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💀 DETECTING in a GRAVEYARD 💀

ManInTheWall

Active member
FOUND THIS STORY ONLINE.....

Recently, I was taken to task on Facebook for expressing that I sometimes hunt graveyards, and think it’s fine to do so. I wrote as much in my book, and have expected to be given some grief about it, but so far the only place I’ve found that attitude is online. Many commenters were aghast, expressing their outrage at the immorality or at least unethical-ness of the practice. Sorry, but I couldn’t disagree more, unless you’re hunting right on top of or close to the grave plots themselves, or your locale has laws against it.

Churchyard
I was frankly taken aback that people who are as into history as most detectorists are don’t seem to realize that spending leisure time in a cemetery is as old as people themselves. In the Old Country, having picnics, weddings and other ceremonies in graveyards is not only okay, it’s encouraged in many cultures as a way to commune with loved ones who have passed. In others, such as several South American countries, actual revelry takes place there, as a sign of respect for and inclusion of the dead in the lives of those they loved who still go on. I find it difficult to believe that some serious (though perhaps inadvertent) actual grave-stomping doesn’t go on during these events, but no one seems to mind. And detectorists aren’t doing any such thing, unless they grave-robbing to begin with, and that’s just plain criminal from the word “go.”

The fact is, back in the day when not everyone had the means to own their own land, places to get a change of scenery without having to drive a wagon miles from home were few and far between. But nearly everyone could manage get to the town graveyard, even if they had to walk. So, many families made a day of it, going to visit and pay respect to deceased loved ones, followed by a picnic on the grass alongside, which was one of the few public greens that was regularly mowed. While the grownups talked, ate and laughed, items fell from their pockets. Children played with each other there, and dropped things. And I’m sure the same shedding of items goes on today.

Victorian Cemetery Picnic
In Victorian times, this practice actually became something of a fad, and in homage to that, many steampunk cosplay groups today routinely hold such events in cemeteries (though they do tend to choose the more historic-looking ones, for obvious reasons).

So, as detectorists and amateur historians, consider that outside of the gravesites proper, cemeteries have a long history as legitimate, even somewhat fond, public gathering places. If you’re spooked by these spots, then by all means, stay away. But unless it’s illegal in one’s area, don’t vilify those of us who hunt ethically around the edges. There’s nothing any more morally wrong with that than there is with hunting curbside grass strips or public parks. It’s not disrespectful unless you trample all over the graves themselves, or otherwise deface them.

In fact, when I do occasionally hunt these spots (yes, I freely admit it! I always get permission — in fact I just got a new one today — and I stay at LEAST five feet away from anywhere that might possibly be a gravesite), I often stroll through first, to read the stones and pay my own respects to the residents. I also sometimes talk to the inhabitants…yes, out loud. They’re not creepy, they’re peaceful; and especially lately, I prefer their respectful silence to the uncivil screeching the living seem to be constantly hurling at each other.

You can also learn a great deal about an area’s history by reading gravestones, and sometimes the inscriptions are quite touching. So please: If you choose not to hunt graveyards, that’s entirely your prerogative. But get a grip and don’t go off half-cocked about how awful people are who choose to see these places for what they are: sacred spaces, yes, but also repositories of some of society’s purest, most unvarnished history, full of those who no longer lie, cheat, steal or cause pain.

And if you really think about it, most of us are gonna end up there someday. I know if I were lying there, I’d infinitely prefer a visit now and then from someone swinging a harmless stick near enough to chat a little and acknowledge my presence, rather than to be isolated forevermore from any contact with the living.
 

Ronstar

Well-known member
Interesting points. I think generally speaking when John Q Public sees a detectorist in a cemetery they think of grave robbers.
 

TerryEastTexas

Well-known member
I respectfully disagree with you. I can see how you come to your conclusions but there is another side to every argument and for me it's just disrespectful to detect in a cemetery.
Plus it looks bad for the hobby. I don't and never have done it.
 

Coin Rescue Inc

Well-known member
This is socially unacceptable for ages. I looked to see if threre are laws in my state. There is.
 

ManInTheWall

Active member
This is socially unacceptable for ages. I looked to see if threre are laws in my state. There is.
With all do respect I read that code, and it says nothing about detecting and only damage to monuments
 

Coin Rescue Inc

Well-known member
Each burial plot is owned by someone or a living relative. Traditional.plots can be as small as 42" x 7 ft, each adjoining the other. Staying 5 ft away from an obvious grave does not clear you from trespassing on someone else's property.
If you ever get arrested for this, let me know. It would be interesting to watch you plead your case.
 

