FLORIDA GHOST BUSTERS

Lo­cal group ex­plores the para­nor­mal

RSWLiving - - Features - BY BRIAN WIERIMA

Lo­cal group ex­plores the para­nor­mal

Very few un­ex­plored fron­tiers are left for hu­mans to delve into in 2016, but one re­mains well out of reach: the af­ter­life. The “other side” has in­trigued many through­out the ages, from the first recorded ghost story penned by Ro­man au­thor and states­man Pliny the Younger in the first cen­tury A.D. about an ap­pari­tion of an old man with a long beard and chains rat­tling around him, while haunting a house in A thens, Greece.

Al­though ghost sto­ries have per­sisted ever since, in mod­ern times those sto­ries are com­ing in the form of para­nor­mal oc­cur­rences recorded on sci­en­tific equip­ment as “real-life” proof that ghosts do ex­ist.

Ac­counts of para­nor­mal re­search are pop­u­lar, pro­mul­gated in the main­stream me­dia and on the In­ter­net. Fil­ter­ing through all the fake and ex­plain­able in­for­ma­tion out there has tossed a heavy veil of du­bi­ous be­liefs in the ex­is­tence of life af­ter death. Ev­ery piece of “ev­i­dence” floated on the In­ter­net is end­lessly ques­tioned.

South­west Florida has its own in­ves­ti­ga­tion team look­ing into

such mat­ters. Haunted Ap­pari­tion Hunters (HAH), based in the Naples area, in­ves­ti­gates para­nor­mal claims through­out Florida, all at no charge to the client. The group does, how­ever, of­fer non­mem­bers a chance to see what a para­nor­mal in­ves­ti­ga­tion en­tails by al­low­ing them to go on one for $35.

HAH co-founders Eric Kin­caid and his wife, Alex, started the group in 2010. Their in­ter­est in cap­tur­ing con­crete ev­i­dence of the para­nor­mal has driven them to ba­si­cally ev­ery dark cor­ner of the Sun­shine State.

“Our goal is to go into the in­ves­ti­ga­tion to prove to the [clients] that they are not crazy,” Eric says. “There is a rea­son they are call­ing, be­cause they ei­ther heard some­thing, felt some­thing or their home just doesn’t feel right. We will go in and try to get ev­i­dence on video, au­dio or pho­tog­ra­phy and do the best we can to push that spirit out the door, if the owner chooses to.”

The chal­lenge of prov­ing that para­nor­mal ac­tiv­ity does, in fact, ex­ist—and cap­tur­ing solid ev­i­dence that will make even the big­gest skep­tic pause—is a daunt­ing one. It starts with the equip­ment HAH uses. The team in­cor­po­rates science into its in­ves­ti­ga­tions through the use of four-chan­nel DVR static in­frared video cam­eras, an

We will go in and try to get ev­i­dence on video, au­dio or pho­tog­ra­phy and do the best we can to push that spirit out the door … ”

—HAH co-founder Eric Kin­caid

au­dio boom sys­tem, hand­held in­frared video cam­eras, dig­i­tal voice recorders and K2s (to mea­sure elec­tro­mag­netic fields, or EMFs). “Our big­gest pieces of equip­ment are the DVR and boom sys­tems,” Eric says. “We use the boom sys­tem to lis­ten for dis­em­bod­ied voices, which we as hu­mans oth­er­wise can’t hear.”

Elec­tronic voice phe­nom­ena (EVP) are some of the most com­mon pieces of au­dio ev­i­dence that para­nor­mal re­searchers cap­ture. An EVP is recorded on a dig­i­tal voice recorder dur­ing an on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion, and some­times voices will pop up that shouldn’t be there or that were not heard by the hu­man in­ves­ti­ga­tors at the time. “Peo­ple can only hear to a cer­tain range, and recorders can pick up on the higher fre­quen­cies we can’t hear,” ex­plains HAH lead in­ves­ti­ga­tor Ge­orge Gib­bons.

The other piece of equip­ment com­monly used by elec­tri­cians in the para­nor­mal field, the K2, works on the the­ory that spir­its emit EMFs. By do­ing a base read­ing be­fore the in­ves­ti­ga­tion to mea­sure the ex­plain­able EMFs (those emit­ted by elec­tronic equip­ment, for ex­am­ple), in­ves­ti­ga­tors can then de­tect an un­seen en­tity with the mea­sur­ing de­vice.

“The rea­son you feel cold spots some­times is be­cause the spirit is pulling en­ergy out of the air,” Gib­bons says.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tors at HAH have cap­tured plenty of ev­i­dence to con­vince them­selves that there are spir­its walk­ing among us. “We were in­ves­ti­gat­ing an opera house in the area, and we caught one of the phan­tom masks mov­ing by it­self,” Eric re­calls.

An­other area in­ves­ti­ga­tion in which ev­i­dence was cap­tured was at the Ted Small­wood Store Mu­seum in Chokolos­kee. “That place is def­i­nitely haunted,” Eric adds.

Not all in­ves­ti­ga­tions spawn para­nor­mal ev­i­dence, though. “Some­times, there isn’t any­thing there, and some­times the spir­its don’t come out on cue,” Alex Kin­caid says.

Re­gard­less of what it finds, there is one rule HAH al­ways fol­lows when in­ves­ti­gat­ing: Treat the spir­its with re­spect. “They once were hu­mans just like us. You need to treat them with re­spect,” Eric says.

HAH is open to any in­ves­ti­ga­tions inside the state of Florida and can be con­tacted through its web­site (hauntedap­pari­tion hunters.com).

The Haunted Ap­pari­tion Hunters (HAH), based in the Naples area, in­ves­ti­gates para­nor­mal ac­tiv­ity. The group in­cludes Alex Kin­caid, Bren­don Kin­caid, Eric Kin­caid and Ge­orge Gib­bons.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tors at HAH have cap­tured plenty of ev­i­dence to con­vince them­selves that there are spir­its walk­ing among us.

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