Today, I have chosen to reflect on an investigation that my former paranormal group took part in earlier this year. Granted, my former group was one dedicated to discussing their importance and prominence within the paranormal community versus actually doing something in the field — the three total investigations, not created by my own hand, that transpired during my one year stint compared with the abundance of times I was told that we were going to be “the new TAPS” when Jason and Grant quit “Ghost Hunters.” However, the following “case” is undoubtedly one of the most memorable experiences of my twelve month stint with the aforementioned group.
It began with a phone call from the group’s second-in-command, a person that I will refer to as “Eric.” Although Eric’s no longer affiliated with the group and has since moved onto a much more luxurious existence, I have still decided to use a pseudonym to protect myself from the a) Boston mafia connections who may come along to ‘shake me down’ in an attempt to get their money back from him, b) the military who may try to assassinate him due to his infinite knowledge that dinosaurs never existed or because of his post-traumatic stress disorder he got from watching the first Iraq War (on television), or c) lawsuits from his lawyers when I ruin his chances of becoming the newest member of “Ghost Hunters in Space.”
So Eric calls me up and tells me that he got a call from a woman who believes that she has something in her house. Rarely does the group go out and conduct an investigation that isn’t a friend or family member throwing a pity investigation — images of Ghostbusters’ Janine yelling “We got one!” came to my mind.
I ask him to tell me about it.
Eric proceeds to tell me the typical run-of-the-mill investigation details: tappings heard at night, cold spots throughout the house, voices coming from empty rooms, etc. He then explains how the family came home to find their dogs’ feces thrown onto the ceiling. The feces hangs down in clumps. It drips to the floor and leaves a foul smell throughout the entire house.
And, Eric explains that he placed a phone call to John Zaffis to discuss the case: Zaffis told him that it sounds like we have a Negative Entity on our hands and should proceed with caution.
In the paranormal world, a Negative Entity is believed to be something that has never walked the world in human form. Some claim NEs to be demonic in nature, others say they are evil in energetic forms, still others suggest they are the result of humanity’s psychological errors manifesting in the physical realm.
Cool, in a nerdy way.
Now, in any under circumstances or months earlier, I would have been very excited about this. This would have been my Zu’ul moment: the first major challenge as a paranormal investigator to document an NE. To me, the Negative Entity phenomenon is more exiting than the idea of a ghost — here you have something that transcends human mortal existence, a different beast altogether — something with no beginning or end. I was excited to attempt interaction, much less contact, with such a concept. Under any other circumstances, I would have gone to my local church, ala “The Lost Boys,” filled my canteen and water guns with good old holy water and busted out the door to take down the Kiefer-vampire, but by this time, my albeit limited experience in the field (especially with this group) would teach me better.
Eric, ever the sycophant, begins to name-drop all the people that he consulted concerning these matters. He says Zaffis is at our disposal, and if needed, television psychic Chip Coffey may fly to Atlanta to help us with this case.
Because, as paranormal investigators, we are here to “help” others, at least that is what we are told we are supposed to do.
He claims that even TAPS themselves may drop by during their busy filming schedule to witness the events unfurling at the house in question — like they have nothing better to do.
But by this time, I was so jaded by the team that I called bullshit on 99 percent of this story. I believed that someone contacted the group and believed that they believed they had something evil in their home – after all, this is north Georgia, the armpit portion of the Southern Bible Belt just above Alabama’s muffin-top midsection and many members of our group were the hairs in said armpit. And a quick Google Earth search proves that the building located at the address given to me from Eric is a disgusting hovel with garbage and trash spewed across the yard — typical of that area of the South. Decrepit cars are scattered along the dirt road driveway. I can see a rickety front porch, a rusted swing set and an above ground pool filled with brown water.
I also see holes in the roof.
Water, ladies and gentleman, their “Negative Entity” is nothing more than water.
I want to tell Eric to get a ladder and to climb up to the attic to take a look because all of this can be explained by the dripping of water through the holes in the roof. The feces is stalagmites, water fills the attic and drips down to the roof above the ceiling causing the water to turn brown with filth and eventually petrify itself to rock form. The smell, too, can be stale water, years of neglect and general filthy living turning the air acrid. Moisture causes the wood of the house to bend under its weight, causing the house to fall in on itself — hence the tapping.
It’s not a beast from the bowels of Hell banging on the walls, it’s the sound of the house caving in.
Cold drafts and voices? When you live in a home that has no ceiling, you too will be cold as Hell, feel drafts, and hear voices from all over the place. But Eric wouldn’t want to hear that, he tells me that he has the equipment packed up and ready to go.
If my former group was anything like it claimed itself to be, a professional group of investigators set on proving the supernatural to be nothing more than the natural, I would have shared my theory with Eric, but I chose not to — his world of paranormal investigation is one of a different beast. Some people do not want to be shown the obvious. They choose to live in a perceived world of ghosts and specters, negative entities and portals to Hell behind every hillbilly’s closet door. A world where feces can be thrown to a ceiling at the hands of Belial before moisture settling in the cave-like squalor living conditions of a north Georgia home.
His world is one of delusions of grandeur, boot-licking and self-satisfaction. Eric, like so many other people in this field, represents a much larger problem to paranormal investigation than any Negative Entity: the lack of personal ethics. As the field grows in popularity, and more and more people tune into primetime ghost hunting shows and founts of wisdom like “Ghost Hunting for Dummies” — more and more people and groups enter the field for all the wrong reasons: their own personal gain.
I would later find out from multiple sources that Eric never contacted Zaffis, Coffey, or TAPS, and they wouldn’t have taken his calls even if he did.
But for a moment, his twisted version of reality and self-importance manifested itself in the form of this case. He was able to pump himself up a little bit and become important for one brief moment. But, in reality, his desire to be integral and viewed as the metropole of paranormal investigation in my perceived gullible eyes was typical of the true intentions of many of this field: to be viewed as vital and connected. And it’s this negativity that drips from the ceiling and stinks up the entire paranormal community.