February 4, 2013 5 Comments
by Tony Harrington
The Spirit Seekers Paranormal Investigation Research and Intervention Team
February 4, 2013 5 Comments
by Tony Harrington
November 7, 2011 Leave a comment
by Tony Harrington
Colyn Bowman is one of the most recent members of The Spirit Seekers. Previous “Spotlight” honoree Lorne Jones roped the poor lad into joining our group and since his arrival he has stepped up to the plate and become an integral part of the team. He, along with Lorne, conduct the monthly meetings and Colyn has recently acted as a team leader, taking the reigns on the recent De Queen, AR investigation. When not partaking in Spirit Seeker activities, he can be found perusing the aisles at Baby Gap for shirts that fit “just right”.
Q: Out of all the different hobbies and interests out there in the world, you locked in on something as unique as investigating claims of paranormal activity. What drew you to the field of “ghost hunting”?
I have always had an interest in the paranormal, even since childhood. I am known for being a man of many hobbies and interests from wildly different areas, and I just felt that “ghost hunting” was something that I needed to be doing. I really felt it more as a calling to help people with problems they could not explain. I wanted to use my experience and knowledge to look for scientific explanation for their occurrences and if there was something paranormal to help them out.
Q: Have you had any personal experiences that led you down the path to joining a team?
I have a reasonably long list of experiences to be honest. When I was a boy living in Louisiana my family had many bizarre experiences in our home. My mom would hear the front door open/close and footsteps go into the kitchen. She would go to say hi to my step-dad, assuming him to be home from work, and there would be nothing there. I have seen manifestations twice in my life, the most recent being a plain as day shadow figure at Waverly Hills Sanatorium with my cousin Lorne, who is also a member of The Spirit Seekers. After the awesome experiences we had in Waverly I was hooked on the whole ghost hunting thing. For the record I view it more as a service/job than a hobby.
Q: There are a lot of different teams out there doing what Spirit Seekers does. What made SSI stand out from the rest of the groups and ultimately led you to join?
The members are very ordinary people, not in a derogatory way, but in the way in which you can sense sanity haha. SSI is very focused on going into an investigation with an open mind. We listen to the stories/experiences of our clients but we take everything from a neutral stand point. Also, we aren’t doing this to get publicity or ratings. It is all scientifically focused and objective, then if there is literally no scientific explanations we begin to systematically conduct our investigations based on the needs of the situation. You will never see an SSI member fabricating evidence, or using fishing line to move a door, or being overtly provocative like you do the ratings monkeys on TV. SSI realizes that not every investigation has to be fruitful, and honestly ghost hunting is not really like what you see on TV at all. Its tedious and methodical. So in summary I joined SSI based on the objectivity, professionalism, and integrity of its members.
Q: Do you believe in ghosts?
I do believe in ghosts unequivocally. I have seen/heard/ and experienced too much to be skeptical. However, does that mean everyone who says they have a ghost really has one? Not a chance.
Q: You are relatively new to the group, in the grand scheme of things, yet you have already led a team on an investigation and you are leading the monthly meetings now. What advice can you give to new/legacy members who want to advance in the organization?
I think my best advice would be to be focused on making SSI the most professional and respected group that we can. We are not focused on publicity, we are not in it for money, we are in it because there is a service people require and we are there to do our level best to make sure we provide them the best service possible in a rapid and thorough manner. Stay objective, persistent, and be a team player. We have a great group right now, and I feel that we are all in it for the right reasons.
Q: What is the scariest thing you have encountered on an investigation?
The scariest experience on an investigation hmmmmmm…..Definitely Waverly Hills Sanatorium. I really did not get scared when Lorne and I saw the figure, but what was scary was the thing walking down the stairs at the end of the night. It was not visible but you could hear it walking down the stairs clear as day, it stopped on the landing 4 ft in front of us and then began walking back up the stairs. Also, at Waverly when my college roommate went with us on the 2nd investigation and got the living crud scared out of him big time.
