Getting Started by guest writer Lisa Lauderdale Part II

November 15, 2011 on 1:33 pm | In Article | No Comments

header_photo_3 from PRSC

Lisa Lauderdale is the founder of the Casper, Wyoming based paranormal team Paranormal Research Society of Casper.   She has graciously offered to write an article explaining how and why she started ghost hunting.

Lisa Lauderdale – Founder
Paranormal Research Society of Casper
Official Member of the TAPS Family
(307) 251-4948

Part II

Once I made the decision, I had a group of friends who went out of their way to help me make it happen.  Josh helped me come up with questions I would want to ask people who wanted investigations done and questions I would want to ask those people who wanted to become members.  Thus the “client interview” and “member interview” forms were born.  From there, we developed many more forms: the information release, member liability release, member application, preliminary investigation report, code of conduct, procedural standards, etc.  I did all the equipment research and buying on my own.  At the age of 27, I procured my first credit card (only a $1500 limit) and proceeded to max it out.  I bought a DVR system with 4 IR cameras, a television, an EMF detector and an audio recorder.  The day the DVR system arrived, I spent HOURS figuring out how to work it.  My poor, neurotic sister had to put up with cameras and cable EVERYWHERE.  She’s a saint for dealing with me!  And to store everything, I had a trusty Rubbermaid bin.

Once I had spoken with friends about who might be interested in joining, we set up a time to investigate a couple of their homes.  At the first investigation, we had seven “members:” Josh, Tom, Keith, Preston, Anne, Liz and myself.  We spent four to five hours investigating this house with quite a history and many ghostly happenings.  A big chunk of that investigative time was spent learning how to set up, get organized and get started.  We caught one EVP that night.  Nothing too exciting but again, we were green.  There could have been quite a number of things that we may have missed.  More importantly this first investigation showed us how efficient we needed to be.

Then the second investigation at another member’s house; It was a pretty quiet night but this was the night I saw the debunking side come out of us in force.  There had been complaints of lights in the living room and an incident that involved a TV “blowing up.”  We used our cars to drive down the streets around the house and discussed many possibilities about what may have caused the TV to explode.  We could not find answers to either of these scenarios.  This investigation brought out our goofy side and made the audio recordings extremely fun to listen to.

Our first “real” investigation came after seeing an article in the Casper Star Tribune about John Huff’s Yellowstone Street apartment building.  The article mentioned a number of ghostly happenings within the building while they were remodeling.  I had an “in.”  One of my old co-workers was good friends with John’s brother.  I got John’s number and called him.  I told him that we were new to investigating and that I had recently read the article in the Tribune.  I told him we were interested in checking out the place.  And he was game!  This was our first investigation dealing with someone outside of the group so things had to go smoothly and professionally.  I was NERVOUS!  I must have gone through all our equipment to make sure we had everything.  And did I have everything…?  Nope.  I was missing a power cable.  Man, I felt like a doofus!   But John proved to be very nice and patient.  He had some great stories about the location and I could feel the passion for what he was doing.

We started out alright.  Set up was done within an hour.  I broke everyone up into teams.  One person was at command the entire time; teams of two roamed the large apartment complex where hidden dangers lurked.  And not all of the ghost kind either.  More like large holes in the floor where you could fall through to the next floor.  But it was fun and creepy and exciting to be in an old building with a history.  It was a cold night though and people were getting chilled and needing potty breaks.  And in an old building with no heat nor working bathrooms, this made the hours-long investigation seem even longer.  John stayed the entire time in another building down the street and would let us come in to get warm and use the bathroom.  Hours later we called it a night, packed up all our equipment (by this time we had suitcases donated to us by another member), rolled them to our cars and headed home.

It took us over a week to go through the evidence.  I learned that to get everyone together on one night for the investigation was work but to get everyone together on a second night to go through evidence was next to impossible.  We found one EVP from the investigation (which is still on our website).  I met with John a week after that to show him what we found.  He and his brother were both very receptive and enjoyed us enough to have us out again for a second investigation.

From this point on, I was the contact person for lining up investigations.  The next year required me to cold call people to ask if they would be willing to let us investigate.  Even though I started the group to investigate the paranormal, deep down I wanted to help people whether it was educating them on other naturally-occurring possibilities or putting them at ease because we experienced the same thing they did.  So to cold call people was a little disheartening.  I wanted people calling us because they needed answers.

There have been some wonderful and some not-so-wonderful things to come out of this group.  I love the people that I’ve met.  I have finally had my “Holy Grail” moment.  I’ve learned how to manage difficult people.  I’ve had to “fire” some people.  I’ve had to play mediator between different belief systems and investigative methods.  I’ve debated about what information to offer people after an investigation.  I’ve argued about the proper scientific method involving psychics.  I’ve had tooth and nail battles about orbs.  I’ve seen my name on websites that don’t say nice things.  I’ve been disappointed with members.  I’ve been close to quitting.  Yes, I’ve had to deal with some things that are extremely irritating about running this type of group but in the end, if we can help one person then it has all been worth it.

Now, the last year has been so busy that we can rarely do those locations that people always ask us about!  But we’re doing exactly what I originally set out to do; to help people.  And folks…that feels good.

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