‘I try to tell the spirit that it’s OK’: Southern Utah Paranormal Society investigates local hauntings

Possible energy orb at Sand Hollow, Washington County, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Southern Utah Paranormal, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Got a ghost lurking around your home or place of business? Who you gonna call? In this neck of the woods, Southern Utah Paranormal Society is a great place to start. Founded by Joshua Stewart and the late Kevin Olson, Southern Utah Paranormal investigates haunting incidents, oftentimes debunking rumors and tall tales.

Ghost face near Cross Hollows Intermediate School, Cedar City, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Kevin Olson, St. George News

Mostly ghostly

Hollywood often portrays cemeteries and morgues as hot spots for ghosts. People who investigate haunting incidents believe these places are primarily occupied by corpses, not spirits. Todd Prince, lead investigator for the Washington County Chapter of Southern Utah Paranormal, said in his experience, ghosts are most likely to hang around places where there is a lot of activity and energy such as homes, theaters, jails, schools and hospitals.

So why do ghosts appear?

“There may be confusion between life and death,” Prince said. “They may want to stick around family for a little while to make sure they’re okay.”

Because spirits are in a state of transition, they tend to occupy spaces that reflect this such as doorways, windows, stairwells and landings. Prince said there are two basic types of hauntings: residual and intelligent. Residual hauntings involve energy trapped in a certain space.

“It’s just the energy manifesting over and over because it’s trapped there,” Prince said. “It has no awareness of anything around it.”

By contrast, intelligent hauntings involve an entity interacting with live people. Their voices are often captured on digital recorders during investigations. In some cases, they wish to send a message or warning to the living. Other times, they are confused and need help crossing over.

In addition to voices, investigators also look for visual manifestations such as apparitions, shadows or mist. Sometimes orbs – concentrated balls of energy – are seen or detected. While fascinating, Prince said orbs aren’t necessarily ghosts.

“It could be a visual manifestation of energies that exist within classical physics in this realm, the electromagnetic field.”

Prince notes that we can only see a small portion of what is actually out there. Despite this, Prince said he is not afraid of the unknown.

“I’m more curious than I am frightened,” Prince said. “If you’re in the paranormal field, you’re looking for this stuff, not running from it.”

Giving up the ghost

Orb like image at Freemont Indian State Park, Sevier County, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Southern Utah Paranormal Society, St. George News

Is there a reason ghosts make themselves known to the living? Southern Utah Paranormal co-founder Joshua Stewart believes spirits may be attached to a particular home or space. Digital audio recordings make up the bulk of evidence gathered during an investigation. Stewart said sometimes spirits are befuddled about what happened; other times they want to send a message such as “go away.”

“If it’s just caught in the electronic voice phenomena recordings and there’s nothing going on, it just tells me they are wanting to be alone,” Stewart said.

Stewart said ghosts often get agitated when renovations or changes are made to places they are

connected to. For this reason, he isn’t frightened even when a spirit is directing him to leave.

Tina Lloyd, lead investigator for the Cedar City Chapter of Southern Utah Paranormal, said she has been in places where she can detect an immense amount of sadness.

“I try to tell the spirit that it’s OK to let go and move on,” Lloyd said.

Lloyd believes one important part of her job is assuring spirits things are being handled in the present so they can finally rest in peace.

“Our work is important because it can help resolve people’s feelings about going to the other side,” Lloyd said.

Tools of the trade

Ghost busters use a lot of neat gadgets and gizmos to assist in their investigations. Digital recorders are used to capture audio. Southern Utah Paranormal Society has a number of clips that include unusual sounds such as a cowbell ringing in a school building, and a voice saying, “please help me.”

Todd Prince of Southern Utah Paranormal Society teaching ICL ghost hunting class at Dixie State University, St. George, Utah, October, 2021 | Photo by Adele Park, St. George News

In an attempt to determine if a spirit is present but not making any noise, investigators have various apparatus which can detect fluctuations in the electric or magnetic fields of an area. Ghosts are believed to emit energy which can then be picked up by these instruments. One such tool is called a Rempod which lights up or sounds an alarm when the electromagnetic field is disrupted by unseen forces. Static or negative charges in the air can be picked up using a device called an Epod.

Infrared thermometers are used to identify cold spots. The theory is that ghosts draw energy from the air around themselves which leaves behind a small pocket of cold air. Other equipment includes motion sensors and a variety of phone apps specifically designed for ghost hunters.

Some investigators have unique talents that don’t require any equipment at all. Susie Prince of Southern Utah Paranormal is clairaudient. This means she can hear things other people can’t which is very useful when it comes to investigating haunting incidents. This ability has been with Prince since childhood when she had some encounters in the family food storage room of her home.

“I was afraid to go in that room; it was dark and the light was in the middle of the room,” Prince said. “I would hear people talking in that room.”

Charlisa McConnell Robertson of Southern Utah Paranormal has several unique attributes including being clairaudient and clairvoyant. Her clairvoyant experiences have mostly involved seeing film-clip like images of people and places. McConnell Robertson is also an empath which means she can feel emotional energy.

“I can walk into a space and tell if something happened there that has made other people feel uncomfortable,” McConnell Robertson said.

Get the ghost outta here!

There is relief available to Southern Utah residents who suspect they may have unwanted spirits oozing around their homes or businesses. Southern Utah Paranormal has teams in St. George and Cedar City ready to assist. Team members are all volunteers who do not charge for their services. For more information, contact Southern Utah Paranormal Society: [email protected].

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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