Paranormal investigators talk about what they do

By Gregory A. Scibelli - Staff Writer
Windsor - posted Fri., Aug. 19, 2011
Joe Franke describes his feeling of tension during a case. Photos by Gregory A. Scibelli
Joe Franke describes his feeling of tension during a case. Photos by Gregory A. Scibelli

Emily Lopez knows that talking about paranormal activity is a sensitive subject, but at her very young age, she says it is something that really interests her. Lopez, 13, was one of 60 people who crowded into a meeting room at the Windsor Public Library on Aug. 13 to see a presentation by the Connecticut Paranormal Research Society.

Those who study the paranormal are used to being classified as “ghost hunters,” like the popular television show, or “demon chasers.”  But CPRS co-founders Joe Franke and Orlando Ferrante take what they do very seriously, and were happy to fill their listeners in on the differences between what they do versus what they see on television.

They said that, in their opinion, the "glitz and glamour" of popular television shows are typically used to get ratings and make money. "We are not here showing you this to make money. We are here to help people," said Franke.

Franke and Ferrante talked about some of their case studies and displayed the equipment used to detect or measure paranormal activity.  Investigation equipment includes cameras, video cameras, voice recognition devices and energy reading measures.

Franke showed photos and video of instances where he and Ferrante, during investigations of homes and businesses, found vapors, voices, and other phenomena that could not be explained under normal circumstances. The pair investigates potential hauntings throughout the state of Connecticut in houses and other buildings, and they have also conducted investigations at cemeteries.

One investigation Franke and Ferrante talked about was conducted in Enfield, where a family reported their baby was having difficulty sleeping and they were concerned that the baby's room might be haunted.  Franke and Ferrante worked with their team to take pictures of the house and interview the family.

They showed a video where one investigator was watching the child sleep and felt a force grab her and pull her to the ground. It could not be seen in the video, but a large thump was heard, and the investigator could also be heard crying for help. At the conclusion of the video, a flash of gray light appeared to rise and fly out of the baby's crib.

Franke, who resides in Wallingford, said he has been in the field of paranormal investigation for more than 25 years and enjoys investigating paranormal activity because he believes he can help individuals and families resolve issues of house haunting by ghosts and spirits. “We do not just go out there and try to put on a light show,” he said.  “When we investigate something, we work until we have solid evidence to make a conclusion.  There are some cases where we never come up with a solution.  We have a lot of unresolved cases to this day, some that are five years old.”

People who use the CPRS services are interviewed first by the investigators.  Interviews are very important to the process, and it is essential, they said, to be as honest and specific as possible during the interviewing process. “If they do not give us the right information, we are not going to be able to figure out what is going on with them,” said Franke.

After the program, Lopez approached Franke and Ferrante, looking for more information. “I have done a lot of reading about it, and I watch a lot of these shows on TV,” she said.  “I believe it exists, though not all of it is ghost hunting and everything out there is not ‘evil',” she said. Lopez said she plans to keep reading and hopes to pursue paranormal investigating when she gets older.  Her mother, Lacy, plans to encourage her to follow her dream.

“If this is something she really wants to get into, I would support that,” said Lacy Lopez.  “I am glad she and I got to see this presentation and gain some insight into what they do.”

“We really enjoy going to the libraries and doing the shows,” said Franke.  “They are open to the public, and we are booked up doing shows all over the state until November.”

For more information about paranormal investigating, or to request research services, visit for more details.  Although they are based in Connecticut, the Connecticut Paranormal Research Society will also take cases in Massachusetts and New York.

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