Dear “The Living”,
I’m writing you this evening from the Crypt as I’ve crossed over to the other side… again. I feel the rigormortis kicking in, so the earthworms are helping me type. I want to give you guys a heads off (or is it heads up) that I have started doing the Video Madness column, so when you are done here, roll your head on over to that column and watch something spooky. Right now, Unexplained Confidential is excited to have Maureen Carroll from South Jersey Ghost Research here to answer a few questions. This is the 1st part of a series of interviews with SJGR http://www.sjgr.org/ ,so enjoy!
1. How did you get involved in the Ghost Research business?
Like many people, I’ve had a life-long interest in the paranormal, but never knew I could become involved. I always thought paranormal investigators had to be scientists or psychiatrists. Shortly after moving to New Jersey, my sister found the SJGR website and noticed they take applications for membership. In 2006, we both sent in our applications and were eventually taken into the training program. It takes approx. 3 months of training and an additional three months of working on cases to become a certified investigator with South Jersey Ghost Research.
2. How often do you go on ghost investigations?
SJGR has cases scheduled every Friday and Saturday nights. Some dates are double-booked, and we will do special occasion investigations during the week (for example, for film projects, or down in Cape May where the B&Bs are booked on weekends, etc.). We also meet with our clients in person, called a preliminary visit or prelim, which are scheduled at any time; weekday, weekend, morning, afternoon, or evening. SJGR is usually booked approx. 2 months in advance of an investigation because our calendar is so full.
3. What does it take to become a SJGR Certified Investigator?
At certain times during the year, the SJGR Membership application will be available on the website. An applicant fills out the form and emails it in to the group. If they seem like they might be a good match for us, a secondary set of questions will be emailed to them. Once these questions are returned to the group and again it seems like the person will be a good match, the applicant is asked to attend a New Member Interview, where they meet with not only the directors of SJGR, but with team leaders and members alike. Once invited into the training program, the trainee must attend several certification classes in Equipment Training, Indoor Training, Procedures and Reports, Cemetery Training, and Psychic Protection. A written test is given to the trainee at the end of their training period, which they must pass with a score of at least 80. After passing the test, they become a member of SJGR, but are still on probation for three months.
4. Do you have any interesting stories from conducting Cemetery Investigations?
Honestly, although I’ve been on several cemetery investigations, nothing special has really happened during any of them, other than stepping in ground-hog holes and nearly twisting my ankle. One recent investigation, a team of investigators went to a South Jersey Meeting House with a cemetery on the grounds. Everything was fine during the investigation of the Meeting House, however, once they began to investigate the cemetery, they met the business end of several skunks. The team was more than happy to retreat back to the Meeting House! A question we get asked frequently is “What’s the scariest thing that has ever happened to you?” It’s usually something like this… We may get startled if something of a paranormal nature happens, but this is what we are hoping for, so we tend to run towards the activity. It’s always something tangible in our physical world that really frightens us.
5. What has been your most memorable experience while working for SJGR?
That really depends on what you consider to be memorable. :0) There are two things that come immediately to mind….
The first time I encountered an apparition is certainly memorable. I was on an investigation of a private location. The place was really huge and the team of several investigators were spread out. SJGR investigators never do investigations alone, so I was with a partner. We were sitting down, just talking–making conversation–when something drew my attention to my right. I saw the apparition of a nun wearing a white or light colored habit walk width-wise across the hall, and she bowed her head and her hands came together as if in prayer as she did so. I turned back to ask if my partner had seen her, and when I turned to my right again, the nun was walking across the hall a second time, doing the exact same thing. This suggests the image was residual, but it was still memorable for me.
The other seems less dramatic, but is still memorable to me for another reason. It was one of my first cases where I was in charge of meeting with the client for a prelim. The family (2 adults and 2 children) was experiencing shadows, apparitions, movement of objects, audio phenomena, etc., and they were really frightened. It seemed to concentrate around the 2 young sons. My sister was my partner for the prelim, and we wound up staying with the clients for over four hours, just talking with them and trying to calm their fears. It was one of those cases that needed several investigations to sort out, and I stayed in contact with the clients for months. I was able to see where the family went from being so afraid of the occurrences to having the youngest son helping kids in his school that were experiencing paranormal activity in their own homes. It was great to know I was part of the process that helped the family transform to such a degree.
