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home : news : odds and ends free May 24, 2016

   
10/27/2012 1:28:00 PM
Paranormal teams focuses on spookiness

By DAVE FOPAY
Mattoon Journal-Gazette

MATTOON, Ill. (AP) — They say they’ve seen shadows that shouldn’t be there and don’t go away when a light’s pointed at them, and felt a hand on a shoulder when no one else was there.

There have been direct responses to questions they ask when they can’t see who’s answering them, they say, as well as times when someone hears a voice when others in the same room do not. It’s their job to look into whether those things might be because of spirits and ghosts, but don’t expect them to say that’s what it is every time.

“We go in to prove they’re not there,” said Steven White, who leads Mattoon Investigations of Paranormal Activity, one of the local teams that looks into whether there might a supernatural reason for something odd going on.

There are logical reasons for some of the strange things people see and the noises they hear and the investigators say it’s good to approach it with some skepticism. But don’t think they don’t believe it’s sometimes something else or that they’re not at least open to that idea.

Becky Guymon of the Mattoon-based Illinois Metaphysical & Paranormal Society said she’s believed in spirits since she was a young girl. She said her grandfather died when she was 5 years old and before anyone told her, “he actually came to me and told me he was gone.”

White said he was in his own house in Mattoon when he saw a shadow in a corner. It had no apparent source and shining a light in it didn’t change it. He recorded it with night-vision equipment and other investigators later told him they thought it looked like something paranormal.

“It kind of floated in and just left,” he said. “It was the only time in a two-hour period I had that.”

Guymon said she met someone who does paranormal investigations in Chicago and worked with that group about seven or eight years ago before starting her own team. She also said she once worked for an organization that had an office in the Coles County Health Department building in Charleston.

There, she said, she and others often experienced “weird stuff” such as a knocking noise in walls that would follow someone walking down a hall and bathroom stall doors that opened and slammed shut on their own.

As with the other investigators, White said he’s always had an interest in the possibility of paranormal events. His team includes his wife Katie, their 11-year-old son Jacob and friend Dave Bales and the team began working in 2008. Their team and Guymon’s sometimes work together.

Katie White said she brings more of the skeptical side to the work, though she’s “kind of like 50-50” now that she’s seen some things.

“There are still ways to throw that skepticism out there,” she said, which her husband and the others said is a helpful view to have.

The investigators use a variety of equipment, some with exotic-sounding names such as a “KII meter,” which Steven White said detects radio frequencies and electromagnetic fields or EMFs.

“Spirits could possibly be made of EMFs,” he said.

There’s also a “spirit box,” a radio modified to scan frequencies and, Steven White said, record sounds that can’t otherwise be heard. He said spirits apparently have let the investigators know what they’re thinking through the device.

“Quite frequently, they’ll cuss at us,” he said. “We get the f-word quite often.”

Much of the equipment is available on the internet or can be built on your own, such as Bales’ “rempod.” He said it detects changes in electrical waves and is helpful because “we’re not sure if ghosts are made of positive energy or negative energy.” Others are fairly ordinary, such as Guymon’s laser pointer that emits a grid of light that can be use to detect shadows.

“The best equipment we use would be our feelings,” Steven White said. “It’s sometimes a matter of getting the feel for a house, let the spirits get used to you and see what happens.”

So, what does happen? Some things can’t be explained logically, but there are also times when there might be an appliance emitting electric fields that can lead to paranoia or hallucinations in “super sensitive” people, Steven White said.

But no matter what’s causing it, the investigators said, the work still helps because there are people scared to be in their own homes or businesses. It’s not a science and you can’t say there are spirits without “complete, 100 percent proof,” Steven White said.

“Their main concern is, ‘Am I crazy?”’ he said. “Common sense kind of goes out the window.”

The investigators said about half the people they meet believe in the supernatural and about half don’t, though White said he thinks some really “don’t want to know what’s out there.” Guymon said she understands the skeptics but thinks they’d change their minds if, for instance, they were to feel a hand on a shoulder when they’re alone, as she said happened to her.

“You hear it a lot and that’s OK,” she said. “But I guarantee once it happens to you, you’ll believe for the rest of your life.”
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