TechPublishing Now MS Certified

TechPublishing Now MS Certified
Professor Robert McMillen, MBA Microsoft Certified Trainer and Solutions Expert

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Hanging with the Real Ghostbusters and their Amazing Gadgets

Last night I had an incredible experience. I went to go interview the team at NW Paranormal and Occult Research team as they investigated a haunting at my friends Heather and Brad’s house. I really wanted to see the technology behind the research. What I didn’t expect to happen was to become part of the story. Here is a link to the You Tube video when you're ready: 

The team was very professional. I met Gavin, Todd, Kathy and Jocelyn. You can check out their bios at When we watch ghost shows on TV you never really know if anything is faked so I really wanted to see up close and personal what they were doing. I was able to video record and inspect the equipment before we got started. There was lots of high tech gear.

Some of the more interesting pieces were an ovilus and a flashlight. The ovilus can be purchased online for a few hundred dollars, and they allow the spirits to communicate in English and other languages with the researcher. The science behind it is difficult to say here, but many people can download a less sophisticated version on their smartphone for free so I was familiar with the technology.

The flashlight was interesting because it was just a regular Magnum flashlight that can be purchased from any hardware store. Todd set one up in the room with me where he unscrewed the light just enough so it could be turned on or off by a spirit that may be interested in doing so. He demonstrated it for me by just touching it so it would go on or off, and then stepped back to talk to the spirit. He jumped around a little to show it can’t go on by any vibrations. It had to be turned on by some sort of touch. The spirit did not disappoint. I have it on video. It freaked me out.

The special cameras were also very cool and they captured great video, even in pitch dark. They also captured any type of motion. One of the things that really gave credence to the team’s principled nature was when something appeared to be paranormal they would try to debunk it. If they couldn’t, then they started to believe it may be the spirit of the house talking to them. I go into greater detail on this later.

After meeting the team, and checking the equipment, Heather and Brad took the dogs with them to their trailer for the night. The team said they needed to be there without the homeowners to make sure nothing was being faked and to not interfere with any potential spiritual activity. All equipment was loaded with fresh batteries I saw Gavin take out of the original package. They turned out the lights around the house around 10:30 as the paranormal team started their investigation.
Heather and Brad have a two story house and paranormal activity has been reported on both levels. We started by going upstairs to a living room area they jokingly referred to as the “party room”. Gavin stayed downstairs to monitor the activity from the cameras setup around the house. The kitchen table was now ghost central. Also, Gavin says the ghosts just don’t like him and tend to clam up whenever he came around in previous investigations.
The rest of us all sat in the party room with several pieces of equipment in the center of the room. There was the previously mentioned ovilus, and also a small device with a green light on it. If the ghost passes by it is supposed to light up a bright green light. They also had a special meter that measured electric field activity. Jocelyn had previously walked around the house to do a pre measurement to avoid any false positives. The weirdest thing I saw with this device was that the fish tank lit up. Other things like the microwave and some outlets understandably lit up. While it lay on the floor with the other devices we waited to see what the spirits had in mind.

I have to say I was more than a skeptic starting out in this adventure. When nothing much happened with any of the devices after several minutes I suggested I leave the room in case my skepticism was the cause of a very quiet paranormal experience. A quick check showed the batteries in all devices went dead after less than a half hour. They should have lasted all night and then some. Batteries were then replaced and we waited again. Nothing happened even when I left the room. We all decided to move to the study. (This sounds kind of like a ghost buster game of Clue doesn't it?)

The study had a roll top desk, a hopefully fake stuffed dog (which comes into play later), and lots of fishing gear and other sportsman types of items. Brad and Heather are big hunters and outdoors people. There are floating deer heads and skins around the house attached to the walls. Earlier I suggested that the spirits of the animals may be haunting them. Brad said they were yummy.

While the team and I sat around the study we tried again to communicate and nothing was happening. I was starting to think I may have been right about my doubts. Then the batteries in our flashlights went dead. We went downstairs and replaced them once again.

We moved to their son Carl’s room. Carl had jokingly left his bed stuffed with clothes to make it look like a body was there. We all had a good laugh but when the lights went out and Jocelyn sat on the bed she had quite a jolt when she found that Carl had also left a fake arm hanging on the back side of the bed.

Todd and I decided to be in the room alone while Jocelyn and Kathy went to another bedroom where the foreign exchange student Inga has been staying. Todd set up the flashlight and the ovilus. He set the light to just the right sensitivity where you could touch and it and it would go on and off, but you could not make it go on with any type of vibration. Todd started to ask the spirit questions as though he were just as sentient as he and I were and standing in the room next to us. He thought this was perfectly normal. I did not. Todd and the other team members are genuine in their belief about the paranormal. They have had too many experiences to be doubters like me.