Q: So, we know you aren’t afraid of ghosts, considering your penchant for running into haunted locations in search of them. If ghosts don’t scare you, what does?
It is true I really am not scared of ghosts, but when you are in a location that clearly has a negative presence there the overwhelming sense of uncontrollable dread is something I despise. But actually I am really only scared of Wasps, but lately that fear as turned into a basic fear of all insects.
Q: When not conducting investigations into the paranormal, what can you be found doing in your day-to-day life?
I am a 7/8th grade math teacher actually, so you can find me doing something school related day after day. When not working I am usually running in competitive road races, just completed my first marathon actually, nearly every weekend. I also work out nearly every day, unless I can’t get away from work or something to go. Lastly I really love doing research on the internet and playing my Playstation 3, or going to the movies (I literally go see nearly every movie).
Q: What are your feelings on shows such as “Ghost Hunters”, “Ghost Adventures”, and “Paranormal State”? Do they help or harm the field?
I think they help in promoting an interest in the field, but they turn the field into a ratings focused travesty. They fake evidence for ratings, they provoke the spirits, and make themselves look foolish. If you find evidence on every investigation you go on, I assure you there is definitely something wrong with the way you’re doing it because that is not the reality of a ghost hunt. In fact it can often be deathly slow, pun intended, and a tedious process.
Q: Is there anything you would like to add about the group, your beliefs , or the paranormal in general?
I am a Christian, primarily Baptist. I have had, or immediate family members have had experience with things that cannot be explained. The universe is a vastly expansive place and to say that the paranormal is impossible is just silly. Yes, you should also try to explain occurrences with a scientific focus, but when that fails you do have to look elsewhere.
Q: Tag the next subject. Who would you like to see interviewed next?
I vote Richard Bond if he has not been interviewed as of yet.
Richard Bond has not yet been interviewed, so he is the next victim of my aggressive journalistic style. If I can take time off from hounding Herman Cain about his alleged marital indiscretions then you should be seeing Richard in an interview in the next month or so. Stay tuned and we will see you next time when we present “Member Spotlight”.
September 27, 2010 Leave a comment
Welcome back to another edition of “Spotlight On”, the award-winning (okay, I made that part up) column that highlights the team members that make up The Spirit seekers, Arkansas’s most prominent paranormal investigation team.
This month the spotlight is on Lorne Jones.
Without further fanfare, let’s get to the good stuff!
Q) Lorne, I always start out these interviews with the loaded question: Do you believe in ghosts?
A) I believe in the possibility of ghosts. It makes sense to me that the energy that drives us and makes us who we are could become lost between this world and the next. I still haven’t had that completely unexplainable experience, however, that would convince me for certain. I try to keep an open mind without being overly eager to declare an event “paranormal”. There’s usually a perfectly logical explanation for the things we encounter.
Q) When you are not looking for ghosts what can you be found doing?
A) I’m normally either working or spending time with my family. I have a four-year old daughter, so I do a lot of tea parties these days. I’m also a football fan, so you can find me shouting at the TV most weekends in the Fall.
Q) There are several groups out there in operation. What ultimately led you to choose The Spirit Seekers?
A) I spent a lot of time researching the organizations in the area. Spirit Seekers seemed by far to be the most active and most professionally run. After getting the chance to meet the team, it was obvious that I had found the right group. Everyone was very welcoming and it was great to spend time with others who share my interest in the paranormal.
Q) You have been to some heavily publicized locations such as The Waverly and The Myrtles Plantation. Of all your investigations, both with The Spirit Seekers and alone, which has been your favorite and why?
A) Waverly hills has been my favorite to date. From a sheer intensity standpoint, it stands head and shoulders above the rest for me. Definitely the most active place I’ve investigated. I like it when things get a little…uncomfortable.
