They dont like to talk about it much with
strangers or nonbelievers for fear of ridicule. Most people
just dont understand their curiosity. In fact, many of their own
family members and friends think theyre nuts.
But they persevere.
Some like it that way. It makes the challenge of finding tangible proof
of their cause even more exciting. In doing so, they find camaraderie
among their group members and enjoy sharing their experiences through
photos, videos and regular social outings at restaurants or in group members
homes. They communicate via newsgroups, email and message boards on the
They are ghost hunters, and their numbers are growing throughout Kentuckiana.
There are about a half-dozen clubs in Louisville alone. Some belong to
more than one club, but more groups continue to sprout up because it is
better to keep them small in number, explains ghost hunter Carrie Galloway,
She teaches a how-to class on ghost hunting at the University of Louisville.
An office administrator by trade, she became interested in the hobby after
attending a seminar at Lexington (Ky.) Community College taught by certified
ghost hunter and author Patti Starr, president of Ghost Chasers International
Inc. Galloway came away from that seminar two years ago thinking, I
can do this.
She wrote a curriculum for a continuing education course called Ghost
Hunting 101 and submitted it to U of L. The college accepted her
proposal, and the next thing she knew, she was signing up students who
yearned to chase ghosts in the night. Her next class session the
third of its kind begins in March 2004. It meets on Tuesday nights
for five sessions and costs $99.
A lot of people come into the class thinking were going to
sit around and tell ghost stories, but its more hands on than that,
said Galloway, a Kentucky representative of the American Ghost Society
who says she saw her first ghost at age 14. Its an instructional
class that teaches you what tools to use and how to go about documenting
what you see during an on-site visit.
Or perhaps what youd like to see. Or thought you saw.
Galloways 27 students come from all walks of life warehouse
workers, a psychologist, an office administrator, a computer technician,
a mailman. The list goes on.
Galloway teaches them how to approach property owners about gaining permission
to visit a home or building or cemetery. They take with them cameras,
video equipment, tape recorders and other electronic gadgets in hopes
of capturing something anything that may hint at the existence
of a ghost, or orb, as they like to call them.
At parties, they share their photos and recordings with each other and
plan their next trip to a supposedly haunted location.
Sometimes they must get in line. Rumors of such locations are often inundated
with calls from other ghost-hunting groups wanting to visit. Some property
owners refuse; others make quiet arrangements with the promise that their
location wont be advertised to other such groups, or eghad!
Thats apparently what happened last Halloween when Louisville Courier-Journal
columnist Byron Crawford published a story and large photo of a Carrollton,
Ky., couple who live along the Ohio River in a supposedly haunted house.
The couple received so much attention from ghost-hunters that they refused
to participate in our report for this issue of RoundAbout.
You cant blame them. But the ordeal further illustrates the growing
popularity of this hobby in the area.
One of the better-known locations among Louisville ghost hunters is Waverly
Hills, a former sanitarium in Pleasure Ridge Park in the southern end
of Louisville. Though its entrance is protected by security guards, ghost
hunters often find a way to get in. In fact, the guards have gotten good
over the years of playing tricks on the ghost-hunting intruders so that
they go away with stories to tell, further propagating the myths that
ghosts in fact lurk in the midst of the now-empty sanitarium wards.
Galloway has been there and says that the organized trips that allow the
ghost hunters in usually attracts so many people that no ghost would be
caught dead there that night.
You need to have a small group when you go on a visit; you dont
want a bunch of people tromping around, she says.
That was part of the reason Galloway broke away from a previous ghost
hunters group and formed her own it became too large and unwieldy
to function. Now Galloways group, Kentucky Paranormal Research,
operates as a separate society of like-minded folks investigating paranormal
activities wherever they can find it. Their most recent trip was to a
well-known cemetery in Louisville.
It was awesome, said group member Tanya Okes. Just being
there in the middle of the night gave you goose bumps.
Okes, who runs a landscape firm with her husband in Bullitt County, just
south of Louisville, and her mother, Pam Rogers, took Galloways
class at U of L after seeing it in the class listings. Ive
always been curious about the spirit world, and this was something we
could do together, Okes said. Its fun, and you meet
a lot of interesting people.
But what about meeting ghosts?
I believe they are there, she says as she flips through a
binder of photographs she has taken on ghost hunting trips that reveal
faint balls of light, or orbs. This is a good one. And you can see
one there if you look real hard.
The search for tangible evidence of the spirit world has been practiced
by people on this planet for centuries. And if the old adage, Seeing
is believing, still rings true, then rest assured that these ghost
hunters are on the job.
If you want to learn how to become one yourself, then you can take Galloways
class. Passing the course does not require seeing or even
believing in ghosts. But Im sure it helps.
Don Ward is the editor, publisher and owner of RoundAbout.
Call him at (812) 273-2259 or email him at: Don@RoundAboutMadison.com.