With spooky season around the corner, local ghosthunters are calling on skeptics and nonskeptics alike to explore life beyond the grave at the Pioneer Living History Museum.
The volunteer-based Phoenix Arizona Paranormal Society is hosting a guided investigation tour from 7 to 10 p.m. Fridays Oct. 8 and Oct. 22.
The Whispers in the Dark Tour, located at 3901 W. Pioneer Road, costs $35 and is limited to 30 guests. Attendees must be 13 years or older with minors accompanied by an adult.
This isn’t just any average ghost tour, either, explained PAPS member Angela Maloy. Participants will have the chance to truly participate in every sense of the word.
“Instead of going around and telling them (the attendees) about the history (of the museum), we hand them the equipment and have them interact and ask questions,” she said.
“We all gather inside the homes and do it just like they are part of the team. That is hard to find in ghost hunting.”
Attendees will accompany the seven-member team of investigators as they navigate digital and audio equipment throughout Pioneer Village, boasting roughly two dozen historic and original reconstructed buildings from the 1880s and early 1900s — including the homes of those who helped “tame the Wild West.”
Proceeds from the Whispers in the Dark Tour will go toward funding the paranormal team’s investigative equipment, Maloy said.
“Everything we do is volunteer work; we all have jobs. We call it the ‘paranormal night shift,’” said Maloy, who also works as a Norwegian Cruise Line travel agent. “We mostly go to homes and help people who feel their homes are haunted. The highest priority is always homes with children.
“When we do it for museums and things, it’s all for fundraising, which, I really like that. It’s so much fun to see people’s reactions when they hear things, see things and are getting to know the history.”
PAPS is dedicated to “helping others gain peace of mind by helping to explain what is and is not paranormal through use of modern techniques and documented evidence acquired during investigations.”
Maloy was inspired to join the team roughly 10 years ago due to her own experiences with the paranormal, she explained. The travel agent recalled stumbling across PAPS one October at the Phoenix Zoo during its annual Boo! At the Zoo volunteer event.
“Me and my daughter showed up one night at this event and I said, ‘Oh, my gosh, when I was a child, I had all of these experiences and I’m still scared of the dark because of them, and I would love to conquer this fear,’” Maloy said.
Maloy now happily assists PAPS in its mission to “prove the existence of life after death” through audio and video signatures.
PAPS accepts investigation requests through a submission form on its website, asking clients to clarify why they are in need of the group’s services.
“We come back with (the evidence) and tell them the client, ‘You’re not crazy, there is something going on,’” Maloy expressed. “If it’s really bad and they request a cleansing, we have a way to do that. Most of them just want to know that they’re not seeing things and they’re not crazy.”
PAPS utilizes a variety of recording equipment tailored toward capturing electronic voice phenomena (EVP), Maloy said. EVP is the recording of sounds and voices, often interpreted as supernatural, onto tapes, videocassettes and other electronic devices, she continued.
“We use digital recorders and lots of equipment. We have really good video cameras,” Maloy said. “The whole time we are listening, we have recorders on us because we pick up a lot of EVPs of conversations. The digital recorders tap into a different frequency.”
Members use digital and video cameras, such as Sony, as well as electromagnetic field (EMF) sensors, like the K-II EMF Meter. Maloy said she also owns a TIR-Crosshair, a dual axis Thermal IR paranormal investigation tool “designed to locate and assist spirit interaction using a thermal matrix infrared sensor,” according to GhostHuntersEquipment.com.
The most exciting part about investigations, though, is helping children feel comfortable in their own homes again, Maloy said.
“Because I had a rough childhood with these things — we don’t even know what they are — it was rewarding for me to go into homes with children and tell them it’s going to be OK,” she explained.
She said she loves the educational component of the guided ghost tours as well.
Over the years, Pioneer Arizona has built a reputation as a paranormal hotspot, Maloy said. Several instances of paranormal activity include encounters of “children-sized” and “dog-sized” dark shadows, the investigator continued.
“There is a dog in the Victorian House named Pooch,” Maloy said. “The only reason I know that is because the lady of the house, spirit-wise, has said his name is Pooch.”