The thought of attending one of the most haunted campuses in the world might make one cringe. But Bob Bickmeier and Ian Kurz will say that the abundance of ghost legends is exactly why they chose to attend Ohio University.
Bickmeier, a junior psychology major who still carries his Ghostbusters ID card in his wallet, said he accidentally stumbled onto this ghost hunterís paradise. Kurz, a fifth year linguistics major, admits his college decision was based heavily on the paranormal aspect.
The pair is even in the process of starting a ghost-hunting club at OU.
"We've seen a lot of interest in it, which is good for getting into places like the Ridges," Kurz said. "It's just hard to hunt in large groups because it discourages activity."
Bickmeier, Kurz and friends have searched everywhere≠, from Radar Hill behind the Ridges, to Athens Mental Health Center to numerous dormitories, but insist itís all in good fun.
"We go on investigations, but it's very light-hearted," Bickmeier said. "We'd rather have fun than solve any real mysteries."
Brenda Shupe tackles the more serious side of ghost hunting through her business, Ghost Hunters Ohio Search Team (G.H.O.S.T.), based in Columbus. Although she said her work can be very tedious, she enjoys trying to logically explain phenomena that her clients experience.
Shupe and her team investigate alleged paranormal activity in hopes of explaining them with facts. Many ghost hunters aren't the typical Ouija board users that talk to the dead; a huge drive for most ghost hunters is proving rational explanations for what people are experiencing.
Although she believes in ghosts, Shupe doesn't expect to find evidence of them in all of her investigations. G.H.O.S.T. finds unexplained activity about one in every 20 houses it searches, according to Shupe. But she insists that just because they didnít record anything doesn't prove that nothing exists there ó it only means there was no activity at that time.
"A lot of people wonít believe you whatever you tell them. They want to believe itís something," she said. "A lot of people want to document things so they arenít crazy."
When it comes to ghost hunting, Shupe doesn't believe there is such thing as amateur or professional hunting because ghosts have never been proven to exist. However, there are always those with more experience than others and anyone can hunt ghosts.
"You might already have what you need," Kurz said.
There is no special knowledge or equipment required to pursue ghost hunting. Any camera or voice recorder is adequate for attempting to record the paranormal. But Shupe warns that taped voice recorders prove more difficult to distinguish noises because of their rotating wheels. Bickmeier insists on carrying a flashlight and exploring at least in pairs for safety reasons.
For the best results when it comes to ghost hunting, "wait until at least midnight just to make sure it's really dark," Bickmeier said.
The night not only sets a mood, but it's also easier to see any light energy that spirits might produce, Shupe said. Avid ghost hunters like Bickmeier and Kurz try to avoid particular days such as Halloween and Friday the 13th because more people are out and it's harder to get true recordings. They are also sure to make great strides to preserve the areas they investigate.
"We definitely don't want to see people vandalizing or breaking the law because that would prevent ghost hunting in the future," Bickmeier said.