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This is when they started looking for people to join. (two parts) Part one.
"One was Brian Harnois. When he first showed up, he was like a big kid, full of that gee-whiz kind of passion, and he had already formed his own ghost-hunting group of three to four people." "…but he was also a clean-living guy who didn't mind rolling up his sleeves and doing the dirty work." "The more he got to know T.A.P.S., the more he liked what we were doing. Before long, he convinced his group to join us."
So, Brian had his own group already. And, J saw him as a nice guy. Wait til later.
"Anyone who has seen Ghost Hunters is familiar with Brian's shortcomings. For one thing, he likes to spin yarns (also known as lies), and it drives us crazy. All he really wants to do is make people like him, but it backfires." "He bought to each case the organization you'd expect from a former member of the military police, but he also go on our nerves--mine in particular."
This all sounds so personal.
Now, this is the interesting part.
"On the other hand, Brian's enthusiasm has a plus side: it drives his work ethic, and I can count on him to see to the equipment. Well… usually. There was the time he forgot the chairs for an all-nighter at the lighthouse, and at another site he somehow lost an expensive piece of technology.
But, at heart, he's okay. I know he's dedicated to our mission. And we're a family, so we forgive each other's mistakes."
This is the article that got the attention of a production company to create a show. Most Haunted TV show started May 25, 2002.
Don't Say Ghostbuster, Say Spirit Plumber
By JOHN LELAND
Published: Thursday, October 31, 2002
IT was a dark and stormy night well, it was drizzly anyway -- and for the Atlantic Paranormal Society, things were taking a sudden dark turn. The group had come to this harbor town near Boston at the request of a young couple named Jeff and Bekka Caruso, who reported strange goings-on in their small, waterfront house. There had been barking noises, the couple said, and a dresser had inexplicably emptied its contents on Ms. Caruso.
The four-member team set up an infrared video camera and a laser thermometer. They fed an audio recorder into a frequency analyzer on a laptop computer. They interviewed the couple about the house: Had the Carusos noticed any strange fluctuations in temperature? Were they under inordinate stress? Had anybody used a Ouija board in the house?
So far, so good. Then somebody used the G word.
Jason Hawes, 30, the society's founder and leader, winced. Mr. Hawes is soft-spoken and prides himself on his professional demeanor. ''I wish you wouldn't call us ghostbusters,'' he said. ''We're paranormal researchers.'' It was going to be a long night.
In the it's-always-something world of domestic real estate, few quirks can unsettle a household quite like the presence of ghosts. For some homeowners, of course, these presences mean having someone to talk to after David Letterman goes off the air. For everyone else, there are groups like the Atlantic Paranormal Society scattered about the Internet, eager to investigate or to do battle with the visitors.
For the last 11 or 12 years the society, based in Warwick, R.I., has responded to domestic disturbances like eerie noises and signs of spirit possession. Mr. Hawes, who is by trade a plumber, said that the Web site (the-atlantic-paranormal-society.com) gets about 6,000 hits a day from around the world. October and November are the busiest months, he said, though the volume of ''cases'' also rises any time a scary movie is on television or in theaters. '' 'The Sixth Sense' almost killed us,'' he said.
While some groups charge for their services, Mr. Hawes's works strictly pro bono. ''The rich and poor both need help,'' he explained. ''Also, how can you charge for something that can't be proven to exist?'' He said he spent about $8,000 for the society's expenses last year, plus a couple of thousand on electronic equipment.
The group has about 25 steady members and occasionally consults with a network of similar organizations around the world. Members gather most Saturday nights at a Starbucks in Warwick before going out on cases as far away as Maine or New Jersey. On Sunday nights they convene to compare notes. Mr. Hawes, a father of three, said that his wife did not share his hobby. ''It interests her, but she's not willing to investigate,'' he said. ''She says, 'Just don't bring anything home with you.' ''
The work itself is not always glamorous.
Out of every 1,000 cases, Mr. Hawes said, about 750 turn out to be nothing more than noisy pipes, creaky boards or overactive imaginations. (His plumbing expertise comes in handy.) Recently, the group drove more than four hours to investigate strange noises coming from the walls of a house, only to find that the owner had hidden speakers in them. Mr. Hawes described this case in robustly disapproving language.
In another recent case, his team found no paranormal activity but evidence of extralegal recreation. ''We felt like asking, 'When you hear these noises, do you feel like eating Oreos?' '' said Heather Drolet, one of the investigators. She added that a cardinal rule for the group's members was to be sober on all cases.
