By Benjamin (with Leah)
The thing that has shocked us the most about paranormal investigation teams since we began what is commonly called “ghost hunting” is the relative uniformity among groups who engage in the practice. One would think that, given how much is unknown about what is considered paranormal, people would be more creative or innovative in investigating what is, by its nature, outside the box. It is not. (This is in not in any way a critique or a dig on the way that other teams perform investigations, these are simply our own opinions and observations.) Most teams follow the following format. They have a director, case manager, historian/researcher, equipment manager, and investigators. Many of the questions asked are nearly identical to questions on ghost hunting shows. The places that are investigated are places that have been investigated by multiple other paranormal investigation teams. Often teams pay to investigate the site.
To be fair, we do not deviate that much from the standard way that a team is organized, only roles are much more fluid. Leah is regarded by almost everyone who has worked with her as one of the finest researchers/historians people have worked with, and she is brilliant when it comes to finding places to investigate. When we look for a place to investigate, the last thing that Leah considers is whether other people have reported paranormal occurrences there. Leah considers the circumstances and conditions which would in all likelihood give rise to paranormal activity. Among the things she considers are: is this a location that would prompt a person to form an attachment in death; is this near a river, given that historically since ancient times bodies have water have been a source of life, civilization, transportation and food; and finally, is the location historically significant?
Recently, Leah and I were looking for a place to ghost hunt where we had not before, that had not been investigated before. Leah did a search of public parks with late hours and found the Rosenwald Park and Community Center. She noted that the school had been built in 1927 for African-Americans as the result of a joint philanthropy venture by one of the co-owners of Sears and Roebuck, and importantly Booker T Washington. The name Booker T Washington immediately resonated with me, as it would with almost anyone given that prior to Martin Luther King, Jr., he was probably the most influential civil rights leader in American history. Moreover, the school operated for 33 years in a period most Americans would like to forget about…segregation.
The location of the former school is now a park and features a replica of the school, as it once provided quality education to numerous African-American students who would otherwise be denied the education afforded white students. We went with our equipment in hand and got a lot of activity, despite the fact that to our knowledge no one else had conducted a paranormal investigation there. We were slightly limited in where we could investigate, because the replica of the former school was being used as a community center and people were present. A little while later we went with the paranormal investigation team that we were then a member of and experienced less activity but, still enough, that it was a good night.
When Leah and I decided to go out on our own I told a man I know, Mark Walsh, who is in many ways the dean of paranormal investigations, at least in the area we live, about the location. Mark, like Leah and I, typically investigates locations that have not been over-investigated. Unlike Leah and I, Mark has been investigating since the late 1980s before the ghost boom and before cable TV was flooded with numerous ghost hunting shows. Mark was essentially apprenticed as a paranormal investigator before TV shows provided anyone with an idea about what equipment and methods to use.
Mark went there a few days later, and we communicated because I could not go. Mark reported a significant amount of activity that he was receiving. Not surprisingly, given the factor of experience, he reported more activity than Leah or I had noted when we went. And much of what he reported was almost identical to what Leah and I, and later the team we were members of, had experienced.
For whatever reason, probably due to the surprisingly conservative way that many teams investigate, this paranormal investigator’s gem had gone unnoticed. This site will be open to a public investigation on October 13th and 14th this coming Friday and Saturday night. It pays to think outside the box when conducting paranormal investigations. https://www.facebook.com/SouthernGothicParanormalResearch/