Family claims New Jersey house is another Amityville Horror. Paranormal investigators called in.

Family flees house they say is haunted

Just one week after Josue Chinchilla and Michele Callan moved into their new home in Toms River, the couple and her two children plodded into the lobby of a local hotel about 1:15 a.m. and asked for a room.

As soon as the family had settled into the three-bedroom ranch at the corner of Terrace and Lowell avenues on March 1, they began to suspect they were not its only tenants.

The family would come home and find their clothes and towels ejected from the closets and strewn over the floors. Doors would creak open and slam closed in unoccupied areas of the house. Lights switched on and off without human intervention. At night, footsteps could be heard from the kitchen after everyone was tucked in and unintelligible whispering seemed to fade in and out of thin air, according to the couple.

The most disturbing and consistent phenomenon, they claim, is the sound that comes through the vents to the basement — the muffled din of something lumbering seven feet below their feet.

Last week, Chinchilla, 37, and Callan, 36, filed a lawsuit in state Superior Court against their landlord, Dr. Richard Lopez…

In response, Lopez filed a counter suit against the couple for breaking their one-year lease. He claims the couple is using the specter of “paranormal activity” as a cover for personal financial troubles, which he contends have forced Chinchilla and Callan to conclude, after the fact, they cannot afford the $1,500 monthly rent.

Lopez’s attorney, David A. Semanchik, said his client has been renting the house at 100 Terrace Ave. to tenants for more than 10 years and this is the first time anyone has claimed the house is haunted.

Tip: Google alerts “paranormal”

The fact that I found this story ALL OVER my Google alert for “paranormal” is telling. The feed is usually full of references to the movie Paranormal Activity. The story told by the residents is remarkably similar to fictional tales of hauntings. And, it is, shall we say eerily, reminiscent of the Amityville Horror tale which is accepted as a concocted hoax by the Lutz family.

So, this story goes on to detail two paranormal investigation teams that were called in:

Nick Carlson, an investigator with the Shore Paranormal Research Society of Toms River, said the results of their investigation into the house on Terrace Avenue are inconclusive. While there is evidence of paranormal activity in the home, based on the data his team collected, the facts suggest a residual haunting from the past associated with a significant release of psychic energy, but not an intelligence.

Marianne Brigando, co-founder of NJ Paranormal Investigators of Old Bridge, said that group’s findings confirms the house is the site of an active or intelligent haunting, one level above a residual haunting.

“We were shocked,” Brigando said. “Out of all of the investigations we have done, this is where we came up with the most concrete evidence (of the paranormal) in close to 20 investigations.”

Here is where I got angry. PAGING JOE NICKELL OR BEN RADFORD! Of course you will document paranormal activity if you bring in paranormal BELIEVERS to document your haunting. It’s not a sound investigation when everything odd or unexplained is labeled “paranormal activity”. Besides being biased, their methods are unreliable and unscientific. But, I wonder… if this is genuine activity, why did they come up with different conclusions? Why don’t they share their results with actual scientists? If no one is in the house, bring in more critical thinkers who can evaluate the evidence in light of ALL possible explanations, such as problems with the construction, electrical wiring, pests, etc. I haven’t seen mention of attempts to rule out less fantastic causes.

There is no reason whatsoever to believe claims of such extreme paranormal activity simply on the story we are given here and by the “findings” of amateur paranormal enthusiasts. But, I will allow that something interesting may be going on in the house. Why not bring in real investigators to find out what?

Here’s a funny coincidence… Guess where the outdoor scenes were filmed for the movie, The Amityville Horror? Toms River, NJ.

[edited for typos on 4-14-2012 because I type to fast without spell check on]

UPDATED: (15-Apr-2012)

Here is a video from ABC News showing some supposed evidence.

The light may have a short or some loose connection. The bowling pin? SOMEONE just walked by it. Why isn’t that a more logical explanation? As I noted below, EVPs are worthless – they have never been shown to be voices from beyond so not sure how that is going to wash in court. I’m sorry. Not impressive. But, that’s just from the video. If you are going to try to convince a judge, you HAVE to bring more than that. Once again, I reiterate, bring in skeptical investigators. If something weird is there, and you impress them, then I’ll think there is more to this.

As you will note in the comments below, members of Shore Paranormal have left their opinions. Moderation is on, so I will disallow comments that do not further this discussion in a rational manner.

The story continues…here.

  67 comments for “Family claims New Jersey house is another Amityville Horror. Paranormal investigators called in.

  1. AndrewEpidemic
    April 13, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    What they should do is have a group of people who somehow know nothing about this case nor the reputation of the house as purported by the tenants and have them stay for a bit. Most of these paranormal investigators are nothing more than ghost story fans with uncalibrated EMF readers and recorders. As you said, their own biases are going to bleed into their report. It’s just like asking a priest/rabbi/what have you if something is a miracle. Of course they’ll say yes, it’s what they’re trained to do.
    Either way, calling kangaroo court on this one. I’ll have to follow this, I’d like to see the results of the suit.

  2. Scott Godlewski
    April 13, 2012 at 5:09 PM

    Anyone know what the odds are that the family’s suit sticks?

