Folks expect ghosts at their doors on Halloween, but unexplained hauntings pop up year-round at some of the most prestigious local addresses.
That's when Haunted Hunters PSI, a team of Tampa Bay paranormal scientific investigators, materializes.
Haunted Hunters is not a business, but members are professionals who work to uncover answers. The team uses electromagnetic field detectors, also known as EMFs, and an electromagnetic voice recorder, which often captures words only audible when recordings are played back.
State-of-the-art technology and scientific methods aid in the research of paranormal activity, a topic Haunted Hunters will discuss Wednesday at the Tarpon Springs Library.
Founders John and Jodi Sullivan moved from New York to Tarpon Springs in 2003 and found no serious paranormal investigator teams in the Tampa Bay area. With 17 years of experience in the field, they formed Haunted Hunters PSI in June 2006.
Now with 12 core members from Clearwater, Tarpon Springs, St. Petersburg, New Port Richey, and Tampa, the team gathers for bimonthly meetings and investigations.
Some recent investigations include the Belleview Biltmore Golf and Spa Resort and the Royalty Theatre in Clearwater, the Peninsula Inn and Spa in Gulfport, and several area cemeteries. Upcoming investigations are planned at Ybor City's Cuban Club and the Don CeSar Beach Resort and Spa.
"We get voices. That's a fact," John Sullivan said. "We don't know where they or the strange light anomalies come from. We want to know why. We're all skeptical."
Haunted Hunters are also skeptical of organizations that charge large sums to teach about paranormal research, and as the group's reputation as serious investigators spreads, requests for seminars have increased. So have local calls to investigate shadowy forms and ghostlike sounds in historic hotel hallways, museum galleries and the dark recesses of theaters. Yet searches for hard-core evidence take time and dedication.
"We're looking for something intangible," said John Sullivan. "In our Royalty Theatre investigation, we got high EMF readings that didn't seem to come from the floor, ceiling or walls. They floated above the seats, but EMFs are waves and don't usually float."
During that same investigation, a guest who accompanied the Haunted Hunters walked into a dressing room and up a flight of stairs. At the top, she expressed a "creepy feeling" and descended.
When John Sullivan played back the audio recording, he heard a voice say "stay here," and seconds later, "we're here."
"Other area groups do this for fun," said Clearwater resident Christina Goodman. "We're building community respect because we investigate the where, when and whys. ...
"It's believed energy fluctuates, so we ask an entity to pass before our EMF detector, and often that happens. We're looking for concrete evidence, not simply going on feelings. When we find something we can't disprove, we consider it evidence."
IF YOU GO
What: Paranormal Research and Activity Seminar presented by Haunted Hunters PSI (Paranormal Scientific Investigators)
When: 7 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Tarpon Springs Library, 138 E Lemon St.
To register: Call 943-4922