Yesterday I was involved in trying to make sure that a paranormal group did not investigate a Native American site. Since we always see things through our eyes of our upbringing, experience , knowledge and environment, others equated that to investigating cemeteries. They actually have nothing to do with each other. The NA site is not a burial site, although there are most certainly burials there. The original people didn't have pretty fenced in lawns down the street for their dead.
The Native American belief (for the most part) is that when you die one soul (they believe you have more than one), makes a journey. They body is sometimes buried in special places, sometimes facing a particular direction, and with items believed to help them make the journey safely. The reason we do not disturb sites where the original people lived, is that we never want to disrupt that journey, nor touch things belonging to a deceased person. It is NOT a religious thing. When these people were alive there were items some never touched. For example you have heard me say that a woman on her moon cannot touch ceremonial objects. That belief still exists when the objects belong to a deceased person. The original people , the Native Americans, were not people who looked at their relationship with Creator as a religion. Modern Native Americans may even follow tradition and Christianity. Some do not. They are two very different things. It is hard for someone who did not grow up with that influence to understand that the NA way is not a religion.
There are many beliefs, traditions and taboos in different Nations about death, and the body of the deceased. There are some particulars that relate to certain tribes, or areas of the country and not others, but the basic belief of not disturbing the journey is prevalent.
In this country we have several things that we do depending on a religious belief system or upbringing. There is an old belief that we don't disturb the dead. I really don't know how you would disturb a dead body because there is nothing in there. No soul. It leaves. It may stay right there in the cemetery, may go back to its' childhood home, may tag along with you because you attract it somehow. It may go where it has always wanted to, or go and check on family, but unless it wants to be there, or is somehow lost, it isn't in the cemetery. Are there spirits in the cemetery? Sure, also if you look over your shoulder right now, you will see at least one, well maybe not actually "see it" but it is there. A guide (a dead person) is always with you.There are most likely a couple of dead folks hanging with you right now.
Cemeteries are not places of rest. It is funny how that comcept comes up when every belief system we have, says that the soul leaves the body. It goes all sorts of places according to belief systems (but basically it has 2 options that I have written about a few times,that is hang around, or go to the light. Suicides have the same options, but the "hang around is only in the place they died, they cannot move about like other spirits). The belief systems however, nowhere say that the soul hangs out in the casket. The "do not disturb the dead" thing came from people being scared half to death of cemeteries, spirits and ghosts. This was a good excuse to stay away. It has no basis in religious dogma.
Modern belief systems have added wording to try to scare you off form spirits, psychics, mediums. They want to be your source of comfort and solace.
There is absolutely no reason to treat a cemetery different than any other haunted site. When you feel that investigating in a cemetery at night is wrong, than you shouldn't investigate anywhere. What you SHOULD do is only talk to those who talk to you. Never provoke ANYWHERE and see who wants to just chat, or who needs help.There is nothing special about a cemetery. It is a bunch of dirt where dead bodies with no souls in them to disturb, are placed. When you won't investigate a cemetery, then you can't investigate a battlefield, especially of the Civil War era where there were so many bodies they were left where they lie. You can't investigate a place like Fox Hollow where victims were buried in the woods.Just putting up a fence and a sign "cemetery" makes no difference at all.
I have found spirits in cemeteries directing live people to souls who want help. I have found lost souls, I have found people who just want to chat. They don't mind at all that people are there, and actually welcome them.I have found most who want to play or need help in cemeteries....they are welcoming not forbidding.
Going back to the NA discussion, the rules are different because this is not about the "religion" of the death. It is about the process of the afterlife and the rules of handling of items in the previous life. There is even more to it, but it has nothing to do with religious beliefs or fears. Some place bodies in sacred areas, yes, others, no. It is about not disturbing the things that the person needs for their journey around the other world. It is about not touching items belonging to those who have passed and might need them in the other life. The Egyptians did a similar thing. Provided the dead with all they would need in the afterlife, and a sealed , booby trapped, or cursed tomb if they were rich enough. It was to protect the journey around the other world.It was to protect the Pharaoh's items he would need.
None of this has anything to do with religion. Even cemeteries. Catholics believe that you immediately are scooped up and brought to a holding place (Purgatory). Here you wait while the ones you left behind try to send your soul in the right direction. It used to be by paying for mass to be said for you so you could "get out" and move on to Heaven. your life was reviewed and St. Peter would allow you in or not....
It would make no sense for a Catholic to believe that there are dead people being disturbed in the cemetery, it goes against the basic tenants of the religion. Christian beliefs are all basically centered on the same beliefs with some little adjustments.There are other beliefs that the soul stays with the body for a few days while others (alive) clear the path for them.The Tibetan Book of The Dead is a good example of people sitting with and watching the body so it can prepare, and then reading a sort of "instruction manual" to the dead person so they will know what to do on that journey, and what to watch out for.
All around the world however, in every belief system, there is none that believes people are "resting" in a cemetery. Your attic, basement, deserted area, sure. Some probably do go to the cemetery, it is quiet at night, but they aren't in eternal sleep that you can disturb.
It is funny how old beliefs, old wives tales still govern our modern lives.Even funnier is how religion contradicts itself constantly.
When you are an investigator, make sure that you are respectful, that you never provoke, that you leave things as you found them. I remember one group saying how they set up angels. Are you kidding me? What if the people there have no belief in angels, what if they feel fine before you entered. What if the angels have better things to do (they do). Last time I checked the only person in charge of the angelic realm was God. We can ask for help, but we don't order angels around. We never impose our beliefs on others. Ever, live or dead.
The problem today is so many people calling themselves ghost hunters, that do not have a CLUE as to the other side, how it is structured, how to help if needed, and what is taboo. They just know how to use monitors and recorders. The former is so much more important than the latter. I am glad that TV brought the paranormal out in to the light, but I am not glad it created a lot of Zak wannabees. I remember a person who leads a group saying....e don't know anything about the other side, no one does. Bullcrap. Maybe he doesn't , but many psychics, mystics,mediums, channels, visionaries, prophets know a PILE of information about the other side. He should know if he is an investigator.
Always be respectful, and being respectful means to never investigate NA areas. Not because of religion or resting spirits, but as to not disturb the journey and items associated with it. When you don't know what you are doing, don't do it. Learn from experienced investigators and NEVER pay anyone to teach you how to investigate. Any respectable paranormal investigating group will teach you for free.
Treat the spirits as if they were live people. People who "live" in a place that you just entered.
Do unto others......and do the right things for the right reasons.
(C)2013 Dr R M Wolf. May not be used, copied or reproduced without prior written permission.