Family thinks they see ghosts; now they know they do

October 26, 2005
By Dawn Aulet

Will County Ghost Hunters Society makes a housecalls.

I believe in ghosts. I believe those who have moved on from this world either visit or live among us, depending on their situation. I believe some people are able to see, smell, hear and even communicate with those who have passed on. Sometimes, I believe I am one of those people.

I also know, however, that I have been blessed with a great imagination. When I was a child, before I could read, I would make up entire stories to go along with the pictures in my books. Sometimes, I think mine were better than the actual words on the page.

Having said all that, I do believe my house is haunted. I chose those words specifically, because I know the emotions they cause. I could have said ghosts live in my house, which is a bit less macabre. Ghosts live in my house makes people think of ethereal beings that just happen to occupy the same space as my family and I.

I could have said my house is enchanted, leading readers to imagine that my house has childlike magic and kind, helpful beings that share space with my family. I said, however my house is haunted, because I believe it can mean any of those things and more.

And, as it turns out, my house is haunted, ghosts do live there and it is filled with enchantment.

When I began this story, I told people in the newsroom that I did believe my house to be haunted. Explaining this either made me look like a nutcase to the skeptics, or elicited stories of other haunted houses from the believers. I joked that if it turned out that no ghosts were there, I better call an electrician, because my dining room lights keep flickering.

I am also a skeptic, because I have to be. I have to approach everything as though it was not true or I would believe everything.

So, when the Will County Ghost Hunters Society came to my house on the southeast side of Channahon on a cool fall night, I believed they would find something, feel something, see something. When they did, though, they were going to have to prove to me that there was no other earthly explanation. Her son says he sees them We began in my front room, which in many ways is the quietest room in the house. It is a formal room in that it does not have a television. The kids still play in there and when company is over, many people choose to spend time on the quieter side of the fireplace.

Across the entry from my front room is my dining room. I would not have been surprised if that room had ghosts sitting down for dinner. In addition to the lights flickering, usually when my 3-year-old son talks about seeing a ghost, he is looking in that direction.

Down the hall from these two rooms is my family room. This is the busiest room in the house. It has the biggest television and is the place where family members spend the most time. In this room I have more than once felt like I was not alone, even though I was. I just get that hairs-on-the-back-of-your-neck-stand-up feeling.

Three of my four bedrooms are to one side of this room, the kitchen and office to the other. The entrance to my unfinished basement is in the kitchen, adjacent to the dining room. Well armed The five ghost hunters - Dan Jungles, Kathy Stinson, Rob Dunbar, Tom Klekot and Bill Justic - came to my house with digital cameras, video cameras, infrared temperature guns and electromagnetic field detectors.

According to Jungles, the EF detectors monitor the electromagnetic field in an area. According to the Will County Ghosts Hunters Web site, ghosts can sometimes manipulate those fields.

"There's a magnetic field all around us anyway," Jungles said.

The Will County Ghost Hunters Society is an all-volunteer group. They boast 150 members in the area and about 1,000 online, who are from 16 different countries. The group investigates anything from cemeteries to now-abandoned sanitariums to private homes. They do not charge for their services.

According to Stinson, the members prefer to investigate private homes.

"Our investigations are usually more successful when we take the smaller groups," Jungles said.

Once I give the groups some basic info about the house - the year it was built (1970), where the most activity seems to occur, the dining room, etc. - they go about setting up their equipment.

One camera and voice recorder went in my dining room. One went in my front room, pointed toward the dining room. One went in my hallway pointed toward my family room. One went in my basement.

The members then broke up and decided which rooms they would like to investigate.

Tom and Rob headed into my basement while Dan conducted his interview in my kitchen. Bill and Kathy checked out the dining room and the front room. Just coming to visit Once Dan was through with most of his questions, we talked a bit about haunted places in the area. Dan also spoke about the difference between a haunting and a visit.

Sometimes, he explained, family members and friends who have passed on will come to a house to visit the living.

"A lot of times, with it being family, it's usually around special events," he said. "I think they can come just to make a visit."

Visits can also be from people who are attached to the house or objects in the house, he said.

Our conversation was interrupted, however, when Tom came up the stairs and said,

"You guys have got to come down here, we've got stuff going on," he said.

Dan and I headed downstairs and the remaining ghost hunters followed.

Tom was kind enough to rewind the video camera to show why he said we should all head downstairs.

