Being a paranormal investigator doesn’t make it easy to explain why locations have claimed hauntings. If you’ve been following Stories in the Cemetery for any period of time, you may realize that we don’t always explore the common “haunted” areas/locations that you see on television or hear about on the internet. We love diving into any area that has shown a raised emotion from any time period, not just death and despair.
For us, it’s the history that brings ghost hunting and investigating through valid research that brings this craft to life; literally. But how does history show us, literally, how it is existing in some places more than others? There’s a very complicated answer to this, yet simple in theory, that can explain it’s complexity simply because we cannot fully understand it based on the limits of our senses.
The Stone Tape Theory
Since the 19th century, scientists with different expertise have been studying different variations of place memory; a realm of emotions, spoken words, or raised emotion outside of the living senses of mankind. Sounds far-fetched, but don’t all theories have an illogical thought process before they are proven? It’s how we learn, how we grow to understand, and how we explore what is currently outstretched beyond our belief.
There are three types of stone that are said to have the properties that can contain paranormal activity that cannot be explained. Although we won’t go into the very scientific, nerdy components of these stones, they need to be named: Quartz, Magnetite, and Limestone. These three types of stones hold properties that are claimants of supernatural ability.
Quartz, when cut a specific way, generates an electrical charge. This is exciting for paranormal enthusiasts based on the generic term “energy” that is thrown around so often.
Magnetite, also exciting, because this is a magnet and let’s face it, one of our favorite tools to use in the field are electromagnetic field meters. These measure any electromagnetic field from wiring, buildings, cell phones and any other man-made object that generates a signaled charge. Magnets have been used in the paranormal field and have done some unusual activities for decades. Just think of spinning compasses as pilots fly through the Bermuda Triangle.
Lastly, limestone. Probably one of the most common terms used when explaining paranormal activity Limestone truly doesn’t have any properties about it that state (scientifically, at least) why paranormal occurrences happen when this stone is present. In other words, it’s unexplainable based on our current understanding of the stone.
But what exactly is the Stone Tape Theory and how do the forementioned stones attribute to it? Let’s dive in.
The Stone Tape Theory deals with “place memory” directly. This is the idea that the raised emotions of a location can be recorded by substances (like stone) of the natural earth. You might be thinking that there are other theories where other man made objects are also haunted, but we’re dealing strictly with natural elements for this study.
The memory being recorded into the natural element at hand, particularly those forementioned above, is then said to replay over and over again, as if in a loop. The replay is then able to be accessed through that of electronic devices such as video cameras, EVP audio recordings and the like.
The term “residual haunting” is often associated with the Stone Tape Theory and for good reason. The technical definition of a residual haunting is the replay of a specific event in time that has been absorbed by the space. The space can be of a multitude of materials including man made objects, like a piece of furniture, or natural elements, like stone that makes up a building.
It can be theorized that Residual Hauntings and Place Memory are tied to the Stone Tape Theory giving us a reality beyond our comprehension. Leaving imprints of raised emotion behind inside natural elements raises more questions that our human senses may not be handle fully on their own. This is where scientific equipment can not just help us understand, but begs to be evolved and help us fully comprehend our true relation to the earth and what happens beyond the grave.
Residual Hauntings often play at specific intervals like at the same time of day, month or year based on the emotion of the event. Think of a bride who may have passed on her wedding day, but only haunts the space on her anniversary.
While investigating a space, and in terms of investigating, I mean more of going through the data and looking at the research of the space as a whole, think of all the data collected and look for patterns. Are there certain times of your real time investigation that were more active with EMF spikes, EVP or anomalies in video recordings? Do these time frames match with the research/interviews of eye-witness accounts?
If yes, to either of the questions above, then it is time to investigate the space again in a controlled timeline. Compare the notes from the first investigation and then make a decision if you are dealing with a residual haunting and/or the Stone Tape Theory.
Lodge Alley in Charleston, South Carolina
Often, it can be easier to explain the scientific methods of a paranormal investigation with an actual location. Welcome to Lodge Alley in downtown Charleston, South Carolina.
I tour my ghost hunting guests through this specific alley on a nightly basis on the Interactive Ghost Hunting Experiences. I’ve been told by those in the tourism industry that this location is boring, doesn’t hold much history and can be a downer for a ghost tour. Well, well, well, this isn’t a normal style of ghost tour, now is it? I also completely disagree that this location doesn’t hold much history.
Basic History of the Alley
Dating back to at least 1739, this alley was used as a passageway to get to the wharves on the outer edge of the Charleston peninsula. It was originally named as Simmons Alley and changed to Lodge Alley when the Freemasons built one of the first Masonic Lodges in this location in 1773.
What I found through research was that after the Freemasons built their Lodge here, residents of Charleston had homes in this alley. Using the full roster of names of those that once resided here, I began to see a pattern.
The names “Benjamin” and “John” began to show themselves every 6-7 weeks during the Interactive Ghost Hunting Experiences. Granted, there are four different Johns that lived in this location during a 60 year time span, but the name Johnson would also come through just as often as the first names mentioned prior.
In 1801, there lived a Benjamin Hopkins and John Johnson inside of Lodge Alley. Every once in a great while, the name “Jane” will come through on a spirit box as well. The same year of 1801, when Benjamin and John were recorded residing here, there also lived a Jane Moderen. Folks, that’s three out of five people that lived here in 1801. I do not find it coincidental to be receiving these names regularly inside the alley.
