Paranormal Investigators & Researchers
Shedding light on the after life

History of Ghost Hunting:

To understand where we are going in this field we need an understanding of where we came from. Throughout human history men and women have believed in an afterlife. Ghosts were often thought of as departed relatives, deceased peoples looking for vengeance or trapped souls paying for bad deeds committed in life. In the early days of science, scientist made a conscious decision to leave the realm of spirituality with the church. With this decision came the lack of an understanding of the spiritual world. If this had been addressed by science back in the time of say, Galileo; then the field of paranormal research would have developed with all other scientific studies.

Being that the church had taken over the realm of the spirit, and that you could be accused of being a witch that came with a death sentence. Nobody wanted to say they saw a spirit. But as time went on they became more aware of how to talk about spirits. This was a time in history where many people started to have "visions". This was an accepted way to tell the tale of a ghost visitation without being ccused of witchcraft. Compared to today's world, ghosts are everywhere, especially since the advent of the World Wide Web (WWW). You need to realize that ghost are everywhere, it's just a point of do they want you to know they are there.

Most of the earliest reports of hauntings were limited to eye witness accounts but as science and technology grew, so did the quest to find proof of life after death.

Most of the time, supernatural happenings were found to have natural explanations, sometimes they didn't. Skeptics wanted to disprove ghosts and believers wanted to prove they did exist.

Everyone loves a mystery and ghosts present one of the biggest mysteries to humankind since the beginning of time.

One of the very first ghost hunting investigations may be traced back to the 1st century A. D. A man named Athenodoros rented a house in Athens, Greece to explore rumors of a haunting within the house. The fist night he stayed at the house, he reported seeing an old man with bound feet and hands. The old man rattled chains and coaxed Athenodoros to follow him. Athenodoros complied and followed the old man until he vanished. Athenodoros marked the spot where the vision disappeared and had officials dig there. Eventually, shackled bones were found, buried and the old man never appeared again.

The tales of ghosts and hauntings continue throughout history and amid the myriad of cultures. In the 1600s the chaplain of Charles II, Joseph Glanvill investigated ghostly activity in the British Isles. His most famous case was the Phantom Drummer of Tedworth. The drummer haunted an English family. Making drumming sounds, beating night after night. It would also violently hit furniture and smashed a bedstead to pieces. Only when a clergyman came to visit did it stop.

In the 1800s the Chase family tomb of Barbados caught the attention of the press. Coffins seemed to be moved, rearranged and even thrown against walls. The entrance to the tomb was sealed with mortar and the governor's mark until the next death in the Chase family. Before the tomb was opened for the burial, a thorough inspection of the Vault from the outside was made. It was found to be as strong as ever. The mortar seal was examined and was intact and the marks in the mortar were untouched.

As the door of the tomb was being pulled away, a strange sound came from within the crypt. To everyone's amazement, the coffin containing the body of Dorcas Chase, dead for eight years, was leaning against the marble door. Another coffin of Mary Anna Maria Chase, inside the tomb for 12 years, had been flung so violently against the left side wall that it had chipped away a piece of it. The rest of the coffins had also been disturbed and the sand covering the floor showed no trace of... anything. The Chase family then emptied the Vault and today it remains empty and as far as we know, quiet.

Perhaps the biggest phase in paranormal investigation came onto the scene in the mid 1800s. It began with the Fox sisters of New York State. The Fox sisters started the trend of mediumship, or the communication with the dead. They would ask questions to departed souls and answers came in the form of knocks and table taps. Many people believed the sisters were authentic, many didn't. Some believed that the Fox sisters were taking advantage of the bereaved.

The man considered the father of modern ghost hunters is Harry Price. When he was 15, he and a friend locked themselves in a haunted house overnight. During the night in the house they kept hearing footsteps upstairs. They set-up a camera at the base of the stairs and when they heard footsteps coming down the stairs they took a picture. When the plate was developed, it showed nothing but an empty staircase. Price would always consider this as his first encounter with a ghost. Price managed to give ghost research a place in the public eye and opened it up to those who don't fit into the categories of professional scientists, hard-headed skeptics, nor fall into the realm of gullible "true believer".

On a side note, the media has also played a huge role in the popularity of paranormal investigations. After the successful release of the movie "Ghostbusters" in 1984 and the TV series, "Ghost Hunters" in 2004 paranormal research groups have reached a fevered pitch.

In1922, Scientific American offered $2500 for the first authentic spirit photograph made under test conditions, and/ or the first psychic to produce a "visible psychic manifestation." Harry Houdini was a member of the investigating committee. The first medium to be tested was George Valiantine, who claimed that in his presence spirits would speak through a trumpet that floated around a darkened room. For the test, Valiantine was placed in a room, the lights were extinguished, but unbeknownst to him his chair had been rigged to light a signal in an adjoining room if he ever left his seat. Because the light signals were tripped during his performance, Valiantine did not collect the award.

Since then, many individuals and groups have offered similar monetary awards for proof of the paranormal in an observed setting. These prizes have a combined value of over $2.4 million dollars...still uncollected.