By Lindsey Stokes
“I have been kicked, hit, beaten up, thrown, and held down by unseen hands.” said Derek Bartlett, founder of the Cape and Islands Paranormal Research Society (CAIPRS) at a Saturday lecture on paranormal investigation sponsored by the Campus Activities Board.
The former U.S. Marine sniper founded CAIPRS 14 years ago after he took a picture he could not explain with science or reason.
“I used to think [being a sniper] was the scariest job I would ever have. I was dead wrong” Bartlett asserted to the crowd of 15 students gathered in the center of Alumnae Hall.
Since its inception, CAIPRS has conducted over 200 paranormal investigations throughout the U.S. Bartlett was careful to point out that scientific inquiry is the most important aspect of any investigation. “I am a skeptical believer,” said Bartlett. “I don’t believe absolutely everything is a ghost. Some things can be explained.”
Video cameras, digital voice recorders, and “spirit boxes” devices that scan AM/FM radio stations with the objective of picking- up electronic voice phenomena (EVP) are all instruments used by CAIPRS during an investigation.
Bartlett played for the audience a few samples of suspected EVP recorded in Barnstable’s Old Gaol, a wooden jail in Barnstable, Mass. constructed circa. 1690. In the recording a male investigator asks, “Are we bothering you?” Seconds later, a voice of advanced age answers, “Yes!” According to Bartlett, at the time of the recording only three people were in the room, two women and the investigator heard asking the questions.
“The unknown is the scariest part,” said Bartlett “Any injuries that occur [during an investigation] are usually the result of people trying to run away, or flee.”
Bartlett then asked if anyone present had ever seen anything “they couldn’t explain.” Several students reluctantly raised their hands. One reported seeing the outline of a woman in a neighbor’s home; another described a shadow with no possible source. The latter case, Bartlett explained, is extremely common especially among women going through menopause, and girls during puberty.
These shadow figures, better known as “Shadow People,” are classified into three groups: “Watchers,” “Intruders,” and “Predators.” According to Bartlett, “Watchers” are the type to be across the street, or in a public place. “Intruders” are in the home, or a specific room. “Predators” are the type to stand at the end of your bed.
Noticing the uneasy atmosphere of the room, Bartlett said indifferently, “It’s just a dark, shadowy figure, that’s it.”
At the conclusion of the presentation Bartlett handed out digital voice recorders, instructing students on how to use them properly. The students then dispersed first to South Hall, then to Morse Hall in an attempt to find evidence of spiritual activity on Simmons Residence Campus. Thirty minutes later the students and Bartlett reconvened in Alumnae Hall for a final EVP session. The remaining students sat on the stage, clutching their assigned digital voice recorders as Bartlett turned off the lights.
Bartlett attempted to “call forth” the spirits he claims follow him constantly. He referred to them as “Joel” and “Mary”. Several students reported seeing an unexplained shadow in a doorway leading offstage. Another student claimed she saw some movement next to a piano on the far side of the room. A temperature sensor marked a drop in room temperature as the session continued.
After 15 minutes the lights were turned back on as Bartlett collected the equipment.
“Ghosts are around us 24/7, and they can follow you home,” concluded Bartlett. “I’m telling you right now, there are things that live in the dark. Sleep well tonight, ladies.”