  3. jim ansbach
    April 14, 2012 at 5:13 PM

    Sir, I must say that I am offended by your comment which states, “Of course you will document paranormal activity if you bring in paranormal BELIEVERS to document your haunting. It’s not a sound investigation when everything odd or unexplained is labeled “paranormal activity”. Besides being biased, their methods are unrelaible and unscientific. But, I wonder… if this is genuine activity, why did they come up with different conclusions? Why don’t they share their results with actual scientists? If no one is in the house, bring in more critical thinkers who can evaluate the evidence in light of ALL possible explanations, such as problems with the construction, electrical wiring, pests, etc. I haven’t seen mention of attempts to rule out less fantastic causes.

    There is no reason whatsoever to believe claims of such extreme paranormal activity simply on the story we are given here and by the “findings” of amateur paranomal enthusiasts.” I am one of the founders of Shore Paranormal, and act as it’s Senior Advisor, we do in fact have TWO scientists that are team members, a pest control expert, a structual engineer, two police officers, and three former military personel, just to name a few, our conclusion is simply this, that at this time we say that thier appears to be a higher incident of paranormal activity, in which we can find no reasonable explanation for, and as such stand behind out initial claims. As for the “other” team I do not know that group nor can I make any statement on thier behalf. What I suggest to you is that rather then making broad statements about us “amateur paranomal enthusiasts” you follow up with direct conversation with those groups before making comments about thier methods and conclusions. I thank you for at least allowing us a forum to refute you openly and if you so desire I would be more then happy to speak to you directly.

    Jim Ansbach

  4. April 14, 2012 at 5:41 PM

    Thanks for commenting, Jim.

    That is very commendable that you take into consideration the aspects of pests and structural engineering in the investigation. I’m very interested in members’ scientific qualifications as well. You have noticed that I am rather harsh with investigation groups. I have examined 1000 paranormal investigation groups across the US. [I would like to send this study to you and would like to know your reaction to it. (I have your email through your comment, may I send a PDF there?)] My research found that ALMOST NO paranormal groups use people with scientific training nor were they looking for them. Worse, they acted as if they understood what it means to do scientific research and they got it very wrong.

    I am curious how you define “paranormal activity”. How can you realistically have considered all possible explanations? My view is, the best we can say at a certain point is “I don’t know how to explain that”. To take a step further to call it “paranormal activity” suggests that there is a discrete cause for that. I don’t agree that is a logical step to make.

    I have always wanted to discuss this more with a paranormal group but, even when I inquired objectively, they were suspicious of my motives. I was interested in process rather than participating, I suppose. My motives are simply to understand how they approach things and if, ultimately, that is the “best” way for the client and the public who observes.

    I have no belief in supernatural things. So, my perspective will be very different from those that do. My opinion is that non-believers, who approach a haunting thinking “what could be going on here?”, along with the paranormal investigators who accept the idea of the paranormal/supernatural as real, will make for a more comprehensive and critical evaluation of the potential causes.

    Interested in your thoughts on this! If you wish to correspond privately, email

  5. Nick Carlson
    April 14, 2012 at 6:03 PM

    This cracks me up. Amateur investigators. If you were there and saw us rule out all eletrical, plumbing, foundation, and pest problems and if you read the article correctly you would see that we did not say anything about lights going on and off, doors opening and closing, clothes flying everywhere, etc. what was said is we believe that there is a residual haunting happening based on the evidence we gathered. Evidence we gathered came from voice recordings from an unknown female voice on two seperate nights in rooms that were unoccupied. We also captured video evidence of bowling pins falling down, yet we cant explain but will not rule that as an intelligent haunting. Dont critisize something you obviously know nothing about. I appreciate your jealousy and hate as it only gives us crediabilty. And for the record we did see lights turn on and off on their own and stated to have your electric checked out.

  6. April 14, 2012 at 6:30 PM

    I find no credibility in EVPs. It makes no difference whether I was there. If I was to take your conclusions seriously, they would have sound, quality evidence. TO THIS DAY, no one seems to be able to demonstrate effectively that EVPs are spirit voices, that supernatural entities are making things move or that residual hauntings are even happening.

    I wouldn’t call my attitude towards paranormal investigation groups jealousy or hate. And, my feelings in no way gives you credibility. THAT you have to earn. Coming here and telling me I know nothing about it does not go far towards that effort. I am very willing to admit what I don’t know. Are you? I think we all should do that more often. The world would be a better place.

  7. snoma
    April 14, 2012 at 6:59 PM

    Nick, can you please explain to me how jealousy and hate towards something gives it credibility?

    As idoubtit says, credibility is something you earn. Same with respect.

  8. April 14, 2012 at 7:11 PM

    If nothing else, I learned a lesson here on the importance of public relations.

