For years I've been fascinated with the possibility that there are ghosts or spirits out there, and that they can "haunt" various places around the world - from a prison to a church converted into a home. I've heard stories about different hauntings around the state and area. Would I ever be willing to stay in a house or place of business that is supposedly haunted? I'm not sure. According to an old website, www.shadowlands.net, a couple of the haunted places in Minnesota include the cemetery in Taunton, where the ghost of a 12-year-old girl is seen in a rocking chair, rocking back and forth next to her grave, and the Pipestone County Museum, where the ghost of a little blonde girl has been seen. I have been to the Kahler Hotel in Rochester, which is on the list, but never experienced any spooky occurrences.
So why all the talk about ghosts and the supernatural? Well, the first season of "Ghost Hunters" has been on my shelf for ages, and I finally sat down and watched several episodes. If you're at all familiar with the show, it's about a couple of plumbers, Jason and Grant, who basically chase ghosts on the weekend. (Of course, since the show took off, they don't work full time in plumbing anymore). The group the two founded is called The Atlantic Paranormal Society, or TAPS (clever, eh?). They get leads from different places like, hey, this tavern that was built in the late 1800s, and an apparition of a little girl who died by the railroad tracks has been seen or well, there's this lighthousewhere the only way you can get there is by boat.
So when the team gets to an allegedly haunted location, they set up the equipment, like digital thermometers, thermographic and night vision cameras, digital audio recorders and static digital video cameras, visit with the people who own/run the site and basically wait and see if anything happens during the time they are there (and that's usually in the middle of the night). The team members are usually looking for cold spots, shadows, possible apparition sightings or EVPs (electronic voice phenomenon). Sometimes team members don't get along and start bickering - oh the drama! (makes for good TV). Or the glowing orb they may see turns out to be just dust or a reflection of light.
One of the amusing things that happened during season one was when the case manager, Brian, uttered what became a catch phrase while the team was at Eastern State Penitentiary. Something had spooked the camera man and that in turn freaked Brian out and he said "Dude, run!" So the two are running out of the room as if their hair was on fire. Jason and Grant were definitely not amused and basically lambasted Brian. He for sure got a lot of flak over that, but apparently he put out T-shirts with that phrase on them earlier this year.
It's also a kick to watch the team members try to summon a possible spirit - "What is your name?" "My name is Brian." "Are you a friendly spirit?" I'm always thinking "yeah, like they're gonna go up to you and say 'hi, my name is Mary and I died a horrible death.'"
So far in season one, the team hasn't found much in the way of potential hauntings. I've become aware of the skepticism that surrounds the show, and that Grant has since left. "Ghost Hunters" also spurred the three-season stint of "Ghost Hunters International." All in all, it's just plain ghostly fun.