On the drive to Winthrop, Mr. Hawes had outlined the categories of hauntings that might be found. The most benign are human hauntings, which divide into three types: intelligent spirits, which can converse with the living; residuals, which are leftover energies condemned to repeat one small action from their lives, like a recurring scene from a movie; and poltergeists, usually the spirits of young girls, which make a racket and can wreak havoc on property values. Residuals are the most common and can be difficult to expel. ''If a person can't accept it,'' Mr. Hawes said, ''they might as well move.''
Human spirits can lift only about 3 to 10 pounds, he said, and so are limited in the harm they can do. Usually, they just want to talk. Ms. Drolet, who described herself as a pagan, said that she was happy when she encountered human spirits in her parents' home in Pennsylvania. ''I told them, 'As a single mother, I need all the help I can get,' '' she said.
Inhuman hauntings, Mr. Hawes said, are a different kettle of ghouls. He interrupted his disquistion occasionally to puzzle over a computer printout of driving directions from Mapquest, which seems to be the bane of modern paranormal researchers.
Inhuman hauntings might involve demons, incubuses, succubi, nature spirits or angels, he explained. They can be vicious and deceitful. ''Never believe anything you hear from an inhuman haunting,'' Mr. Hawes advised, though the same advice has been applied to much of the fashion industry.
He said that other paranormal groups often got in over their heads with inhuman hauntings, and had to call in his crew to clean up the mess. ''We can't stop inexperienced people from going out there and investigating the paranormal,'' he said, in a tone that suggested that he wished he could. Exasperation and competitive posturing are apparently part of the ghost-hunting game.
At the house in Winthrop, Ms. Caruso said she was open to cohabitating with a spirit, as long as it abided by certain ground rules. ''If it respects my space, I'll respect its space,'' she said. ''I'm not going to sneak up on it and scare it, and I expect it not to do that to me.''
Ms. Caruso, 26, is a sales assistant for Knoll, and the couple's otherwise postcollegiate home teems with high-end midcentury modern furniture from Bertoia, Saarinen, Arne Jacobsen and Eames. Mr. Caruso's guitar gathered dust in the small living room. After some discussion about the relative merits of thin versus thick crusts, Mr. Caruso ran out for pizza.
Since the couple moved into the house two years ago, Ms. Caruso had felt the vague presence of a white dog. Then, in the last few weeks, things got hairy: doors slamming, dressers emptying, unexplained footsteps, the whole nine. Her husband had read on the Internet that you were supposed to talk to ghosts. Ms. Caruso said, ''I told the ghost, 'If you ever scare me like that, we're never going to talk to you again.' ''
She added that while she liked dogs, if the spirit was a Pomeranian, it would have to go. ''I'm not into the yapping thing,'' she said.
Keith Johnson, 47, the group's senior member, advised Ms. Caruso to imagine a field of bright light surrounding her body. This would increase her aura's field, he said. Even if she didn't have ghosts, he added, it couldn't hurt.
Ms. Drolet, who did most of the interviewing, was the first to express doubt. ''I go into every investigation a skeptic,'' she said, out of the Carusos' earshot. ''I myself don't feel anything here.''
Herbie Hicks, 23, the fourth member of the group, said he felt an energy near the kitchen -- a nagging sense, he said, ''like there's something I'm missing.'' But this, too, was slight and indistinct.
After a few hours, the group was in agreement: if any spirit inhabited the house, other than that of Scandinavian modernism, it was not showing itself.
Even so, Mr. Hawes said, the group had a duty to bring comfort to the couple. Otherwise, it would be a wasted Saturday night. ''You're investigating, but you're also like a psychologist,'' he said. Everyone agreed that the circumstances did not call for a full expulsion, a confrontational tactic that can be tantamount to asking for trouble.
Instead, Mr. Johnson, who is a born-again Christian, read a blessing upstairs and down, including the 23rd Psalm. He told any spirits listening, ''We came in peace, and we leave in peace.''
Ms. Caruso seemed relieved. ''I was wary, having a bunch of strangers traipsing through the house,'' she said. ''Now I'm curious. Talking to Heather has put me more at ease.''
Shortly after 1 a.m., the group piled into Ms. Drolet's car for the drive back to Rhode Island. Nothing wicked their way had come. There was a feeling of disappointment in the car, an indication that, if nothing else, Saturday night is not a sure thing in the next world either.
