South Jersey Ghost Research

South Jersey Ghost Research Creaking floorboards, floating orbs and disembodied voices? Bring it on! A group of real-life South Jersey ghosthunters has been working for more than a decade to protect you from those things that go bump in the night.

South Jersey Ghost Research is a certified nonprofit organization providing free investigations for anyone experiencing paranormal activity in their home or business. Their research is centered in the South Jersey and Philadelphia areas, but extends as far as Delaware and New York.

"Our primary goal is to help and educate the public about paranormal activities," says Maureen Carroll, public relations coordinator for South Jersey Ghost Research (SJGH).

Using an all-volunteer cadre of investigators and consultants, the group performs at least one investigation per month, using sophisticated technology and old-fashioned skepticism to hunt down – and explain – the unexplainable.

“Almost everyone who calls us will start off the conversation with, ‘You’re going to think I’m crazy but…’” she said. “We might get someone who will contact us saying their kids are afraid, they're hearing footsteps, seeing things. That’s when we tell them – you’re not alone in dealing with this.”

The research group has been a fixture in the community for nearly a decade, although its history leads back to the mid-1950s, when ghost hunting was even more taboo. The group emerged as the Ghost Hunters of America, which conducted investigations in New Jersey and Pennsylvania and remained active for many years. Two existing organizations then branched off in 1998 to form the SJGR, whose current members hail from all over the South Jersey area.

Though the idea of ghosthunting is becoming more mainstream thanks to exposure from popular TV shows, most of what people know about ghosts they have learned from Hollywood, Carroll said.

“They think every dark shadow is something out to get them, which is absolutely untrue! We want to educate people and show them that it is possible to live with this and not be afraid.”

Exploring the unknown

People who suspect their home or business is haunted can contact the researchers by phone (1-877-478-3168), email (help@sjgr.org for urgent questions), or through their online message boards (here). They will return your call as soon as possible. If you are outside the NJ, PA, DE or NYC area, please contact them via email, as they cannot return calls outside these areas.

Before investigating a building, researchers ask the homeowner to fill out a 50-question survey; sample questions ask about any problems with electronic equipment, whether the occupants are seeing shadows, or have experienced any audio phenomena like strange voices or unexplained noises.

After they receive a completed questionnaire, a team of 4 to 12 investigators is assigned to the case, depending on the size and scale of the location and events. Each visit is approximately three hours, although it may take more than one visit to properly collect evidence.

Investigators use a variety of equipment to conduct tests, using digital cameras with infrared and night vision attachments, video cameras, audio recorders, electromagnetic field detectors, digital thermometers and motion detectors.

Although the majority of the work is done with the help of equipment and quantifiable evidence, many members say they are sensitive to spiritual activity and also rely on “psychic intuition” to guide them, according to Caroll.

Lights and other electronic equipment are shut off, and a slow survey of the house is done. After, any evidence is given to the homeowner and the group will explain their findings.

The most commonly known form of “evidence” appears in photographs in the form of orbs, strange lights or fog. Researchers see these unexplained orbs as a sign of spiritual presence. Positive photos (those with phenomena present) are marked and appear in a large archive on the group’s Web site.

The group’s main goals are to soothe the fears of the homeowner and educate them on what to do next, not to banish or “catch” unwanted spirits.

“No one can ever guarantee that they can perform a spirit removal,” warned Carroll. “Some people say they can, but they are usually just after your money. We’re just trying to help.”

Get involved

It’s not often that a group of adults is willing to walk in to a cemetery or a strange house at night. The assembly of 30 certified investigators (who range in profession from retired police officer to schoolteacher) are dedicated individuals who train for several months in order to become a member. Candidates receive instruction in indoor and outdoor investigations, and learn how to collect audio and visual information using the high-tech equipment. Everyone must also take an introductory course in psychic protection and awareness, and pass a written and practical exam before becoming official. Members are required to commit to at least one investigation a month and attend regular meetings.

This unique form of philanthropy doesn't stop with investigations. SJGR also does public lectures and seminars in libraries or at historical association meetings. The educational forum includes presentations of past research, using recordings from actual cases, photo displays, equipment demonstrations and a question and answer session. Fundraisers throughout the year have assisted local historic associations in preserving landmark sites, adding to the distinctive ways in which SJGR gives back to the community.

For a nontraditional volunteer experience, the spiritually inclined might want to give it a try!

An extensive schedule of lectures and fundraisers is available on their website, here. For more information on how to get involved, become an investigator, or find out more about ghosthunting in South Jersey, go to southjerseyghostresearch.org or call 1-877-478-3168.

Updated 9/25/15

© SouthJersey.com 2015. All rights reserved. This article or parts thereof may not be reprinted or reproduced by any other party without the express written consent of SouthJersey.com. For more information, please call 856-797-9910.

For more on local Organizations, visit our South Jersey Organizations page.

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