MSU is home to hundreds of clubs, including one with some supernatural interests.
“The MSU Paranormal Society is a place for people interested in horror, paranormal and investigating the possibilities of paranormal,” says anthropology junior and MSU paranormal president, Josh Schnell.
And it’s not what you think: “Most people think we’re just weirdos on computers,” says Jared Gajos, an international relations sophomore and vice president of funds for the group. “It’s really not like that at all. We’re a group of people that like hanging out and have a common interest. It just happens to be in ghosts, spirits and other paranormal activities.”
But members insist you don’t have to be a believer to join. The group is made of skeptics, nonbelievers and those who are just plain curious. As Emily Alexander, a packaging sophomore, explains, “I just like this kind of stuff. I find it interesting.”
One of MSU Paranormal’s main activities is investigating locations with potential paranormal activity. What does it mean to do a paranormal investigation? First and foremost, you have to go at night.
“3 a.m. is the best time. Cuts down on distractions from roads, people, lights, stuff like that,” says Schnell.
Then you have to have the right equipment. The group has temperature guns, camcorders, flashlights, tape recorders, walkie talkies and electromagnetic readers that they use to pick up electronic voice phenomenon, or EVPs. “There’s a long standing belief ghosts are associated with electricity,” says Schnell.
The group then distributes equipment and breaks up into teams. Some groups will sit and wait, listening and recording, and other groups will work to record whispers, taps, stomps and other communication from possible spirits in the room by asking questions like, “If you want us to leave, say something.”
Pro tip: “Never whisper! When we go over the taps after an investigation, it makes it hard to decipher what was someone’s whisper and what was a possible EVP,” says Victoria Poleski, nursing/physician’s assistant junior and vice president of investigations and technology.
Investigations are a really great bonding experience for the group. Vice president of membership Alix VanBuskirk jokes, “Nothing will make you closer than sitting in silence for five hours.”
Every year, the group does a training investigation in a small cemetery in Howell, Mich. According to Schnell, the cemetery is associated with a rumor that the Klu Klux Klan used trees there to perform lynchings.
This time of year is the busiest for MSU Paranormal. They help with Halloween-themed events on campus, such as the “Ghost of Spartans Past” event hosted by MSU Universities Activities Board and go on investigations before the weather gets too cold.
The group has investigated Detroit’s historic Fort Wayne in the past, as well as locations at MSU including Mary Mayo Hall, Beaumont Tower, Beal Memorial Gardens and Morrill Hall before it was torn down.
The Paranormal Society most recently investigated the USS Edson in Bay City, Mich. The naval destroyer was part of the U.S. Pacific fleet and is now part of the Saginaw Valley Naval Ship Museum. MSU Paranormal got a private tour and camped out overnight to do their own investigation.
Now in its fifth year, MSU paranormal society has roughly 18 members who are working to be more inclusive, to participate in more investigations and to get more of the MSU community involved.
“In the past, the group was really focused on educating members about paranormal research, but we’re moving away from a lecture based, educational club to more social club with activities and hands-on demonstrations,” says Gajos.
Upcoming events include attending the midnight premiere of horror movie Annabelle, visiting the Renaissance Festival, going on a Haunted House crawl and investigating the Waverly Hill Sanatorium, an old Louisville, Ky., tuberculosis hospital.
As VanBuskirk can attest, “It’s a really, really good time. We have so much fun.”
MSU Paranormal Society meets every Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in Room 314 Bessey. Listen to some EVPs on their website at www.msuparanormal.com, and find them on Facebook (MSU Paranormal Society) and Twitter (@MSUParanormal) for the latest club news.
Megan Plummer is a senior majoring in communication with cognates in political science, public relations and professional writing. Her love for magazines started with “Entertainment Weekly” in middle school and hasn’t slowed down since. Megan is a Vampire Weekend fan and dedicated NPR listener with a weakness for ‘60s love songs.