I’m now exploring obscure sites revealed by my paranormal patterns work, the simple version — browsing dusty old historical books — still works well.
If you’re not able to conduct much research during winter months, it may be an ideal time to identify sites for future investigations.
Visit the public library. You may be pleasantly surprised.