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By Mark Pavilons
“The muses are ghosts, and sometimes they come uninvited.”
– Stephen King, Bag of Bones
Drawn by “the other side,” Ontario paranormal investigators are like treasure-hunters. You'd be surprised at the riches they have uncovered.
One “spiritualist” has dedicated his efforts to investigating the paranormal.
David Gibb, founder and director of the Canadian Haunting and Paranormal Society (CHAPS), is intrigued by the extraordinary.
Some 25 years ago, Gibb visited Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where he witnessed what seemed to be a flash from gunpowder go off in his car, after seeing a lamp roll down a hill. He became hooked after this civil war “haunting.” He formed CHAPS in 2005.
CHAPS is made up of enthusiasts of the other side, and its connections with this side.
“We attempt to come face to face with some of the answers many are afraid to confront,” according to their website.
They are consummate professionals and conduct all investigations free of charge.
Gibb admits he and his team have been to some “very cool places,” like theatres, hotels and even asylums. “We have found documents linking hospitals to patient neglect; newspapers of people dying on the properties we investigate,” he said.
Paranormal occurrences can vary widely. Gibb said one standard is known as a “residual haunt,” where events take place with no rhyme or reason and no real “consciousness.” He likens it to a cassette tape playing.
A responsive occurrence tends to take place when something triggers it. Noises, perhaps a muffled voice, has an air of intelligence to it. This, he said, is an “actual knowing body of something.”
While some paranormal investigators claim to have encountered demonic entities, Gibb said in the over 400 cases he's been involved in, he's never come across anything wicked.
“Frankly, I doubt I will. Seems everyone else has,” he said.
Ghosts, spirits, apparitions, are all linked to the departed. They are non-physical entities.
Investigators are armed with an array of technological devices, to measure the presence of spirits.
Gibb said electromagnetic field (EMF) is one way to measure. It's used as a base read and a barometer during investigation.
“We don't place too much in it. It is just a reason to ask more questions. You can measure temp, radiation, breeze. Just don't read too far into it,” he said.
Despite a lack of hard evidence, do spirits really exist?
“Personally I have faith that something is there. I have heard EVP (electronic voice phenomenon) that couldn't have existed. I have seen and felt, chased even. But would I say I have proof of that? No. I am looking for it.”
Why do ghosts continue to hang around and even haunt various dwellings?
Gibb doesn't have a definitive answer.
“Maybe to spend time with loved ones. Maybe they have not ascended to what I am not sure.”
If they are, indeed the spirits of the departed, we don't need to fear them.
“We should embrace them and learn as much as we can from them.”
CHAPS relies on the public to report paranormal occurrences. website www.chapsparanormal.ca or on Facebook, just look them up. They're also on Instagram and Twitter.
“The spectre's voice disturbed the very marrow in his bones.”
– Charles Dickens, “Stave I: Marley's Ghost,” A Christmas Carol, 1843
Energy is left behind
A first-hand glimpse into the unknown sparked Kim Hadfield Verheul's interest. She started Halton Paranormal just for fun and her own interest.
“I was photographing abandoned buildings and went home to look at my photos, and found a shadow in the top window. I went back to see if I could recreate it. I thought it was a curtain or a broken glass. I could not recreate this picture. I told a few friends and they were interested so we went out one night, posted it on Facebook and we soon became a hit.”
Like many eager investigators, Hadfield Verheul was anxious to see something concrete and experience “demons” and other paranormal phenomenon. She soon realized there are many dimensions out there and there's a host of “interdimensional beings” travelling back and forth.
“They come here to feed off our energy,” she said.
This can bring some unwanted consequences. Hadfield Verheul has witnessed “darkness” and seen an investigator being “taken over” by an entity.
“I watched in complete darkness as this darker than dark being approach him. Our investigator was asking for help, he almost fell down the stairs at one point. It truly shook him to the bone. It was as if he was drawn into their world. I pulled him back. Some people call these entities ‘shadow people,' I call them the ‘dark ones.' I now deal more with these beings as they are truly great teachers.”
We are constantly emitting energy, good and bad. The living are contributing to a force that can be felt by others.
Some people, Hadfield Verheul argued, feel residual energy being left behind from the living. People who are living a life of abuse, addiction, illness, or who are just plain negative will leave behind energy that is very negative. It will feel like dread and heaviness and people who are experiencing it may trace it to demons and negative spirits.
“I believe everything that is our ego (our thoughts and beliefs) are left behind when we pass and that is what the living are feeling.”
