Intro from “Haunting Archaeologies: The Still Unexcavated Fields”:
Image and Sense of a “Haunted Ruin”: Some Personal Perspectives
Too often, we are prejudiced by simple perception or surface evaluations. Such is the case with many sites we call “haunted”. A place of violent, multiple deaths, a place of suffering, a place that is abandoned, a place of legend, or a place that is neglected is far too often “assumed” to be haunted.
Outward appearances, “imagineerings”, even histories of notable events and or tragic circumstances, can distort what occurs at certain locations, and what separates contemporary reality from popular belief. Too often we believe the “ghost stories”, too frequently we merely follow, without opening our own path to self-discovery and recovery. We summon to “personalities” rather than serious investigators, and we copy rather than produce our own route of exploration. We even seek entertainment, a “thrill ride”, rather than substantive ethnographic research.
We haunt ourselves by creating the “haunted house”, the ghostly site, the phantom ruin, the spectral landscape, and the anomalous trace of “something” (an experience or event) that we label “paranormal”. Such is the case, in one form or another, of the examples that follow. I offer here an alternative commentary on these locations:
• Sleepy Hollow (a place of legend);
• Ft. Mifflin (a place of historic battle and
• Harrisburg State Hospital (a place of suffering);
• St. Joseph’s Cemetery (a place of neglect).
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