I work for a small community museum, and not one week goes by without someone asking me if the museum is haunted. Valid question, perhaps, knowing that the houses are over 150 years old, and deaths and funerals very likely took place in these homes. Morbid sounding, sure, but that was the customs for the times. In the Victorian times, if a death occurred, a family or visiting undertaker would prepare the body for the funeral, which most often than not, took place in the home. Death was less marginalized and spoken of more openly than it is today. When I give tours through our latest exhibit on mourning customs, I am very aware of my wording and trying to be as sensitive as I can towards the subject matter. The Victorians were slightly more matter-of-fact about everything.
Very long story short, yes, deaths occurred many years ago at my museum.
Does this mean they are haunted? That depends on who you ask. I am rather skeptical about it. If there has been an ‘encounter,’ there must be a reasonable explanation for it. Bumps and sounds? We’re in a public park, it must be a sound from outside. As well, I have not had an ‘apparition’ appear to me. If someone ever does appear and ask me how it’s going, I’ll re-evaluate my position. A few of my other co-workers are more open minded and perhaps more receptive to spirits, but I myself haven’t had any experiences, and this is my answer when people ask. It’s not very exciting, and it’s not the answer more people want to hear. When people ask the question, I suspect they are looking for confirmation that the story they heard from a friend of a friend is true. Being scared is supposed to be fun, isn’t it?
Skepticism aside, I participated in a paranormal investigation our museum hosted this weekend. I remained in our administrative building, so I didn’t go around on the hunt with our visitors, but I heard stories once they returned of meters going off, of signs, and of uneasy feelings. Everyone had fun.
After the guests left, I closed the buildings with two investigators.
“Do you mind, now that it’s quiet, if we take a few minutes and see if any spirits are around?” I was asked. “They might not have wanted to be present with so many people going through.”
I didn’t mind, so we sat in our 175 year old house, lights off, 10:45pm, and we waited. The investigators asked a few questions, and then they asked me to ask a few (that the spirits might be more receptive to a feminine voice). Either the spirits weren’t present that evening, or I’m not receptive to the spirits, for after about 10 minutes, with not much contact, we went around and locked the building up.
I might be a skeptic, but for good measure, I had salt with me at all times Saturday night. You never know…