You cannot destroy energy, and whether you are dead or living you leave behind traces of yourself, she contends.
“It plays itself out over and over again; people can feel it, hear it and will experience ‘symptoms' of that energy. Let's say you buy a house and the people in that house previously were abusive and angry, or a tragedy took place in that home. They move out and you move in but traces of that energy stay in that atmosphere. You, as the new owner will feel and experience that energy. Many people believe they are experiencing a demon or a ‘ghost.' All they really need to realize is that they are living inside the energy of the previous owner so they should cleanse their new home and make the energy in it their own.”
In her view, when we die, our spirit returns to that “unconditional loving energy of the universe” and we become one again.
“We come back in the form of how we were so that we are recognized by our loved ones. Harming and scaring them is forbidden as we are just love. Apparitions are just brief sightings of our loved ones.”
Investigators use many tools to uncover the paranormal, but Hadfield Verheul said we should be using our five and six senses instead.
Do spirits exist? Yes, according to Hadfield Verheul.
She pointed to an incident when she was nine years old in the hospital. She saw her deceased grandfather and ever since she just needed to know more about the next level of existence.
She doesn't think our spirits remain after we pass away.
“We all return home.”
She practices Buddhism now, and believes in karma. She has become a healer and helps people with physical and emotional pain.
“We tend to have an irrational fear of the unknown. I have overcome many things from my time ghost hunting. There is nothing to fear.”
But, she said there are interdimensional beings who come in and out to prey on our fears our negativity. “The point is to face them, be a loving being and they will disappear. All of these beings have much to teach us, there is nothing to fear.”
After all of her experiences, Hadfield Verheul has a greater sense of peace and doesn't fear death.
“Live life to the fullest, live in the moment and most of all harm no one. That is what I have learned, from sitting in abandoned houses and helping people with their paranormal encounters.
“I would like to educate people that ghosts and spirits, whatever you want to call them, are not harmful, they have much to teach us. If we could educate people that this is part of history, part of who you are and the spirits will not be disrupted or get angry, it would make it much easier for us to continue with our passion for it.”
For more, visit http://haltonparanormal.wixsite.com/haltonparanormal/our-story
“From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggety beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!”
Harmless, in no way ‘evil'
According to Rachel Cross, of Paranormal Seekers, 99% of spirits are harmless and in no way evil.
“We have also discovered that 99% of experiences are only perceived as evil. 99% of experiences are harmless, but people are terrified of the unknown.”
She's been interested in the paranormal all of her life and formed PS 14 years ago.
Since then, she and her team have discovered a lot of amazing history and have connected a lot of things together for locations.
The Paranormal Seekers categorize types of paranormal occurrences as followed:
Ghosts – someone who has died, usually rather suddenly (accident, murder, sickness), and does not realize they have passed.
Spirits – someone who has died, crossed over the other side, and come back to visit their favourite people/places/things.
Poltergeists – an energy, that has no form, that can cause things to move, be thrown, dropped, etc. Can be harmful or harmless.
Residual Haunting – a recording and playback of an event in time. These playbacks don't interact with every day life, like a ghost or spirit can.
Orbs – a form of energy. It is said that this is the easiest way for ghosts and spirits to manifest. However, 90% of the time, orbs have a natural explanation such as sun, water, dust, hair.
“I can 100% say ghosts and spirits exist. I have physically seen and heard them. I have been touched. I have also sat down and did a ‘Ghost Box' session, asked questions, got answers. With those answers, I started my research and found out exactly who, what, when and where.”
Some people don't want to leave and some just don't know how. Cross is happy to let them hang around.
“If they are happy to stay, then let them. They are no different than the living.”
There is zero need to be afraid of them, she stressed, noting that Hollywood has made it appear that all ghosts and spirits are evil and out to get us.
“Embracing them would be fantastic and learning their stories would be great.”
Calm and peace is one of the many things they give. They also give life back to stories that are lost. There is nothing more amazing that finding things out through research.
Cross encourages the public to share their stories, experiences and ask questions. They are always around for anyone who wants to talk. Paranormal Seekers also do public events that anyone can attend and get involved. A lot of people come out to our events terrified of what may happen, but when they see what goes on and how ghosts and spirits communicate, they leave with a sense of understanding and they let go of the fear.
For more, contact Rachel at email@example.com
Excerpt: Drawn by “the other side,” Ontario paranormal investigators are like treasure-hunters. You’d be surprised at the riches they have uncovered.
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