Although Halloween is traditionally associated with ghosts, spirits, and other things that go ‘bump’ in the night, for some people, hauntings are a year-round affair.
Mark Keyes, president of the Pennsylvania Paranormal Association, was on hand at Keystone College on Friday, giving a lecture on ‘Hauntings, Curses and Cures.’ Keyes and his associate, medium Virginia Rose Centrillo, spoke about how they have investigated several haunted areas throughout Pennsylvania, and what they have done to help alleviate certain situations.
A Pennsylvania State Police criminal investigator, Keyes explained that he’s studied paranormal sightings for many years - initially considering himself an ‘interested skeptic.’
But as time went on, he became firmly convinced that many of the hauntings he an other PPA members experienced were real, based on the evidence they gathered during their investigations.
Although hauntings are traditionally associated with old houses, graveyards and battle grounds, Keyes said there are instances where new residences such townhouses have experienced sightings.
There are a number of reasons why spirits choose to remain on the earth an haunt a particular place, Keyes explained. One is fear of being judged. Sometimes, a person was so bad in life, he or she fears what will happen to them if they ‘go into the light.’
Another is unfinished business. Centrillo spoke about a case she worked on, where a doctor was trying to find a cure for yellow fever. The doctor died, but his spirit continued to manifest itself at what had been his residence, as he continued to search for a cure.
Other reasons for hauntings include confusion; people not realizing they are dead; regret; attachments (to a place); a person with psychic abilities ‘inviting’ them to stay; Ouija boards and other forums; and residual activity.
Keyes provided audio and video samples of certain PPA investigations, which demonstrated signs of paranormal activities. Investigating reports from a house in Bangor, Centrillo said she sensed “a very strong male presence - a large shouldered man.”
Keyes placed a video of himself and Centrillo investigating the basement of the house. Suddenly, a thump was heard on a door behind Keyes, like the sound of a rock being thrown.
“Your sitting in his spot,” Centrillo informed Keyes.
By far, the most hair-raising case investigated by the PPA is a house in Upper Darby infested by a poltergeist.
Keyes said the family reported finding dining room chairs stacked up on the table, as well as a baby being moved from her crib onto a bed in another room.
The reports were so fantastic, Keyes explained, he was initially skeptical that the haunting was real. But when their investigation revealed evidence - although not as dramatic as reported by the family.
Keyes confirmed that sometimes what initially appears to be a haunting can have a simple logical explanation. In one case, when a woman cleaning her house tossed a broom on the floor it stood upright, as if possessed. Frightened, the woman contacted PPA.