First Posted: 1/15/2009
Anyone wanting to join The Carolina Paranormal Research Society can call 740-5927 or e-mail email@example.com. The Web site is www.hauntedcarolina.org.
LUMBERTON - David Windom not only isn't afraid of ghosts, he seeks them out.
But Windom and other members of the Lumberton-based Carolina Paranormal Research Society reject the term “Ghost Busters,” preferring spirit seekers instead.
“We take it seriously,” Windom said. “We're not people out there looking for a good scare. We all have faith in religion. Churches tend to look at this negatively. All we want is proof other than our faith. We want something we can see, touch, hear and feel. That ‘Ghost Buster' stuff is Hollywood myth. It doesn't work that way at all.”
Windom recently left a paranormal society in Fayetteville to start the chapter in Robeson County, which has three other members.
“Our members are not new to the paranormal,” Windom said. “They all have experience doing investigations as part of a group. Our hope is to explain or answer many questions people have about the paranormal. We strive to prove the existence of spirits in a scientific manner.”
The society's toolbox includes cassette recorders, infrared cameras, electromagnetic sensors, flashlights, night-vision scopes, digital thermometers, compasses and global positioning systems.
An investigation follows a phone call about unusual activity, most often at a home.
“Someone will move into an old house, live there a couple of weeks and then say things are disappearing and then reappearing,” Windom said. “Or they'll hear footsteps or low voices.” Before investigators come out, the homeowner must complete a 40-question form. The information is confidential and no fees are charged.
“We try to identify who is there, why they may be there, and then comfort the people,” Windom said. “We can't guarantee we'll get rid of the activity. But there are steps we can take to educate the client. For example, many spirits do move on. It's extremely rare where they are demonic. Some are just mean-spirited. Mean-spirited people in the physical world are not demonic. Nor are mean spirits in the non-physical world.”
Windom says spirits “stick around” for a number of reasons, including:
- People who have died with unfinished business.
- People who die young.
- When a husband or wife from a long-term marriage dies, leaving the other behind.
- People who were murdered or committed suicide.
- People who die violently and suddenly.
Other common venues where spirits might linger are cemeteries; abandoned jails, hospitals and warehouses; battlefields; railroad tracks; rest homes; and churches.
“While spirits are everywhere, 99 percent are benign,” Windom said. “They are not here to harm or scare you. When in those situations, people get scared and don't want to deal with it. We've been programmed since we were young to be afraid. Children are actually more open to recognizing the paranormal.”
Windom said his work as an emergency medical technician in Rowland, as a Fairmont police officer for a decade and unexplained events in his childhood prompted his journey into the paranormal.
“I watched people die on a somewhat regular basis and became mystified as to where their spirits went,” he said. “I could feel they were still around.”
Windom says the society welcomes skeptics.
“They're the people who keep us in business and keep us on the level,” he said. “Everyone's a skeptic. I never go in to a situation and say, ‘I believe in this 100 percent.' Because when I do, I begin to draw up theories that make my thesis make sense. That's why we have to go back time and time again, and it's why we have to make sure everything is documented.”
Windom says there are three types of apparitions - residual, interactive and spiritual.
“The spirit may not notice you, so what it normally does is go through the motions of a past event,” he said. “This event has been imprinted on the area or building and played back when the conditions are right.”
Someone may see an apparition during an interactive sighting, although it is more common to hear voices or music, feel a cold spot or smell an odor.
“These spirits are the same as they were in life, so they may be good or bad but not evil,” Windom said.
Then there are angels and devils.
“This is rarer than most people believe,” Windom said. “They often appear in cases dealing with Ouija boards, black magic and Satanic worship.”
Windom recalled a visit two months ago to a cemetery, and used a tape recorder for a demonstration. In the background of the 20-second recording is the faint voice of a woman saying, ‘One day.'
“There were three of us at the investigation and no one said a word during that time frame,” Windom said. “All three of our recorders got the same phrase. We always have backup. And we always use new cassette tapes. Spirits can often talk and not be heard until it is replayed.”
The society is seeking new members.
“We need people with open minds and people who will be fact- and detail-orientated,” Windom said. “But we want serious inquires only. This is not about looking for a thrill. It's serious work. It's a chance for someone to satisfy their curiosities and help to demystify experiences for anyone that is fearful of a house or situation.”