If there’s something strange in your neighborhood, who you gonna call?
The South Carolina Paranormal Research and Investigations team documents reports of ghosts, hauntings and paranormal activity.
Story by Eddy Hoyle
What do a financial analyst, an army veteran, an IT director, an emergency room nurse and an archaeologist have in common? They are all ghost hunters and team members of South Carolina Paranormal Research and Investigations, a group of 30 experienced paranormal investigators based in South Carolina that have been investigating and documenting reports of ghosts, hauntings and paranormal activity individually since 1987, and as team since 2007.
MEET THE TEAM
(Left) Investigators Darleen and Cindy try to capture EVPs in the nursery of Old South Pittsburg Hospital in South Pittsburg, Tennessee. (Top) A group photo taken outside of St. Albans Sanatorium in Radford, Virginia. (Right) An investigator measuring temperature and EMF in a client’s home.
The Lowcountry is famous for haunts, and no wonder. Think about the history, tragedy and deaths here – the American Revolution, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War and several killer hurricanes. Add a history of voodoo and hexes, grave robbers, pirates, epidemics and murders, and you have a historical landscape ripe for hauntings.
Fortunately, help is available for those who hear things that go bump in the night, or feel a presence in their homes, or smell a deceased loved one’s signature perfume.
The mission of SCPRAI is twofold: To collect verifiable, scientifically based evidence of the survival of the human personality after death while helping people understand and cope with possible paranormal activity in their homes or businesses.
They never charge for their services. According to their website, an overwhelming majority of reputable paranormal investigation teams across the country believe it is highly unethical to charge for a paranormal investigation or to charge a fee to banish or exorcise ghosts or spirits or dispose of a haunting.
“I feel that our primary function is to make every effort to debunk and explain anomalies,” said Angie Smith, a nine-year veteran lead investigator and board member. “I’d say that 85 percent of our investigations can be explained scientifically, but it’s the other 15 percent that keeps me fascinated. We believe homes should be safe and secure, and we want to help people.”
Is your house haunted?
Visit the South Carolina Paranormal Research and Investigations website (scprai.org) and fill out an investigation request for help. There is no charge for their services. You can also look at haunted photos, watch spooky videos and listen to EVPs (electronic voice phenomenon) on the SCPRAI website.
So how does it work? Anyone in South Carolina can go to the SCPRAI website (scprai.org) to request a free investigation. A case manager makes contact to see if an investigation is warranted, or if the person simply needed to talk. If an investigation is scheduled, paperwork is completed and confidentiality is guaranteed.
Paul Sanders, a lead investigator, explained that a team of about four will conduct the investigation using state-of-the-art equipment, including infrared cameras with a DVR attached, a parascope that picks up static electricity, voice recorders, an electromagnetic field detector and a radio electromagnetism antenna that picks up all movement. They may even use dousers to detect issues with water.
“We have all these fancy gadgets, but sometimes creative homemade items are used,” Smith said. She once connected a few pipe cleaners together, added a bell, and made door hangers to alert the team if doors opened or shut by themselves. To stay current, they also exchange ideas and information with other nationally recognized paranormal investigation teams to remain at the forefront of paranormal research.
“Ghost hunting is like fishing. You never know what’s going to happen,” Sanders said. He said SCPRAI covers the entire state with teams specific to Upstate, the Midlands and the Lowcountry. “Every weekend is booked, and sometimes double-booked. We used to have a three-month waiting list until we got enough equipment to outfit three teams. And soon we will have a fully equipped fourth team.”
Sanders recounted an investigation in a home in which an extremely high level of electromagnetic frequency was registered, so much so that the homeowner complained of dizziness and nosebleeds every time he was in his bedroom and he thought they might be caused by a spirit. The investigators found the cause – the electricity coming into the home was located at the exterior wall of his bedroom. They recommended that he move his bed to the other side of the room and follow up with an electrician. Smith said that while this was a case that was fairly easy to debunk, they have come across other instances that were much more challenging.
In one case a young couple experienced physical assaults and heard screaming like a banshee. Research on the property indicated that a child had died in the bathroom under mysterious circumstances. An honorary team member and psychic in England was called upon to help. She described the spirit as an evil seductress who was linked to the child. She saw her screaming, scratching and biting. An unsuccessful cleansing was done on the home and the couple eventually moved out.