According to most recent polls, just under half of Americans believe in ghosts. Nearly 20% lay claim to ghostly encounters. Given these statistics, it is no wonder we have a plethora of people and organizations receptive and ready to lend a hand in light of such encounters.
We’re all familiar with the lore surrounding paranormal investigators, but how often do we get to hear what the trade is like, a life lived deliberately “haunted.” Casey Goodwin, director of Oregon Paranormal, a non-profit organization based in Clackamas and funded by annual membership dues, debunks some of the common misconceptions that, thanks to Hollywood and popular television, surround and shroud the business of paranormal investigation.
As a southern-born Californian, Goodwin accredits his initial interest in the paranormal to programs such as Unsolved Mysteries with Robert Stack. Though he had never encountered anything paranormal himself, Goodwin was curious enough to pair up with friend and co-founder Scott Reidel in 2009 to create Oregon Paranormal, offering their completely free-of-charge investigative service to homeowners experiencing strange phenomena.
His own validation came during the team’s most active investigation, a 100-and-something-year-old Victorian house the occupants believed they might be sharing with the presence of both a male and young girl. The team was won over when they captured EVPs of two voices, one manly, one girlish. There were unexplainable sounds and movement throughout the house, an experience Goodwin describes as “some kind of perfect storm,” given the great number of rookies on board.
Take it from Goodwin, they are no “ghostbusters.” They can provide references but won’t attempt any cleansing rituals themselves. However, they do act as a kind of mop-up crew in cases where previous teams attempted to rid of spirits but instead agitated the activity.
OP’s first initiative is to make their clients feel safe, especially within their own homes. Their goal is to provide a “safety net,” hard conclusive evidence and answers to the problem. Goodwin’s team doesn’t seek some spirit-induced high during their time spent on-site. There is no going bump in the night, another misconception Goodwin cleared up, the trend of showing investigators around in the dark. Because believe or not, “humans are terrible observers when they can’t see with their eyes.” What tube viewers rarely see are the distressed homeowners. We often “don’t realize these people are at wit’s end… They just want to know they’re not crazy.” Goodwin prides himself on his team’s initiative to provide support and calm the nerves.
Nine out of ten times the source of the problem under investigation by OP is natural phenomena, man-made anomalies picked up by the crew’s high-tech equipment. And these technologies aren’t toys. OP uses equipment such as EMF, MEL, and Tri-field meters to measure electromagnetic fields. Goodwin notes the dependability of such devices in more legitimized industries, commonly utilized by contractors and electricians. The devices provide measurements and analysis of what goes unseen by the naked eye and can thus faster track down a culprit, such as a cold spot caused “not by Aunt Martha, but by faulty insulation.”
The only times Goodwin has felt threatened on the job were due to the poor conditions of the facilities under investigation, by leaky pipes and the like, not by any otherworldly, hellbent being, another staple in paranormal pop culture. The industry just loves “to sensationalize the demonic stuff.” Conversely, an average day on the job seems much more about facts than frights. Goodwin seems more concerned with the contentment of his clients than any ghostly agenda.
Anyone can request an investigation on OP’s website. If deemed in need of further investigation, the team may take up to three months collecting data, conducting extensive historical research, or even reaching out to local law enforcement. Sometimes a site may require more than one visit. Goodwin takes pleasure in his continued clientele relations, keeping current with their comfort and status.
Whether or not any ghouls or goosebumps rise up, OP is sure to provide a source of assistance. They’re just one of many organizations, just a touch away, willing to settle the minds of those experiencing suspicious activity.
To contact Oregon Paranormal, visit www.oregonparanormal.com.
By Stevie Beisswanger