Friday, March 12, 2010

The Truth is Out There in Pickaway County, Man pt. 2

by Emma Frankart

Leading the (para)normal life

The P.C.P.S. members are by no means experts; they have no ghost-hunting degrees or fancy equipment and they do not charge for their services. By day, Oby, Gabrielle and Kurt are students; Oby and Gabrielle attend Hocking College to study art and English, respectively, and Kurt studies information technology through the University of Phoenix online. Kevin and Scott work the night shift at Trimold Plastics in Circleville.

Because they are only amateur paranormal enthusiasts, the amount of high-tech equipment they utilize is limited. They do have an EMF detector for recording electromagnetic fields (which can indicate paranormal activity, or lack thereof), an EVP recorder which records electronic voice phenomena that cannot be heard with the naked ear, night vision cameras and a thermal imaging camera, which can visually represent changes in air temperature.

Kevin and the rest of the crew are excited to try out some of their newer equipment in an upcoming trip to the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, Ohio. Gabrielle has connections with the woman in charge of tours and is setting up an overnight investigation. But this is not her first rodeo; Gabrielle has conducted an investigation at the reformatory in the past, with her previous group. While the team saw nothing unusual in the building, their EVP recorders revealed that a ghostly presence had been in the room, unbeknownst to them.

“There was a guy that I was with in a cell, just feeling things out” she explains, “and he was trying to put the moves on me.” She refused his advances, and when she listened to the recording of their conversation the next day, she could hear a faint voice asking, “What is this guy doing?” She laughs now, to think that a ghost had been on her side, but at the same time she admits the experience is a little scary.

Searching for the strange

The P.C.P.S., on the other hand, has had only one major investigation thus far. Kevin attributes the lack of cases to the area’s general aversion to the paranormal.

“It just seems like around Pickaway County, people just don’t really wanna come out [and] say … they have a haunted house,” Kevin says. “They’re just worried about what everyone else is gonna say.” Another roadblock for the team is a lack of cooperation from the city. A few locations in Circleville are rumored to be haunted, but the city will not grant permission to investigate.

The one investigation they did conduct was last year in Tarlton, Ohio. A client claimed that he heard voices and experienced lights and an electric oven turning on without being touched. Kevin and Oby conducted the investigation, but found it inconclusive when they failed to witness any of these phenomena personally.

“The only weird thing that actually happened,” Kevin recalls, is “one window on the back side of the house that I just couldn’t stop looking at.” The light in that room was turned off when the men began walking the perimeter of the house. When they came back to that window, the light had been turned on. The house’s resident was outside with Oby and Kevin, though his son was still inside. Naturally, that alone is not enough to draw any conclusions.

“The important thing is to go into [investigations] with an open mind,” Oby says, “but at the same time, [with] a certain level of skepticism, because it’s very easy to get drawn in.” Oby and Kevin both doubt that there was any sort of true paranormal activity involved in that particular investigation. Oby chalks the homeowner’s claims up to a combination of factors, including the client’s penchant for alcohol and an open fuse box in the basement.

“We could actually feel pressure from [the fuse box],” Oby says, explaining that the EMFs that the box puts out can make people feel nauseous or even hallucinate. The ventilation system in the house was leaking as well, leading Oby and Kevin to conclude that the EMFs could seep through the house, causing strange electrical occurrences and unexplained (but imagined) sights and sounds.

The group is eager to conduct more investigations and encourages anyone with concerns about paranormal events to report them and request an investigation at the group’s Web site.

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