#1Leatherneck

Well-known member
Rest in peace. Disturbing the peace. It would be difficult to put that together with any stranger in the presence of a loved one that was placed to 'rest in peace'.
When I read that: Michigan Penal Code:

750.387 Willful destruction of property; memorials of dead; protective or ornamental structures; trees, shrubs, or plants; violation as misdemeanor or felony; penalties; enhanced sentence based on prior convictions.
There was one glaring fact that leaps off of the page: "trees, shrubs, or plants" Contrary to popular opinion grass, or weeds are undisputedly 'plant life'.
Many have the wrong concept "I know how to cut a plug." Irrespectively, whether the hole one 'winks' is done in any manner the goal is not how the plug was cut.
The end result is the goal of a successful transplanting of the plant life.
Many would be extremely irate to observe any one nearby the burial location of a loved one placed to rest and the aesthetic appearance is disturbed by one having a shovel 'cutting a plug'; subsequently, realizing the hole they 'winked' has an unsightly 'brown spot' premised on the fact that it was not properly 'transplanted' as the instructions on most plant life purchased in any gardening center that it should be watered in for the purpose of introducing a capillary (wick) action to increase a successful transplanting.
If any of my fellow members should ever be charged for this good luck on obtaining an attorney to represent you most of the populace would find this to leave a bad taste in their mouth.


Leatherneck,
Semper fidelis
 
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Picketwire

Well-known member
I think a cemetery is a place for reflection about our short time on this earth and about how others have come and gone. I still get teary eyes when I go by the grave of two brothers who died on the same ship at Pearl Harbor. I see graves of young people who passed away long before their time. I see where veterans of the Civil War are buried and wonder how they ended up here. Life and death are a reality in this peaceful place. I have never looked at it as a source of recreation or profit.
 

JCR TX

Well-known member
The original article is very good regardless of your view on actually detecting in/around a cemetery. Around here, many organizations still have a clean up/ decoration day every year with dinner on the ground. Modern society has mistakenly stigmatized anything about death.
 

Missouri -- Ma Betty

Well-known member
FOUND THIS STORY ONLINE.....

Recently, I was taken to task on Facebook for expressing that I sometimes hunt graveyards, and think it’s fine to do so. I wrote as much in my book, and have expected to be given some grief about it, but so far the only place I’ve found that attitude is online. Many commenters were aghast, expressing their outrage at the immorality or at least unethical-ness of the practice. Sorry, but I couldn’t disagree more, unless you’re hunting right on top of or close to the grave plots themselves, or your locale has laws against it.

Churchyard
I was frankly taken aback that people who are as into history as most detectorists are don’t seem to realize that spending leisure time in a cemetery is as old as people themselves. In the Old Country, having picnics, weddings and other ceremonies in graveyards is not only okay, it’s encouraged in many cultures as a way to commune with loved ones who have passed. In others, such as several South American countries, actual revelry takes place there, as a sign of respect for and inclusion of the dead in the lives of those they loved who still go on. I find it difficult to believe that some serious (though perhaps inadvertent) actual grave-stomping doesn’t go on during these events, but no one seems to mind. And detectorists aren’t doing any such thing, unless they grave-robbing to begin with, and that’s just plain criminal from the word “go.”

The fact is, back in the day when not everyone had the means to own their own land, places to get a change of scenery without having to drive a wagon miles from home were few and far between. But nearly everyone could manage get to the town graveyard, even if they had to walk. So, many families made a day of it, going to visit and pay respect to deceased loved ones, followed by a picnic on the grass alongside, which was one of the few public greens that was regularly mowed. While the grownups talked, ate and laughed, items fell from their pockets. Children played with each other there, and dropped things. And I’m sure the same shedding of items goes on today.

Victorian Cemetery Picnic
In Victorian times, this practice actually became something of a fad, and in homage to that, many steampunk cosplay groups today routinely hold such events in cemeteries (though they do tend to choose the more historic-looking ones, for obvious reasons).

So, as detectorists and amateur historians, consider that outside of the gravesites proper, cemeteries have a long history as legitimate, even somewhat fond, public gathering places. If you’re spooked by these spots, then by all means, stay away. But unless it’s illegal in one’s area, don’t vilify those of us who hunt ethically around the edges. There’s nothing any more morally wrong with that than there is with hunting curbside grass strips or public parks. It’s not disrespectful unless you trample all over the graves themselves, or otherwise deface them.

In fact, when I do occasionally hunt these spots (yes, I freely admit it! I always get permission — in fact I just got a new one today — and I stay at LEAST five feet away from anywhere that might possibly be a gravesite), I often stroll through first, to read the stones and pay my own respects to the residents. I also sometimes talk to the inhabitants…yes, out loud. They’re not creepy, they’re peaceful; and especially lately, I prefer their respectful silence to the uncivil screeching the living seem to be constantly hurling at each other.

You can also learn a great deal about an area’s history by reading gravestones, and sometimes the inscriptions are quite touching. So please: If you choose not to hunt graveyards, that’s entirely your prerogative. But get a grip and don’t go off half-cocked about how awful people are who choose to see these places for what they are: sacred spaces, yes, but also repositories of some of society’s purest, most unvarnished history, full of those who no longer lie, cheat, steal or cause pain.