What you hear is an exclamation from Rob, who said something grabbed his shoulder. What you see, shortly after you hear Rob, is something pass across the screen followed by an audible "ping" and Tom's voice.

"They threw something at me," he said.

Indeed what we found on the ground nearby was a small piece of metal, larger than a screw and bent.

This material is not surprising to be found in my basement as it is currently in a state of deconstruction. We are cleaning out the paneling and shelving the former owners had in an attempt to finish it in the future. The materials are currently piled in the center of what used to be a room in the basement.

That status might be the explanation for all the activity in my basement.

"Anytime you remodel anything, you are disturbing the energy that's already there," Jungles said.

Even though everyone involved that night was pretty convinced that something was calling my house home, none of us were afraid of whatever it was.

"There's definitely an energy here, nothing evil, nothing malicious," Stinton said.

In fact Dan later said that he felt it was more like a visiting entity, one that is there only some of the time.

Many of us headed upstairs after that, but we were drawn back down when we heard Kathy talking to the ghost(s). Dan and I headed to the basement and sat on the stairs. Issuing a challenge The area felt crowded, like more than five people were in the basement. Kathy was challenging the entity, asking it questions, giving it permission to touch her shoulder or her necklace.

Nothing was happening. So, Kathy suggested that we ignore the entity and see if it did anything.

So we all began to talk amongst ourselves.

Then all of a sudden we heard a thunk, like something hit the rug that is rolled up in the middle of the room.

We turned on the lights to try to find what had been thrown, but could not find anything.

Later that evening, a couple members of the investigation team said they believed they found the item, a red crayon.

After talking to Dan later, he said he believed the item came from behind where he and I were sitting, but he was not sure. He was still trying to come up with an earthly explanation.

"I try to dismiss everything," he said.

We all headed up into the family room and after spending a few minutes there, the group packed up their equipment and left.

I was anxious to see and hear what was captured on video and audio that night. A couple weeks after the investigation, I met with Jungles to see and hear what was found. Hearing voices? As it turns out, the basement was the most active part of the house. In addition to capturing two things being thrown, the audio from the basement captured a number of electronic voice phenomenon. EVPs, as they are commonly known, is said to be the capture of the voice and sounds of the dead. While most of the EVPs captured at my house are not discernible, one sounds like it is saying Jag or Jack. When I first moved into my home two and a half years ago, my neighbor Nancy Kirby across the street offered a bit of history.

She built her house in the late 1960s and has lived there ever since. She said a man named John built my house, along with the one next door and a third house in the subdivision. She said he built the three homes for his children. I checked this out as best I could.

My home was owned by Jerome and Brenda Azman. The lot was at one time owned by his father John (Christine).

A home on Carrie Avenue, just two blocks away, was owned by Jerome's brother Jack Azman and Jack's wife Catherine, who I am told still live there.

Jack is still alive, but his brother, Jerome, who lived in my house, is not, according to Herald News files.

Is a frustrated Jerome looking for his still-living brother?

Jack worked for The Herald News for many years and was advertising director for some time. But I could not reach him for comment.

Maybe there is some other, more logical explaination?The last possible supernatural event at my house that night was the capture of orbs on the still digital shots. Orbs, according to the Will County Ghost Hunters Society Web site, are a "spherical shaped, translucent mass of energy resembling a ball or globe of light. This is the most photographed and most basic form of a spirit," the site states.

As Jungles said earlier, though, he always tries to dismiss the things he sees or hears.

Orbs or what appears to be orbs can and very often are dust or moisture in the air that is reflecting the light. Jungles thinks all of my orbs are actually just dust. So, what to do? All in all, I feel comfortable with what was found that night in early October. In fact I am a bit less apprehensive about my house now that the investigators visited.

When I told the people in the office what I saw, some asked, so what are you going to do about it? I guess they were expecting an exorcism or at least a psychic who would come to my house and tell these people they are dead. But I have never had the feeling that my ghosts are in limbo. I could be wrong. I would like to think that instead of being haunted, which

implies a general feeling of fear and trepidation, my home is, or maybe even I am visited by beings that have left this realm. Maybe they have a message for me that I am not sensitive enough to figure out yet. Maybe they want to see how I am doing. Maybe they want to see the house they spent years in.

Really, it does not matter. As long as they do no harm, they can stay for as long as they would like.