More than a dozen ghost busters have been trekking into haunted territory this fall to capture sounds and pictures of the dead.
Some of their stories can easily send shivers down a spine, but for most of the members of the Granite Peaks Community Education ghost-hunting class it's a thrill that keeps them coming back for more.
Tom Young, instructor of the course, said he has taken his class to a number of areas in the state that are said to have high levels of paranormal activity.
"People get together, make friends and it can satisfy that curiosity that is, 'Is there something beyond?"' said Tom Young, instructor of the class.
Students have visited the Rio Grande Depot, This Is the Place Heritage Park, Fort Douglas, the Capitol Theatre, the Egyptian Theater in Park City and a number of cemeteries and businesses.
Their goal is to capture proof of paranormal activity through photos or electronic voice phenomena. The idea is that what ghost hunters aren't able to see with the naked eye can be picked up on video and voice recordings as well as photos.
"Thomas Edison believed we are all made of electronic energy and when we go our energy disperses but we are still who we are and can still communicate," Young said. "Ever since we've had the ability to do recording, people have been picking up unidentified sounds and voices."
After the class' late-night field trips of snapping photos and recording sounds, students get together and share pictures that they have taken that seem to have captured floating orbs, apparitions and reflections.
And some have voice recordings of unexplained voices. Young, who seems to have a sixth sense for detecting and interpreting paranormal activity, recalled one trip, where he was the only male present with a group of women students. He sensed a rather negative being around them, and he asked out loud if the presence wanted them to leave.
In reviewing the recording, a male response said "yes," and then called him an expletive.
Even though ghost hunters say they've encountered some negative entities, Young said there is no danger. But he urges his students to take the proper precautions when going on a hunt.
Aside from ensuring that their visit is approved by property owners, students are advised to "protect themselves spiritually" to avoid "hitchhikers," ghosts that follow you home.
Young said that has happened a few times to him, but he said you can ask the presence to leave or say prayers depending on your spiritual denomination.
Though some ghost hunters said they have had quite a few scary experiences, Young said he is rarely jolted.
"For me, I fear the living more than I do the dead. The living can hurt you, the dead aren't going to," Young said. "No matter what you see on TV, the chances of that happening are so remote. "
He admits that some movies depict EVP as being dangerous and invoking evil but said ghost hunting is simply trying to capture what is already there.
"Doing EVP work you are asking for some communication but haunting can be residual, just an impression in time that is being picked up," Young said.
Evil spirits and demons are real and can be dangerous, but those incidences are few and far between, he said.
"You really have to go looking for that, like with Ouija boards, but I have never encountered anything like that," Young said.To celebrate Halloween, members of the ghost hunting class along with Fort Douglas and Unknown Utah, a paranormal investigation organization, will be holding a ghost hunt at the Fort Douglas Museum and cemetery as well as a panel discussion by paranormal experts. Psychics will also be on hand to do mini readings. The cost is $10 per person. For more information, go to unknownutah.com.
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