Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Truth is Out There in Pickaway County, Man pt. 1

by Emma Frankart

For decades, southeastern Ohio has been known for its high levels of paranormal activity. Rumors abound of Ohio University’s ghosties and ghoulies, and the towns and counties throughout the region share the level of creepiness. One group, the Pickaway County Paranormal Society, aims to take on the supernatural creatures that go bump in the night.

The brainchild of Kevin Ferguson and John Finley came to life in October of 2008. Despite John leaving the group to focus on his family, the P.C.P.S. is still going strong. The team is comprised of five paranormal aficionados—Kevin, Kurt Meteer, Oby Tisdale, Scott Holbrook and Gabrielle Ward—who dedicate their spare time to the investigation of the unexplainable. Though they range in age from mid-20s to early 40s and are scattered throughout the region, these inquisitive kids-at-heart are passionate about their hobby…and with good reason.

Influential incidents

The lead investigator of the ghost-hunting unit is Kevin, a self-proclaimed expert in the subject because of his experiences with ghosts. As a child, he lived in a house where he experienced an abundance of paranormal activity: invisible footsteps on the stairs, cupboard doors that opened and closed by themselves and other activity that he now considers “typical” of hauntings. That case was never formally investigated, but the experience left him with a passion for the paranormal.

Similarly, other group members have had childhood encounters with the unexplainable.

Gabrielle also grew up in a house that seemed to be haunted; she recalls hearing the ghostly whisperings of a woman who is said to have died there. Her experience drew her first to Seekers of Spirits, a group that disbanded when its leader got married, then to the P.C.P.S. As for Kurt, the team’s lead ufology investigator, a UFO sighting on a camping trip in the ‘70s led him to become the group’s lead ufology investigator. Ufology (pronounced you-eff-ology) is the study of UFOs, or unidentified flying objects, and often associated with aliens.

The group also has a cryptozoology unit, but is still looking for a lead investigator to replace John. Cryptozoology is the study of mysterious or mythical animals; famous subjects include Big Foot and the Loch Ness Monster. In southeastern Ohio, however, mysterious animals typically turn out to be a confused bobcat rather than a werewolf in hiding.

The rest of the group members are not assigned to a unit; rather, everyone helps with every investigation. Although the group is divided into three areas, the majority of their interests seem to pool in the ghostly realm, as it is the most well-known form of paranormal activity.

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