Photos: TAP, TAP -- Keith Johnson, left, and Jason Hawes on the trail of spirits and creaky flooring. (Rick Friedman for The New York Times)(pg. F1); BUMP IN THE NIGHT -- After strange goings-on at his house, Jeff Caruso, left, called in the experts: Herbie Hicks and Keith Johnson, above, Heather Drolet, above right, and Jason Hawes, right. (Photographs by Rick Friedman for The New York Times)(pg. F11)
"Carl Johnson joined T.A.P.S. around the same time as Brian. Carl is a suave, well-manned, articulate retail salesman who also happens to be a demonologist. By the time he came to us, he had already racked up years of experience investigating the paranormal. He had a habit of bringing briefcase with him everywhere he went, which wouldn't have been so weird if it hadn't been empty half the time."
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"Keith is a born-again Christian and much more religious than his brother. He's also a walking encyclopedia. We'll be driving to an investigation with him and pass a college campus, and suddenly he'll sing me the school song, or relate some obscure fact about the second cousin of the school's founder." "On the other hand, he's also prone to giving long explanations of things when short ones will do, and his voice is so soothing it can put you to sleep."
Gee, what a great friend he is. Putting this all in a book. All I can say is, wow.
There's more about members. I'll continue tomorrow.
Hey, thanks for posting about the book. I haven't gotten around to picking it up yet. Wondered how it was. (and cool about the green olives. i'd never heard that before)
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Thanks MP. I'll keep on writing. Until, people get tired of it. And, that's when I'll stop. Yes, it's interesting. And, I didn't get to the cases yet.
"Then we heard about this New England paranormal group that was doing great work in Springfield, Massachusetts--maybe even better work than we were. When we contacted them, thinking we could learn from each other, we found out their leader was Steve Gonsalves!"
Steve have call TAPS before to ask if he can join them. They told him to form his own group. And, he did. But, to say he was doing better work then them? Then how good are they?
"Steve's a real down-to-earth dependable guy. As you'll see, we trust him one hundred percent--even if he does have a few inconvenient phobias."
It's strange that J can deal with his phobias. Which is big to me? It effects his job.
"As environmental engineer, she had gone to high school with Grant and was looking for help with some paranormal experiences she'd had growing up. "
Who do you think that was?
The answer is: Donna.
As for sells. As surprising as it is. Pretty well! I didn't buy the book. It was bought as a gift for me.
*Grant talked her through her issues on the phone. Before he was done, she was asking to join the group." "It was a good thing. Donna turned out to be a whiz at case management." "She doesn't like to hold equipment, and it's a constant struggle to move her in the realm of the scientific, but she looks after us when we're on the road, making sure we eat right and that we go to bed when we should."
Being an Environmental Engineer she had to deal with equipment. I think she just didn't want to get in their way. Or, step on anybody's toes. I just wonder why she joined in the first place?
"Donna has shown a clear sensitivity to the supernatural, so she gives us another perspective in an investigation."
I'm a little surprised J admits this? You wonder what is his real take on the paranormal is? Is he this way? Or, that way? Or, in the middle.
"She's also a terrific interviewer, not only in terms of her ability to sympathize with the victim but also because she can smell a fabrication a mile away--and we've run into our share of fabrications."
I'm not going to touch anything about fabrications, Lol!
They have other people that work with them. Such as:
"These people work for NASA, the CIA, and FBI. They include a forensic scientist, a nuclear physicist, and even a Secret Service agent, but they're so dedicated to ghost hunting they don't mind doing it anonymously."
And, they have Santa Claus, Easter Bunny and the TF, too! Lol! You would think they would have their "scientific" end of investigating down to a(excuse the pun) science.
"But the heart of the organization is still my partner Grant, whom I affectionately call G.W. He's the one who designed our investigative protocol. He's also the one who gets the lay of the land in each case, …" "Grant always question what people think they see or hear." "Pictures that contain complex shapes and variations are the most likely candidates for the overactive imaginations, Grant's discovered, as are "features" that look like those of cartoon characters. He has art training, so he can tell right away if something has the right proportions to be a face."
It goes on longer. Which I will continue next time. I'm still confused who Grant really is? He seems to be what we call a "Jack of all trades" kind of person. Which means he's ok in all these fields. But, not great.
"Grant's driving passion is to make paranormal investigations more scientifically acceptable. Me? Even with the evidence in front of me, I'm pretty skeptical."
For me, this doesn't make sense? So, even with the scientific evidence? It's not enough for J? That's a surprise.
This section is about their scientific approach. So, here it is
"Scientific knowledge comes from systematic and objective observations, which help us make deductions we can trust. It also means we have to test those deductions through controlled experiments that can be repeated by others under the same conditions. After subjecting phenomena to recording, measurement, and experimentation, we may realize that our initial observations were in error, or we may see more evidence to support our hypothesis. But the point is to try to debunk it first."
Later I'll write the rest of their approach.
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