Posted by G G Collins
Paranormal Investigation: Come Along, If You Dare
by G G Collins Copyright 2019
To protect the anonymity of the investigators and their group, names have been omitted.
The theatre is in total darkness as six people grope their way through the former playhouse. Abandoned instruments stand quietly on stage as if waiting for ghostly musicians. The five members of this paranormal investigative team and this reporter carry flashlights, cameras and a variety of measuring tools to check everything from temperature to electromagnetic fields. It will be a long night. Paranormal investigations begin around 9PM and usually end in the wee hours of the morning. The hours between midnight and 3AM are the most active so an infrared camcorder must be in place to catch energies which may appear as orbs or mists of light. One investigator watches the monitor in the outer lobby as the camera rolls.
Camaraderie is abundant and I was given unlimited access to the investigation which became quite exciting as camera flashes began to strobe the thick gloom. Shouts of “I’m in” and “I’m out” indicate that a participant is taking shots. Any sounds made from a stumble or impact with furniture is acknowledged so it may be culled from the data later on.
It has been reported that a director of a play, back in the theatre’s prime, died during a performance. Will his spirit honor us with his presence? All souls are welcome tonight. We patrol the theatre from back to front, over the stage, and behind the curtains looking for cold spots and other indications that energy, physical or metaphysical, exists. At times the EMF meters (including mine) screech like Geiger counters over radioactive matter. Then the deliberation: Is it electronic equipment, plumbing or a water source far beneath the building? If all those things can be ruled out, then things get real interesting. But, we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
Bump in the Night
It begins when something goes bump in the night. We’ve all experienced an unexplained noise or odor that we generally dismiss as nothing. Although it’s very unusual to see a true apparition, reports of sightings continue. If mysterious things create conditions in homes or offices that interfere with normal daily living it may be time to call a paranormal investigation team.
The founder of the team had her first brush with the paranormal when she was taking Polaroid photos where she worked.
“I got an apparition on film. I said, ‘Oh my, I think I’ve got a ghost.’”
That wasn’t the only strange thing to happen that day. When she loaded a new cartridge all the pictures came flying out. They were blood red. Polaroid’s usually come out grey.
It turns out a woman had been murdered at her place of employment and with that in mind she went to the internet for information. She found the woman’s photo in the obits. The murder victim had long hair and was wearing a striped shirt just as the apparition appeared in her own photo.
As if this wasn’t enough, doors slammed spontaneously and her business cards would disappear. She found them stuck between the pages of her calendar.
“I thought my crew was playing a trick on me.” They weren’t.
By then, she had more than a casual interest and reached out to others involved in investigating the paranormal. She joined a ghost club in another city because at that time there wasn’t a group where she lived.
“I was with them for a year and they said I needed to start my own team—and (my city) needed a team.”
The new team became a reality within a few months. Other members include a historian with a master’s degree in history, doctorate level work in history and anthropology. Other members have varied backgrounds including one with a master’s degree in psychology.
Tools of the Trade
When the team goes into a structure to investigate what might be paranormal phenomena it is done with permission of the owner and an arsenal of equipment: recorders, electromagnetic field detectors or EMFs, infrared night shot camcorders, temperature meters to check for cold and hot spots, 35 mm digital cameras—and open minds.
First, a baseline of conditions such as temperature, humidity and moon phase are recorded. Later, readings repeated for verification. Cameras are set up at different locations for correlation. If one camera catches something that the others did not, it’s significant.
Photos reveal paranormal energy in different ways: Orbs or “glowies,” mists and vortices that appear as a white line through a photo. Once readings are completed it is time for the sit-down. The team remains quiet during that period and allows the equipment to do its job.
“If there’s an underground water source and the EMF meter is going off, it doesn’t necessarily mean there is a ghost present. We look for any man-made sources first and any explanation we can find because we don’t want to harm the credibility of our group. We don’t want to fake it.”
Extensive interviews are done with clients prior to scheduling an investigation to learn as much about the history of the location as possible. That way, conclusions are reached with as many facts as possible.
Investigations take place in the overnight hours because that is when the activity is most likely to occur.
“There are lots of theories on why that is,” the founder says. “It could be the dew. Water is a conductor of energy. It could be the moon phase. It’s not real conclusive at this point.”
Light interferes with the process so all lighting is switched off. It’s easier to conduct testing at night because there is less evidence contamination with the outside world.
The leader of the team is psychic and thus she becomes another tool in determining authenticity of possible paranormal incidents.
