Do you believe in ghosts?  Is your home haunted?

Word to the wise...if you do not want to know the answer to those questions, do not ask the questions in the first place.

WIBX went on location with the New York Shadowchasers to a private home in our listening area after receiving reports that voices, not belonging to the home's residents, were heard inside the house.

One of the founding members of Shadow Chasers Paranormal Investigations and Research Organization, author P.W. Creighton, is a member of the Townsquare Media staff and so WIBX has become familiar with his work.  However, the thing that intrigued us most about the group was the science-based approach to studying the paranormal, and yes, chasing shadows.

Instead of showing up with incense and Tarot cards, the Shadow Chasers came equipped with bundles of equipment including cameras, sensors, S.P.E.C.T.R. wands, electromagnetic field detectors, recorders, and a hearty sense of skepticism as well.

Photo Courtesy: P.W. Creighton

This reporter was expecting them to approach the whole thing with a "where's the ghost?" attitude.  But instead of wanting to find "ghosts," they seemed to be more concerned with ruling out the paranormal.  In so doing, of course, they validate paranormal activity even more when all other possible explanations have been discounted -- bad news for those who want them to immediately validate their thirst for discovering something truly paranormal, or for a journalist looking to do an on-air interview with a "real-live ghost;" reassuring news for those who appreciate the science behind the search.

Also on the team sent to investigate the home was the group's co-founder and  Creighton's wife, Kate Creighton, who is working on a master's in fraud management.  Sean Nelson happily provided technical explanations of the equipment used, and the reasons each piece was selected.  Rounding out the team were Dave and Sarah, who are amateur Shadow Chasers with some knowledge of the site.

Photo Courtesy: P.W. Creighton

It is important to note that these Shadow Chasers do not charge for their services but instead rely on donations.  However, for some of the services they provide one might readily pay, considering the fact that electromagnetic field surveys can cost homeowners a few thousand dollars.  EMF testing is a routine part of what the group does, and in several instances Phil and his group have discovered potentially dangerous levels of electromagnetic radiation in homes.  The takeaway here is that if you throw the group a couple of bucks it is well worth the investment.

After interviewing the home's occupants Phil and his team were not necessarily optimistic about finding anything unusual, or legitimately paranormal about this particular home.  In fact, both Phil and Kate said that seventy to eighty percent of the time there is "not much going on" inside a home when they visit.  Sometimes this is because there is just not much happening on that particular occasion, and sometimes it is because nothing actually exists at the location.

Members of the home reported hearing a child's cry and indistinct murmurings - mostly young or female, on the home's second story.  Doors closed shut for no apparent reason, and anyone who went upstairs or in the attic felt "a presence."  From the home's first floor the distant voices of men - distant in terms of dimension, not necessarily proximity, were heard outside, possibly from the front lawn.  The voices sounded like chanting.  Songs and the crackling of fire were heard as well.  All might be easily explained scientifically, and that is what the Shadow Chasers set out to do.

After interviewing the home's residents the team did not necessarily expect to capture much, although the fact that Kate sensed "something" was evident as we watched her. As was explained, "feeling something" could be the result of noticing a draft from a previously undetected crack in the foundation, hearing the almost unnoticeable hitch-pitched hiss of faulty wiring, or the dampness of a room where no dampness should logically exist...until one discovers the scientific explanation behind all.

After conducting the initial interviews the team scoured the home with sensors, looking for leaking electric fields and faulty insulation.  What they found during this phase was not ghosts but a definite need to take decisive and necessary action to repair faulty wiring.

One of the resulting discoveries was that the home's insulation was severely lacking in certain areas, especially in an upstairs closet, where a heat sensor glowed light blue and green detecting the outside winter temperatures despite the fact that the home's thermometer was set to 72-degrees Fahrenheit at the start of the examination.

Photo Courtesy: P.W. Creighton

As with many old homes, the building's main grounding wire is attached to a central pipe that goes into the floor's foundation.  The resulting electric field created was not only the source of higher than necessary electric bills, but also of toxic EMF radiation that could have potentially serious health effects if the residents continued to be exposed.

A faulty wire was exposed in a child's alarm clock, which was emitting doses of electromagnetic radiation comparable to those thrown by a microwave oven.  Alarmed themselves, the family immediately discarded the clock.

Wind and an electronic hiss could, the group pointed out, be easily and honestly misinterpreted as a child's cry of "Mom!" to someone with maternal instincts, pre-wired to respond to young children.

One by one potential interfering factors, and sources of possible noise, were recorded and denoted.  Once that was done, the investigation into the "paranormal" could begin.  Except for small breaks to grab coffee or a cookie, the team worked for the next several hours, compiling data, comparing notes, taking readings, and attempting to make contact with anything that may have been there.

What, if anything, did the team find?  Check back on Wednesday, February 27th, 2013 for part two of this story.

In the meantime, if you have something you want the Shadow Chasers to investigate you can reach them by sending an e-mail to them via their website by clicking here or reach out to them through their Facebook page.