Tales and legends of the paranormal have been around for centuries — but only the brave have wandered into the dark to find them. The Central Kansas Paranormal Society team of Salina and Sarah Allen of McPherson Paranormal Society are among the many who have faced the unknown. Organizations like these perform investigations to validate their clients' experiences. Then, the clients can put aside their fears and work with a better understanding of what they're experiencing.
The Central Kansas Paranormal Society of Salina has been hunting for the paranormal for three years now, said James Thomas, a co-owner and founder.
The team consists of Adam Barkley, James Thomas, Ashley Miller and Melanie Gumm.
Each investigation is taken seriously and hours of research are put into the location they will be investigating and is free of charge.
"When someone contacts us and asks if we have a few minutes to talk to them and they explain whats going on, we go out to the location to verify to make sure it's not someone calling and being goofy with us just to get us out there," Thomas explained.
Sarah Allen, a paranormal investigator for McPherson Paranormal Society, said her investigations are confidential and private, to make her clients feel more at ease. McPherson Paranormal Society is a private, non-profit group that doesn't use many high-tech gadgets. Allen allows her clients come to her — she doesn't like to force anything upon them to make them feel uncomfortable.
"Some clients don't want anyone to know," she explained.
After a client's location of concern is determined, a lot of effort is put into research before the investigation begins.
An investigation takes around three to four days for Allen, due to the extensive research involved or the size of the site she is investigating.
"McPherson Paranormal Society likes to investigate sites during the day and night time. The bigger the site is the longer it takes," Allen said.
Location, location, location
The Central Kansas Paranormal Society does roughly 40 investigations within a year and travels anywhere their clients need them.
The team recently explored Coronado Heights in Lindsborg because of numerous reports of hauntings.
The society is interested in a few spots in McPherson, like the McPherson Middle School and McPherson College, because of interesting reports that come to the group.
"The school is believed to be haunted by a ghost of a man who died during the construction of the school. Stories vary but he may have been killed in the auditorium, where many teachers over the years have heard seats and doors slamming and have seen someone walking around on stage and someone talking when they were the only one in there," Thomas said.
On site, the team then sets up their equipment, which consists largely of hands-on technology.
"We have meters, room pods, video cameras, a little remote control car that runs off of wifi that also has a full video spectrum with night vision on it, recorders and trigger objects," said Adam Barkley, co-owner and founder.
Once equipment is set up and the team is ready to begin their investigation, they begin asking trigger questions, which are used to spark activity in an area that may have served as the location of a traumatic event.
Investigations can take anywhere from a few hours to eight hours, Barkley explained.
"It just depends on the location, sometimes some places when we go in there within the first couple of hours there's nothing happening and we'll call it good, other times, we'll get in there and it will start right away," Barkley said.
Allen takes along minimal equipment, like her laptop with audio software, digital recorders, a camera, candles, strings and bells and electro magnetic field readers. She believes having too much technology on an investigation can be a distraction.
"I personally believe that all that stuff can hinder an investigation, so McPherson Paranormal Society goes a little old school style," she said.
A couple of requirements she has while on an investigation are to have no cell phones, perfume or cologne. She believes the smells and technology will alter the surroundings.
"When an investigation is all over, we do a sit down with clients and tell them what we found or didn't find," Allen explained.
Do you believe?
The Central Kansas Paranormal Society understands that many people are skeptical, so they dedicate time to giving them a closer look at what they do.
"A lot of the time we take them on an investigation with us. We recently took a student from Kansas State University and her boyfriend with us and they experienced what we call a 'first-hand.' They were believers after," Thomas laughed.
After such experiences, the team tends to hear very positive feedback from their customers.
Barkley was an avid believer of the paranormal from the start, but Thomas was skeptical.
Thomas and his team were on an investigation in the Masonic Temple in Salina when the paranormal singled him out.
"I walked off from our group, maybe about 15 feet to a room upstairs. It was about 1 a.m. and a gentlemen said he had heard noises upstairs, so I walked over by there and asked, 'If someone is in here right now I want you to kick that door,' about 30 seconds passed and I asked it again. About 5 seconds later the door kicked really hard," Thomas explained.
Allen however, said she first believed at a young age when her family lived in an old farm house.
"My mother has told me through the years that we used to tell her about red eyes we would see in the dark in the house. My mother said she never saw them, but remembered when my father saw them and said he was white as a ghost," she chuckled.
These groups like doing investigations because they enjoy bringing peace-of-mind for their clients.
"We do our job very well. There's a lot of paranormal teams in Kansas and we get a lot of positive feedback, we like what we do — we like helping people," Thomas said.
Allen understands that though she believes in the paranormal, not every one does and she won't force others to agree.
"I feel bad that they refuse to let themselves to be open to other influences of life and death and how deep it runs. Normally, non-believers have something that happens to them with a paranormal experience then it changes their mind," she explained.
For more information on the Central Kansas Paranormal Society, contact Barkley or Thomas at 785-829-0124 or 785-914-6233. Or you can visit their Facebook page at Central Kansas Paranormal Society.
For more information on the McPherson Paranormal Society, email her at email@example.com.
Contact Brooke Haas by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @ MacSentinel.