Calling all spook enthusiasts: Penn State’s Paranormal Research Society just might be your ticket to fulfilling any lingering aspirations of becoming a real-life Ghost Buster.
Founded in the early 2000s, the PRS is a club on campus that was designed to bring Penn State paranormal lovers together and organize ghost hunting expeditions.
Just in time for Halloween, Valley spoke with one of the club’s approximate 20 active members, freshman Sean Ryan, to hear all the chilling details about their most haunting experiences.
The PRS ventures on about two ghost hunting expeditions per month, each in a different historically haunted area of Pennsylvania. The group’s most recent trip took place on the battlefields in Gettysburg where members heard echoes of cannons firing and muskets being shot throughout the night.
“One group was able to have a conversation with a Confederate soldier at one of the areas called Devils Den,” says Ryan.
You may be wondering how one goes about communicating with a deceased 19th-century combatant: Ouiji board? Seance? Facebook Messenger?
Ryan confirmed that most of the spirit-detecting gadgets seen in ghost hunting shows are very similar to the equipment the PRS takes along for their investigations. These tools include voice recorders, radio scanning devices and handheld electromagnetic field detectors.
“Through digital voice recorders, spirits are said to be able to speak through the white noise produced by the device,” said Ryan. “We ask a series of questions and then later play back the session. Sometimes we receive clear responses from what we believe to be spirits.”
In addition to statewide road trips, members of the PRS also frequently perform private home investigations per request from local homeowners who suspect they have supernatural roomies.
“During a private home investigation this semester, three out of five members, including myself, saw a shadow pass by various doorways throughout the house,” said Ryan.
Even closer to home than State College, Ryan shared his personal knowledge of multiple haunted locations throughout campus including Schwab Auditorium, Old Botany, the stacks in the library, Atherton Hall and the eighth floor of Tener Hall. There you have it- a legitimate (ish) reason to avoid late-night study sessions in Paterno.
If the Paranormal Activity films left you sleepless for weeks, it’s probably a good idea to sit this one out. However, for those interested in ghostly socials, you can get involved by attending PRS meetings held every Tuesday at 9:15 p.m. in 121 Thomas.