Indiana Daily Student

Ghost hunting:

Local group searches for evidence of paranormal activity

A caravan consisting of 17 members of the Indiana Ghost Trackers drove down a winding road in rural Monroe County searching for a secluded graveyard Oct. 22. They were on a ghost hunt.\nThe Bloomington chapter of Indiana Ghost Trackers is dedicated to tracking and understanding paranormal activity. The members regularly go on ghost hunts and provide investigations, which are free of charge, to individuals who feel their homes or businesss are inhabited by ghosts.\nSenior Cody Bell joined Indiana Ghost Trackers about one year ago after reading an article about the group in the Indiana Daily Student. \n"I'm kind of a history buff, so I enjoy the history behind the places we travel to," Bell said. "We get to travel to a lot of locations that I would not get to go to otherwise."\nHe said the group has traveled to Mansfield, Ohio, to hunt ghosts in the prison where the movie "Shawshank Redemption" was filmed. He said it is ranked as one of the top 10 most haunted places in America.\n"We had access to the building all night long," Bell said. "I didn't really see anything there that led me to believe that there were ghosts."\nThe Indiana Memorial Union is reported to have a haunted bell tower. Bell said Indiana Ghost Trackers had an opportunity to investigate the building one night.\n"It's creepy in the Union Board office alone. I have heard footsteps in there when no one else was around," said Bell, who is also the vice president of programming for Union Board. "My friend is thoroughly convinced that there is a ghost in the Union Board office."\nBell said he is not sure if he believes in ghosts or not. \n"I've never really had anything happen to me that would make me believe," Bell said. "I'd like to believe. I guess I'm just skeptical, but I think it is possible."\nBell's mother has a different story. \nShe was watching her grandson at her home while her niece was gravely ill in the hospital. While he was playing in their computer room, she went to fix him a snack. Her grandson came down to the kitchen and asked his grandmother if she believed in ghosts. She said she supposed that she did, and asked him why he would ask. He said he thought he saw a ghost. He said he saw a blue shroud of light pass through the room where he was playing and it went into the wall. \nBell's family received a call about five minutes later letting them know that the girl had passed away. Bell's parents agree that this experience is proof of the existence of ghosts.\nBell said he enjoys using the gadgets the Indiana Ghost Trackers use to detect the presence of ghosts. The group uses specialized recorders and microphones to capture electronic voice phenomena, which are sound recordings of what might be ghosts.\nChris Garrison, who traveled with his wife from Indianapolis to go on a ghost hunt with the Bloomington chapter of Indiana Ghost Trackers, had a recording of paranormal activity on his own recorder. Garrison said he picked up the recording of a whispering voice saying "go away" at the Royal Theatre in Danville, Ind. \n"Theaters are a good place to look for ghosts," Garrison said. "There is a lot of history in theaters."\nGarrison said he finds paranormal activity fascinating. Although he said he was reluctant to join the group at first, he believes in the existence of ghosts.\n"They are people who've passed on and don't believe they're dead," Garrison said.\nIndiana Ghost Trackers is a non-profit organization. Members of the organization are required to pay a $20 membership fee, which helps them acquire their equipment.\nIndiana Ghost Trackers offers various training classes for its members. Garrison said members are required to complete training classes before going on an investigation. \nAn investigation differs from a hunt in that it is performed at a homeowner's request. The group will investigate the cause of paranormal activity for the public free of charge. The group keeps investigations of homes confidential.\n"We try to eliminate what is not causing something paranormal to happen," said Indiana Ghost Tracker Rick Schmelz. "We are just amateur investigators."\nSchmelz said no one knows exactly what is going on with ghosts. Although he has never had an experience with ghosts, he said he thinks ghosts are probably people who have not moved on or have unfinished business. He said he realizes that instincts are not scientific and said that the Indiana Ghost Trackers try to be scientific about their work.\n"There is not a whole lot of data on the subject yet, and it is hard to control the elements we are studying," Schmelz said. "It's a young science"

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