Heather and Brad told me before they left they suspected that the ghost was a teenage boy who died on their property years before they bought it. The parents were apparently into drugs and some bad men came to either collect a debt or settle a score. They lit the trailer on fire and the teenage boy died. They believe he moved into their house to be with a family. Brad and Heather gave specific instructions to not try to remove any spirits that might be found. They just wanted to know more about them. That was not a problem as it turned out.

While in Carl’s room, Todd asked questions like “Who are you?” and “Did you die here?”  The ovilus started chattering nonstop with words like fire, flames, fight and recounted the horrible demise and torture of the person that is now this spirit in single frustrating words spoken through the ovilus. Todd then asked the ghost to turn on the flashlight to show he was here. The light went on…. (Hair on back of neck standing up.) He then asked if he could turn the light off. The light went off. There was no other camera in the room except mine and I did catch this all on video.  

That could have been a fluke right? When Todd asked the ghost to do it again and again, the ghost did just that. Three times the light went on and off on command. Todd was on the bed. I was standing just a few feet away and the flashlight on the dresser went on and off multiple times without any corporeal being in the room performing that action.

Kathy and Jocelyn had no idea of what was happening and they walked into the room just after this event.  The spirit stopped communicating on any of our devices immediately. After comparing notes, the ladies said nothing was happening for them, but for Todd and I it was a ghostly experience. We again decided to split up. Todd and I went into the daughter’s room. After a short try we saw nothing was happening so we parked in the kid’s bathroom. Nothing much was happening there either but we decided to snap a few photos. Todd’s photos didn't have a lot to look at but mine did. I was using my night vision setting on my Nikon D5100 camera that takes both video and still pictures.

My three photos showed a lit up orb by my elbow and the subsequent photos showed the orb moving to several locations. My camera had no flash. When we saw the photos later I decided to go back in the bathroom and duplicate the pictures and there was no orb. It was just dark.

We then took a break for some Red Bull, Diet Coke, and protein bars. It was just after midnight and we were ravenous. Todd mentioned that during these investigations the team tends to get very thirsty and dehydrated despite just sitting around talking to the spirits for hours. This seemed rather odd but he said it was a recurring theme.

After we were tanked up again we decided to have the ladies continue upstairs while Todd and I went downstairs. The master bedroom was on the first floor just off the kitchen. When Todd and I went into the master it was all lit up with green laser dots. Todd explained this technology was used to capture spirits passing as shadows. It makes it much easier to see that they are here with us and they have had good experience with this in previous research. They didn't that night however. We sat and waited in a green hazy silence for several minutes. The ovilus was mostly quiet. It doesn't always say things that are coherent. Lead investigator Kathy said that sometimes the spirit doesn't have enough energy to constantly come into the physical realm and it may sound sort of like a stuttering person that can’t quite get all the words out until their energy builds back up.
No success in the master. It was time for another break. Shortly afterwards I had a chance to sit with Kathy and Jocelyn for a little while after Todd and Gavin went upstairs to try to duplicate our earlier success. I started asking questions about how they feel when they think a ghost is nearby. Kathy was more technical. She seemed to know when a spirit was close when the gadgets start to perk up and talk about things that create a coherent structure. It’s also exciting when it jives with the homeowners or other witnesses. She sometimes felt a presence but she didn’t really rely on that.

Jocelyn was much more empathetic. She feels emotions so much that she can sense people’s moods, and that will many times alter her moods to match the others in the room. She also said she could sense mood even in text messaging but that was a little too voodoo for this guy. She felt she could sense the spirits when they were around and that she felt there was more than one spirit in the house. Evidence showed a little later on that she was correct. One of the cats was hiding under the fake stuffed dog in the study. Brad said that the animals sometimes hide when they sense paranormal activity. We were watching the cat under the fake dog on camera while sitting in the kitchen. All of a sudden the entire camera system shut off on its own and the cat ran out of the study, went downstairs, and into Jocelyn’s lap. The camera system was not known for doing this and the cat looked a little shaken.

