There have been moments where investigators both new and seasoned have heard someone say or have said a statement along the lines of, “this place must be haunted because someone died here,” or that “it is haunted, which means the person died here. Truly, it can be a reasonable conclusion, yet it also confines the spirit world into a perfectly fitted formula for explaining who and partially why someone is haunting a location. In the paranormal world, words such as “fitting,” “easy,” and “reasonable” are rarely accurate descriptions.
A general exception to this rule are places that include battlefields. These are tricky because they are so tied to moments that have scarred time and history that any choices made by spirits to stay or go elsewhere are certainly riddled with difficulties. As a favorite place of many paranormal investigators, Gettysburg does have a number of spirits who act as those the war has not yet ended. Investigators have caught EVPs warning them away from certain, brutally bloody parts of the battlefield, for example, the Wheatfield; or ones yelling at visitors to “get out of the way”. When asked why they stay, some claim answers of work left to be done; hinting at a choice to move on, yet over one hundred and fifty years later, they still have not.
There are spirits who do leave the battlefields to haunt other, seemingly unusual places. It may seem an oddity that these spirits still do not always return home, instead haunting the place that was the source of their death prior to a battle. For instance, at Codorus Iron Furnace in York County, Pennsylvania there have been sightings and contact made with a Revolutionary War soldier. He reportedly haunts the furnace because that is where some of the cannonballs were manufactured for the Continental Army during the war. Evidently, he was the unfortunate target of an artillery shot.
On a more understandable level of spirit contact and location are those who chose to remain with family. Whether it is in their own house or a relatives, family ghosts have made themselves feel at home. From personal experience and through private investigations, contact has been made with family members who died in their own home or nursing homes and then found their way to family. Some would call this a type of guardian angel complex; however not everyone subscribes to the idea of angels, or people being able to cross over and come back. Some people may just leave their bodies and go directly to where they want to be.
There have been occasions where the family member is waiting for another person to die. During an investigation inside a chapel, an EVP was acquired from a gentleman waiting for his wife to pass on. Certainly, there are stories of funeral parlors being haunted, even if it does seem like a set up for a horror story. Only on very rare occasions has it been mentioned of someone passing away in a funeral home. The hauntings could be tied to former employees, or in the case of funeral homes that were previously private homes before the renovation into a business, there could be lingering activity not connected to the funeral home. If one takes away the other factors, there still remains stories of hauntings in funeral homes caused by people who did not die there.
Some spirits may split between two or more locations in what may well be both residual and intelligent hauntings. Henry VIII’s second wife, Anne Boleyn, is said to haunt both her childhood home and the place where she died. Of course, by all accounts Anne is only one of several spirits that haunt the Tower of London; a place that holds a distinction as a royal palace where monarchs wait to be crowned and the Crown Jewels are protectively displayed. It is also a location that has a “Traitor’s Gate,” coming in from the Thames. Once through that gate, death is often the only means of escape.
When Anne Boleyn was beheaded, one of six who died due to the king’s quest for a new wife. He married Jane Seymour ten days after Anne’s death. Members of the Yeoman Guard, her Majesty’s soldiers who watch over the Tower of London, have reported seeing a headless woman in period clothing roaming the Tower Green on the date of Anne’s beheading, May 19th 1536. She also makes her way through the Chapel Royal, near the Lieutenant’s lodgings, and in the Queen’s House.
As for where she lived, visitors to Hever Castle have reportedly seen a young Anne Boleyn running around the grounds. Hever was likely the last true peace Anne had away from court life. Likely the sightings of young Anne are more residual since no one claims to have communicated with her at the castle. Other, less substantiated sightings of Anne have also occurred at Windsor Castle, Hampton Court, and Rochford Hall, a manor house owned by her family. With all of these last three, the tales generally take on a romanticized, wild view of Anne; typically she is clutching she head in her arms and screaming or running down the corridors. Such ideas do not exactly fit the deceased queen who remained witty to the end, and calm as she approached the block. It is hard to imagine death taking away any vestige of noble charm to her persona.
From family homes, to work places, funeral parlors, cemeteries, and castles, there are any number of places that the dead can remain in their afterlife. There are many places for the dead to choose from, with many different reasons and factors in those decisions. Any place, whether someone died there or not, can be haunted or have a spirit inhabiting it. It is important for anyone in or interested in the paranormal field to keep an open mind about what spirits and ghosts can and cannot do. Or where they go. Besides death, nothing is definite; and even in death, there are still possibilities.