You are alone in your house – not for the first time and not for the last time. But this time, it’s different. A chill surges down your spine, your heart is racing, and – what was that? Could your eyes have been playing tricks on you? Or did someone – something – dart out of the shadows? Your breathing is heavy and uneven as the fear grips you from within, and your eyes are wide as you stare intently in the direction of the disturbance, searching your mind for a rational explanation. And there it goes – right before your eyes – the gentle swing and the loud creak of a door as it opens, slowly. But what lies on the other side?
It sounds like something straight out of a Stephen King novel: frightening, indeed, but entirely fictitious nonetheless. There is simply no way that ghosts exist. It’s absurd. It’s ridiculous.
Is it possible that the mysterious, terrifying spirits that highlight Hollywood films and cheap paperback novels actually exist?
Many people strongly believe that they do. Some of them even dedicate their lives in researching and investigating what lies beyond the grave. These people are known as paranormal investigators, or, more commonly, ghost hunters.
Their name says it all: these people travel from one haunted location to the next, proving or disproving the ‘haunting’ that supposedly takes place there. There isn’t a better group to tell us exactly how to do it than PIHK, the Paranormal Investigators of Henderson, Kentucky (see end of article for website).
PIHK was founded in 2006 by Dewayne Mills, and his wife, Rebecca. They were inspired to form a team of paranormal investigators after a series of occurrences led them to realize that their own house was haunted. They joined with Jamie Woods, Billy Halpin, Richard Hicks, Brittany Garrett, their three children, Shelby, Hannah, and Ryan, and a few others to create PIHK.
One of their most memorable investigations was none other than Waverly Hills Sanatorium. Waverly Hills began as a hospital for victims of tuberculosis in 1910. The building was closed in 1962 when the number of tuberculosis victims dwindled and the hospital was no longer needed. It was reopened later in the same year under the name Woodhaven Geriatrics Hospital, a place where patients with severe mental problems were supposedly taken care of, and a nursing home for seniors. Woodhaven was closed in 1981 due to severe abuse and neglect of the patients.
Waverly Hills Sanatorium has been called the most haunted building in the country.
The Paranormal Investigators of Henderson, Kentucky, have visited the old, abandoned hospital six times. Many people are scared enough with just one visit, but for PIHK, each visit is just another ghost hunt.
The equipment plays a major role in the team’s investigation. There are the simple electronics, such as the digital cameras, video cameras, and, of course, flashlights. Then there are the special ones, ones that you wouldn’t find anywhere outside of a ghost hunt.
A ghost hunter’s necessity is a digital voice recorder. In the form of a small, thin rectangle, the voice recorder can record even the smallest sounds. Ghost hunters use them because they can supposedly pick up the voices of the dead – voices that can’t be heard with the human ear. PIHK always brings at least 8 with them on an investigation. “You never know what the recorders might hear,” Dewayne tells us.
Another useful tool to have is the temperature gauge, which can tell you the exact temperature of any specific spot you point it at. Supposedly, when a spirit draws energy to make its presence known, it will often form a cold spot. Obviously, a temperature gauge can pick this ‘cold spot’ out, and there is the distinct possibility that a supernatural presence is making itself known.
Electromagnetic Field Detectors, dubbed “EMF Reader’s,” are similar to the tem-perature gauges, only they don’t detect the temperature: they read electromagnetic fields. Now, these fields in the air can be caused by anything – wiring in the walls, lights, or basically any electronic object that might give off an electromagnetic reading. However, these tools can come in handy when you are nowhere near an electric appliance. Spirits, once having drawn enough energy to make itself known, will not only form a cold spot, but will give off an electromagnetic reading of their own.
There are many other tools that are very useful for a ghost hunter to use; these are just the basics. During the Waverly Hills investigation, PIHK could be seen placing digital voice recorders in certain areas, and even encouraging the spirits there to talk into the small rectangles. They waved around their temperature gauges when they felt a drop in the temperature, and were spotted trying to get the spirits to approach their EMF detectors, in order to get a reading.
After the equipment, of course, comes the people in charge of handling it all.
PIHK was very organized in their investigation. Waverly Hills is indeed quite large place. They were split into pairs of two or three, searching the building for answers. Could there really be spirits here? Could it possibly be more than the imagination?
PIHK tells us that an important part of being a ghost hunter is to ask the right questions. With the perfect balance of skepticism and their own personal beliefs, they can weed out anything that could have been their minds playing tricks on them, and separate reality from the imagination.
“It is always important to be skeptical,” Billy Halpin says. “Someone who is also a ghost hunter and a skeptic can understand the difference between what they want to believe, and what they are actually experiencing. However,” he adds, “I’ve seen enough to know that I am a true believer in the paranormal.”
PIHK tells us that there is more to being a ghost hunter than having the fancy equipment, or the popularity one might get off it. It is very important to keep a cool head: not only to remain calm when the fear seems unbearable (and trust us, it sometimes is), but to know the difference between a simple breeze and actual paranormal phenomena.
“But we don’t claim to be experts,” Rebecca Mills says. “I don’t believe that there is a such thing as an expert in the paranormal field. Although we have learned a lot since 2006, we still have much to learn. Each investigation only educates us further.”
You may or may not believe in spirits. You might think the idea is silly. Then again, you might find that you have become a true believer in the supernatural. Either way, you are not alone. For the true skeptics out there, I feel I must tell you that no one here is enforcing our beliefs upon you. Dewayne Mills, the founder of PIHK, even states that he had been a skeptic his whole life until he formed the team.
And for the true believers out there, it is no myth: there really is someone you can call when you feel you are experiencing a haunting. The Paranormal Investigators of Henderson, Kentucky, are just one of the many teams out there, eager to help anyone who feels that assistance is needed. And if you ever felt this way, ask yourself that one important question:
Who you gonna’ call?