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This article by Diana Wolf was prepared for the October 30, 2002 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Who Are Ya Gonna Call? Ghostwatchers!

Halloween brings, on the heels of trick-or-treaters,

our annual dose of specters, spooks, and ghosts. But for Dawn Good

and Susann Pie (pronounced pee-AY), co-founders of Ghostwatch Paranormal Investigations, ghosts are a year-round pursuit. Although spirit activity doesn’t necessarily increase with autumn’s shorter days, interest does.

"Some people feel that the veil is thin towards the end of the

year, and several religions believe that it’s easier to contact the

dead and easier for the dead to come through," says Good.

Good lives a haunted life. As a teenager, she saw an apparition of

two male figures in her bedroom doorway. Years later, driving near

New Hope, Pennsylvania, she saw a soldier standing beside the road,

his papers blowing in the 3 a.m. wind. When she turned her head for

a second look, the figure was gone. It is no surprise she now tracks

ghosts.

"You could call it a hobby, or maybe a calling," she says

of her involvement with the Hamilton-based Ghostwatch. Originally

founded in 2000 as Princeton Paranormal Research Society, the group

reorganized and changed its name but not its mission which is to help

clients, educate the public, and further understanding of haunting

phenomenon. Good and Pie pursue these goals by conducting two confidential

investigations per month. They do not charge for Ghostwatch services.

Beyond their belief, there is nothing bewitching about these two cheerful

women who could be sitting next to you and your Route One co-workers.

Good, who works as the office department coordinator for a Princeton

company, did grow up in a haunted house (confirmed, she says, by Ghostwatch

investigations), and Pie’s involvement is an extension of her Hamilton

business as a healing arts practitioner. Both women have college degrees

and area family ties. Good’s silver ghost necklace is the only evidence

of her attachment to the paranormal.

Good and Pie believe in spirits; their group’s 10 active members include

some skeptics seeking hard scientific evidence. Good says an open

mind is the only requirement, and that increases the comfort level

of clients. Clients often feel embarrassed because the media portrays

belief in the supernatural as silly or trivial.

"A lot of people will call us two or three times and hang up because

they’re afraid to even put words to what they’re experiencing,"

says Good. "Sometimes if a floor squeaks, the floor is squeaky,"

reminds Pie. "It’s not necessarily a ghost."

Every Ghostwatch inquiry is treated seriously. It begins

with a 90-minute preliminary walk-through. The official four-hour

investigation occurs from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m., during spirits’ most

active hours. Power is shut off in the house to eliminate any electromagnetic

interference. Flashlights are covered with a red gel to aid night

vision and prevent photo glare.

Despite movies like "Ghostbusters" that showcase high-tech

gadgetry for warfare on spectres, Good and Pie claim that investigation

equipment can be purchased at the corner electronic supply shop. GPI

members divide into teams and some pan a room with a handheld Electro

Magnetic Field (EMF) detector, sensitive to activity levels as low

as a radio alarm clock. They may also use a non-contact thermometer,

common in refrigeration industries, that identifies pockets of cold

air. A motion detector is set up in any vacant room, and if it goes

off . . .

"It’s a lot like a stakeout in that there’s a lot of waiting and

watching," says Good.

"Odor is definitely a part of the experience," adds Pie, but

sight and sound offer the most substantial proof of the presence of

a spirit. One member of each GPI team carries a camera — any type,

be it digital or disposable — and a voice recorder. Good and Pie

report that white circular orbs, thought to be concentrated spirit

energy, are common visual manifestations, as are mist and rays of

light. Complete apparitions are the rarest. When a spirit’s presence

is felt or seen, investigators attempt contact by asking questions

aloud like: "Who is here?" "How old are you?" and

"What do you want?"

Pie recalls an experience she had at Sach’s Bridge, a covered bridge

at the Gettysburg Battlefield (pictured above). "I asked if there

was somebody with me because I felt somebody standing or a presence

there," she says. "They replied, `Yes’. I said, `Did you die

here?’ and he hollered `Oh yeah.’ That was very chilling, and he was

in a lot of pain."

Ghostwatch maintains that every investigation yields something useful,

whether it’s 25 extraordinary pictures and multiple sound files or

just a few images. Activity can vary on any given night due to fluctuating

energy levels. Ghostwatch shares its data with the client, validating

their experience and confirming that he or she isn’t "mental."

What happens next depends on the client and the spirit. Identifying

paranormal activity is often enough to bring clients peace of mind.

Still, some want the spooky critter gone. Ghostwatch empowers their

clients to handle matters on their own with clearing techniques such

as meditations or working with positive energy.

One Ghostwatch client heard a disembodied voice singing Christmas

songs. No one else heard the voice, which was muddling the words,

and that bothered her. Working with a positive energy, she gained

the strength to finally yell "Stop it!" and the voice ceased.

If those methods aren’t enough, a blessing of holy water, the conducting

energy of quartz, or the alkaline properties of salt may also be used.

It’s hard to determine why some homes are haunted, because many different

anniversaries, births, and deaths are contained within an old house’s

walls. Spirits can be earthbound waiting for a lost love or trapped

to an object. Their guilt, fear, or lack of knowledge regarding their

death may keep them local. Or the spirit may simply want something.

"We wouldn’t force the entity to leave just because we felt like

telling it to leave," says Good. "We’d see if we could possibly

send them to the light."

"Sometimes you just can’t anyway," Pie adds. "No matter

how hard you try, they’re there. There are many things beyond this

third dimension."

— Diana Wolf

Ghostwatch, 609-581-0535. For a list of paranormal help

go to www.theshadowlands.net/thelight.htm


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