I’ve been basting in my semi-air-conditioned condo today as a result of new roofing being installed (translation: no AC compressor). The 85 degree temps mean that as long as I don’t move, I don’t feel like I’m going to die. So, what do I do with this excuse to sit and be productive working on something like, oh, I don’t know – course prep? I google ghost hunting in Atlanta.
I thought that, as one of America’s more haunted cities, I’d come up with some sort of miraculously credible organization ushering in all sorts of paranormal and ghostly findings to the greater Atlanta area… Sadly… What I’ve run into is pretty much like every other ghosty-type thing I’ve run across… Sadly amateur and disappointing.
Of course most of said operations are undoubtedly hobby/side-line gigs where publicity occurs on lunch breaks in the form of blogs and self-published web pages. I can’t fault them much on that point as I myself do the same thing to promote my own stuff. But, I guess I am a jaded paranormal inquisitive because 1.) my interest is primarily academic -and thus professionally slanted, 2.) I feel like paranormal interests get a bad rap largely because of the cheese factor that discredits pretty much 99.9% of the field, and 3.) I’m an art/design snob. Sad, but true.
So, as you can imagine, sites that feature flying ghost gifs, copious amounts of billowy fog through Spanish moss incrusted trees, and flash slide shows of “orbs” shot while on a $39.99 tour… well… they rub me all sorts of wrong ways. Atlanta may be haunted but when looking for authentic experiences you’ll quickly find that most require a working credit card and a willingness to endure lots of cheese and slight of hand.
There a some arguably better bits of info out there on the area like an article about the three top “haunts” in Atlanta by Ayanna Guyhto who, markedly, resists the urge to demean or slam the idea of haunted places but is also careful not to make at seem as though she has a real serious interest (hence the title of article I’m guessing). Guyhto at least talks about some places I continually ran across with a bit of more academic journalistic tone and a significant lack of camp. Case in point: one site said that a living vampire was known to frequent Masquerade (#2 on Guyhto’s list)… No joke – well, theres a joke there but not one intended by the author of tip (actual theres more than one).
I suppose I was looking for some good photo ops, the kind you can’t get from a drive-by glance at a haunted local while motoring around the city on a segue for $70. The closest I’ve come to finding such a place is the Historic Oakland Cemetary where my husband will be participating in the 5k “Run Like Hell” marathon in October.
I suppose I may be better off sticking to abandoned buildings, warehouses, and the like. I did find one list that may potentially be promising… At least the authors do you a solid and state exactly which locations will call the cops. (mad props)
Of course, it’s not like I have any specific plans for such hot spots… It’s not as if I believe I’ll capture a photo of a ghost or anything. But, in the back of my mind the link between spirit phenomena and photography can not be ignored and some part of me feels like the medium should be explored as a potential way of communicating ideas of veils, scrims, and other illusionary boundaries we construct around ourselves.
Perhaps it’s impossible to escape the campiness that follows this enviable path but, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from hours searching for like minded artists… It’s that although the line is thin, there is a good balance to be found at the juncture.
How do we know if we’ve gone far enough if we’ve not been willing to go to far to begin with?