TRUE LIFE GHOSTBUSTERS
REVEAL THEIR SPOOKY SECRETS!
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
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?
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:
house is haunted.'
do you say it's haunted?'
get rappings on my wall, especially when it's stormy and lightning.'
are trees near your house?'
one of the trees is hitting your window.'
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."
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
* Sony Cassette Recorder
with Shure Microphone Mixer
* ExTech Infra-Red Thermometers
* Tri-Field Meter model
* Minolta 35MM Night
* Elektrosmog Multidetector
* Red-lensed Flashlights
* Room Guardian remote
* multi-band Motorola
* Sony 8mm Super Nite
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 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!!!
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
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
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
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
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
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."
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:
Ghost Hunters Handbook, by Troy A. Taylor.
Paranormal Investigator's Handbook, by Valerie Hope and Maurice Townsend.
Hunting: A How-To Guide for Amateur Psychic Researchers, by Richard
Copyright 2003 by WeeklyUniverse.com
|Marcus Rubyman is a Los Angeles based tabloid reporter who investigates UFOs and the paranormal. Read more of his journalism in Hollywood Witches.
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