  9. Nick Carlson
    April 14, 2012 at 9:26 PM

    With respect you are calling us amatuer investigators insulting us. We in no way shape or form have ever critisized you or your writings. Why do you have to critisize what I do? You were not their nor do you know me. You dont know how much we ruled out. You act like we just went in their with our toys and said YES this place is haunted. 90 percent of our investigations are private residences and 98 percent of those residences are not haunted. Thia paticular house had things we cannot explain and when something out of the ordinary that is unexplainable is called paranormal. You questioned and mocked what we do. We have a team of 2 scientists, 2 police officers, 3 marines, 1 pest control expert, etc. And your jealousy and hate does give us crediabilty because you had to write about us which is enough to get our name out there. We have earned our name and we have gained respect in this feild. We help people. In a way where they dont think their crazy. What we do is more than the average person does. We dont get paid to do this. We volunteer. We all have been doing this for years. Most people keep their case confidential reasons being of what you are doing, which is mocking them. If you cant handle the insult back, then dont insult

  10. Jill Curtis
    April 14, 2012 at 11:12 PM

    I was there with the Shore Paranormal Research Team at the Toms River residence, I am best friends with the tenants and wanted to see how a paranormal team worked. I was a complete skeptic going into this and things were happening that cannot be explained, however I watched them in action and anything that would happen or go “bump” the first thing they did was scientifically try to rule out and debunk any causes,, they were very thorough down to checking every inch of the house for where noises were coming from, behind speakers and wiring and even looked to see if they were being “set up” by the tenants.. They were extremely professional and credible.. Plus they DON’T CHARGE whhich means they have no reason to “make things up”.. They are all very intelligent and always try to look for a legitimate scientific reason to debunk a theory.. The equipment and methods they used were far from amateur. They have earned my respect and credibility because they have helped out my best friend. I would recommend them to anyone experiencing a problem.

  11. April 14, 2012 at 11:49 PM

    Ok, Nick and Jill, you guys need to stop trying to justify yourself. You seem to want to push the personal experience angle. I’m not going to just take your word for it. I’m looking for more than that.

    As investigators, you two should reflect carefully upon what I said and what you said. I never said you were making things up. Instead, you are concluding that events are paranormal or unexplained. Do you understand what that means and the responsibility that claim entails? It’s HUGE. Instead, I see groups saying “I saw this” and that’s good enough. THAT’S NOT GOOD ENOUGH. Not for the claim you are making.

    It’s late here and I wanted to think more about the comments before responding but I did anyway, which was probably a mistake. We certainly have some definitions at issue. I need to respond more clearly in a bit.

    Just a reminder… we only allow comments that are productive to the discussion and evidence based. So far, you are giving me opinion and no references, sound reasoning or demonstrations. I realize you might disagree, but this is a science-based blog. I try to keep standards high. More to come.

  12. Jill Curtis
    April 15, 2012 at 12:40 AM

    Hence the reason I was commenting on their “Scientific” approach.. FYI I’m not an investigator, I was merely a third party perspective that was very impressed with their thorough SCIENTIFIC techniques and theories. Not trying to argue with you, but you are putting up an argument over a house and footage you did not see or hear.. What you are arguing here is their credibility as investigators, that’s what I’m getting out of this.. With all due respect, may I ask what you personally consider IS “good enough” techniques, equipment and proof that you would use?

  13. Nick Carlson
    April 15, 2012 at 1:00 AM

    The crediabilty comes from being acknowledged. When did I ever say anything about personal experiences???? Again you are putting words into my mouth. And yes we have physical evidence of something that is unexplainable. We do not use personal experiences as documented evidence. Let me clarify again because apparently its not making sense…paranormal simply means that a claimed occurrence of an event or perception has no scientific explanation. We have physical evidence on 2 different medias of occurrences that cannot be explained. We spent hours upon hours trying to recreate, debunk, find explanations for. We can not. When that happens we clarify it as paranormal. Like I said in the article, the voices we caught showed that it is possibly a residule haunting and on the other media possibly shows signs of an intelligent haunting. And if you read carefully I also said that our results are inconclusive as to what exactly is going on. You “assume” that we dont know what we are doing. You are calling us amatuers. We have years of experience and you insult us. What you want to believe is on you. All I am asking is please dont insult me, my team, and my clients. And for the other people talking about public relations…sorry thats not my field. We are not a company so I dont worry about public relations. I focus on doing something with my life….like help families who are terrified to sleep in their own house. I dont blog or spend my day blogging about people I dont know. I see how exciting your life must be. Again, dont insult me and not expect me to fight back. I work to damn hard for people to ridicule me and my team. Our professional opinion was documented. How you take it is on you. Dont insult us. And jill, thank you. You are awesome. Ill see you soon.

  14. Mike
    April 15, 2012 at 7:15 AM

    Ok I work with Nick and and flabbergasted at the disbelief of what happened. Its being reported on the news so that should be good enogh for you cause that proves it happined! I believe this might be the biggest thing ever! And Nick please let the cat out of the bag and let them know how we see feces floating in the air and the demon screaming in the night. If this isnt good enough for you sir what is. We are mostly smart twenty year olds not teenagirs, we know what we are doing. Call us if you want to fight about this like a man not a mouse – (732) 966-5772

  15. Chew
    April 15, 2012 at 9:02 AM

    Who are your two scientists and where and what did they major? Where do they work?

  16. April 15, 2012 at 9:16 AM

    BTW, Shore Paranormal folks, the link on your website that goes to your blog is broken, one too many characters.

  17. April 15, 2012 at 9:18 AM

    You apparently have not noticed I am not a “Sir”.

    I’m sorry but I’m not even going to respond to the idea that I should believe the paranormal exists because an internet news story told me to. That’s absurd.

