In the spirit of Halloween, people decorate their doors and windows with ghosts, children dress up as ghosts and stores sell candy shaped like ghosts. Ghosts can be found everywhere on Halloween, but some people hunt real ghosts year-round. Kansas is home to many paranormal investigative groups and clubs dedicated to studying the presence of ghosts.
Kansas Paranormal Investigators is a team out of Topeka that uses scientific equipment and a psychic medium for research of the paranormal. The equipment detects electromagnetic fields (EMF) and electronic voice phenomena (EVP) which they see as evidence of a ghostly presence. The KPI is made up of three members who co-founded the group: Vicky Millard, psychic/medium, Steve Millard, equipment expert, and Pam Currie, lead investigator.
“Having EMF meters validate where I knew there was activity, also hearing my name on an EVP was thrilling and scary as well,” Millard said about her most influential memory in the field.
Besides investigating the paranormal, members of KPI take pride in their ability to reconnect loved ones who have passed on. They do not charge for any investigations, but there is a high charge for a meeting with a psychic medium. The team even has its own radio show whose host is a psychic medium.
“It can be a hard field to work in due to skeptics,” Millard said.
Many paranormal investigators hope to help the living with their work.
“The most important thing we do is help people understand what is happening to them,” said Becky Ray, area representative for the American Ghost Society and investigator for Paranormal Activity Investigators, based out of Kansas City.
Paranormal Activity Investigators offers investigations free of charge and even have a separate branch in Columbia, Mo. Paranormal Activity Investigators differs slightly from KPI in that they seek out supposedly haunted locations and anywhere with evidence of paranormal activity.
“I’d say for every 20 hours of investigation we do, we might only have one instance of genuinely unexplained activity,” Ray said.
This area of the country is important to Ray because of all the history. Many people from many cultures have lived in this region, she said, which makes each investigation more interesting. Ray said the job is not easy, and sometimes long nights of investigations with no evidence can make the team exhausted, especially when they travel long distances to the locations.
“All they want is for me to say, ‘It’s a ghost.’ Most of the time it’s dust or a camera error,” Ray said. “Ghosts do not ‘perform’ on command.”
Adam Catlin, a paranormal investigator in southern Kansas, has been investigating with his wife for years.
“I would love to get into some buildings on the K-State campus, but unfortunately no one is opening those doors to me,” Catlin said.
Catlin has also authored several books on paranormal activity in the Kansas area. His favorite location to investigate is St. John’s College in Winfield, Kan., which opened in 1893 and closed in 1986.
“My best memories are going inside Dayton Hall on St. John’s campus in the middle of the day,” Catlin said. ”We were able to capture five different apparitions in the building, in plain view. It pretty much debunked the theory of sightings only in the dark.”
While some may be skeptical about haunted places, there are dozens of paranormal investigative groups in Kansas. For some, ghosts are not just for Halloween. For a full list of paranormal investigative groups in Kansas and other states, visit paranormalsocieties.com.