A ghost of a chance?
Our friends from the afterlife are making the news, lately. In Dowell, Ill., two engineers for Canadian National Railways reportedly hit a man lying on the tracks, but after four hours of searching by the local authorities, no blood on the tracks was found. Was it just a bleary-eyed prank by those wily Canucks or a real-life story of spooky coincidence? Reno Investigators of the Paranormal founder Rebbecca Rosenbaum has made a hobby out of searching for traces of the dearly departed.
How did you first get involved in ghost-hunting?
A lot of people involved in the paranormal field had their first experiences when they were children. Growing up, I lived in a house that was very questionable and may have been haunted. My older brothers told me things, but I really don’t know. The theory is that children and babies, because they’re so innocent, they can see apparitions and ghosts easier because they’re more open to it.
Is (RIP) your first venture into the paranormal?
I started a group in Kentucky in 2002. We were a group of amateurs with a shared belief in the paranormal world. We did some investigations and had a blast. My husband and I recently moved to the area, and I was reluctant to start another club.
What’s a good number of people to have on a ghost-hunting expedition?
It’s best to keep the group small. For one thing, when you start getting a big group, not everyone can participate in an investigation. And I want everybody to be able to participate. Say if we have eight people, a few can do case management or historical research, but if you get more than eight or nine people, it gets really difficult.
Have you ever seen a real ghost?
Back in Kentucky there was a place called the Old Talbot Tavern where we did an investigation. The owners gave us the run of the place and told us to lock up before we leave. The place used to be an old stagecoach stop. Reportedly, the wife of the owner hung herself in the basement. The second time we went I went from skeptic to total believer. This rocking chair started rocking by itself while we were standing outside one of the rooms. One of the group members poked me in the arm and pointe. Their whole face turned white. Another time, we collected some EVPs [electronic voice phenomena] and when we played them back we heard some really spooky stuff. On one, you could hear a man whisper, “Get out!” Another one was of a man chuckling in the background. It reminded me of a clown. It freaked me out. I hate clowns.
Got your eyes on any haunted spots around here?
We’re going to go to Virginia City first. There are so many spooky old cemeteries out there. It’ll be an intro. Just to get everybody’s feet wet. It sounds like a good place to start. There are some very strange ghost towns in rural Nevada we’d like to check out, too.
You have a list of rules and regulations people must sign?
We’re not professionals, but we do conduct ourselves professionally. No smoking or cologne or perfume, as these can be confused for ectoplasm mist. They are contaminates. No breath mints. No one can go alone anywhere. Also, this is not a religious thing. So nobody will express their religious beliefs or non-religious beliefs at any time. I am a skeptic by nature, and so the goal is not to find ghosts, necessarily, but to debunk things with a healthy skepticism.