Ghost hunters use high tech equipment to track spooks

By: bwimbiscus


Dan Jungles, Will County Ghost Hunter Society founder, monitors infrared video cameras during an Oct. 21 investigation at Baci's Restorante in Plainfield.

Moans and whispers in the night … just the wind in windows?
Gurgles and rattles in the basement … old pipes acting up?
The sudden chill down your spine … merely a drafty door?
Maybe it’s simply home repair issues. Time to call a contractor.
Or maybe you’ve got ghosts.
So who ya gonna call?
Fortunately there’s no shortage of ghost hunters around here.
Thanks in part to the popularity of television shows like “Ghost Hunter” and “Ghost Adventures,” paranormal investigation societies have sprung up all over the nation in recent years.
In and around Chicago, a host of groups have arisen since the 1990s, including the Ghost Research Society in Oak Lawn, the Chicago Ghost Hunters Society, the Chicago Paranormal Research Society, the Northern Illinois Ghost Hunting Team, to name a few.
Most are committed to studying and documenting ghostly phenomena in their areas, sometimes even across the country.
Some, like the Will County Ghost Hunters Society, will even investigate your suspected spooks for free.
 “It’s not a business,” explained Dan Jungles of Shorewood, founder of the Will County group. “It’s an obsession.”
The WCGHS investigates one purported haunting nearly every week. The ghost hunters first try to determine if there is a ghost, then why it is there and who it might be.
It’s a painstaking process that requires hours of research, data collection and analysis, followed by full disclosure of their findings.
Jungles, an electrician by trade, got hooked on ghost hunting in 2001 after he and his family experienced “several increasingly odd occurrences” in the home they had just moved into.
After hunting haunts in his own house, Jungles moved on to bigger game: cemetery investigations. Later he began posting his findings on the Web. The site proved to be so popular that in 2004 he decided to form the society.
The group has scrutinized a number of spooky spots across the area, including:
• Statesville Prison Cemetery: WCGHS investigated reports of an apparition in prison stripes, and was able to record voices at the site.
• Romeoville: WCGHS investigated a private home where paranormal activity was reported after a resident brought home objects from the shuttered Manteno Mental Health Center, The group was able to capture a full body apparition.
• Homer Glen: WCGHS investigated a spec home in a new subdivision after the builder began finding foot prints on the hardwood floors and a cleaning woman reported seeing an apparition. The team discovered that the area was once farmland and that a previous owner had burned to death near there after his clothes had caught on fire from a spark.
Several videos, photos and audio recordings of suspected paranormal activity can be found on the WCGHS Web site at aghostpage.com
During investigations, the group uses a variety of electronic equipment, including infrared video cameras and digital audio recorders linked to a computer system that simultaneously monitors and records up to 16 feeds; electromagnetic field detectors or EMFs, which can detect electromagnetic anomalies that are believed to be generated by ghosts; and thermal scanners and digital thermometers which can measure minute changes in air temperature, again believed to be caused by ghosts as they draw on electromagnetic energy. Conventional cameras, hand-held audio recorders, air ion counters, decibel meters and two-way radios help round out the ensemble.
All this ghost gear doesn’t come cheap. Jungles and his group have more than $40,000 invested in investigation equipment.
“It’s an expensive hobby,” Jungles said.
Investigations consist of background research on the haunted area, followed by on-site observations and recording of geomagnetic field, solar X-rays, moon phase, initial EMR readings and anything else that might account for the reported phenomena.
Then the real fun begins. The ghost hunters set up their equipment and begin collecting audio, video, photo, thermal and EMF data from the site for anywhere up to xx hours.
The digital evidence is later examined frame-by-frame, second-by-second, a pain-staking process that can take up to a week or more.
While on site, members usually attempt to communicate with suspected ghosts by asking questions and trying to record answers with a digital sound recorder. Recordings are later run through audio software, where background noise can be filtered out and possible responses enhanced.
It all takes a lot of time and a lot of money. So why do they do it?
“It’s a validation that life goes on after you die, that there’s something bigger,” Jungles said. “A lot of people never get that, that ‘wow there’s something there.’”
The society posts its findings online at www.aghostpage.com, including electronic voice phenomenon or EVP recordings, photos and video.
The site also features a wide variety of submitted photos and videos, as well as background on different types of paranormal activity and an investigation form for those haunted by things that go bump in the night.
For a story and photos from WCGHS’s recent overnight investigation of  Baci’s Restaurant in Plainfield, where it recorded several EVPs,, go to www.triblocal.com/Bolingbrook/Detail_view/view.html

For a story on haunted places in the region, go to www.triblocal.com/Bolingbrook/List_View/share.html
—Bill Wimbiscus
Triblocal.com reporter