It was a cool, damp October night with a bright moon, one day shy of fullness.
An easterly wind kept an American flag flying stiffly. But the chill felt by those in standing in Frankfort Cemetery on this night may not have been completely weather related.
The reading on Cindy Johnson's digital electromagnetic field (EMF) detector jumped suddenly from .3 to 1.2.
"I never saw it jump that much," said Johnson, a member of the Will County Ghost Hunters Society. It was not the only time in this hour-long investigation that the readings suddenly shot up, reaching as high as 3 and 5. Most energy anomalies fall between 3 and 7 milligauss.
Since spirits exist on an electromagnetic plane, any disturbance, any spike in the detector's readings, means "something is there," said Dan Jungles, the society's fearless director and lead investigator.
Johnson's daughter, Sarah, announced that the battery was dead in her camera phone, another possible indication of spiritual activity. One basic rule of ghost hunting is to begin with freshly charged batteries in all equipment because spirits drain energy from batteries, too.
The hunters stopped at a well-maintained and decorated grave which indicates that the family visits often and has strong emotional ties to their loved one. Spiritual activity again was indicated by the spike in Johnson's meter. Jungles explained to the spirit why his team was there and asked the deceased several questions, as well as permission to take pictures, hoping to pick up answers on his recorder.
His digital camera froze when he tried to take pictures. Unrattled, Jungles simply figured that was the ghost's way of saying "no." Seconds later, the camera worked just fine.
It's not unusual for spirits to manipulate electronic devices, either, because that's where they draw their energy, he explained.
Throughout the investigation, two members manned EMF detectors, while Jungles clicked away on his camera and kept his digital recorder running, hoping to pick up Electronic Voice Phenomena or sounds of the dead.
It's important to take constant readings, constant recordings and lots of pictures, he said.
On this evening, the team of four hunters neither saw, heard nor felt anything, but the photos and recordings may later reveal images and sounds, as they have in past hunts.
Ninety percent of the time, an investigation yields nothing, Jungles admitted. But the activity on this night was a bit unusual.
It was cool and the moon was nearly full. The moon provides more energy, and energy flows easier when it's cool, Jungles said. This particular cemetery, nearly surrounded now by new homes, dates back to the 1800s, although there still are burials here. It's been reported that a woman has been seen here carrying an infant and humming.
Jungles has always believed in life after death and he believes he can prove it. The non-profit society uses state of the art equipment and operates by strict rules. All of its investigations are free. Members meet monthly to study such occurrences and understand why this phenomena occurs.
His group has thousands of dollars invested in equipment, but when hunting in a cemetery, they only bring what they can carry. Going into a house for full blown study requires a van full of equipment. Everything they do has to be scientifically proven.
There are several reasons why ghosts exist, but mostly, it is due to a sudden death, whether it is in a war or an accident, Jungles said.
"The soul has been yanked from the body. It may have unfinished business or is longing for a loved one. It may have emotional ties that keeps it here," he said.
Jungles decided to learn more about this other world when he bought his Shorewood house six years ago, and "stuff started happening." It was here that he spotted his first and only full body apparition.
"I was forced to learn or be scared," he said. He turned to the International Ghost Hunters Society, refined their techniques, launched a Web site, www.aghostpage.com, and the Will County Society grew from there.
"It's not my job. It's not my hobby. It's an obsession," said Jungles, an electrician by trade. "I want to educate people.
"There are people who believe you can get rid of ghosts, but you have to come to terms with why they are still there. You can't put on a proton pack."
The group doesn't do "ghost-busting."
"We go into a home because people are scared and ready to move. But there is nothing to be feared. This is not Hollywood. They are not skeletons and zombies who are going to grab you.
"Ghosts are just people. Some may be angry and mean-spirited, but they are not going to harm you."