If there’s one thing ghost TV shows won’t tell you, it’s this: that ghost hunting is very rarely about ghosts.
But that didn’t deter Cascadia Paranormal Investigations, a new paranormal research group in Washington, from donning their gloves and wool caps, activating their EMF readers and infrared cameras, and thoroughly exploring a surprisingly popular area for spooky activity — the Black Diamond Cemetery.
“If you just do a quick Google search of most haunted places in Washington, Black Diamond Cemetery comes up almost every time,” said CPI’s researcher and scientist Rachel Flanders. “There’s been a lot of mining accidents — four big ones, to be exact — and I think that’s what has caused this… paranormal energy and activity in this small town.”
Whatever the cause, the Black Diamond Cemetery has made it onto several “most haunted lists” for Washington.
“It has been said that visitors have heard whistling and voices when nobody else is around,” reads Haunted Rooms America’s website . “There have also been reports of the swinging lanterns of dead coal miners seen on foggy nights.”
“Apparitions of deceased coal miners swinging lanterns have been known to appear late at night,” Washington Haunted Houses’ website reads . “There have also been reports of a white horse that weaves in and out of the tombstones.”
But if anything, these multiple reports and claims made CPI’s members even more skeptical of the cemetery’s supposed paranormal activity, not less. The whole first hour of their investigation, which happened last Saturday, Oct. 24, was about everything but ghosts.
Kyle Richmond, the group’s founder and equipment specialist, immediately located some dimly-glowing electronic candles next to some graves, and noted that they could look like those “swinging lanterns” some folks have seen, especially on foggy nights.
The other group members, Natalya Haner, the group’s marketing and design specialist, and Brian Lotosky, their cryptid specialist and podcaster, noticed several pinwheels placed next to a few tombstones, which on a windy night could explain the whispers or whistling.
(Not with the group this time around is Mason Trapp, their audio guru.)
The horse — well, that one was harder to explain, though the Plateau has a number of horse owners, and one could have possibly escaped one night just to be seen by an unexpecting visitor.
But one by one the group found a number of possible anomalies; a hit on their EMF meter here, the feeling of being followed there, and for the remainder of the cold, clear night, the CPI investigators spent some time alone with their equipment, trying to find any evidence of the paranormal.
“There is no such thing as an actual ghost detector. Though a bunch of TV wants to claim otherwise, there’s really not,” Richmond said. “What we have are electronic devices that catch anomalies, and we deduce scientifically, using scientific method, on whether or not it’s a natural phenomena occurring.”
Though this was CPI’s first full investigation, they came prepared with myriad devices that could, in theory, record these sorts of anomalies.
There’s the aforementioned EMF reader, a common ghost-hunting tool that measures for electromagnetic radiation; some paranormal researchers claim ghosts emit a kind of field that these devices can read. Then there’s the full-spectrum cameras, which may be able to capture a subject or object that isn’t visible in a spectrum people can see. There are also high-end audio recorders that could pick up the voice of a spirit when it can’t be heard by the naked ear — otherwise known as an EVP, or electronic voice phenomenon.
There are other tools, too, that are controversial even among ghost hunters. One example of these is known as a “spirit box”.
“A spirit box is an audio-only device that rapidly scans through multiple audio channels that is said to make it relatively easy for ghosts to manipulate to say a word or phrase in real time,” reads the Ghost Adventures’ Wiki page.
Flanders said the group has heard multiple clear voices by using the spirit box when they were testing out equipment at the Rucker Tomb in Everett. This was surprising, she continued, because the Rucker Tomb, which contains the remains of multiple Rucker family members, is not known for paranormal activity.
But whether or not CPI had any luck on their investigation won’t be known for a while yet, unfortunately; Richmond said that it would take about a week for the group to go through their audio and video before any determination can be made.
However, CPI plans to upload a shortened version of their investigation to their YouTube channel once their investigation is complete.