I would love for us all to give a big round of applause for this morning’s guest blogger, Chris Maples. (Ok, stop reading now. Clap hounds vigorously in a circle in front of your body. You may now resume reading). Chris is a friend of mine and also founder and director of a way groovy local non-profit called Dads. Inc. Their mission is to provide education and support to fathers so that they can basically be better fathers. Cool, huh? Give ’em a look-see at www.dadsinc.org. Anyhooters, Chris is also a ghost hunter. Ohhhhh yeeeeaaahhhh!!! Always wondered about ghosts and what it is like to try to find the elusive little boogers? Well, here ya are. Thank you, Chris!
The interest in ghost hunting and the number of ghost hunting groups has exploded since the premiere of SyFy’s Ghost Hunters in October 2004 and in the aftermath of all of the popular paranormal-themed shows hitting the television waves. Much of the American public has either come to believe in the existence of paranormal activity or at least accept that it might exist. According to a survey conducted in October 2008 by the Associated Press and Ipsos, 34 percent of Americans say they believe in the existence ghosts. Moreover, a Gallup poll conducted on June 6–8, 2005 showed that thirty-seven percent of Americans believe in the existence of legitimate haunted houses, with another 16% unsure. Not sure that sounds like so much? Well, consider this: just last month 32.9% of Americans self-identified as Republicans and 36.2% self-identified as Democrats.
I’ve always been interested in the paranormal, I’ve always believed in ghosts. From a very early age, I “just knew”. I can’t really explain it. I never saw anything until I was 8, but I just knew they were there. Then, at 8, my parents and I had made a trip to Tennessee to visit my aunt and uncle. They gave up their bed to my parents, and slept on the couches in the living room while I slept on the floor. At one point in the night, for no reason, I woke up from a dead sleep. I looked over to my right to the couch where my uncle was sound asleep. What I saw confirmed for me what I already knew. Sitting on my uncle’s legs, looking off in the distance, was a little girl, roughly my age, with long, brown hair and pale, white skin. I looked at her for a long second, shocked out of my mind. Realizing what I was seeing, I plunged my face back into my pillow and pulled the blanket over my head. I was paralyzed with fear, though I had no need for it. About 30 minutes later, I finally got the courage to glance over to the couch again with my head still under the blanket. Nothing there. Never a noise made. She just was gone. And unless someone from my family is reading this now, they still have never heard this story. Like with most things we can’t really comprehend, I just pushed it out of my mind. But I still know what I saw that night, and still remember it vividly.
Fast forward 24 years to last fall. I had become a huge fan of Paranormal State and Ghost Hunters. And I was really just itching to go on a ghost hunt, but didn’t know where to get started. I started combing the internet for any local ghost hunting groups, and was shocked to find there were more than I could count. I also found that one of them, Indiana Ghost Hunting Organization Seeking Truth (iGHOST) was seeking applicants. I filled on my application on the spot, and after the interview process, I was selected. But in the meantime, my cousin and I bought some of the equipment we had seen the folks on Ghost Hunters use, emulated their questions, and started to hit some notorious cemeteries across the state. Since joining iGHOST, I’ve also investigated a few private residences and other public locations. I’ve still not actually seen a ghost, but we’ve certainly have had some interesting experiences that, no matter how hard I try to debunk, I have no logical explanations for.
So what’s going on a ghost hunt actually like? Well, to be honest, it’s a only a little bit of what you see on Ghost Hunters. We do walk around with K-II meters and digital voice recorders asking questions of someone who doesn’t appear to be there. But it’s not all compressed into a half hour. And to be clear, it’s not for them either. Investigations go on for a number of hours. And for every hour you investigate, you have at least two hours of evidence to review. So it’s not so glamorous. But it sure is fun. I catch myself sometimes getting out of the car in the middle of a forest that’s pitch black to walk a quarter of a mile back through the woods to an old cemetery and I think that I must be crazy. Normal people would be freaked out. But I’m rushing through the woods hoping to see a ghost.
And I’m pretty lucky. I’m part of a really good team. iGHOST was founded as an organization in June 2006 by a group of like-minded individuals interested in paranormal investigations. Since then, iGHOST has quickly established itself as a well-known and well-respected ghost hunting organization not only in Indianapolis, but across Indiana, conducting dozens of official investigations in businesses and private residences across the state. In 2008, The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS), more popularly known as Ghost Hunters, named iGHOST as a “TAPS Family Member” affiliate – the only Indiana-based ghost hunting organization to receive the coveted honor. As an affiliate, iGHOST investigates cases in Indiana that TAPS has received but are unable to personally investigate. Check us out at www.ighost.org or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ighost.org.