Within ten minutes Todd and Gavin came back down and Gavin was once again upset to find that spirits just don’t like him, at least in this house. We teased him for a few minutes about this. I was pleasantly surprised by the camaraderie and the easy flow between serious paranormal investigation and casual conversations of people working together. Gavin and Kathy just had a child 9 months ago and you could see their struggle between Red Bulls to keep upbeat while they were obviously beyond exhausted. I remember those days myself with always trying to catch up on sleep between feedings and diaper changes. I certainly did not think I would be capable of that kind of schedule during baby days but Gavin said they only do about 15-20 of these per year. The real work comes through poring over the hours of video after that night. Gavin then said the hardest thing is trying not to blink because that’s when you miss the good stuff.

We split up again. Gavin at Ghost Central, the ladies upstairs, and Todd and I went to the living room. The ghost came to life, but not the same ghost. Almost immediately after turning on the ovilus the chatter began. Todd asked some of the same questions as he did upstairs but this time we got completely different answers. We got “fierce, fight, hunter, scout, private, deserved it, hatchet, Larry, Tyler” (there is a Tyler Washington nearby, but it could also be his name), over and over again for more than 30 minutes. We were sitting in total darkness with the exception of a faint burning from the fireplace and the ambient light from the porch coming through the window. I could barely make out Todd’s outline as we sat across from each other on the leather sofas.

At one point we started to see a round light that looked like an orb just below the ceiling. It flashed by from left to right over and over. To Todd’s credit he did try to find a physical reason for it. Todd asked about the light to me and the ovilus said “light”. Todd then said are you the light on the wall and the ovilus said “fake”. It was as though the spirit was trying to tell us that it wasn't him. We both got up and walked (stumbled) around the room and found that it was the hanging wind chimes blowing in a circle and reflecting back from the porch.  We then turned off the porch light.

It was around 2AM and I was getting sleepy despite all the paranormal activity. I started the close my eyes. It was even darker than before with the porch light off and my last caffeinated beverage was wearing off. Todd was unaware of my nodding off until the ghost had a message for me. The ovilus jolted me when it said “wake up”. I was then quite awake.

The ladies also took the chance when they heard the ovilus to join us, but this ghost had no problem with women being present. He kept talking and it gave me the impression that we were speaking with a man out of breath trying to recount how they were slaughtered in an ambush. The words and the questions also appeared that not only was this a different ghost from the one upstairs, but this ghost was likely from a different time.

We estimated that it was around 1850 during the local Indian (Native American) wars. At one point Kathy asked if he had a fight with a Native American, and it went silent. We then realized that this spirit may not be aware of that term so we asked if they had a fight with an Indian and the Ovilus said “correct”. I was furiously trying to look up Indian wars on Google on my Lumia phone. I found lots of references to small wars at that time, but when I said out loud to the group that I didn't think a small skirmish like that would make any kind of newspapers or history books the ovilus once again said “correct”. Todd then asked if he and his partner got in a fight with an Indian and that he and the Indian died. Once again the spirit answered with “correct”. Outside there was a howling. At first it sounded like a coyote but then it was followed by the sound of what was clearly a human in a blood curdling scream. The dogs in the trailer with Heather and Brad went crazy. After that it went quiet and we needed another break.

We all went back to the living room for one more session before calling it a night. Then Todd and this whole experience really blew my mind. Todd said “Can you say the name of someone sitting here tonight?” I said to myself “Don’t say Bob. Don’t say Bob. Don’t say Bob.” The ghost spoke through the ovilus and said “Bob”.  Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!! Why did he say Bob?  Now I was not only an observer, I was the observed. I was part of this story and this investigation. I just wanted to see the cool gadgets and report back to my listeners on the radio show. I didn’t want a ghost freaking me out. My wife and kids were at the beach for the weekend. I had to go home to an empty house. I knew I was going to be freaked out going home. Why didn't this ghost just go to the damn light when he had the chance? 

I recalled the cowardly lion in the Wizard of Oz on the way to see the wizard. He kept saying over and over “I do believe in spooks. I do believe in spooks.” I now related to that lion. It was time to go home. Everyone packed up. I stayed to the last possible minute helping them load the car and followed them out of the driveway. We left around 3AM. I thought of just knocking on the trailer and asking if Heather and Brad would let me stay there, but I knew I had to man up and go home. I had hoped the drive would be longer. Maybe I could slow down until it was light out? No such luck. I got home around 4AM but first I stopped at Burger King. I was ravenously hungry. I went home, crawled into bed with the TV on, the fan on, the air filter on high until I finally passed out. Stupid ghosts.

Despite me being scared and freaked out like the cowardly lion I do have to mention that the NW Paranormal and Occult Research Team operates solely on donations. Check out their website and help them out. They want to buy even better gadgets and they might even help you one day. Who you gonna call?