A local blog, Park Slope Stoop, reports on a new activity for the bored, boozy young: a "Brooklyn Paranormal Society" whose waggish stated mission is "finding ghosts while inebriated." Their recent eveing in Prospect Park apparently attracted a big crowd of Bluto-meets-Venkman wanna-bes, who headed off with some paraphernalia and a "psychic" to laff it up. Here's a shot of the merry-makers on a previous trip to Fort Greene Park last month.
Not to go all Sam the Eagle here, but behind these tippling ignorami is the Prison Ship Martyrs' Monument, which marks the site of a crypt containing just some of the mortal remains of more than 11,500 patriots who died hideously of overcrowding, starvation, and disease after the Battle of Brooklyn.
My husband is a big fan of "ghost tours," a staple of cute historic towns; I find them hokey and tedious, occasionally brightened by a talented out-of-work actor. Either way, they're a harmless diversion; I've even thought of leading one myself, to recount some of the haunting tales of the park's lost souls as I recounted here. But am I alone in finding the jokey pretext-for-drinking thing here a bit more off-putting? On their Prospect Park ramble, the tour-goers gamboled at the sites of five modern-day murders, some quite fresh in memory. I'm sure the victims' families would be thrilled to know their loved ones live on as post-frat fun fodder. Let's acknowledge them here with respect, so that their deaths in our beautiful park, this month of the dead, may be marked by something other than snickering and getting loaded:
Patricia Shea, a 40-year-old physician's assistant from Rockaway, found strangled in the park in 1982.
Allyn Winslow, a 42-year-old drama teacher from Brooklyn, shot to death while resisting a group of teen-agers trying to steal his bicycle on Quaker Hill in June, 1993
William Oliver, 61, a "peaceful soul" and avid walker stabbed to death while walking in the Vale of Cashmere in April, 2006
Mohammad Afzaf (photo unavailable), 41, reportedly suffering from mental illness and possibly homeless, beaten and left for dead in a wooded area near a jogging path in July, 2008
Julio Locarno, 23, shot near the Parade Grounds in 2011 while himself facing a homicide charge
Of course, this douchebaggery has drawn a little burst of media coverage, and the next outing--to Green-Wood Cemetery--will undoubtedly be a hit. (The trip, not listed on Green-Wood's official events calendar, promises, "We’ll stroll through the cemetery, visiting points of interest, while swiggin’, gigglin’ and taking pictures...pack a flask." Perhaps the cemetery's caretakers could follow the gang with a portable urinal.) Count me out.