Since the dawn of time, sick and twisted souls across the world enjoy getting the daylights scared out of them through movies, tales and haunted houses. This reporter happens to be one of them. Addicted to zombie apocalypse and demons infesting our homes, this idea of fear has become entertainment for the masses.
Tasteless, cheesy haunted houses pop up around towns in the form of corn mazes, warehouses of terror for a good scream followed by hysterical laughter — because it’s not real, right? These guys can’t touch you. They get in your face, go to scare a visitor behind you, or stay within the confines of the big screen.
What about the potential reality? Constantly speculated on the authenticity, real-time paranormal activity is questioned and yet still feared. So, with the premiere of the third installment of the “Paranormal Activity” series, we grew curious of what haunts the metropolitan area. In the search of finding out more information on the paranormal, Rod, founder and lead investigator of the Phoenix Arizona Paranormal Society, was just the man to talk to.
Operating since 1999 and registered in 2005, PAPS gets three or four cases a week. After basic investigations of criminal and background checks, the guys will choose one or two to officially take on. Not any light breeze will pass. With high-quality technology, thermal images are evaluated by professionals to rule out cold spills from leaks. Audio and video tests that record full spectrums bring results of high-pitched voices threatening residents, light mists, shadows and heat rises similar to that of a highway on a Phoenix summer day.
Equipped with a full ministry of an exorcist, chaplain and reverend, PAPS typically works in stages, with preliminary recording, at-home cleansing assigned to residents and a follow-up.
“A lot of times they just want to know they’re not losing their mind,” Rod said. Rod asks to keep his last name unknown, as many investigators of the society prefer with jobs in the government and public eye.
In addition, child cases take priority. Worried about their immediate safety, the founder recalled getting a call about a child case on the way to another recording. After a few calls, the original case was rescheduled to take on the activity involving adolescence.
Does this compare to Hollywood’s take on the hauntings? Rod argues there’s some truth to it.
“Have we ever seen people crawl up walls or seen heads turn all the way around? No,” he said. “Have we heard changing voices? Have we seen people scratched? Pulled off beds? Yes … The stuff with ‘Paranormal Activity,' there’s some truth to it. This stuff can really go on … I’ve seen people pushed, drawers come out.”
Yet, misconceptions do come from televised “reality.” Shows like “Ghost Hunters” act against code for Rod and his team. Provoking, taunting, or just trying to converse with the being is unwise, especially when claiming that the spirits are harmless.
“We don’t believe anything from the spiritual world should be in the living world. We don’t sit down and talk with them,” he said.
There is one rule Rod lives by: Never investigate your own home. “When you show some sort of an interest in your private residence, they feed on that and come in,” he said.
What has Rod seen? Taking a month and a half off last year, one could imagine that some scary action is regular in this line of work. As an apparently calm case was investigated, one worker was thrown against a wall of a bedroom where the bed was reportedly raised from the ground, dropped and broken in half just days before.
During promotional work last Saturday, the team took winners of a radio contest to a haunted ranch in Tubac where the group explored an old office. As doors swung open on their own, Rod says one of the men went through a partial possession, eyes completely dilated, running after Rod and commanding his wife, “When I say sit, I mean sit now.” His wife immediately dropped to the ground.
Tempe has its haunts as well, like the popular Casey Moore’s Oyster House. During the promotions for the film “A Haunting in Connecticut,” pictures on the counter began to slam around. Within only a short period, the team began to hear voices, even bumping into a spirit speculated to be Mrs. Moore that spoke and told Rod not to touch her.
So, is any of this real? Whether you like your jumps to stay on screen or believe they can interact with you daily, these scares can be filled just about anywhere in the Valley. From haunted houses to Hollywood’s thrills to staying the night in a spirit-ridden home, it’s all how far you’re willing to suspend your disbelief.
Reach the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org