Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

October 31, 2013

Not your average ghost hunters

Local paranormal investigators take a different approach

By Amanda Browning Daily News
Greensburg Daily News

---- — WESTPORT – Steve and Jenn Hodgson lead a group of paranormal investigators called Professional Paranormal Investigations (PPI) that investigates all sorts of paranormal happenings with a focus on obtaining answers.

In recent years, PPI has done a series of presentations at local libraries to shed some light on the often shadow-filled field of paranormal investigation. Last year, the presentations focused on the basics of investigations, covering the equipment and what exactly is entailed when they visit a location.

This year, PPI decided to take a more in-depth approach by addressing spirituality, cleansings, psychics and mediums used in groups and demonology. They also spoke about evidence and what is real and fake. Their presentations were picture, video and audio heavy to give better examples. They also covered how to debunk supposed paranormal activity. The goal of the more detailed presentations was to give better insight into PPI and what makes them different from other groups.

Steve and Jenn said their spirituality is one of the things that sets them apart from the scores of paranormal groups that investigate claims of otherworldly happenings, as is their religion. They are Christian, as is the rest of their group and they rely heavily on their faith while investigating, Steve said.

Jenn said their entire approach to an investigation is different from other groups. They use the scientific approach when investigating, but she said their faith is a far more important tool to them. She said the group is made of personal friends and they all have great chemistry. Jenn added that with such a close group, they can trust each other completely so they know they are safe and can trust one another when someone sees or hears something. Because they often investigate in private homes, the close-knit group removes worries over theft or lies as well.

Steve said the presentations this year have brought in a lot of great questions. According to him, the thing they have to explain most often is that all is not as it seems.

“It may look and sound like your Aunt Rose, but that doesn’t mean it is. We recently did an investigation at a home in Westport and caught an audio recording of a voice saying, ‘Stab him! Stab him!’” Steve said.

Unlike some other investigative groups, PPI never provokes spirits because they believe it to be disrespectful. In addition, while they require homeowners to be present during investigations, they never allow children under the age of 18 to attend. Jenn added that just a few bad groups can give the whole field a bad name.

For example, they knew of a group in Anderson that visited an abandoned home where a malicious spirit resided and were shocked to discover that it had followed them home. They cautioned newcomers to the field to find an experienced group instead of just going somewhere that is rumored to be haunted because one never truly knows what they will find.

“It’s like with an Ouija board. The board isn’t the bad thing; it’s what you do with it. Don’t open a portal if you can’t close it,” Jenn said.

Both Jenn and Steve have extensive experience with the paranormal field. Jenn is an empath or an intuitive, also known as a medium and Steve is sensitive as well. PPI only has nine members and the Hodgsons report that the group’s blend of science and faith has worked well for them.

Recently, PPI has been featured on two episodes of the Biography Channel’s “My Ghost Story,” with investigations at the old Hartford City Jail and a private residence in Fort Wayne. At the home in Fort Wayne, they captured an electronic voice phenomenon (EVP) of a female voice saying, “I am the devil. Dance.”

PPI has experienced a number of paranormal occurrences while investigating and have captured an astounding amount of evidence, the majority of which is in audio form. They said they’ve never investigated somewhere and not left with audio evidence. They prescreen locations to make sure they aren’t wasting their time with faulty electric wiring or some naturally occurring cause for supposed paranormal activity.

PPI frequently gets photo evidence as well. During an investigation at the old Blackford County Hospital, a photo taken of a window showed the owner’s brother’s face. Concerned that the photo was actually a case of pareidolia, a psychological tendency to see faces or shapes in naturally occurring images, PPI compared the face in the window to a photo of the owner’s brother. The faces matched, though the brother had passed away several years previously.

Steve and Jenn said they don’t do many investigations for fun. They take their work very seriously and said the fact that they love it is a bonus to them.

“We’re in this to help people,” Steve said.

“If we’re going to do an investigation for fun, it’s going to be to learn to teach new investigators,” Jenn added.

For each location they are called to, PPI does a preliminary investigation to see if the location warrants a full investigation. Because both Steve and Jenn are sensitive to spirits, they pick up on things easily. If they feel a full investigation is needed, they will then bring in the whole team. They also check for anything that could be used to debunk the paranormal activity.

With each investigation, they set out to debunk the paranormal activity, but remain attuned to what is happening at each location. One of their group members is a building contractor, so he is able to provide insight into natural causes of supposed activity.

Jenn and Steve said PPI doesn’t investigate for money. In fact, they don’t accept money even if it is offered. Steve said they are doing the Christian thing and trying to help people in need. He added that their intentions are 99 percent helping and 1 percent wanting to know what’s out there.

They get many calls from people wanting to learn to develop abilities they’ve noticed in themselves, which they often refer to Inner Path and Celestial Dawning. Many of the calls they get requesting investigations are simply too far away for them to travel, so they refer the individual to trusted groups they know.

Steve said the members of the group never get scared during investigations and he credits their faith as the reason why.

“Our faith protects us. It doesn’t make a difference which faith, either. For us, it’s Christian, but if your faith is there, you really have nothing to worry about,” Steve said, adding that everyone in the group felt that way.

Jenn said their faith and their experienced background helps them be successful at ridding locations of unwanted spirits. They said they don’t push their faith on others, but try to lead by example.

They reported the locations where they encountered the most evil would have to be the Blackford County Hospital, which has been demolished, and a private home in Anderson. At the hospital, they experienced objects moving independently and team members being touched, as well as overwhelming feelings of negative energy. They were only able to find two pages of history for the Civil War-era hospital at the Historical Society, which they found strange and had a difficult time getting anyone to talk about the hospital. At the home in Anderson, an entity in the basement went ballistic when they didn’t show fear, according to Steve.

When it comes to getting an entity or spirit to leave a location, the Hodgsons said what works depends on what is there. For example, if the problem is demonic, saging won’t work like it would for a spirit. Steve said they work to empower the owner to command the spirit to leave, but added that different things work and there is no set formula. They have helped spirits cross over, Jenn stated.

“Nine times out of ten, people have to change their lifestyle. You have to want it to go enough to change,” Steve said.

The Hodgsons said PPI usually doesn’t return to a location to review evidence with an owner. Instead, they send a DVD with all the evidence they captured and explanations. Sometimes they will return to review evidence, but especially with the locations that require far trips, they usually send a video.

They were called to investigate Thornhaven Manor in New Castle. While there, they heard a metal object thrown across the room during an EVP session. A later review of the evidence revealed a camera being moved and audio saying, “Stop asking questions,” as well as numerous other occurrences. Because of PPI confirming paranormal activity at Thornhaven Manor, the owner now charges paranormal groups to investigate there and is using the money to restore the house.

According to Steve and Jenn, the Crump Theatre in Columbus, the old Hartford City Jail and Thornhaven Manor are all places where one can hold a paranormal investigation without being part of a group. All of the locations require identification and for everyone involved to be over the age of 21. Some will require fees or donations and may require investigators to sign an injury waiver.

The Hodgsons and PPI believe there is a lot more to learn about the world and many questions left to be answered. They would love to hear about new locations that require investigation. If one believes they are experiencing paranormal activity and would like assistance, PPI can be reached at 812-591-2127 or at www.professionalparanormalinvestigations.com.

Contact: Amanda Browning 812-663-3111 x7004