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 Paranormal Activity Doesn't Spook Local Ghost Hunters

October 29, 2008 - Things that go bump in the night often alarm and intrigue people, especially at Halloween. But, a determined group of Knightstown natives has set its sights on catching real spooks in the act.

The Research and Investigating Paranormal Society (RIP) is on a quest to learn more about ghosts, poltergeists and a grab bag of other paranormal phenomena.

Knightstown native Shawn Cotton and local resident William Richmond founded RIP last year in an effort to “help those who having paranormal activities in their home or business.” According to Cotton, the group also sees their activities as a hobby of sorts. “We’ve always been into sci-fi and horror flicks,” he said. “I’ve always been interested in ghosts.”

However, it was the 2005 film “White Noise” that really put the hooks into them. In the movie, Michael Keaton plays a man whose wife suffers a violent death. In an effort to uncover the facts behind her murder, Keaton’s character records “white noise,” a phenomenon that can reportedly capture voices and messages from another plane of existence.

White noise, otherwise known as electronic voice phenomena or EVP, is a central tool in RIP’s growing arsenal of technical apparatus used to detect and record paranormal activity. Using digital voice recorders, infrared thermometers, digital video recorders and a colorful array of computer screens, RIP’s team of eight investigators has conducted investigations in a variety of locations, some local and some as far away as Philadelphia, Penn.

Cotton admitted that they’ve captured little paranormal evidence on RIP’s myriad recording devices, but he’s optimistic that, with patience, they’ll hit the jackpot.

The Banner caught up with RIP back in August, when four investigators, including Richmond and Cotton, spent about eight hours in Knightstown’s storied Pest House. With the blessing of homeowner Steve McCaffrey, the RIP gang set up shop, positioning remote cameras in several places, monitoring temperature changes, recording for EVP and generally detecting for supernatural activity in the massive French Second Empire-style home.

The expedition turned up nothing unusual, according to Cotton, who said ghost stories and tales of haunting that surround the Pest House made it an easy choice for RIP. “We didn’t find anything at the Pest House – nothing at all,” he explained. “The community has built that place into something it’s not.”

The Pest House notwithstanding, RIP claims to have digitally captured paranormal activity in other places. The most prominent recorded occurrences took place in the Philadelphia, Penn., home of Cotton’s wife’s grandmother.

“Our video cameras picked up a light in the basement of the house,” Cotton said. “We didn’t see it at the time. But, when we reviewed our tapes we found it. It faded in and out and there really wasn’t a source of light in that area.”

Cotton said digital voice recorders captured a mysterious voice saying, “B.J., c’mon, c’mon!” and “I’m hungry.” (B.J. Gorman of Knightstown is an RIP investigator.) The voice phenomena were also discovered after the investigation’s completion, when Cotton and Richmond were reviewing recordings.

According to Cotton, that’s how it normally goes. Investigators spend hours compiling recordings of spaces that appear void of paranormal activity. Then, at a later time, they peruse the recorded material in hopes of finding supernatural activity invisible or inaudible to human senses.

RIP has several investigations planned for the coming year, having already completed 12. In all, the group has eight members, including three Knightstown High School graduates (Cotton, Richmond and Gorman).


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