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by Marcus Rubyman, staff writer.  [July 29, 2003]




[]  Ghosts are not departed living souls, but a residual image of a past occurrence! -- and there is no money in ghosthunting!

Those are some of the astounding bombshell insider secrets revealed by ghost investigators Mike & Sue Fiene and Frank & Jana Rogers of the Missouri/Kansas Paranormal Investigations, Inc. (MPI) while hosting a panel at the 2003 World Horror Convention in Kansas City, Mo. in April.



*  What is a Ghost?


Asked by the Weekly Universe -- which was the only media covering the panel and hence is bringing this report exclusively to readers -- to explain what a ghost is, Mike Fiene replied, "It's all conjecture.  You can talk to a 1000 different investigators and get a 1000 different theories as to what goes on and why they're there.

"The most common image you might see is a 'residual ghost.'  Like a memory image.  Almost like a film of what occurred -- maybe a violent death, maybe something very emotional -- that plays out.  You'll see this thing happening over and over again.  Not a spirit there per se, but an imprint on the atmosphere, an electromagnetic imprint.

"Much rarer are hauntings that are what you might call a soul.  Very rare."

The Weekly Universe then asked the panel about Ken Behrendt's theory that ghosts might be gray aliens who wear a cloak of invisibility while moving among humans.

"I never heard that one," said Fiene.

"That's a good one," added Frank Rogers.


*  Looking to Hire a Ghosthunter?


If your house is haunted, don't assume these ghost busters -- a term they dislike! -- will take your word for it.  Avowing skepticism, the two men (who did most of the talking, while Jana Rogers attended to her baby daughter) outlined their rigorous scientific standards -- which begins even before launching an investigation!

Haunting-harried homeowners who contact the MPI must first endure a phone interview that includes a grueling questionnaire so the ghost investigators can determine whether it's "worth while to do an investigation," said Rogers.

Rogers said that they first seek a logical explanation.  "We try and find a natural reason as to why things are happening.  People have called us and said:

    'My house is haunted.'

    'Why do you say it's haunted?'

    'I get rappings on my wall, especially when it's stormy and lightning.'

    'There are trees near your house?'

    'Well yeah.'

    'Maybe one of the trees is hitting your window.'

    'Oh, okay.' "


Rogers added, "You can find 1000 different ghosthunters, they will go to every place and tell everybody, 'Your house is haunted.'"  Fiene said they've set up motion detectors in houses only to discover that strange noises were created by a cat.

"We're not out soliciting," said Rogers.  "People come to us.  We're not in this for money.  We don't make any salary.  We've had one client of all the places we went to that give us a donation, and that was $100."  MPI also earns "a little bit of money" selling equipment through their website, but their foundation remains in the red, so they make up the difference "out of pocket," as Fiene put it.

Apart from equipment, there are travel expenses.  "We've gone as far as Louisiana," said Fiene.  "We've gone into California and other places.   But as a crew try to stay within the Missouri/Kansas City area because of the costs.  But Sue and I have individually gone father away for things."

"We're trying to find actual proof that there are ghosts," said Rogers.  "We all have day jobs."



* What Is "Actual Proof" of Ghosts?


"My definition of proof," said Fiene, "is what I can definitely get on a recording.  What I can definitely get on camera.  And what I see with my own eyes."

"We have some pictures we can't explain," added Rogers.  "We have videotape we can't explain."

Many ghosts hunters believe that, for recording spirits, film cameras beat digital photography.  Never afraid to ask the tough questions, the Weekly Universe demanded to know MPI's opinion on this controversial issue.

"We don't dispute that something can be found on digital photography," Rogers admitted, "but unfortunately, software makes it easy to alter digital photos.  There's no negative to examine.  In 35mm, if there's an anomaly recorded, you have a negative to examine and rule out other causes."  Even so, he added, "The digital cameras can back up a 35mm, and visa versa."

What equipment does MPI use to investigate ghosts?  They suggest:


* Panasonic 300xDigital Palmcorder with Photo Shot

* Radio Shack Indoor/Outdoor Wireless Remote Sensor Thermometer with main control panel & 3 remote sensors

* Sony Cassette Recorder with Shure Microphone Mixer

* ExTech Infra-Red Thermometers

* Tri-Field Meter model 100XE

* Minolta 35MM Night vision Camera

* Elektrosmog Multidetector II Professional

* Red-lensed Flashlights

* Room Guardian remote Motion Detectors

* multi-band Motorola walkie-talkies

* Sony 8mm Super Nite shot camcorder


Walkie talkies are used because, while investigating a haunted house, the investigators may split into groups.  Remote thermal sensors from Radio Shack can monitor four different locations from one panel.

Especially noteworthy is when their infrared thermometer records a temperature change at the same time as when the EMF meter records something.

The MPI website explains EMF meters:


EMF DETECTION METERS are used to seek out disruptions in the natural electro-magnetic field of locations.  They are used to provide authentic evidence of paranormal activity.  However, the equipment can also be influenced by things that aren't supernatural.

You have to learn what the readings on the equipment mean and which readings are false and caused by natural sources.... and which ones are the real thing.  It takes practice to use the meters properly!

NEVER try to go out on an investigation if you don't know how to use and read your equipment properly.