  18. Chew
    April 15, 2012 at 9:38 AM

    “hours upon hours”? To try to explain an unknown observation and then you declare it unexplainable? Shouldn’t that read “years upon years”? It hardly seems scientific to declare something unexplainable after such little research.

  19. April 15, 2012 at 9:40 AM

    We are not really getting anywhere, here. Again, I’d ask Jim to contact me if he chooses.

    This is a science-based blog. Not a forum. What we do here is to show the public that there are questions that must be asked before accepting what the media dishes out. I’ve asked those questions. Usually, they are rhetorical…something for readers to consider. I’m glad they are getting responses, however, we’ve gotten off the topic of the story and into a discussion about something bigger.

    For you to see where I come from, in addition to the study I linked above, I’ve written about the difference between “Scientific and Scientifical” here
    and about my encounters with investigators saying they use the scientific method here:

    If you truly want to improve your investigative techniques, consider the ideas in there and see if they apply to you. Science is not just being careful or methodical or using gadgets. It’s a system that must have a foundation in what we already know to be true. And it MUST be open to critique and challenge.

    I think observers can see from above that this is a complicated topic regarding belief and what different people consider evidence. And, they can judge the professionalness of Shore Paranormal by their own statements.

  20. Mike
    April 15, 2012 at 9:49 AM

    Why didnt you comment on the fact of flying feces and a demon screaming in the night? I know why its becouse you cant refute those paranormal events. You convineantly skipped those two facts. I guarantee I am more of a scientist then you. How many science classes did YOU take in high school? I know how many I did. Once again call us if you want to keep trying to discredit this

    (732) 966-5772

  21. April 15, 2012 at 9:57 AM

    Um….how the hell would you respond to that? You use the word “facts”. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology and an Education Masters in Science and the Public. So… don’t go there.

    I don’t usually do this but you have obviously NOT noticed any of the information I’ve given you. That makes you look like a pretty shoddy investigator. I’m sorry but you’ve crossed the line here. Your comments won’t be approved anymore. See our commenting policy.

    BTW, I’ve always moderated comments. It’s to keep a high quality of discussion. Once again, this is NOT a forum, not a free for all.

  22. Jim Ansbach
    April 15, 2012 at 1:26 PM

    I would like to address Shore Paranormal posting in the following manner, STOP, this is not a place for open childish fighting, it is a place for open honest debate and discussion, and if you caan not conduct yourselves in a professional manner then do not post anything on our behalf, rather allow those who are willing to learn from constructive disagrrement or opposing beliefs to do so. I know I am not a expert of any measure and as such I am willing to consider all points of views. We must strive to learn from those who perhaps do in fact know more then us to become a more well rounded and professional team, if we do not that we will surely fail.
    So please stop with with argument and maybe, just maybe we can learn from each other.

    Jim Ansbach

  23. April 15, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    Thank you, Jim. Much appreciated. Looking forward to further discussion. I’ll be in touch.

    We absolutely have much to learn from each other.


  24. F89
    April 15, 2012 at 4:37 PM

    Just because you are a Police officer/or you were are in the Military DOES NOT make you any more infallable or better than anyone else when it comes to extrodinary claims. I’ve done both (retired).
    I find it odious that it has to be invoked as a defense so often, when in both groups we have our share of folks that have the same problems as anyone else does.
    Realize this-You are right, the internet keeps from “knowing” each other as people, so we have to go on what we see in written responses. I don’t agree with Jim, but his reponses are well thought out, and professional. People are more inclined to learn from a measured, intelligent response.

  25. F89
    April 15, 2012 at 4:47 PM

    For Clarification: Jim shore mentioned the military/police personnel attached to his team, he gave the impression that they were there for their professional opinion of what could have caused the “haunting”-the were there for their experience, not like when Nick mentioned them, it seemed like he was doing it defensively and to add credibility.

  26. April 15, 2012 at 5:27 PM

    [quote]thier appears to be a higher incident of paranormal activity, in which we can find no reasonable explanation for[/quote]

    If you’re calling the activity paranormal, then you’ve already declared an explanation.

  27. April 15, 2012 at 5:34 PM

    Very good point. With all the stuff being thrown around, I could not possibly respond to all the points but I noticed this as well and agree. Even scientist can be terrible observers on that which they are not trained to observe. If you go into a situation “primed” to see or experience something, that also very much influences your observations. That’s a well known phenomena. I cringe when I hear paranormal groups have interviewed the witnesses about “active” locations and exactly what happens. It would be more credible if they were blinded to that information.

  28. April 15, 2012 at 5:38 PM

    As I mentioned, we had serious issues with definitions and understanding of terms. That hampers discussion. But, hard to do in a comment thread. And this isn’t really the place to go into details about how to do an investigation.

  29. Verklagekasper
    April 15, 2012 at 7:56 PM

    The bowling pins were placed next to a pillar. The floor at a basement pillar that carries the weight of the upper floor is likely to be uneven and tilted. Two guys walking near the pins or a person walking on the floor upstairs may be enough to make the pins fall. The videos don’t show any attempt by the investigators to check whether the floor has a tilt.
    An ordinary bubble level or even some simple balls or marbles may have helped solve the mystery.

  30. April 15, 2012 at 7:59 PM

    Fantastic observation.