Thorough research brought no results as to what happened in this alley during the year 1801, but I cannot deny the fact that the same names keep appearing over again in a loop.
The weeks leading up to this report, I’ve been having my guests place a Mel Meter directly on the bricks of the alley. The results have been inconsistent from less than 1mG (milligauss) up to 11.7mG. The Belgian Blocks that make up this alley are made of granite, or so we’re assuming. Scientifically, there’s no reason why these Belgian Blocks should emit any EMF spikes whatsoever given the properties of the stone granite.
However, it cannot be denied that granite is a natural stone and they’ve been laid inside the alley since at least 1739. But there’s more…
On June 14th’s Interactive Ghost Hunting Experience, a term showed up on the Ghost Hunting Tools word list (this is an app we use with 36,000 terms/phrases in it’s dictionary, instead of an Ovilus) that I’ve never seen on the list before or even heard of for that matter. That term was “Cesium”.
Cesium is a metal that is used in cell phones and GPS units. It is considered the most electropositive metal on earth.
What I found about this metal is that it can be found in granite deposits around the earth. Sounding a bit familiar? It should, because the Belgian Blocks that make up Lodge Alley are made of granite. However, when reviewing the archaeological document for the chemical compounds found in Lodge Alley in 1983, Cesium is lacking from the report.
With the unstable and inconsistent EMF readings from Lodge Alley, it is indiscernible as to whether Cesium might actually be the cause for the high readings found in this alley and if it can be connected to the loop of names found in the Stone Tape Theory attached to the location. I would like to think that it is possible, as would any thorough paranormal investigator, but this term discovered on the app from that investigation leaves more questions than answers.
As I continue to tour my guests through this alley, the Stone Tape Theory will be tested repeatedly looking for EMF spikes within the loop and the EVP names that come through on spirit boxes. But the question remains if we are dealing merely with a residual haunting from an emotional event or if this is a product of the Stone Tape Theory. Because of the lack of information for the timeline in which the names being produced are from, it can only speculated that we are dealing with a recorded “place memory” on a loop, and not a residual haunting from a heightened set of emotions.
I’m going to urge you to dive into the resources used to build this post. For paranormal enthusiasts, this is a simple theory with complexity built into it. I’m hoping this post inspired you to dive into your own past investigations and revisit your spaces. Only through controlled environments as researchers will we ever grow to understand the phenomenon outside of our own senses. Continue to test and do not take the easy answers, the simplest answers require complex thinking and continued study.
I’ve provided the resources used to dive into this theory below so that you can begin diving into the theory for yourself. The resources are separated by topics of this post.
I would love to hear your thoughts on The Stone Tape Theory and if you’ve had encounters with it. Use the Meet the Team tab above to reach out directly.
More Than a Blog
The Stone Tape Theory and Lodge Alley is Episode 42 of the Stories in the Cemetery Podcast.
E42: The Stone Tape Theory and Lodge Alley – Stories in the Cemetery
References for The Stone Tape Theory
Bos, P. B. (n.d.). The Stone Tape Theory. Retrieved June 6, 2022, from Haunted Walk: https://hauntedwalk.com/news/the-stone-tape-theory/
Danielson, L. (n.d.). Using GIS to Analyze Relationships to Explore Paranormal Occurrences in the. Retrieved from http://gis.smumn.edu/GradProjects/DanielsonL.pdf
Lucia. (2020, March 9). How Does It Work?: The Stone Tape Theory, Residual Hauntings and the Deep Influence of Memory and Emotion. Retrieved from Ghost in the Machine: https://theghostinmymachine.com/2020/03/09/how-does-it-work-the-stone-tape-theory-residual-hauntings-and-the-deep-influence-of-memory-and-emotion/
ParaPedia. (n.d.). Theory behind Limestone Quartz and Magnetite. Retrieved June 6, 2022, from ParaPedia: http://www.panicd.com/encyclopedia/theory-behind-limestone-quartz-and-magnetite.html
Potter, C. (2004, October 14). Were Pittsburgh’s original finished roads and streets paved with cobblestone, Belgian block or some other type of brick? Retrieved from Pittsburgh City Paper: https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/were-pittsburghs-original-finished-roads-and-streets-paved-with-cobblestone-belgian-block-or-some-other-type-of-brick/Content?oid=1336413
References for Lodge Alley
SC Picture Project. (2022). Lodge Alley. Retrieved from SC Picture Project: https://www.scpictureproject.org/charleston-county/lodge-alley.html
Zierden, M., Calhoun, J., & Paysinger, E. (1983). Archaeological Investigation at Lodge Alley. Charleston, South Carolina. Retrieved from https://www.charlestonmuseum.org/assets/pdf/ArchaeologyReports/Lodge%20Alley%201983%20-%20AC%205.pdf
References for Cesium
Foist, L. (n.d.). What is Cesium Used for in Everyday Life? Retrieved June 22, 2022, from Study.com: https://study.com/academy/lesson/what-is-cesium-used-for-in-everyday-life.html
Nelson, R. (n.d.). Cesium FAQ. Retrieved June 22, 2022, from Rochester: https://www.cs.rochester.edu/users/faculty/nelson/cesium/cesium_faq.html
U.S. Geological Survey. (2018, June 14). Mineral Resource of the Month: Cesium. Retrieved from Earth Magazine: https://www.earthmagazine.org/article/mineral-resource-month-cesium/