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 Searching for Spirits

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Number of posts : 281
Age : 60
Localisation : Florida
Registration date : 2006-10-10

PostSubject: Searching for Spirits   Sat Nov 11, 2006 1:32 pm

Barbara Carmen
Moaning monsters, flickering lights or beady eyes in the dark: Are these the dearly departed who just didnít depart?

For the Ghost Hunters Ohio Search Team, nine times out of 10 itís cars roaring by outside or headlights bouncing off windows. It could even be Elmo from Sesame Street.

Brenda Shupeís Web site, www. ohioghosthunter.com, typically draws four inquiries a month from people curious, or terrified, about what appear to be spooky happenings in their homes.

The GHOST team, which includes two electrical technicians, a computer consultant and a psychologist, doesnít charge to search for otherworldly beings. It spends hours sitting in basements and attics and then analyzing audiotapes, videos and photographs.

Although the ghost hunters believe in ghosts, they note there is no proof. Instead, what they usually discover is a logical explanation.

But pleas for help from people such as Chris, a young mother and recent widow, keep them going.

"Thank you all so much for coming," she said, wiping tears and hugging a team member Friday at her century-old Mansfield home. She asked that her last name not be printed, suspecting her landlord might object to her having ghosts.

"I think thatís one of them thatís here," she said, pointing to a photo of her late husband. He died of a heart attack at home in April.

She was traumatized. Sheíd heard children playing in the attic. Her grown daughters said the TV changed channels by itself.

Chris thought she had spotted something watching her. "It was crouched down on the stairwell and, when I looked at it, it went whoosh up the stairs."

The family, including Chrisí two small boys, sleeps in the living room. No one ventures upstairs alone.

"Just tell me Iím not crazy," Chris pleaded.

The ghost hunters, all of whom work day jobs, got down to business just before midnight. They measured for temperature changes, checked wiring and asked any ghost present for a sign. Everything seemed ordinary; they noted headlights bouncing off a window by the stairwell. But near Chrisí bed, Shupe felt something tap her on the back. She turned to find no one there.

"About 95 percent of the time we can find logical explanations," Shupe said. "Other times, really and truly we canít say itís ghosts. Itís just something unexplainable."

Sometimes the problem is loose wiring, in the callerís home or head.

"Weíve had one or two where they were trying to put one over on us," Shupe said. "But most people just want someone to tell them theyíre not crazy. They want us to confirm what theyíre experiencing."

Some insist theyíre haunted, said Mark Snodgres, who, along with fellow ghost hunter Chris Barnes, repairs and installs wiring for a living.

Snodgres recalls one terrified couple who "heard demons growling and toilets flushing all on their own. Holes had appeared in the body of a crucifix on a stand."

One by one, the investigators exorcised the ghosts: howling hot rods outside and leaky plumbing valves inside. They figured someone had once nailed the crucifix to a wall.

"The guy actually went so far as to bury the crucifix, on someone elseís property," Snodgres said.

Undeterred, the couple mailed GHOST a photo of red eyes glowing in the dark. Shupe enlarged the photo and lightened it. "We found our ghost," she said. "It was a childís Elmo doll."

Still, the team hopes to find proof of ghosts someday. Other members include Angela Newman, a computer consultant, and Christopher Cloud, a psychologist in private practice in Lancaster. He likes the groupís skeptical approach.

"When you meet people who have solid jobs and who are raising a family and theyíre experiencing this phenomena, thereís something going on," Cloud said.

Tonya Sumner joined GHOST after asking for help. The team photographed what appeared to be a womanís face peering from a closet in her home. A former resident produced a photo of his mother: The images look alike.

Sumner said she has made peace with her ghost.

Shupe, a manager of a minimart, didnít believe in ghosts until her son, Brian, and his girlfriend, Darla Daugherty, sensed something in the basement. Brianís mom did what a million other parents do: Turn off the lights. Say nothingís there.

But Brenda Shupe snapped a photo of an unexplained vortex of light. She was hooked.

Ghost-hunting might be serious business, but thereís always room for a sense of humor.

A woman begged for help, but GHOST backed out when she allowed that she dabbled in witchcraft and had conjured up a demon, 7 feet tall and hairy.

"Lady," Shupeís 17-year-old son, Brady, told her, "itís just your husband."

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