  31. Chew
    April 15, 2012 at 8:11 PM

    Was the basement carpeted? When the bowling pin fell over it didn’t roll, like it fell onto something soft.

  32. Jim Ansbach
    April 16, 2012 at 9:50 AM

    First of all, who are you ? and what makes you think you can speak on behalf of SPRS, if you are a member, then I will be aking steps to make you a former member ASAP, I will not and the other co-founders will not tolerate this sort of behavior, so for those who follow this blog, from this moment forward SPRS is NOT associated with this Mike person in any manner and do not support or condone his comments.

    Jim Ansbach

  33. April 16, 2012 at 9:58 AM

    Paranormal investigation teams are a dime a dozen today, given that we now live in a society with multimedia, the internet and other forms of media at our disposal – we can be in an information overload.

    With this we unfortunately may sometimes miss those who are genuine investigators who want to collate data and use scientific methods in the pursuit of this.

    When these services are called upon it is usually done so by people who have very little or no experience or knowledge on what to look for when they take the step of approaching a paranormal investigator. How are they to know if they are qualified? They don’t, as their exposure to this situation is a new one. The investigator on the other hand, if they do not have an honourable motive, can exploit the vulnerability of the victim and tell them what they want to hear and at the same time charge them exorbitant amounts of money – only to end up not helping them anyway.

    I am just as leery of the dishonest investigators as the next person. I sometimes watch some of the paranormal investigators on television and am not surprised when they find little next to nothing. The occasional EVP which is inconclusive, some shadow or what sounds like footsteps of movement upstairs etc.

    I find when investigating these things, that the good approach is to know how to question those suffering a paranormal experience. Eliminate the possibility of mental illness, drug abuse of alcoholism. Eliminate the possibility of other more rational explanations for the occurrence. And then once these are eliminated using a scientific approach, the same approach can be used to collect data which may support an unusual hypothesis.

    I agree that a scientific approach is a good, positive one in that we like to have cold hard facts at our disposal. Unfortunately sometimes we do not always get the results we may want to have. As a victim of paranormal activity it would be good to have something affirmed rather than have people think I’m crazy. Especially when one’s beliefs and value system has taken a severe beating.

  34. April 16, 2012 at 12:08 PM

    I’m interested in knowing about the equipment they used, which you describe as “far from amateur”. That suggests that some equipment is better than others for finding ghosts. What ghost properties were being detected?

  35. April 16, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    “Why do you have to critisize(sic) what I do?”

    Because you’re a scientifically illiterate joke who can’t spell and wouldn’t recognize the scientific method if the ghost of Einstein dictated it to you through and EVP.

  36. April 16, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    Well said, Jim.

  37. Chew
    April 16, 2012 at 1:18 PM
  38. April 16, 2012 at 1:33 PM

    Good point Chew. Mocking bad typing / spelling is intellectually dishonest. Fitzgerald spelled “when” three different ways in one letter to his wife’s doctor. The man was a literally genius who wrote one of the English language’s great classics, and he’d fail the average third grade spelling test. I’ll make the following modification:

    “Why do you have to critisize(sic) what I do?”

    Because you’re a scientifically illiterate joke who wouldn’t recognize the scientific method if the ghost of Einstein dictated it to you through and EVP.

    The “science” behind these paranormal “researchers” offers a fertile ground for criticism and mockery. They rely largely upon the argument from ignorance. They assume that their inability to explain a particular noise or temperature variation means something paranormal is going on.

    If they were competent and their results valid, then they’d be able to win a million dollars from the JREF with ease.

  39. April 16, 2012 at 1:44 PM

    Such testing would run the risk of explaining the phenomenon. Incompetent researchers would not think of it as a possibility, and dishonest ones would eschew such testing. The alleged presence of an alleged structural engineer suggests someone on the team should have know vibration from other areas could be a possible explanation. We are then left with four likely explanations:

    1. Such testing was done but not reported in media we’ve seen.

    2. The Structural Engineer is either incompetent, or simply failed to bring his “A” game that evening.

    3. The Paranormal “investigators” have a bias and engaged in deception to taint the results towards the conclusion they desired.

    4. The claimed presence of a Structural Engineer is a fabrication for the sake of creating an “Argument from Authority.”

  40. Scott Godlewski
    April 16, 2012 at 4:40 PM

    “Thia(sic) paticular house had things we cannot explain and when something out of the ordinary that is unexplainable is called paranormal.”

    And there’s the problem with paranormal investigators. You’re confusing the meaning of unexplanable with “paranormal”. There’s a giant leap in logic to say that just because you can’t immediately explain something, it must be paranormal. There has never been any reproducible, testable proof that proves that ghosts exist, and until that day comes, all of this “evidence” is simply unexplainable.

    Another thing that drives me bonkers is incredibly mundane stuff you attribute to ghostly activity. Bowling pins fell over? I know that’s what I’d be doing if I were a disembodied spirit. I’d be mumbling indecipherable messages undetectable to the human ear and knocking things off store shelves. Just stop for a moment, step outside of your beliefs and think.

  41. Scott Godlewski
    April 16, 2012 at 5:28 PM
  42. April 16, 2012 at 6:11 PM

    Thanks for pointing that out because I don’t like ridicule and personal attacks. I was going to warn you about that… Please don’t call people a joke. They have their process of getting to where they are that we didn’t follow.

