It all began with a pair of paranormal flip flops.
Shana Patterson had been hoping to delve into the world of ghostly investigations for years, but it wasnt until the Dawson County residents close friends had a strange encounter with footwear that the opportunity presented itself in the weirdest of ways.
It was the shoes, said Pattersons fiance Daniel Crabtree, with a grin. It was a little more than a year ago when Sarah Swofford left one of her mud covered flip flops outside of her house for the night.
The next day she comes walking in the bedroom and the same pair of shoes was sitting right in front of the bed, completely clean, said her boyfriend Bo Stewart. There was no mud on them.
The couple suspected supernatural forces were at work.
In fact, they had grown accustomed to hearing strange noises in their White County residence.
I would hear things in the kitchen like somebody was cooking and go in there and there would be nothing going on, said Stewart.
Though Stewart said hes usually spooked by the supernatural, he decided to invite Shana over for an official ghost hunt.
We were like, Just face your fears lets try it, said Stewart.
Shana brought along her still-skeptical fiance Daniel as well. Throughout the evening the trio took plenty of digital picture as they searched for floating orbs. They also kept a digital voice recorder running the entire time. It wasnt until they returned home that they realized they might have received a ghostly message on that recorder.
You hear all of us talking but you hear someone say into the microphone Im a guard, said Stewart.
This was the first adventure of the group that now calls itself the P.C.I. Paranormal Investigations.
Thats for Patterson and Crabtree, said Patterson.
Now, during this early fall season, when locals flock to the movies or haunted corn mazes for some Halloween scares, the P.C.I. team members are on the hunt for the real deal. And they have the upgraded Ghostbusting equipment to go along with it.
We have the infrared night vision camera, the EMF detector that picksup magnetic fields and the voice recorder, said Sarah.
They also have special software to isolate any possible ghostly messages.
Crabtree said theyve since picked up strange whispers that seem to be saying things like Who are you? and Let her grow up and I am afraid.
They even have a business card emblazoned with an image of a ghost hunter shining a flashlight through an eerie green fog.
But its not just about thrills and chills for the trio.
Theres also a spiritual aspect to their hobby.
We wear crosses and we say a beginning prayer when we go in, said
Patterson. And before we leave, we ask any spirits to stay where they are. Dont go home with us.
Just like God has angels, the devil has demons, Stewart said. And it says [in the Bible] that our time on earth is going to me a spiritual battle. Whos to say its not literally meaning that.
Still, Crabtree remained the skeptical member of the group until the event they all refer to as the fourth investigation.
There in a small unassuming Forsyth County trailer they believe they came across something evil.
It was in the middle of summer and the place had no heat or air and it was cold in that trailer, said Patterson. And there was one specific spot in the room and you could walk in and just did not want to bethere.
Despite his scientific mind, Crabtree said he had to agree.
You want to talk about a heavy feeling in that place? he said. It was ridiculous.
Stewart said he felt as though he was hit with an instant headache.
I got this overwhelming ache that someone put there hand on my head and was just squeezing he said.
During this investigation, all the team members recalled hearing a low growl echo through the trailer.
They didnt stick around too long. And theyve since made attempts to contact a local priest for an exorcism.
Since that summer day, Crabtree said he has been more open to the possibility of spirits in his surroundings.
Its made me really embrace it more than I had in the past, he said.
Its to the point where if I hear something in that was not normal Ill say, Yeaah. That was spirit activity.
The P.C.I. members are also happy to make house calls in their search for local ghosts.
If your wondering if your crazy and you really want to know that going on, we want to help, said Patterson.
They are available days, and especially nights, at 770-718-7040.
In the meantime, Stewart said he and his girlfriend have made peace with the possible poltergeist in their home. Especially since it seems to have an interest in taking care of the household chores.
Were completely comfortable with it, he said with a grin. Its just there to help us.