September 28, 2007

The Ghost Hunter

My cat was put to sleep, and that evening, almost to the exact moment that she was put down, I was looking at her toys and thinking I should maybe start putting them away, when one rolled across the floor by itself.

Immediately, the grief that I had, didn’t go away, but something happened to it; it was nullified. I wasn’t as lost in my grief as I had been up to that point. That’s kind of how it started for me – this feeling that I had to find out more about what was going on.

Ghost hunting is not a career for me; I don’t get paid for this. I’ve been doing it for about 10 years, I guess and about six of those years, we’ve had a website. The website is there to help people but also as a place to put things up that we can’t explain. We’re not saying for a second that what we’re putting up on our website are ghosts; after examining the photographs, these are just things that we haven’t been able to explain. People can contact us if they need us, but we don’t charge for any of this.

Some of the things we can’t explain include strange mists that seem to be in clear air, when it’s not cold outside and there’s nobody smoking. We’ve seen figures of people that aren’t there, looking like whatever you expect ghosts to look like.

Our website also gives some definitions to some common terminology used in our work. For example, an ‘orb’ looks like a ball of light (about the size of a golf ball), which sometimes look wet inside or all filled with smoke. These you can see with the naked eye at places that are supposedly very haunted. There are a lot of these on pictures and film, and these are mostly dust and water particles. A ‘plasmoid’ is really just a fast-moving orb.

A ‘residual’ is where an item or location seems to have activity associated with it that is repetitive. For example, there’s a famous battlefield in the United States where part of the Civil War was fought. People will sometimes hear distant canons and musket fire, screams and shouts. That would be a residual. Sometimes it includes an apparitional image, and sometimes it does not. It’s like a record player that just plays over and over and over again, and there’s no interaction or any kind of awareness of you.

Why do unexplained phenomena exist? We can only speculate, because until we die, we don’t know. It may be unfinished business; there may be something that the spirit is still concerned about. When people talk about ghostly experiences, they usually talk about parents or grandparents, who are perhaps concerned about their offspring. Sometimes people who die in battle will actually show up in front of a wife or somebody, just to say goodbye.

I think a lot of the spirit’s desire to be on this earth plane is a thing they loved, someone they don’t want to be away from, like a child. Time for them is probably very different for them than the time that we have. What would be a lifetime for us may just be a short time in the spirit world.

The majority of people - and we’re talking about regular people; not silly, New Age wackos - once they get over the shock of what they’ve seen, are incredulous, because it pulls all of their beliefs and logic into question. Then there are other people who are simply frightened.

Children do seem to be a lot more open to the idea of spirits. They don’t have all the rules built up in their minds yet, and they’re also encouraged to believe in fantasy creatures, like Santa Claus and Easter bunnies. I’m not saying children just have spiritual fantasies, but that children are just more open to that kind of experience.

People who are dying have reported death bed visitations, and there is a lot of text to support that. You have to understand too, though, that these people tend to be drugged heavily, and they may be in and out of consciousness. You may actually want to convince yourself that there’s a ghost just so that you can believe life’s not over...that it doesn't end.

You always have to look at the other side of the coin. We’re just as interested in disproving ghosts as we are into proving them. We don’t just accept everything at face value and say it’s spooky.

To go about differentiating between things we can explain versus those that we can’t, we use a number of tools and technologies. We use night cameras, tape recorders, light meters and all kinds of things that you’ve probably seen on TV. We just try to get as much data as we possibly can at the time when things are happening. Those things tend to happen quite regularly at certain places and certain times. We’ll try to find out the root cause; if it’s a door that keeps banging and crashing, we will try to see if the door is properly hinged et cetera.

I don’t really believe in a lot of the gadgetry that’s out there. I think if anybody wants to be a ghost hunter, they should save themselves some money and buys themselves an old book and pay attention. Your own eyes are as good as anybody else’s out there.

While we document strange occurrences, we aren’t actually responsible for ridding ghosts. I don’t really know how you can prove that you’ve rid a ghost. I mean, what do you say? “Get out of here ghost”? Short of that, if there was a need to bring in someone else, then I would probably go with a religious group. When you’re dealing with potentially spiritual matters, you want to go to the spiritual authorities. I just think that people that go around waving sage, smoke and eagle feathers would just irritate any potentially annoyed spirit.

Ghosts can, as a matter of fact, be dangerous. We know of someone who works in the corrections field – a big fellow - who was going home one night, walked into a room in his house, and something punched him in the face, out of nowhere. To this day, he’s not returned to his home, except to get clothes and such. He’s been staying at his friend’s place ever since, and it’s been a couple years now.

So, there is definitely some cause to be concerned. I don’t know if it’s ghosts, mortal beings or something else, but yes, there is support that it can be very dangerous, and people have been attacked. Right here in Vancouver, we’ve dealt with people who have been attacked, but I’m not at liberty to go into detail.

Even if a ghost isn’t dangerous, fear is a common response. Why do we turn the lights on at night? I think for all our abilities to put shuttles up into the sky and look at tiny bacteria with a microscope, we’re still tied to our cave, we still pray to our totems and we want to have our charms around our necks to keep us safe. There’s an unknown world that is so very far removed from what we understand with cars and computers. The unknown is a scary place.

There are strange things that happen to regular people, and this science needs to be looked at. I suspect it is being looked at, but we’re not being told. My work only scares me for other people. We were in a location where some bad things had happened to the occupants. We went to a house in Surrey, B.C. a couple years ago, and the family had watched their cat being moved across the kitchen counter…we all saw this. The cat was sound asleep, and it was being pushed. People were attacked at this house – bitten and things like that.

I’m always worried we may go to the one ghostly location where we’re over our heads. We don’t know from one day to the next if we’re dealing with Casper or the Amityville Horror, which, incidentally, is fake. There are definitely spooky things that happen; we just want to know why they’re happening.

Why do we turn the lights on at night? I think for all our abilities to put shuttles up into the sky and look at tiny bacteria with a microscope, we’re still tied to our cave; we still pray to our totems and we want to have our charms around our necks to keep us safe.

by Jan Gregory

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