“Animals and children are very sensitive, so when your child walks up to you and says, ‘I’m going to go play with the little boy in my room’ and things of that nature you should pay attention.” Visual and auditory manifestations are very rare. Odors are the most common type of haunting. “That’s why it’s helpful to have someone who is clairvoyant.”
It was in an abandoned, and creepy, hospital in another state an investigation became frightening. An entity is present in that building and likely evil.
“He gives off feelings of nausea, dizziness, and fear. If he preys on you, you know it. On the second night (of the investigation) we went into a lab area where we felt very strong energy. We set our recorder down and said, ‘Is anybody here who would like to join us? We’re open to that.’” Asking permission is one of the proprieties of this team. It’s respectful.
The two team members were using an external mic. It is helpful in that it doesn’t reproduce grinding noises from the recorder motor.
“It sounded like somebody sat down on the microphone. Everything on the tape from there is mush. It’s all muffled. We sat there a few minutes. We could feel something was there with us.”
They asked: ‘Would you like to talk with us?”
After a few more seconds they sensed it was time to leave. They bolted, leaving the recorder behind.
During an investigation in a structure that used to be an orphanage they felt the presence of some children and a female.
“We did get an EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena) of a woman singing. We kept hearing noises in the next room. We’d go into that room and investigate and there would be a noise in the next room. It kept avoiding us. We picked up a voice on our recorder saying, ‘I don’t care!’ It was none of us.” Voices of men arguing were also taped.
The team uses a computer program that filters out white noise and static. A clearer, more definitive tape is the result. The program also allows members to measure and profile their own voices so they can be identified.
During an investigation in another theatre things got far spookier. An opera singer reportedly haunts the building. Footsteps and other noises have been reported as have moving objects. It has been recounted that atrocities were conducted in the basement during a riot.
Who You Gonna Call?
What should the average person do if they fear a haunting? First, try to rule out a man-made cause. If you can’t, don’t go any further on your own. It’s not recommended that you try Ouija boards or séances as these could make the situation worse.
When looking for an investigative team, pick one that doesn’t sensationalize their findings or anger the entities in your home if you have them. Check for a professional association who specializes in paranormal research.The serious paranormal investigation teams have bylaws and regulations they follow.
“We have very strict protocol to make sure all our data is clean and we collect it in a controlled environment,” the founder says. “You have to wear your camera strap or take it off. All long hair has to be pulled back in a ponytail so hair doesn’t get in front of the camera and look anomalous. No reflective jewelry is allowed. No perfume or cologne. No smoking.”
These steps help avoid contamination of the site. Personal property is respected and the team leaves nothing but footprints much like the hiker’s motto.
“We have skeptics in our group. There’s a good quote: ‘To believers no proof is necessary, to the hard-core skeptics you can’t get enough proof.’ We’re skeptics. We’ve thrown out a lot of data that is probably paranormal in nature because we couldn’t correlate.”
Did we find any evidence of paranormal activity during our investigation of the theatre? At least one photo produced an orb of blue light—blue orbs are said to be angels. The team determined that the theatre contained minor energies as a result of residual energy.
“These are event ‘imprints’ that happen over and over,” she explains.
The data collected at the theatre is being evaluated. As for the director? There’s nothing to indicate he materialized this particular evening. Maybe he didn’t care for the billing.
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For my post on Santa Fe Ghost Stories click here: https://reluctantmediumatlarge.wordpress.com/?s=Santa+Fe+Ghost+Stories
Glossary of Ghostly Terms
Anomaly: A deviation from normal.
Apparition: The manifestation of a spirit which can be seen in human form or in blobs or streaks of light.
EMF: Electromagnetic Field. Readings used to determine paranormal activity.
EVP: Electronic Voice Phenomena. Captures voices on tape when no obvious source can be found.
Earthbound: A spirit unable to leave the physical world. Filmmaker M Night Shyamalan explored this in The Sixth Sense.
Encounter: There are three kinds: intelligent and formerly human; residual energy left over from the past; and malevolent.
Ghoul: A demon who enjoys a meal of human flesh.
Ghost Hunt: Investigation of a reported haunting using earthly technology to record any paranormal occurrences.
Haunting: A manifestation of unexplainable phenomena.
Orb: Seen as blotches of light in photos. This energy form is frequently dismissed.
Paranormal: The unexplained.
Poltergeist: A mischievous and sometimes malevolent spirit.
Spirit: Ghost of a deceased human.
Spirit Guide: A protective spirit who is with each person since birth.
About G G CollinsWriter of Paranormal Mystery Series, Cozy Mystery Series, Teen & Young Adult Fiction. Reporter. Blogger.
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