WEST HAVEN — Batteries inexplicably draining, recorded whispers, mysterious shadows: Such phenomena aren’t discovered only by TV ghost hunters.
The University of New Haven’s Paranormal Investigation and Research Organization is made up of student amateurs, but it’s had its share of haunted happenings during explorations of homes, businesses, fire stations, a recording studio and an opera house.
“Once, other members on an investigation asked, ‘Do you want us to leave?’ and they heard a ‘Get out’ on their recording,” said Josh Low, 22, a senior and vice president of PIRO.
For the past decade, the college club has made its mission to learn more about the paranormal through group discussions, lectures, training courses and helping those who suspect a spirit is haunting their home or business.
While anyone can attend weekly discussions, only certain people are trained as investigators, taking an 8-week course and making trips to examine buildings.
“One reason why they join is because they’ve had a relevant paranormal experience or know someone who has, or like investigating,” Low said. “So a lot of locations we get are straight from members. ...We (examined) a recording studio because someone was an intern there and heard stories about how the place was haunted.”
Each inquiry takes four to six hours and requires an audio recorder, infrared camera, laser thermometer, K2 electromagnetic field meter and a “mel meter” to detect ambient temperature, according to Ryan Kondracki, 20, a junior and member of the executive board. Members complete about one per semester.
“Our group motto is ‘truth through science.’ If we hear a noise or something, the first thing we do is try to debunk it,” Low said.
Property owners must detail its history and authorize the group to be on the property, group President Kirstie Nicholson said. They issue a report to the client after studying evidence over two or three nights when they return to campus.
When the group visited an opera house in Pennsylvania, they noted scratching and banging sounds and never found a source for the noises, Low said.
Nicholson said her fascination with the paranormal grew out of living near the Spy House, a well-known haunted building in New Jersey.
“I’ve always liked horror stories and ghost stories because I love to read,” said Renee Heroux, a 21-year-old senior and executive board member.
Investigators don’t always find evidence of paranormal activity, said Low, “but it’s enjoyable because there’s just that one chance you can get something paranormal either on an investigation or through evidence.”
Call Susan Misur at 203-789-5742. Follow her on Twitter @NHRsusan.
© 2012 nhregister.com, a Journal Register Property
Over the past years, PIRO has gotten its name out there by being featured on two well known Paranormal radio stations. This can be attributed to our investigation of John Zaffis' Museum of the Paranormal. We hope to get our name out there some more with more radio station appearances and media.
Para-X radio (www.para-x.com)
Edge of the Unknown (On 1230AM WECK)
LINK - Hour 1: https://soundcloud.com/unh-piro-1/piro-on-edge-hour-1
LINK - Hour 2: https://soundcloud.com/unh-piro-1/piro-on-edge-hour-2
A Night at the Museum
On February 4, 2011, the Paranormal Investigation and Research Organization (PIRO) had the opportunity to investigate John Zaffis's Museum of the Paranormal. Based out of the University of New Haven, PIRO is a group of approximately 50 undergraduate students that share a passion for the paranormal. With approximately 25 investigators in the group, it is one of the campus's most popular groups. 12 investigators had the pleasure of experiencing the museum after hours.
While the clowns, the dolls, and the various articles of clothing in the museum did not come to life, the museum most certainly was not devoid of activity. The investigators split into two teams, consisting of 6 guys and 6 girls each. By all accounts, the first rotation for each team was very peaceful with little to no activity. That all changed by the second rotation. For the guys team, the activity picked up with things such as an EMF spike by a certain artifact (which we later found to be significant) and small sounds such as a strange ticking noise, which was unable to be explained.
During the girls second rotation, the activity really began to escalate. The ticking noise that had been heard by several different team members throughout the night continued without any logical explanation or easily determined origin. Members of the team began to feel uneasy, particularly in certain areas, and began hearing whispers. It was at this point that the activity came to a head. After the whispers were heard, the team stood still to ask some questions for an EVP session. After asking if an entity had made the whispering noises, and if so, asking if they could give some sign of their presence, a small noise was heard from across the museum (almost as if someone had knocked into one of the artifacts).
After this small noise, the entity was asked for confirmation once more. This resulted in a floor-shaking thud from above, which was heard by the boys team and John at base camp, which was in an entirely different building located some feet away from the museum. An oppressively negative energy immediately filled the entire museum, leaving many of the team members terrified. After calling the other team via radio, and with time to calm down a bit, both teams were joined by John for a session in the museum with the ghost box.
During the ghost box session, three distinct voices came through and were communicating. We found out later that all three voices that had shared their names with the group were significant to the museum in some way and to John directly. One of the team members was able to communicate most effectively with the entities, and as such, she was able to get better responses through the ghost box than the rest of the team.
After leaving the museum (with many interesting stories), the team was both shaken up by the nights occurrences and excited to go through the evidence. After a very tedious review of some very long EVP sessions, many interesting EVP recordings were found. From the very loud thud, to an eerie proclamation of I see you, to ghost box recordings, the evidence was most certainly not lacking. On top of the EVP evidence, a progression of a few photos was found to contain what seems to be an anomaly.
Overall, PIRO gained a wonderful experience with this investigation. Certainly, we also gained many stories and experience that we will never forget.