What causes people to see ghosts?
According to Sheena Dudley, member of the Idaho Paranormal Research Investigations & Society (IPRIS), the majority of ghosts people think they see are the results of electromagnetic fields (EMF) interfering with the electrons firing in their brains.
“Electromagnetic fields can intercept that and cause certain parts of your brain to shut down if you’re not having the right balance,” Dudley said. “It can cause you to see things, feel nauseous, dizzy, faint, hear voices, see spots. It messes with your natural EMF, the natural energy that you have in your body.”
EMFs would be just one of the leads Dudley and her team of four would investigate as they came out to NIC to confirm or debunk some of the over 50 claims they’ve received of ghost sightings on campus.
Covering three different campus buildings in one night with the help of six Sentinel staffers, the IPRIS team conducted a range of tests in hopes of getting to the bottom of just what may be lurking during the campus’ quieter moments.An IPRIS agent scans the hallway of Winton Hall to detect any paranormal activity.
“You have to approach it as if it’s the first time, every time you go out,” said IPRIS investigator, Al Boveda.
Boveda, who has been investigating the paranormal since 2008, said the majority of claims investigated by the team prove to be as simple as the settling sounds of an old house, to more serious issues such as mental faculties being impaired by grief.
“It’s probably one out of ten homes we visit that has truly unexplained activity, “ Boveda said. “We can’t say for sure what the cause is, but that’s the definition of paranormal: the unexplained.”
Before the investigation was to begin, the IPRIS team gave the Sentinel’s volunteers, Rachel Single-Schwall, John Boltz, Haley Kurle, Alex Rodal-Cubillas, myself and Beau Valdez a quick rundown on basic debunking techniques, ground rules and equipment tips.
The group initially investigated Winton Hall briefly, as well as Fort Sherman together before ultimately being split up into three teams to cover Boswell Hall.
Separating into teams served several purposes, in addition to allowing more ground to be cover more thoroughly, it also allowed the teams to identify what the original sources of sounds more accurately.
“This way we can also witness the cross contamination,” Boveda said.IPRIS investigator Al Boveda holds a flashlight that inexplicably turned out while conducting a paranormal search of Boswell Hall.
The team strategy also ensured any and all phenomena could be verified and thoroughly recorded for evidence, and also helped cut down on cases of mistaking a member of the party for a spirit.
Each “session” conducted by a team involved taking early readings of the chosen room, before sitting quietly in the dark with several cameras, special sensitive voice recorders and usually a flashlight.
The IPRIS investigator in the group would then ask a series of questions to the room in hopes of gaining a response from a presence.
Despite a few instances of unexplained occurrences happening to the three groups, the majority of the sessions turned up little of any evidence, until one of the final rounds that took place in Boswell’s basement rehearsal room.
While asking the room general questions, a twist top flashlight in Boveda’s hand unexpectedly lit up.
“I didn’t expect it to happen,” said Single-Schwall, assistant photo editor. “Then [the flashlight] turned on in the middle of Al talking and I got chills.”
After placing the flashlight in the flat, extended palm of his hand, and checking that Sentinel videographer Boltz’ camera was in place, Boveda and the members of the group began engaging in a bizarre exchange that resulted in the flashlight being turned on and off in response to questions fielded at it.
During the filming, the camera’s microphone began to malfunction, the only occasion this happened through the course of the evening.
“At first, I thought it was a joke,” Kurle, design assistant said. “As we went on asking questions, there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that what was happening wasn’t a coincidence or a joke.”
Kurle said in addition to asking the room questions and having them answered back, she was also in full sight of Bovedia’s hand during the entirety of the incident and saw nothing that could have explained the flashlight turning on and off the way it did.
“It was a very interesting scenario downstairs, we were asking questions and somebody wanted to communicate with us.” Boveda said. “We found out it’s a male, 23-years old, by the flashlight. It was on demand.”Backstage props take on a menacing quality when conducting a paranormal investigation in the dark.
Boveda said overall if he were to rank the paranormal activity in Boswell Hall on a scale of one to ten, he would likely give it a five.
Despite what he saw, Boltz disagreed.
“The flashlight coming on brought a sense of excitement to a night that has been filled with searching for meaning in things that may just be meaningless,” Boltz said. “Overall I thought it was entertaining, but still I am convinced that Boswell hall is free from entities.”
Boltz wasn’t the only skeptic in the group.
“I don’t think there is anything here presently, it may be some other time that something might be here but definitely not on my watch tonight,” Dudley said.
Dudley’s teams didn’t appear to uncover any hard evidence throughout the night aside from extremely high EMF readings and an orb photographed in Winton.
“I don’t believe there was anything paranormal at all in Winton Hall,” Dudley said. “There were no strange feelings, no strange anomalies. There was something I caught on camera but it can definitely be explained as dust.”
The members of IPRIS all agreed that it is still too early to make any firm conclusions about what is happening on campus, but a wealth of material, including film and recordings, remain to review.
All evidence will be reviewed fully by the entire IPRIS team in the upcoming weeks and debated thoroughly until the final results can be shared with the Sentinel.
“Are there ghosts? I don’t know,” Bodeva said. “But I can tell you one thing, I can’t explain most of the things that are going on around here in the Northwest.”