by Frank Vaisvilas
Recently formed Illinois Ghost Hunters (IGH) is a local group dedicated to investigating anything strange in the neighborhood.
"If we come up with proof [of a ghost], great, but if we come up with a reasonable explanation, that's just as good,” said George Hawrylenko, 37, an IGH member who works for the Daily Chronicle during the day.
The group's founder, Willy Adkins, 26, of DeKalb formed the group in August after some members of the DeKalb Area Ghost Researchers wanted to be more involved in ghost hunting.
"They were really more interested in having meetings,” Hawrylenko said.
IGH went on their first, and only, hunt to date at a supposedly haunted restaurant in Genoa. The owner declined the place to be named for fear of frightening his employees.
Adkins captured what might be an orb, or spiritual energy, on video, but Hawrylenko said it was probably dust.
They did, however, experience battery drainage in some of the equipment they used. Paranormal investigators believe spirits will sometimes drain batteries in order to gain energy before paranormal activity.
"It was kind of a cool thing to see because you hear about that kind of stuff all the time with ghost hunters,” Hawrylenko said.
Adkins said the group learned a lot from the hunt and will continue to perfect their methods. He has even received advice from Grant Wilson, who is a lead member of The Atlantic Paranormal Society(TAPS) which also has a television show on the Sci-Fi Channel called ‘Ghost Hunters'.
"He had a lot to offer as in the way they organize,” Adkins said.
But Adkins said IGH's methods differ from TAPS in that IGH brings in a spiritual aspect to the investigation. That comes in the form of Jason Sullivan, 24, of Roselle who claims to be a sensitive who can feel spiritual energy.
"I've had a lot of experience with the paranormal realm,” Sullivan said.
He said his first experience as a medium was at age 11 when he heard a voice say, “Help me”. When he was older, he said he felt something physically grab his head near Resurrection Cemetery, where the famous Resurrection Mary supposedly resides.
But IGH also incorporates some science. They use digital voice recorders to try to capture electronic voice phenomenon EVP, or voices from beyond the grave. The investigators have a list of questions they ask ghosts and wait for a response.
They also use thermal detectors, cameras and electro-magnetic field detectors to measure spiritual energy, or what can turn out to be just non-paranormal readings from common electrical devices.
Adkins said he approaches an investigation from a very skeptical point of view.
"I'm waiting for something to stump me still,” Adkins said.
He recalled a time when he explained why a metal can would move for no apparent reason. It turns out it was caused by a strong electro-magnetic field generated from several wires in a wall near the can.
Hawrylenko said his first major paranormal experience occurred when he was 17. He stepped around someone in his dark bedroom who he thought was his mother. It turned out it was not his mother and he believes it may have a deceased grandparent.
But Hawrylenko also said he enjoys disproving something almost as much as proving paranormal phenomenon. He recalls a time at the Malta Cemetery when people had noticed a strange white formation on the ground would appear at times. He investigated and found it was just an optical illusion caused by white tree bark and light coming from a nearby residence.
The cool thing debunking that,” Hawrylenko said. "The fact that I could get nobody else to come with me It felt really cool.”
From then on, he was hooked.
A fourth member, Beth Anderson, 38, who also works for the Daily Chronicle, said she had always been fascinated by the paranormal, but a strange sickening feeling she believes was paranormal that came over her when she visited Traitor's Gate in London put the hook in for her.
They all, obviously, share a passion for the paranormal. Each of them is willing to put in long hours and stay up all night for a hobby that does not pay anything just to find proof that there can be life after death.
It's stuff we're doing when we should be sleeping because you have to know,” Hawrylenko said.
IGH offers to help clients in realizing they are not crazy in thinking they may be haunted. They can be reached at (815) 899-1339 or on the Internet at www.illinoisghosthunters.org.
Original Article Link: VALLEY FREE PRESS
Mr Willy Adkins