“Anthropology’s function is to present to the world, among much else, the world’s own ritual systems, this one among many; and therefore, Anthropology is less and less able to resist the rich reports that are coming in from far-fling places….about conscious live people in the midst of communications with spiritual beings of many kinds….it seems to me that this ‘spirit’ – this ‘consciousness-extends-beyond the body’…..might persist beyond a lifetime, being beyond the body. I reckon it is what we see in ghosts…..” (Edith Turner, “Heart of Lightness: The Life Story of an Anthropologist”, pages 213, 264.).
A “ghost excavation” attempts to go deeper, where no complete ethnographic account has gone before, to unearth these “spirits” of past presence. We seek out new experiences through the recovery of alternative ( past – NOT “paranormal”) states of consciousness. We document events that are “actualities”, not subjective sensations. We unearth an empirical presence that emerges from a set investigative field process that is repeatable at some future date and time.
A “ghost excavation” is a team effort, each participant is involved within a specific role and “mind print” that works together in cognizant of one another AND the entities that continue to linger within a “hauntscape” of distinct sensugraphic layerings on the contemporary surface. This holistic investigative archaeological-ethnographic-theatrical approach is achieved by people who participate together in the immersion and engagement with past presence. This is no “ghost hunt” or “ghost tour”! There is no “I” when we “excavate the ghosts”! There is no ego when we engage the past, nor a demand and command!! And there certainly is no sense of “everyone doing their own thing”!
A “ghost excavation” is experiencing something social, both present and past. That sociality is both cultural and contextual. It initiates (and becomes) a change in current reality and in collective non-ordinary consciousness. It is accomplished, as Edith Turner has said, “when a number of people get into flow together in a collective enterprise”. That “collective enterprise” is a “ghost excavation”!