When we hear the word paranormal, we automatically think about visitations from spirits who have crossed over to the other side.
For Jennifer Albert, paranormal is an unexplainable event that scientific discoveries cannot even touch.
Albert, founder and lead investigator of the Cleveland Paranormal Research Society, said that at a young age she got involved with the paranormal.
Photos special to the Tribune Chronicle
Jennifer Albert, right, founder and lead investigator of the Cleveland Paranormal Research Society, is shown with two of the ghost hunters from the television series, “Ghost Adventures” — Zak Bagans, center, and Aaron Goodwin at a ghost hunt in that took place in Ohio. Bagans and Goodwin encouraged Albert to found her own paranormal research group.
An EMF?detector is one of the tools a paranormal investigator uses to determine if paranormal activity is present.
"I grew up with the paranormal surrounding me, and as people and pets would cross over during my lifetime, this has been a way to communicate with those loved ones," she said.
To further investigate the paranormal, Albert founded the Cleveland Paranormal Research Society in January 2011. The society has 11 crew members and covers the regions of northeastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania.
Joe Whatmore, investigator, equipment tech and historian for the Cleveland Paranormal Research Society, said he found out about the society through following Cleveland Paranormal Research Society on Twitter.
Going through a building that has paranormal activity, involves a good intuitive sense, but also it requires equipment to properly investigate the activity itself. Jennifer Albert, founder and lead investigator of the Cleveland Paranormal Research Society, said that the equipment her team uses is customized to each location they investigate and that each investigator implements different combinations of the equipment when they are investigating. Here are some of the tools the Cleveland Paranormal Research Society uses.
EMF detector - A device that is highly sensitive to electrical currents. Spirits or ghosts are said to be made up of electronic magnetic energy. When the EMF detector senses a large amount of electronic energy, it sounds and lights up.
Digital recorder - Spirits speak in a frequency higher than the human ears can hear. The digital recorder can "hear" these levels and records them. When played back, the voices / noises from the higher level can be heard.
White Noise X
Ableton Live 8
Spirit Box - This is the device that allows spirits to speak through the white noise created through the radio channels as they are being scanned.
Speaker for Spirit Box
Mini Mag lights
Themselves - Human bodies know when something isn't right by goosebumps, chills, etc.
Source: Cleveland Paranormal
"I don't have any abilities to sense the paranormal, but I either physically see, hear or use my equipment to investigate whether a place is haunted or if there is a non-paranormal explanation," Whatmore said. "It's a gift to be able to help people using my scientific equipment to find whether they're experiencing paranormal activity or if there's a simple explanation and putting their minds at ease."
Albert said that any building, place or property has the potential to be haunted.
"The paranormal to me is something that cannot be explained by normal, daily happenings or science. Paranormal cannot be explained by modern science or logic," Albert said.
Albert said that the Cleveland Paranormal Research Society's job involves researching and investigating what is on the other side. She said that their job is to research the paranormal, which includes the actual investigation, researching the history of a location, and conducting interviews with the individuals who are involved in the location.
"We also provide comfort to those who are just seeking answers to those who have lost loved ones," Albert said. "Our biggest job is to provide knowledge as to what could be on the other side and comfort to those needing answers."
''As a paranormal investigator, my job is to always help the client by consoling them if they've just lost a loved one or to protect them if they believe they're being harmed," Whatmore said.
"It's my job to investigate their property thoroughly from looking up the history to checking for non-paranormal answers like high EMFs (electromagnetic fields) or mold for example, besides paranormal activity. I would explain to them what to do in either case."
Rick Cosner, founder and senior investigator of the Central Ohio Paranormal Research Group in Columbus, said that communication with spirits who are appearing in homes is a solution to paranormal activity, but this doesn't work in all cases. Every paranormal situation is different, and when communication does not work, then a paranormal investigator is the solution.
"You can ask spirits to leave, but sometimes this doesn't always work," he said. "If you tear down the house, then this might make spirits more upset.
''A lot of spirit activity comes up when people move into a house (that the spirit of the person once lived in) and remodel that house. Spirits do not like remodeling because that is not the way their house was when they lived in it while they were alive,'' Cosner said.
''You have to talk to the spirits and realize that they were people at one time. You have to explain to the spirits that 'this is the way it is' and that it's your house."
Cosner said that spirits come back to visit for many reasons. In some cases, spirits return because they loved their home, he said. Sometimes spirits stay around because they are afraid to cross over to the other side because they are in fear they would get punished for something they have done.
Albert said that sometimes paranormal activity will leave an area once the spirit that is visiting makes its presence known and is told to cross over to the other side. Paranormal activity is not always a "haunting" or a disturbance, but a visit from a loved one who has passed on.
"Other times, findings show the spirit is just a loved one 'stopping by' to let someone know they are around and will leave on their own," Albert said.
"My advice is if you do not want the activity, do not interact with the spirit. Sometimes they will get bored and leave. Other times you will need a paranormal investigation team to come in and find the cause of activity and come up with a solution on removal.
''Paranormal investigators should be contacted whenever a person feels uncomfortable, is getting harmed or just wants answers as to what is going on," Albert said.
Cosner offers advice to people who might think they have paranormal activity in their homes.
"Don't read too much into it, and don't assume that it's paranormal," he said. "If you think the situation is paranormal, try talking to the spirits, asking them, 'Why are you doing what you are doing?' If they talk back, don't be afraid."