OPINION COLUMNS

What we learned while ghost hunting

By Racey Burden and Kristen Tribe | Published Saturday, October 28, 2017
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There’s more (or perhaps less) to a real ghost hunting adventure than what you see on TV.

“This is not ‘Ghost Hunters,'” Jennifer DeMoss told us as we prepared to set out on a search for the paranormal in Wise County.

Racey Burden

DeMoss and her mother, Suzette Munson, have been paranormal investigators for years. And she was right – it wasn’t like ‘Ghost Hunters.’ We had no night vision lighting, no over-excitable TV hosts. And unlike every paranormal investigation show where the crew declares the ghosts definitively found within an hour, we weren’t sure we’d see or hear anything at all.

What Racey learned while ghost hunting:

1. You should bring snacks. We were out for three hours, climbing all the steps in the courthouse, traipsing through unkempt yards at the Mount House. I got hungry by the end, having skipped my dinner in favor of trying to scare up spooks.

2. EMF and EVP sound alike, but they aren’t the same thing. I had to keep looking at a ghost hunting website to differentiate the two for my story. EMF is a meter that reads electromagnetic fields, and EVP recorders supposedly pick up sounds the human ear can’t hear.

3. You have to have sharp ears to catch ghost sounds. Munson and DeMoss sent us two recordings with anomalies they picked up with EVP, and Kristen and I could just barely make out the sounds they heard – though the Mount House recording was more clear once I listened to it a few times. I don’t know how paranormal investigators hear anything out of the hours of tape they must record.

4. Let local enforcement know what you’re doing. The sheriff’s deputy on patrol in Chico knew we would be at the Mount House, so thankfully no one came to arrest us, even though several passing cars slowed down to see what the heck we were doing out there. At the courthouse, we accidentally frightened attendees of a nighttime vigil who could see our flashlights inside the building. Judge J.D. Clark let them know we were in there.

5. Don’t expect to find something. I’m a skeptic, but I thought that maybe, just maybe, we might actually find a ghost at the Old Stone Prison, purely because that building freaks me out. It was the one place where we got nothing.

Kristen Tribe

Kristen Tribe

What Kristen learned while ghost hunting:

1. Leave your phone at home … or at least in the car. I don’t go anywhere without my phone and had it at the ready to record and/or photograph our potential ghostly encounters, but before we set out through the courthouse, DeMoss and Munson instructed us to leave them behind. They can interfere with the EMF, causing false readings.

2. I second Racey’s lesson on snacks. I, too, skipped dinner and was regretting it by the time we climbed to the courthouse attic. I’d add drinks to the list of basic necessities, too. Why did I not bring a bottle of water? You must be properly hydrated to ghost hunt.

3. Send Joe Duty in first. If you anticipate hobos squatting in abandoned buildings, make Joe go first to clear the room.

4. I’m afraid of insulation blowing in the wind. In my defense, out of the corner of my eye and with my nerves already on edge, it appeared at best to be an angry possum and at worst a ghoul writhing around in the Mount House kitchen. It was neither.

5. “Don’t summon demons.” This was DeMoss’ response when asked if there was “anything we shouldn’t do” while on the hunt. Easy enough. You don’t have to tell me twice.

Wise County news junkies Racey Burden and Kristen Tribe entertained their interest in the supernatural and temporarily set aside their skepticism for a good ol’ ghost hunt.

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