New Fall Traditions: Cemetery Grave Adoptions – The Big Séance Podcast: My Paranormal World #11

Patrick shares stories of the New Fall Tradition of Cemetery Grave Adoptions that he started last year, and meet Little Johnnie and Clara. He also gives tips and recommendations, so that you can begin your own grave adoption project.


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For more on Little Johnnie and Clara, and for photos from last year’s grave adoptions, visit Adopting Graves 2013: My Thoughts and a Look Back on a New Tradition.

For Renae Rude – The Paranormalist’s post that inspired this tradition, visit Graveyards, churchyards and cemeteries: spending an afternoon with the dead



8 Tips to start your new Grave Adoption Tradition:

  • Know that you have the right to be in a cemetery to pay your respects, just be sensitive and respectful of others. 
  • Choose a grave or head stone that is interesting to you, most likely older, and out of respect, one that doesn’t already have signs of regular visitors, or family members paying respects.
  • If you’re interested in the genealogy of this project, be sure to choose a head stone that still clearly displays a name and dates.
  • Realize that the days will get shorter as you get deeper into the fall. Most cemeteries have times posted when the cemetery is closed, and it’s usually “dusk”.
  • Bring meaningful gifts or flowers on each visit… but realize that you’re responsible for disposing of them later.
  • Don’t be afraid to just talk casually, or even flat out describe your new tradition to your adopted soul.
  • Take photos on each visit. Document the work you’re doing, if for nothing else, to inspire others.
  • Have fun… don’t take it too seriously… and definitely don’t make it about MOURNING or being SAD.


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About Patrick Keller

Patrick Keller is an educator, blogger, and the host of the Big Séance Podcast, which is a place for paranerds to have an open discussion on all things paranormal, but specifically topics like ghosts and hauntings, paranormal research, spirit communication, psychics and mediums, and life after death. He’s the founder of the now inactive Missouri Spirit Seekers and has spent a lot of time experimenting with spirit communication tools and techniques, such as EVP. Patrick also has a passion for spending hours at a time in cemeteries and loves cemetery photography. Visit! View all posts by Patrick Keller

4 responses to “New Fall Traditions: Cemetery Grave Adoptions – The Big Séance Podcast: My Paranormal World #11

  • Renae Rude - The Paranormalist

    This is a fantastic episode, Patrick. (Of course it caught my eye right away.) On my graveyard-themed post, where I first mentioned grave adoption, I’ll add a prominent link to this podcast & post.

    • Patrick Keller

      Thanks, Renae! And thanks for the original inspiration! I think I’m going to head out on Sunday to get v. 2.0 started. I’ve got my eye on a new cemetery that I’ve somehow missed. 🙂 And it will be a beautiful day. My camera hasn’t been out of its bag for months.

  • Melissa

    Grave adoptions can sound a little creepy, but when you tell about how you did all the research and what you learned it’s actually quite fascinating. I will admit I would be a bit apprehensive to do this, but actually like the idea.
    Last year my family went to a cemetery that is only a two minute drive from our house to visit my husbands parents graves and take flowers. As we were leaving I made him stop the car at the older section of the cemetery so we could view the really old tombstones I’ve always wanted to check out. The graves were all from the 1800’s. My children noticed many people died young or as children and asked a lot of questions why. As we got back into the car I had an overwhelming smell of like an old, musky home (sort of like a really old home that is now a museum or that smell of antique stores) attached to me. I asked if anyone could smell it and of course no one could (and they all thought I was nuts!).
    For about a month after I would occasionally smell that same smell only in the mornings in our bedroom near a window that I kept open overnight. I was convinced that for whatever reason a spirit followed us home that day and kept coming back. I finally told the spirit, or what I believed to be a spirit, that they had to go back and they couldn’t stay because it was making me uncomfortable, but that I hope they would be ok and thanks for visiting. I never smelled it again. So after that experience I’d be gun shy to adopt a grave myself but I love the idea. And yes, I’ve been in cemetery’s before that and after and never had that experience. Maybe one day I’ll get brave and consider grave adoption, but until then I can’t wait to hear more about your future grave adoptions.

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