When using EMF meters (to monitor electro-magnetic fields), Rogers stresses the importance of first screening out natural fields (such as light sockets) via the meter's "sensitivity button."  He adds that professional ghost investigators must make sure to master their equipment.

Not that one needs a degree to be a professional ghostbuster.  "We're not scientists," said Fiene, "but I've been doing [ghost] investigations for thirty years.  We got a video monitor with remote cameras that we set up in different rooms and watch from that one monitor.  Regular tape recorders as well as digital voice recorders.  We try and pick up those elusive sounds you sometimes get."

Rogers added, "There are people who investigate with paper and pencil, some with all sorts of computers running.  We're in the middle."

Since much of their work is in the dark, MPI also uses flashlights with red lens (as do astronomers).  But that does NOT mean that ghosts only appear in the dark!

"We associate midnight with ghostly happenings," said Fiene, "but these things can happen anytime."

Rogers recounted a spooky shocker that occurred at "nine or ten in the morning."  A diner waitress turned around to see a man with a dark hat and coat sitting at a counter.  She apologized for not having heard him enter, asked if he'd like a cup of coffee, and briefly faced away to get it.  But when she tuned back -- the man was gone!!!


*  Haunted Stakeout


If after completing their questionnaire, MPI believes that your house is likely haunted, here's what you can expect:

"What we normally do when we go in there," said Fiene, "especially in a residential situation, is try and find out where they think things are happening, then determine the best place to set cameras and detectors." 

Then they return to "home base" and monitor events.  Which equipment they bring is determined by the size of the haunted place, and details of the investigation.

A common problem is that homeowners often want to stay and watch.  Fiene said it's difficult to investigate spirits with children and pets running around.  "Normally we won't do it unless we can have everybody out of there, expect maybe one person who doesn't like strangers in their house." 

Rogers added, "Even if there's a haunting, that doesn't mean something's going to happen the first time we're there.  We might have to go back two or three different times."

MPI is more likely to investigate places with "an interesting history," said Rogers.  "Especially if knowledge is defective, and there are stories associated with the place."

One such historically interesting place is Kansas City's Union Station, where, in 1933, mobster-turned-FBI informant Frank Nash was gunned down in the Kansas City Massacre.  Nash had been been wearing dark pants and a white shirt -- and his head was shot off!

The station has a security room with monitors watching various little theaters.  "While we were there that evening," says Rogers.  "We had a woman tell us that on her very first night of security, her boss pointed to a monitor and asked, 'What do you see?'  She says 'there's some guy sitting there.'"  While the boss sent another guard into the theater, the boss and woman kept looking at the monitor, "and they realize that the guy sitting in there -- has no head!"

Even more shocking, the headless ghost sitting alone in the theater was wearing "a big tail white shirt and dark pants" -- dressed like Frank Nash on the day of his death!!

And still more shocking, when the other guard entered the theater -- standing within yards of Nash's headless ghost! -- he called back to say that he didn't see anything! -- at the same time as the boss and woman were watching both the guard and headless ghost on the monitor!!!

But most shocking of all, when MPI asked to see the videotape of the ghostly event, they were informed that the security tape -- had already been recorded over!!!!  (As was standard procedure!!!!!)

Other problems plagued the Union Station investigation.

Because MPI's access was arranged by a radio station, MPI agreed to allow a radio crew to attend, assuming it would be a DJ and a production person.  Instead, each radio guy brought his girlfriend -- and an entire group of friends!

Then, while Rogers was alone in a room on the 7th floor, he detected a temperature change at the same time that someone was heard whistling outside in the hall. He recorded yet another temperature change at the same time that someone was heard walking in the hall in high-heeled shoes. Yet when Rogers rejoined the group -- everyone denied having whistled that night

And everyone was wearing sneakers!!!

Who was the person in the high-heeled shoes?!!!!

Eager to see a ghost, everyone returned to the room on the 7th floor -- thus ruining the investigation for the night. "Now you have ten people in one room," lamented Rogers. "How long can they be quiet? There was too much noise and excitement."

Although ghosts often haunt only a single location, they've also been known to follow things -- or even people! -- relocating along with them! When Union Station hosted a Titanic exhibition, many people, including employees, reported seeing "people" dressed in period costume! And when the exhibition moved to St. Louis, similar sightings were reported there!

Although such multiple citings add credibility to ghostly reports, Fiene admits, "It's all hearsay.  Obviously something is happening.  Whether it's a legitimate haunting, or a real active imagination in two different places that are identical, is hard to say without an investigation."


*  Recommended Reading


Do you want to be a professional (unpaid) ghostbuster?  Rogers said he does much reading on the subject "because everyone has a different theory," but he recommends the following books to bone up on:


    * The Ghost Hunters Handbook, by Troy A. Taylor.

    * The Paranormal Investigator's Handbook, by Valerie Hope and Maurice Townsend.

    * Ghost Hunting: A How-To Guide for Amateur Psychic Researchers, by Richard Senate.


Copyright 2003 by


Marcus Rubyman is a Los Angeles based tabloid reporter who investigates UFOs and the paranormal. Read more of his journalism in Hollywood Witches.

Read the Weekly Universe's reports on ghost hunters in San Francisco and Salt Lake City!


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