Q) Making the decision to join a group is one that many people labor over. What would you tell people who are curious about joining? How would you describe that first awkward meeting?
A) Joining a group is a commitment, and not something to do on a whim. At the same time, it’s very rewarding and enjoyable when you find the right team. I’d recommend anyone interested come to one of our meetings and see how we do things and how well they feel they’d mesh with our members.
I have to admit I was nervous walking into that first meeting, but it didn’t take long to realize that this was a group of folks that shared my interests and that I could work well with.
Q) Since you run into dark buildings in search of the paranormal we can assume that you are not afraid of ghosts. What scares you?
A) It’s a little strange I suppose, but the thought of being in a straight-jacket really freaks me out. And, no, I’m not drawing that from any personal experience.
Q) To what new experiences have you been exposed by being a part of The Spirit Seekers?
A) Until I joined SSI, I had never interacted with anyone that had psychic abilities. It’s very intriguing to see how they can aid an investigation, and how often the things they’re seeing/feeling are right on the money.
Q) You are married and have children. While your kids may be too young to understand what it is their father does while on hunts, what does your wife think of your interest in the paranormal?
A) She’s been very supportive, and has even gone with me on a couple of ghost hunts, although I don’t think it’s exactly her cup of tea. My daughter thinks it’s neat that her daddy is a ‘ghostbuster’.
Q) Is there anything about you that would surprise people to know? (Talents, skills, hobbies, criminal record…)
A) Well, no convictions that I can recall. Bumping around in the dark after ghosts is by far the strangest thing I do.
Q) Thank you for putting on a brave face and enduring these questions. I always like the current subject to tag the next. So if you could think of the next person you would like to see interviewed, just state their name and follow it up with “Tag, you’re it” so that they know their time is at hand. (Christina and Jason have already been featured so they are off-limits)
A) Ok, I always liked tag. Chuck Matthews…Tag, you’re it!
And there you have it. Another spotlight has been done. Stay tuned for the next “Spotlight On…” when we feature another Pulitzer-worthy interview with a member of our team!
August 16, 2010 Leave a comment
This Quarter’s Spotlight is on
By Tony Harrington
Welcome back to another edition of our “Spotlight On” series where we get to know the people who make up the dynamic Spirit Seekers team.
I know…you wish I would write these more often and I don’t blame you. There is no doubt you derive so much pleasure from reading my interviews with members from Arkansas’s premier paranormal investigation group. Sure, the subjects are fascinating, but it is my journalistic prowess and hard hitting questions that make you flip right to this section first. I understand…I do the same thing.
In this issue, the spotlight is on Jason Hall. A husband, (not mine, and we won’t tolerate any of those vicious rumors here) a father and the Assistant Director of Investigations for spirit Seekers, Inc.
Jason Hall is leaving our group on August 31st to move to Seattle, WA with his wife who serves our country in the US Army. He will be missed and we will remember him and his contributions to the group and the field of paranormal studies and investigation.
Interview with Jason Hall
Q) I always (and by “always” I mean one other time before this) start off these interviews with the question: Do you believe in ghosts?
A) I do, I think there is enough circumstantial evidence that they do exist. The next question is why do they exist?
Q) What made you join Spirit Seekers and how did it feel to attend your first meeting?
A) Like most people, I guess I was just curious. We all have reasons for doing this mine is that I wanted to know what’s out there when we die. I refuse to believe it’s just life then darkness. I felt a little weird at the first meeting, but soon felt at ease, as I understood I was at a place where I didn’t have to feel awkward about seeking what’s out there.
Q) Do you remember your first investigation with SSI? How would you describe it?
A) Yes, it was at an old children’s mental facility at UAMS, it’s since been torn down. It was hectic. There were about 25 of us all tripping over each other in search of a ghost. I didn’t get anything.
Q) What would you say is the biggest misconception about ghost hunting?
A) That we’re all nut jobs. You’re always going to get a fringe element, but for the most part paranormal investigators are just seeking knowledge, and I don’t see the harm in that.
