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A question of ethics: gravitating toward the mysterious world of cemeteries

A question of ethics: gravitating toward the mysterious world of cemeteries

By Rick Hinton

For paranormal investigators, cemeteries can be a catch-22. They are intended as a memorial for the living: a repose of peace, tranquility and a temporary separation from a hectic routine of daily life. They house moments of remembrance and reflection in an oasis of quiet reverence, where one contemplates their own mortality amidst a calming setting of trees, grass and monuments. Life holds a degree of upmost importance (at least temporarily) in the short time we are there.

Yet for many paranormal investigators it has become a mindset of pseudo-reasoning: it’s a graveyard, so consequently it just has to be haunted! This is also just an assumption.

Main Street heading west past the Greenwood Cemetery. (Photos by Rick Hinton)

Cemeteries are hallowed grounds of historical significance – highlighting the life and times of a generation that has come before us and shaped a town’s history. Cemeteries are also ultimately our own final destination, with our own pages to write and leave behind.

The Greenwood Cemetery, located at 620 West Main St., continues to hold a silent vigil as the surrounding area has steadily changed and grown throughout the passage of years. Expansion from downtown Indianapolis has transformed the U.S. 31 corridor, remolding the veneer of a former small town residing in the countryside. The cemetery and history however, remain unchanged.

The Greenwood Cemetery. (Photo by Rick Hinton)

The Greenwood Cemetery was officially established in the summer of 1884 by a group of 34 motivated town residents, originally consisting of only 12 acres. It was extremely humble beginnings when it opened for business. The first burial was in that same year. It wasn’t hard to see into the future, forecasting that space would soon become an issue. The caretakers continued to work with what they had. It wasn’t until 1907 that the cemetery expanded ground north by the acquisition of 25 additional acres. It was then that the “life” of the Greenwood Cemetery took a firm grip and rolled forward into the future.

New paranormal groups seem to gravitate toward the shadowy, mysterious world of cemeteries; older established groups – not so much. It can however be a training ground for equipment and personal reactions to sometimes adrenaline-fueled situations. It’s an opportunity to see from what your team members are made. Yet, at the end of the day, is it an intrusive and foolish game?

Pioneers rest here.

I have spent some quiet evenings in the past, perching myself on a bench in the older pioneer section of the Greenwood Cemetery – just watching and listening. Vehicle traffic heading south on U.S. 31 moved at a steady clip while traffic driving west on Main Street bounced their headlight beams across the monuments as they passed. No ghosts … no audible voices calling to me from a distant era. Just a sense of peace while I tried to make sense of my place in this world.

There is something to keep in mind while in cemetery mode: respect. You are there just to observe. Cemeteries are not a playground for ghost-hunting, but rather a tribute to honor those who have lived and loved before us.

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