Who did we call? Ghost Hunters

Investigators find ghostly evidence in auditorium


Chad Smith, Reporter

As she spoke with an interpreter in the theater, SHS theater director Barbara Whitlock saw a black figure out of the corner of her eye move down a row of seats and duck behind them.

Skeptical at first, Whitlock asked the interpreter what she saw, and both came to the same conclusion. They saw a figure, but could not identify it.

After investigating the seats, they were surprised by what they saw.

“There was no one there,” Whitlock said. “But we saw (it), it was a figure, …I did see someone walk and then duck down.”


It’s not a joke


Unexplained activity like this has become commonplace in the auditorium since at least the 10 years Whitlock has been at SHS. Due to these recurrences (and the upcoming holiday of Halloween), The Journal called in a team of ghost hunters. On Sept. 24, Professional Paranormal Investigations examined the SHS auditorium in hopes of explaining these paranormal visits.

PPI has been examining cases of paranormal activity all across Indiana and surrounding states for several years. They perform their investigations as a hobby, without pay, while still striving for professionalism and scientific results in their use of modern technical equipment and expansive knowledge of the paranormal.

The group consisted of seven members during their investigation of SHS, but the group includes other hunters as well. One of PPI’s founders, Steve Hodgson, believes his team builds credibility by taking its work seriously.

“There are some groups out there that take (paranormal investigations) as a joke,” Hodgson said. “We don’t take this as a joke.”


What they found

In order to find evidence of paranormal activity, the team has a number of different gadgets at their disposal, like devices that record electronic voice phenomena (EVP) and infrared video cameras.

“(On video) we’ve caught doors opening and closing on their own,” Hodgson said. “We’ve caught things moving across a room, and there’s no one there.”

On the night of the hunt, PPI arrived just after 7:30 P.M. After over four hours of investigating, the team left promising to send back any evidence they found from the hunt. (To read more about a personal experience, see subhead “My Experience”)

Within the next week and a half, PPI sent back over 30 recordings of paranormal findings. Some of them contain various male and female voices responding to questions or whispering different words or phrases. Others contain footsteps and other noises Hodgson believes were not made by any actual person present that night.

“I can tell you confidently that the (noises) and voices that we’re picking up are not by us,” Hodgson said.

Even though PPI has not yet gone through all of their findings, they believe the amount of material they have found so far is well above average. Hodgson says he sometimes walks away from an investigation with only a few recordings from an entire night, and has found much more material than he expected from the school.

“On rare occasions we get as many (as this),” Hodgson said.


Whitlock’s take


Despite Whitlock’s previous encounters with the so-called ghost, she says she is not afraid of it, nor has she ever been. She believes the ghost does not intend to harm her, but likes to pull different practical jokes around the theater. There are many theories as to who the ghost actually is, some of Whitlock’s being that it is a student from the past or even her husband’s father.

Whitlock has even gone so far as to scold the ghost for its behavior. Once, she heard it running on the catwalk above the auditorium. She shouted for it to stop, and it listened to her.

“I’m not afraid of it in any way,” Whitlock said. “I always thought it was a young person (or) soul…, a bratty (spirit).”

Even with this new evidence, Whitlock says she will conduct her classes without changes but wants students to be more aware of possible paranormal activity. She also says she has felt some relief that her suspicions of a ghost might not be so crazy after all.


My experience


As the lights went out in the auditorium, I had no idea what to expect. Would the ghost hunters find anything? If so, what would it be? A noise? Some kind of movement? With all these questions haunting me, I tried to stay calm as best I could.

With myself, Features editor Chloe Meredith, Mr. K,  Ms. Doty, Mr. Wakefield and the ghost hunters spread out across the auditorium seats, our hunt began. The ghost hunters started by asking a series of questions. They were mostly requesting the ghost to reveal itself and who it was, but also the motives behind its previous visits. Occasionally someone would hear a noise, and we would have an eerie response to one of our questions.

After sitting in the auditorium for a brief period of time, we decided to split up. One group went to sit around Ms. Whitlock’s office, while my group decided on the auditorium balcony. With the groups separated, I felt the activity really start to pick up.

While in the balcony, many of us there could really sense that something was among us. We would constantly hear the downstairs balcony doors slam, as well as the sound of someone walking, even though everyone was seated upstairs. As one of the ghost hunters went to investigate the activity, it stopped. When he left, it would start again. This pattern held true during many different instances throughout the night.

Towards the end of the night, our two groups switched locations. Now back downstairs on the stage, some of the ghost hunters started to make their final calls for the ghost to make itself known. As we were about to finish up, I noticed two of the ghost hunters feel the spirit pass by them, as they both felt shivers down their spines and the hairs on their arms raise inexplicably at the same time.

Strange occurrences like these are just a few examples of the paranormal activity present. As evidenced by the recordings I’ve heard from the ghost hunters, I believe there had to have been something paranormal going on. While we may never be able to 100 percent explain this phenomena, many of us definitely felt some kind of spirit amongst us that night.