Jean-Michel Basquiat was a prominent American artist and cultural icon of the 1980s. Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1960, Basquiat rose to fame for his unique and powerful neo-expressionist paintings, which often dealt with themes of race, class, and political power. He was a member of the band Gray, along with collaborator and friend, Gray, and they were one of the first artist run galleries in Soho. Basquiat was considered a prodigy and his art was collected by major museums around the world. He had solo shows in galleries and museums, most notably the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1985.

In 1988, at the young age of 27, Basquiat died of a drug overdose in his New York City apartment. He was buried at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, which has been in operation since 1838 and is the final resting place for many notable figures in American history, including Civil War generals and politicians.

It is not uncommon for visitors to leave tokens on Basquiat’s tombstone at Green-Wood Cemetery. These tokens can range from small rocks or coins to markers and other items. Some people believe that leaving these tokens is a way to honor Basquiat’s memory and pay respects to his legacy.

This practice of leaving tokens may also be seen as a way of connecting with the spirit of Basquiat. According to some belief systems, spirits can be contacted or summoned through various means, and leaving a token on a grave is thought to be one way to do this.

The idea of conjuring or summoning a spirit is rooted in the occult, which is a broad term that encompasses various belief systems and practices that involve the supernatural or paranormal. In the context of summoning spirits, it generally refers to the practice of evoking the presence of a spirit or entity using various rituals or techniques. These can include using certain tools like tarot cards, crystals, or incense, or performing specific rituals or spells.

Over the years, Green-Wood Cemetery has gained a reputation as a place of paranormal activity, and the Brooklyn Paranormal Society (BKPS) has conducted several investigations of the cemetery, including trolley and walking tours. In the course of these investigations, the BKPS has reported several instances of contact with spirits, and many people have claimed to have had strange experiences at the cemetery.

Basquiat Gravestone

One such experience is contact with a spirit that was reported near Basquiat’s grave. Some say they’ve heard strange noises or seen ghostly figures in the vicinity of his burial site. The BKPS has also reported instances of ghost hunting equipment malfunctioning or behaving erratically near Basquiat’s grave. It is unclear if any of these experiences can be definitively attributed to the spirit of Basquiat, but the BKPS has stated that they are continuing to investigate and gather more information.

Basquiat’s gravestone has become a place of pilgrimage, of remembrance and of a connection for many of his admirers, enthusiasts and maybe for some occult practitioners. The people who leave tokens on his gravesite, may be trying to establish a connection with Basquiat’s spirit, or they may be trying to evoke his presence in some way. Whether or not this is truly effective is a matter of personal belief, but it is clear that the spirit of Basquiat continues to be felt through the ongoing attention and reverence paid to him at his gravesite.

For anyone interested in investigating the possibility of Basquiat’s spirit haunting Green-Wood Cemetery, the BKPS invites them to join their organization and take part in their investigations. While there is no scientific evidence that Basquiat’s spirit haunts the cemetery, the many reported instances of strange activity near his grave make it a intriguing location for ghost hunters and paranormal enthusiasts.

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