    I do have many problems with their methodology. As I noted in the first comment to Jim, I did research on their “scientific methods”. Email if you want a copy. A pop version is available in the March/Apr version of Skeptical Inquirer. (all of which made Mike’s comments about he being more educated than me all the more funny. :-P)

  43. April 16, 2012 at 6:12 PM

    Mike has been banned. He continued to banter by submitting comments. I’m not going to post crap that doesn’t contribute, but just incites.

  44. April 16, 2012 at 6:14 PM

    I have viewed MANY MANY case reports from paranormal groups. I maybe found one or two that were a decent writeup that detailed what information was actually important.

    This is actually something that can be learned. I really wish they would. Would make a huge difference. But, again, you have to have formal scientific training to be used to doing things that way.

  45. April 16, 2012 at 6:22 PM

    I agree with pretty much everything you said. As with any kind of investigation, paranormal, scientific, legal, historical, there is an art to it. An expert knows all the mistakes that can be made because he has made them before and learned from it.

    Often taking people’s concerns into consideration is THE most important thing, not interpreting them. I would guess that in most cases, when Para investigators tell people they found paranormal activity it makes the situation worse. They could and SHOULD tell the people that they JUST can’t explain some stuff but that does not mean it’s paranormal or a ghost. At least no one dissed them and their observations were validated. It does NOT reinforce the scary demonic nonsense which is ALWAYS unethical.

  46. Jacqueline
    April 16, 2012 at 8:15 PM

    I am curious…why are people demanding to see other people’s private business? Requiring credentials…place of work..etc. Are you a colleague? Do you have the credentials and experience to even participate in an informed scientific discussion? Not everyone is capable of critical thinking anymore than just anyone can do calculus, algebra or trigonometry. The maths are often used during critical stages of investigations. A variety of experienced professionals are required to develop a scientific picture of what may actually be happening..whether moisture in the floorboards, wind speeds, temperature fluctuations or a shifting of tectonic plates. It is the ability to think outside the box that helps progress move forward. Nothing science has done so far has correctly theorized what is actually happening when people experience repeated unexplained activities. What we have learned is that there are now even more questions than before and we need to eliminate what can be explained by modern scientific methods and also develop new and/or differing theories that add to or even change our understandings.
    Nobody fully understands what the “ghost element” is yet. Not the plumbers on TV and not the Frat boys in Vegas and NOT even you reading this. Nobody. Not everyone experiences “weird” things..but there are many libraries and research laboratories full of people’s (yet unexplained)experiences.
    Once radiation was “detected” successfully according to the scientific method, Then a Geiger counter was created to detect radiation’s presence in an area. Just because people didn’t know about radiation, doesn’t mean it didn’t exist and that it didn’t affect people and even kill people. Paranormal is a description of what can not YET be explained by science and also is something that affects people.
    Scientific advancement means it’s likely just a matter of time before the “ghost element” is detected according to accepted scientific methods. Then we will be able to build a detector that will allow each experiment to be repeated successfully each time. As for right now though, nobody can say yea or nay yet and name calling and insults only tends to distract from that goal.
    Interested and brave explorers/investigators were called crazy and all kinds of insults when they challenged the belief that the earth was flat.
    Chances are that you have never seen a billion dollars in cash..few have..yet that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist and that some people are affected by it..

  47. Chew
    April 16, 2012 at 8:31 PM

    The scientific process depends on transparency. If someone claims they have discovered something but won’t share their data then they are not following the scientific process. “What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.”
    The rest of your post is the argument from ignorance.
    Please name one person who was called crazy and insulted for stating the world was not flat?

  48. April 16, 2012 at 8:32 PM

    I am curious…why are people demanding to see other people’s private business? Requiring credentials…place of work..etc.

    The reason why this was asked was because they claimed scientists were in their group. There is a quite a difference between a physicist and a computer science major, for example.

    If you read the comments above when I was asked how many sciences classes I’ve taken in school, then you can see the level that certain commentators were at. Many of us interested in the scientific skepticism have science backgrounds or are trained in critical thinking best practices.

    Your comments, from how I interpret them, appear to reflect a different view from how I see it. I see people having an issue but calling certain observations or the ultimate cause “paranormal”.

    I fully understand that people are having experiences but it isn’t correct or logical to jump to the conclusion that any part is beyond scientific understanding. All we can say is, we can’t explain that. What has been done here so far has not convinced me ONE BIT that there is anything weird going on let alone something that can’t be explained. But, all I have is the media reports and the comments provided.

    The point of this website is to show people that there is a lot more complicated stuff going on than the media will feed you. Whatever your idea about the event, there’s considerably more information that we have not been given. And you shouldn’t just believe…

  49. Jacqueline
    April 16, 2012 at 9:25 PM

    Yes. Diplomacy need never become a lost art. 🙂

  50. Jacqueline
    April 16, 2012 at 9:30 PM

    Mike sounds like a trouble making troll to me. That kind of thinking embarrasses everyone.

  51. Jacqueline
    April 16, 2012 at 10:29 PM

    I wonder if the judge has ever had anything “weird” happen to him/her? haha. That will undoubtedly have some influence on the outcome of the decision. Will be interesting to see how it unfolds.

