100 curious people gathered at the Dawson County Library Wednesday night to
hear paranormal investigators Heather Dobson and Clint Brownlee talk
about their experiences with all things ghost-hunting.
The two, both founding members of Paranormal Georgia Investigations, explained their mission to be Georgia’s “caring ghost hunters” and ease the fears of their clients with facts instead of fiction.
The team of 14 volunteer investigators will go into homes where they are invited and attempt to record paranormal activity, which Dobson, the communications director for the team, said comes in four general categories: intelligent, residual, poltergeists and inhuman.
Intelligent and residual hauntings are the two most common types.
“An intelligent spirit is one that is aware of its surroundings: it knows that you’re there...it is completely aware of what is going on. It will answer direct questions, it will touch you,” Dobson said. “A residual haunting is more like a tape recording, it's not aware of you, it's not really a spirit that’s there. You have an action that has been played over and over and over again at a location, and it is just playing itself back.”
An intelligent spirit [will] answer direct questions, it will touch you,Heather Dobson, communications director for Paranormal Georgia Investigations
The investigators also talked about the equipment and strategies they use to gather scientific evidence of activity from beyond the grave, and played audio and video of what they believe to be the noises and movements of the supernatural.
Their equipment, which the group purchase out of their own pockets, include voice recorders, infrared cameras, thermometers, still cameras, carbon monoxide detectors, REM pods, vibration pods, flashlights and other meters.
Dobson said that all of the devices function on the thesis that entities draw energy from around themselves to manifest. Often, electromagnetic energy from appliances or other sources can be mistaken for paranormal activity.
Audio recordings are the most prevalent evidence of supernatural activity, and the investigators played recordings where they believed they can hear disembodied voices talking, laughing or grumbling.
Brownlee, the Paranormal Georgia Investigations director, said that photographic and video evidence is much easier to debunk than audio recordings.
He said he often is asked to look at other people’s photos and videos, and often what is captured is not supernatural at all.
“99.9 percent of orbs [captured in photo and video] are dust, dust, dust, dust, bugs, water droplets or dust,” Brownlee said. “They float in front of the camera and they reflect light and it records it as being large because of its proximity to the camera. A true orb does not reflect light, a true orb emits light.”
I’ve been doing this for 10 years, and I have seen three true orbs. I have never seen one on film or video or camera or anything, I’ve only seen them with my bare eyes.”
One of the things the two wanted to stress was how the work they do differs from paranormal investigators on television or others that charge clients to investigate suspected paranormal activity in their homes.
Brownlee stressed that a reputable group will not charge you to come investigate your house, should accommodate your schedule, be courteous, provide references, turn over all gathered evidence to the client and use it only with their permission, as well as not allow minors to join their group.
Should you wish to join a reputable team, don’t join a team that charges for investigations or charges you to join them, or allows minors or untrained investigators to participate in investigations. Brownlee also said there is no such thing as a paranormal investigator certification.
After a question and answer session, Dobson ended the presentation with a final question: are there places in Georgia where there is more paranormal activity than others?
Dobson said that the most actively haunted areas of the state include Savannah, because it has such a rich pre-revolutionary war history, as well as Roswell and anywhere along the path of Union General William T. Sherman‘s march to Savannah in 1864, where he burned everything in his way.
“When you think about how 107 billion people have lived on this planet, total, it's a wonder that not every single square inch isn’t haunted,” Dobson said. “So, I’ll leave it at that.”
The investigators will host another local talk at 5 p.m. Oct. 30 at the Lumpkin County Public Library at 342 Courthouse Hill in Dahlonega.
The team is collecting donations for The Bridge of Compassion Foundation’s third annual Project Winter Warm Up, which helps Altanta’s homeless community.
Those who bring one or more gently used or new backpacks, men’s coats, women’s coats, winter hats and gloves, blankets, new underwear (size L and XL most needed) or new socks can be entered into a drawing for a chance to investigate with the group at the Old South Pittsburh Hospital in Tennessee.
To learn more about the Paranormal Georgia Investigations group, visit paranormalgeorgia.com.