Via @JusticeWillett, some Hallowe'en real estate law.
In Haywood v. Carraway, (180 So. 2d 758, La. Ct. App., 1965) plaintiffs sought damages and compensation for mental pain and anguish from the appellees because sometime around September 1959, the defendants' children had vandalized the plaintiffs' beautiful plantation home, known as Belle Helene.
The appellants, who had lost at trial, were unhappy with the amount of damages awarded and attempted to argue on appeal, among other things, that the house was in such a state of disrepair that "the children were justified in thinking it an abandoned ghost house incapable of being damaged."
Responded the court, "That the juveniles may have considered the building a "ghost house" or "haunted house" is of no consequence inasmuch as the intention of a party committing vandalism does not affect the right of recovery of the injured party. Our Civil Code LSA-C.C. Article 2318 makes the parent or tutor liable for the torts of his minor child or ward. That the child may have no intent to do harm does not exonerate the parent or guardian from liability for his torts. We are aware of the tendency on the part of present day society, adults and juveniles alike, to regard immovable property which is unoccupied or not in use by its owner, as common property or property belonging to no one in particular or public property belonging to all. However, we hasten to add, for the benefit of the uninformed who may believe otherwise, that such concept finds no support in our law. Furthermore, we are not aware and have been cited no authority in our law which recognizes or establishes the concept of abandoned immovable property."
Thus, even if you think it's an abandoned haunted house, don't go in and smash it up. Someone might be watching you.
Seeker presents an image that has gone viral and that some believe shows a spirit leaving the body of an accident victim as he dies. The writer notes that the victim hadn't yet died when the image was taken (thus when the blur that some viewers think is the spirit appears). So, why the blur? Is the spirit just leaving early but still hanging around, waiting because it "knows" the outcome is bad and plans on leaving but waiting around to see what happens, like some kind of dematerialized looky-loo? Kind of rude, I think. I would want my spirit to stay until the very end, and then turn out the lights and lock up. Also, how does the spirit know whether the docs at the hospital might not pull off a miracle? Again, I hope my spirit isn't that arrogant, as in, "She's done for. Docs are clueless. I'm out of here." Seems sort of pushy. Don't tell me my spirit is clairvoyant, when I'm not. That's too depressing for words.
Other people (including me) don't see a ghost or spirit. Me, I see a lighter colored something, probably vegetation. More here from People Magazine. Over to you.
The service is only available until October 31st, and House Network, which has apparently contracted with the Ghostfinder Paranormal Society, says it isn't responsible for the results of the GPS's investigation if the Society actually finds a ghost on the property. Such an investigation can cost between 100 and 500 pounds. More here.
It's not clear to me, however, what happens if the purchaser, having bought the house believing it to be ghost-free, then finds that the property isn't free of a ghostly tenant. How does she 1) rid herself of the occupant 2) prove to the GPS that the tenant is there and 3)collect on any warranty that might have been issued?
How can we account for trials in which the judgment speaks not only to and about the defendants and their deeds, but also about injustices from a more distant past? Building on approaches to ghosts and haunting by Jacques Derrida and Avery Gordon, I propose to examine a set of the German post-1990 trials for human rights violations committed in the former East Germany as instances of haunted justice. Here, the courts not only adjudicated the present cases, but also tried to ‘go back and make whole what has been smashed’ (Benjamin 1969) by their own lack of judgment in the failed trials of the Nazi perpetrators. In this instance, the ‘time is out of joint’, and we see the ghosts of the failed trials of Nazi perpetrators standing next to the inheritance of impunity fostered in West German courts, and next to the now present East German perpetrators. What can justice mean in such a complex constellation of injustices? I argue that the ghostly dimension of these cases point to a need for a kind of justice and engagement that can ultimately not be found in courts - yet the courts’ engagement with this ghostly matter is nevertheless important.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.
This article carries the metaphor of ghosts and hauntings through the article. An exceptionally moving piece.
According to CNN, about a dozen ghost hunters investigating the legend of a "ghost train" that crosses the Bostian Bridge (more here) near Statesville, North Carolina headed from Salisbury to Asheville August 27th, 1891 encountered a real freight train headed toward the town of Statesville in the early morning hours. Most of the group made it safely off the tracks but two did not. One of them, Christopher Kaiser, pushed a companion off the tracks before she was hit by the train, but he could not save himself. Mr. Kaiser died at the scene. The woman is recovering in a Charlotte hospital.
Law enforcement officials have interviewed the people involved, one police officer telling CNN that "Many fled because they were trespassing on railroad property." (I don't quite understand the comment. Wasn't an oncoming train enough? Or is it that they also left, or tried to leave, the area because they thought they would be cited for trespassing?)
Investigating paranormal phenomena, whether on private property or public areas, involves varying degrees of risk and may involve breaking some sort of law, as it did here. It can also involve risking one's life, as it did here, quite tragically. If the ghost hunters had been carrying on their investigation during the day, perhaps the train's engineer could have seen them and stopped earlier, although perhaps not. It may depend on the geography, and I'm not suggesting that the train's engineer, crew, or the railroad is at fault here. But these ghost hunters, apparently like many I read about, and like the ones on tv, were watching for ghosts at night. At night, some of our senses are heightened, but not all, and not our vision. We mistake many things at night. And we make many mistakes of judgment and perception at night. Sometimes, in the light of morning, the results are awful to behold.
Eric Gouvin's essay "On Death and Magic: Law, Necromancy and the Great Beyond," published in Law and Magic: A Collection of Essays (Carolina Academic Press) gets a nice mention in a new post on the Wilson Quarterly's blog Findings. The author discusses our curiosity about the dead, and when it's all right to disturb mortal remains.
But what, he says, "if it’s the dead who disturb the living? That can depress property values, Eric J. Gouvin writes in Law and Magic: A Collection of Essays (Carolina Academic Press). In two instances, courts tried to protect unwary buyers." Keep reading here.