  52. Verklagekasper
    April 17, 2012 at 6:15 AM

    Nothing science has done so far has correctly theorized what is actually happening when people experience repeated unexplained activities. … Nobody fully understands what the “ghost element” is yet. Not the plumbers on TV and not the Frat boys in Vegas and NOT even you reading this. Nobody. Not everyone experiences “weird” things..but there are many libraries and research laboratories full of people’s (yet unexplained)experiences.’

    There is no such thing as “the” ghost element but various different phenomena. Some phenomena remain unexplained, but that’s usually just because there’s only few or only ambiguous data available. And that’s the problem: The investigation approaches of ghost hunting groups are generally tailored to produce ambiguous data.

    Why not do daytime investigations, for example? The investigators would have a wake mind, and guess what, you can actually see what’s going on around you when you’re not in darkness. Most ghost sightings are reported to have occured at daytime anyway, yet all those “Ghost Hunters” imitators think that nighttime investigations are the way to go. Didn’t it ever occur to them that “Ghost Hunters”, “Ghost Adventures” et al only do nighttime investigations for dramatic reasons, because it makes things look more spooky? And then they get dark, blurry pictures, shadows and stuff, and the sleepy team members are freaking each other out in the darkness, creating “personal experiences”. They also have a preference for tools that produce nothing but ambiguous results, like the “K2 meter”. The list could go on and on. Generally, they don’t provide sufficient information that would help verify their claims. They talk a lot about “evidence”, but they rarely provide something that would deserve that name.

    It is great to have an “open mind” and to “think out of the box”. Alas, I don’t see that mindset among ghost hunting groups. They’re stuck in their flawed routines, and they refuse to improve. They are perfectly satisfied with finding things that they cannot explain. That’s why they stick with flawed routines that produce ambiguous results, because those can be easily labeled as “unexplainable”. That’s why they don’t make any progress whatsoever.

    And not only don’t they make any progress, they keep others from making progress. They have damaged the field of parapsychology. Scientific researchers have trouble getting funding, they’re now rarely invited to conventions, they’re not heard, and they have even more trouble getting taken seriously. Because the producers of ambigous “evidence” get all the attention. “Research laboratories full of experiences”, that’s history.

  53. Verklagekasper
    April 17, 2012 at 6:18 AM

    D’oh. The first paragraph “Nothing science has done … experiences.” is supposed to be a quote.

  54. Duck
    April 18, 2012 at 6:41 AM

    I’ve read all the comments attached to this story and I’d just like to say that it is one of the most level headed balanced discussions(given the subject) I’ve seen in a while.

    If the members of SPRS take only one thing away from this experience I would hope that it would be ‘skeptics’ are not the enemy, ignorance is. How do we know when ignorance is at play in our argument? We feel threatened when interrogative questions are asked and we have ether a weak or no good answer. That should be taken on board just as it is in science when an investigation and conclusions are found wanting (See Bem and his search for ESP for more on this)

    Even the best of us miss the obvious. The ones who win are the ones who learn from their mistakes and move on to cover all the bases next time. As I said, skeptics are not the enemy, skeptics are the ones who will help you keep your investigation honest and keep you the investigators honest with your data.

  55. Duck
    April 18, 2012 at 6:45 AM

    Just to clarify, I know the word ‘ignorance’ can carry with it a lot of negative connotation but I mean it in the truest sense

    lack of knowledge,information.

    In this case not having all the possible explanations discounted or considered all alternatives.

  56. April 18, 2012 at 7:47 AM

    Thanks. I agree. I really want to have decent conversations here. Moderation of comments is often the key so we can keep on track.

  57. April 19, 2012 at 9:43 PM

    This case is a waste of “science”, if the investigators can even spell the word. I think we fight a losing battle against irrationality.

    There is one major observation regarding the investigation of the paranormal by scientific means that seems to get little mention.

    The simple truth of the matter is that it is absolutely impossible for science to prove that anything is supernatural – ever – no exceptions.

  58. April 19, 2012 at 9:49 PM

    You are correct, the supernatural is by definition, not able to be tested under natural laws. But, we’ve never found anything that isn’t potentially understandable by science. Yet.

    Paranormal investigators are almost never well versed about the actual methods and philosophy of science so they do a poor job of explaining, at least if you go by what they put out on their web sites. But, it’s often sciencey enough to pass off as expert by their public clients. That’s frustrating to me. Science isn’t just about being “careful” and “methodical”. It’s an ethos and some pretty strict rules. But, that’s not really all that much fun.

    Now, demons! Demons are more interesting to bring into the picture. That seems to be a very popular trend.

  59. April 19, 2012 at 9:50 PM

    Oh and I wouldn’t say this is a waste of science. I’m pretty sure there is an answer here. It’s just not paranormal by default.

  60. April 19, 2012 at 11:00 PM

    I see your point. Maybe not a total waste of science. But when paranormal believers show contempt for real science, it’s a red flag that indicates that you are most likely wasting your time and no scientific explanation will suffice to satisfy them anyway. That’s the context in which I meant “waste”.

    About the best that science can hope to do is demonstrate that a supernatural explanation is not necessary, even if we don’t yet fully understand a phenomenon.

