Safety Considerations - In Memoriam June 24th, 2003

This past weekend, one of the Western New York GHRS research team passed away because of a drunk driver.

The fellow in question was on a private, non-GHRS investigation and was walking along a country road at night when he was struck from behind by a person (not a researcher, just a driver on that road) who shouldn't be driving.

As the director of the GHRS and as someone who has always seen the responsibilities of those of us ghost researchers who have been in the field, I always have felt it is part of our job to try and give advice and thoughts that would assist people starting their own work and sharing ideas and thoughts with other groups that are already established. Because of this senseless tragedy, I'd like to remind those of us in the field of a couple of things...

First of all, in one of those odd twists of irony, recently I'd been commenting that I was getting a little fed up with people, usually the media, bemoaning the fact that I no longer look "goth" enough for them. From the ages of fifteen to twenty-seven, I did dress pretty much all in black and kept my hair primarily dyed black and on more than one occasion, when they either knew this or ask, some folks wish, for whatever reason, I still had "the look"... In my eyes, I never had "the look" down right before so it was always a moot issue...

Why I'm bringing this up is, on this thought, many (not all) ghost folks do tend to wear very dark clothing... black mostly... to achieve a 'dark' look for whatever reason... be that personal style choices or for other reasons. I have no problem with this but, as of now, I'd love to see all of us take the time to ensure that, especially - but not exclusively - in remote spots, that ghost researchers take the time to either ensure they have something bright or reflective so that they can be seen at great distances. This is not only for possible automobile accidents but also to allow them to be spotted by their fellow team mates. Perhaps a reflective camera strap or, if they're carrying a bag or the like, some reflective stickers or tape. This would make for good practice and really seems like common sense but, I'd like to re-iterate at this time that being seen is good on many, many levels.

Secondly, most of us, if not once, more than once have had our lives touched by drunk drivers. I'm not going to do the old and tired "Don't Drink and Drive" story because, most of us have heard this battle cry over and over again. It's difficult to believe in this day and age, some people *still* think "I've only had a few. I'm okay to drive."

No. You're not.

For those that cannot comprehend this, the young man that was killed was only nineteen years old. His life cut short because someone was "okay" to drive. Because someone put their own need to be somewhere ahead of the life of another human being.

Drinking and driving kills. Period.

PLEASE, think about it... after a "few", you should not be driving regardless of how well *you* think you're doing. Also, if you see a friend, family member or anyone else who shouldn't be getting behind the wheel, take away their keys.

Like many crimes and like many diseases, drunk driving will probably be around as long as cars and people are. There's no excuse for people to mix alcohol and automobiles but they will and there's little we can really do about it but, maybe one person reading this will figure it out. Call a cab... stay overnight... and save lives.

If this article does anything for the memory of our friend, I hope it maybe wakes us all up to take precautions... whether it be as an investigator in an unfamiliar (or familiar) spot and in a bit of danger or, as a casual observer of things having a wee drink before heading out in our car.

I'd like to think that everyone in the Ghost Hunting/Ghost Research/Ghost Investigating... heck, everyone in the human race, takes a moment to be safe and in turn, make the passing of this young man mean more than just another tragic statistic.

Matthew Didier