And if you really think about it, most of us are gonna end up there someday. I know if I were lying there, I’d infinitely prefer a visit now and then from someone swinging a harmless stick near enough to chat a little and acknowledge my presence, rather than to be isolated forevermore from any contact with the living.

WOW!! This looks like the hillside leading up to our family cemetery when I was a child & even later after I left home but returned for family, friends & even strangers gathering together for visiting, for prayers, to hear the appointed Preacher or Preachers preach & then dinner on the ground--with quilts, blankets & sheets spread from the cemetery down to the road where we climbed up the hill to park unless it was too muddy--clay ground gets slick & not enough room for parking all the cars we rode in to celebrate DECORATION DAY!

Since all the old PPL, like my mom & dad, have died & also not many in my age group (80's -100's) are still living so unlike the crowds of the past--fewer of the living & their children seldom attend! The Covid-19 Pandemic stopped the attendance & dinners (although there are tables, seats & toilet facilities available now)! I can't travel & my children don't go; so, most likely, I won't be there until my turn to occupy a grave site! Come walk & talk to me & my family all you want but no cursing nor taking my Lord Jesus' name in vain! My ex & I detected there but poor folks don't have much to lose so very little found! Just be nice enough to keep the place as you found it & then we (the dead) won't haunt you! :rolleyes: WOW! Love that photo! Reminds this ole lady of my past! God Bless! Ma Betty
 
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Picketwire

Well-known member
There is a graveyard in an old internment camp near here where Japanese American citizens were sent during WW2. There is a monument to soldiers of Japanese decent who died fighting for us in the war as well as one praising a soldier of Japanese decent who was awarded the Medal of Honor. There are coins on most of the graves there including one for a baby that died on Christmas after a few days of life. You wouldn't even need a metal detector to recover these offerings. There are also pretty rocks and ribbons there, exactly where I left them, just like the coins. Every offering there was given by someone who cared and, to me, is more valuable there than in anyone's pocket.

Here is another point. If everyone who owns a detector goes out today and detects in a graveyard, tomorrow we will all be banned from using them almost everywhere.
 

#1Leatherneck

Well-known member
The connotations ascribed to this is such that it would leave a bad taste in any prudent persons' mouth. C/P
A ghoul (Arabic: غول, ghūl) is a demon-like being or monstrous humanoid. The concept originated in pre-Islamic Arabian religion,[1] associated with graveyards and the consumption of human flesh. Modern fiction often uses the term to label a certain kind of undead monster.

By extension,
the word ghoul is also used in a derogatory sense to refer to a person who delights in the macabre or whose occupation directly involves death, such as a gravedigger or graverobber.[2]Wikipedia (c/p) Ante.
Wikipedia. Merriam-Webster 2: one suggestive of a ghoul especially :
one who shows morbid interest in things considered shocking or repulsive
A movie was made about a man who was drove to visit his fathers' grave by his wife they had acquiesced in the knowledge he was buried with a lottery ticket in his jacket pocket. When he opened the grave his father had a smile on his face, (sardonic smile) and it was transposed to his face. The smile is known as the sardonic smiles. Ghouls are those who rob the dead or nearly dead.
If one wishes to do whatever: fare thee well. Myself, I would never enter a graveyard with any intentions of any pecuniary interest. Best case scenario no post herein even hints at condoning or facilitating entering into such a sacred place for any pecuniary interest. God forbid

Leatherneck
Semper fidelis
 
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Ronstar

Well-known member
Just to expand a bit here……
In reading the MI law it appears the “intent” of the law was aimed at vandalism within the cemetery. That being headstone tipping, defacing headstones or mosques, or other recognized burial items, flowers or ornaments laid upon or planted upon the plot owned by the family, etc. I don’t see the word excavate which is an act we generally do to retrieve the target. Im not saying its a loophole either. As said it takes just one act of a person which shocks the conscience of a reasonable person to create a law which now could be construed to apply to city/county parks or any other place normally observed to be “public property” or “property open to the public”. Its better to corral our own than have a single act take away from all equally.
 

irnwrkr

Well-known member
Personally I have no qualms with hunting a graveyard however i will not do it because of feelings of members of the community. The residents of the graveyard aren’t going to use the finds, people have feelings about what they see in that regard. I have two counties to work plenty of schools and fields and have not seen another detector in years out here
 

Monte

Well-known member
I've been researching old sites since 1969 and, in doing so, I always look for cemetery sites in all of the older, non-urban locations I like to hunt. Once I have them located on maps, I make sure to pay the locations a visit when I am wandering about on a detecting jaunt. I like to walk about old cemeteries and read headstones and sometimes other posted information about the local area. Interesting, but I never hunt inside the cemetery confines.

I DO, however, survey the surrounding area near the cemetery, immediately close or nearby surrounding areas, because I have found some good detecting places outside and relatively close to cemeteries where horses and buggies and wagons were hitched, autos were parked, or areas were folks used to maybe picnic after attending to a cemetery visit or clean-up. Near, but not in the actual cemetery.

Monte
 
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