  61. Duck
    April 20, 2012 at 6:25 AM

    The major stumbling block the paranormal has and the reason it has stalled for nearly two centuries (two centuries with absolutely no discoveries or evidence, can you imagine where we’d be if that was science?) is because there is no starting point, no base observed measurement to start from. The beginning of any scientific discovery is observation and measurement.

    We can’t do that with ghosts because we know nothing about what a ghost actually is, what its chemical composition is, how to measure it, where to find it on the light spectrum. In essence it is just as valid to say on an investigation that you expect to find unicorns or leprechauns since they have equal weight for evidence (bar anecdotes).

    What makes it all the more confusing and all the more likely that the paranormal is nothing more than confirmation bias, misinterpretation and wishful thinking is the fact that there are as many explanations about ghosts as there are people who claim to be talking to them. As critical thinkers many of us really need to raise the bar for evidence or the paranormal will stay in the realms of the stage medium and youtube fakery.

  62. April 20, 2012 at 9:58 AM

    The process-by-elimination is a practical approach, eliminate the most obvious factors which can be rationally explained as a possible cause – then one can explore other factors.

    Sorry if this is repetition but it is important to mention.

  63. April 20, 2012 at 10:05 AM

    With paranormal investigators I think it is good to have at least one sceptic in the group to keep a balance. The BFRO group (Finding Bigfoot) has Ranae Holland who provides a scientific approach to investigating claims of bigfoot sightings. I have heard her say that she doesn’t actually believe in the existence of Bigfoot but her presence adds a scientific approach needed, as well as her beliefs (or lack of) in Bigfoot.

  64. April 24, 2012 at 5:29 PM

    This one sentence, more than any other in this thread, outlines the major and fundamental flaw with “paranormal investigators”.

    Nothing science has done so far has correctly theorized what is actually happening when people experience repeated unexplained activities.

    Let’s take this one step at a time, shall we?

    Firstly, I think that any serious investigator of these sorta of phenomenon would distance themselves from you for criticizing “science”, since “science” is a fundamental part of what they’re doing. The claims of EVP and EMF and other things are at least based on a scientific background. Paranormal investigators *should* be using real science. Usually, they’re not, but that’s neither here nor there.

    Secondly, “correctly theorized … unexplained activities” makes no sense. If somebody had a correct theory, then the activities would be *explained* activities.

    Thirdly, your user of “when people experience” is making a fundamental assumption about the world that is false-to-fact. People’s experiences are notoriously unreliable as evidence. Any prosecutor or law-enforcement officer will tell you that “eyewitness accounts” are about the worst kind of evidence imaginable to solve actual crimes. Just because a person says a thing does not make the thing true, even when the person *is not intentionally lying*.

    Finally, it is very difficult to take things seriously when people investigate a case, essentially come up with events for which they have no explanation, and then say the place is “haunted” and that they believe it to be “paranormal”. Both of these words are meaningless sounds, without definition. What does “haunted” mean, exactly? What does “para-” mean when you put it in front of “normal”? The fact that you can’t even come up with a reasonable definition of these words without relying on other similar meaningless words shows a kind of circular logic at work. Also, a lack of explanation for an event does not mean no explanation exists, it just means that they didn’t find an explanation. When you essentially come up with zero answers and then invent an answer by using words without definitions, then you’re not doing anything particularly useful.

    If you want to believe in ghosts, that’s fine. But when other people think you’re strange for doing so, you really shouldn’t be surprised by it. Or hostile.

  65. 1melee
    April 28, 2012 at 2:11 PM

    Has anyone mentioned to Nick and his team that if he really has empirical evidence, there’s an amazing guy with a million dollars for him?

  66. Pamela
    November 22, 2013 at 4:49 PM

    I have dealt with this investigation team. It’s a hobby for them. They spend more time just going to each other’s houses and investigating then actually going on any cases or helping people. Very unprofessional and rude in comparison to other groups.

  67. November 23, 2013 at 1:45 PM

    Pam, to which are you speaking about ? Shore Paranormal or NJ Paranormal Investigators of Old Bridge ? I can speak only for Shore Paranormal and I can say without reservation that if you are stating this about them then you are 100% wrong, I was the original Founder of SPRS and as such, installed in this team a work ethic and state of professionalism that I will not allow to be drag through the ringer, This team is dedicated to finding the TRUTH, hard facts, and proof. While “proving” anything as paranormal is almost impossible, the best you can do is present your “evidence” and allow others to form their own conclusion. This team will never label any location as “haunted”, but rather may use the term “possible paranormal activity may exists” While I am no longer a active member of SPRS the team is still carrying on with the values I like to think I installed in them, Jesse and CJ the remaining Founders have my upmost confidence, and this team has many of it’s original members which speaks volumes as to their dedication. Many of the members do not believe in “Ghosts”, “Demons” or other like terms for paranormal activity and seek out the rational and reasonable explanations to claims, so please do not included SPRS as a bunch of hobbyists, they are much more then that and in my humble opinion deserve more respect then you afforded them, However if you were referring to the other group, all I will say is that I do not know them, nor have I heard anything about them and/or their methods.

    Jim Ansbach
    Former Founder SPRS

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