Q) Would you say you are a spiritual person and if so how do you balance your religious views with alleged haunting? I guess what I am asking is, if we all go to heaven or hell when we die (based upon theological teachings) why are there ghosts?
A) Well crap, how about I explain the meaning of life while I’m at it? I don’t have a clue why they are here. I don’t think anyone can say with any certainty why some souls choose to return. We all have guesses, but they are just that. I think I’m spiritual, though I don’t wear it on my sleeve. I don’t try to balance religion against the paranormal. That would be pretty arrogant to think that God has given us all the knowledge of the universe. We, as humans don’t have a clue how things really work and we won’t until we get there. Wherever “there” is.
Q) You collaborated on the book “The Ghosts of Little Rock” with Alan Lowe, one of the founders of the group. How did it feel to be the better writer?
A) If I ever become the better writer I’ll let you know. Right now I’m just a hack who happens to have Word on his laptop.
Q) Where did the idea of the book come from and what can readers expect?
A) It was Alan’s baby. I was lucky enough to be invited along for the ride. Readers can expect to be scared, of course, and hopefully find out about some haunted history that they were unaware of previously.
Q) You clearly enjoyed your writing partnership with Mr. Lowe so much that you embarked on a second joint venture. What can you tell us about the new book?
A) The second book is a much bigger project than the first. GOLR was a collection of the better-known hauntings and legends around central Arkansas. The second book encompasses more of the state and has legends and hauntings that I think will come as a surprise to many.
Q) You’re a pretty big guy and one that doesn’t intimidate easily. What, if not ghosts, scares you?
A) Spiders and spiders. I hate spiders. Did I mention spiders? (Interviewer note: please disregard the “doesn’t intimidate easily” portion of the question. Thanks.)
Q) When you are not running around an allegedly haunted location, what are you doing to occupy your time?
A) Right now most of my free time is spent working on the book. When I’m not writing I’m reading. Oh, and watching “Lost”. I love that show.
Q) How does your family react to your interest in the paranormal? Do they have any interest in it?
A) They take it well. I get the expected Ghost Buster jokes, but that’s about it.
Q) You are on the membership committee as well. What types of people does SSI look for and do you just accept anyone? Because I have to tell you…you accepted me and that tells me the screening process could use some fine tuning.
A) We want our members to have an open mind, skeptics are fine, but if you’re not willing to at least accept the possibility of the paranormal then SS is probably not the place for those people. We want those who are on a journey of understanding and knowledge. I’m not sure how you passed the screening process. I’ll have to talk to Alan about that.
Q) Has there ever been an investigation that has left you feeling shaken or uncertain?
A) Yes, you were there. (Interviewer Note: Christina South, please take note. This is how you get on an interviewer’s good side, NOT by pointing out the “fact” that said interviewer too was scared, and doing so in an interview to be read by millions! I might be overshooting the number of readers by ten or fifteen.)
Q) Anything else you want to share about yourself or the paranormal?
A) This is probably a good time to share with everyone that I will be leaving SS. Sometime around July/August I will be moving out of state. I will miss everyone a great deal, but will take with me the experiences and the things I have learned while being a part of the best paranormal group in the state. I still have family here so I’ll be back from time to time and may pop up unexpectedly at a meeting somewhere down the line.
Thank you so much for taking the time to sit down and answer some incredibly difficult questions. But look at it this way, any other interview you do will be a cake walk by comparison, unless it starts with you saying “I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth…”
Before we go I am going to need you to tag the next interview subject. State their name and follow it up with “…Tag! you’re it!”
Awesome! Thanks again to Jason Hall for agreeing to subject himself to my Pulitzer–worthy interviews. Lorne Jones, you might want to do some chops exercises, because I am going to bust them next quarter.
To our dear and wonderful readers, I will see you next quarter when you flip to this section first. (Just like me.)