Stay tuned.. More from South Jersey Ghost Research next week. Same bat website. Same bat column.
I want to thank all you twisted horror-heads for the great responses I got on last week’s column about CHILDHOOD SCARY MOVIE MEMORIES. We all have em’ and here are some HorrorNews fans who need to be heard on how they first got corrupted :
my father saying the original dracula was too scary for me to watch. i must have been 4 years old, maybe 3 yrs old. i remember him saying dracula could climb the walls & that it would be very scary for me to watch. maybe it made me want to watch it more, even as a small child!
ordering out from pizza city or harvison house on saturday afternoons/evenings & watching CREATURE DOUBLE FEATURE!!! i absolutely loved saturdays because of CDF, not just the pizza & fries!!
a movie called HOUSE. for some reason i loved this once again as a 3-4 yr old. i remember my father thinking it was neat too. & i dont’ know if it was during the same era of my childhood, but THE HOWLING, was awesome & my father absolutely loved this movie too. he seemed amazed or surprised by it, but my memory’s fuzzy on that…
& of course… watching PETER CUSHING & CHRISTOPHER LEE movies back to back, once again, on saturday afternoons. I loved everything to do with DRACULA, watched any type of vampire movie, & still do!! xcept for really gory ones, don’t care much for them.
as a pre-teen/teen… ALIEN & ALIENS!! we my father, brother & i must have watched this/these movies, at LEAST once a week for awhile there!! & my father could mimic the alien’s breathing noises & it would creep me out & literally, send chills down my spine!!
EL HIJO DEL ANTO –
I remember being drawn to the horror section at the tiny Gloucester Video store about 3 blocks from my house….I had already saw some things on TV but none that totally made me wanna run to mommy…..I started sneaking to rent movies–because at the time I was not allowed to rent horror films– * I Spit on your Grave*, **the Mutilator*, and of course the Friday the 13th series of films were among the films I remember renting…..but 2 movies stand out because I remember watching both and being scared out of my mind……the 1st was the original *Last House on the Left*…….I believe this was one of Wes Cravens first films……I remember this seemed like I was watching something real–almost like a reality kinda movie…..I really felt like I was watching a true crime–before that, everything was just acting, but not this flick, this flick was real people getting beat and murdered……I had to turn it off, it was like 2 am and I was around 12 years old……..every creek in the house were murderers coming to get me…..the 2nd movie was Scarface……basically for the chainsaw in the bathroom scene……….that scene had the same feel as when I watched Last House on the Left–it felt very real– but this one was a little different…….That bathroom scene made me cringe……it made me turn the *tape* off…….but it also did something a little bit different then the time before–IT MADE ME TURN THE TAPE BACK ON……and I have had bad feelings since and I am not too tough to say I haven’t been scared……but I never—EVER–turned the tape off again.
The VCR age. This is where MY horror addiction really got out of control. You had local mom & pop video stories on every corner. The video boom was here and we all got sucked in. It didn’t matter whether you had a top loader or a front loader, hell it didn’t even matter if you had a Beta machine, the video stores had something for everyone. Video Tape Library was my store of choice. I recall when I first walked over to the horror section. Wow, horror has it’s own section. Look at all of them. It was a wall of horror from your head to your toes. I hadn’t even heard of most of these movies but you better be damn sure that I was going watch them one-by-one because, well because a movie called “Blood Sucking Freaks” just sounds too awesome. El Hijo Del Anto mentioned how “Last House on the Left ” was almost like a reality movie, and I do have to agree with him but this brings a memory of renting all those “Faces of Death” movies and just being SHOCKED!
I think I had to turn away when they started eating the monkey brains. This was a wonderful time to shape teenage minds. Video Tape Library had a limit that you couldn’t take more than 8 movies out at a time. I do recall one Saturday afternoon this limit was reached and I took home, Phantasm, The Amityville Horror, Twilight Zone:The Movie, Splash, “Q” The Flying Serpent, Police Academy, Return of the Living Dead, Re-Animator. That might not be 100% accurate but it was something like that. Well, VHS tapes might be a thing of the past but don’t turn back now… you can always get your favorite horror flick on DVD or Blu-Ray.
As always, contact firstname.lastname@example.org will any and all things creepy or the location of where you buried the body.
Later FN’ Later,