Potter’s House of Horrors in Surrey certainly has something spooky going on

Is that a shadow… or something more sinister?

A society of skeptical investigators helps individuals and businesses figure it out.

Got ghosts?

If you have ever wondered if that strange noise or unexplained circumstance in your home or business means you may have a haunting on your hands – there’s a group of investigators who might be able to help.

Over the past four years, the Pacific Coast Paranormal Research and Investigation Society has probed claims of ghosts or unexplained phenomenon occurring in nearly 50 different sites across the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island.

“We try to stick to a more scientific way of finding out what is happening,” said society co-founder Paul Stevens.

By using various pieces of equipment – including video cameras, still cameras, sound recorders, infra-red cameras, and temperature and magnetic field sensors set up in a specific business or home – members of the society try to determine if sounds or images caught on film or digital memory cards are caused by something tangible, or are actual unexplainable phenomenon.

One of the members is a high school physics teacher who has been experimenting with room temperatures. During a recent investigation, he noticed a significant drop in room temperature by seven to eight degrees, then within seconds, it quickly rose back to normal. No windows or doors were opened, and no heaters or furnaces were turned off or on.

That case remains active.

The group has also been able to capture various round lights and “orbs” floating by the video cameras that so far can’t be explained by dust or insects flying.

Another current investigation involves a trip to the Pitt Meadows Museum and Archives, where the group noticed a shadowy figure in a window on one of the many cameras set up throughout the building. Members returned to the museum several times, trying to recreate that same image by having people walk past the window, stand in the window, and changing the lighting. But to no avail.

“We’ve tried everything, from using people of different heights and walking at different speeds, but we can’t match that photo,” said Stevens. “And the interesting thing is there is a white picket fence on the other side of the figure, and where the figure is standing is a giant potato planting machine from turn of the century.”

Stevens said for lack of a better word, he’s calling the figure a ghost, but he hasn’t given up on finding another, more earthly, explanation.

Having worked as an electrical contractor for many years, Stevens is a self-proclaimed skeptic, always looking for plausible reasons for seemingly paranormal activity.

“I’ve been in lots of buildings, including prisons, I have never found something that was not explainable,” he said.

A few years ago, a lady contacted the society about her house possibly being haunted. Her daughter had become very ill and one of her cats had died from unexplained circumstances.

After some research, Stevens was able to determine the problems were coming from huge piles of pigeon and rat excrement he found in the attic of her home.

“You really have to look at everything. It’s not as easy and taking a few pictures and listening to recordings.”

And unlike what often appears on various spooky reality shows on TV, the work is not all adrenalin-inducing action.

Pacific Coast members usually spend days reviewing tapes. The hours watching film is a lot like watching paint dry, Stevens said.

“It’s very detailed work. It’s just not running around screaming.”

For more information about the society and its services, visit www.pacificcoastparanormal.ca

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