Sunday, March 27, 2005

Paranormal investigators discuss the ‘Shadows Among Us’

Author: JP Wilson

AMERICUS — It is 6 p.m. in Andersonville and behind the Pennington St. James Church is a small cemetery. Two people stand over the graves, taking photos with digital cameras, wondering what will appear after the camera's flash creates an image. One of the individuals, Tom Hebert, notices a particular grave in the cemetery with a hole in the headstone. The grave is where a couple who died in the 1800s is laid to rest.

Walking over to the spot, he snaps a photo of the hole. Immediately after this, his energy seems to plummet, and he feels drained. Something seems wrong.

Tom turns his head and notices a black grave behind the one he just photographed. Suddenly a pungent odor appears in the air; it smells like death. Tom looks over at his wife Margaret, and asks her if she smells anything. She doesn't, but she feels that something is not right. Tom tells his wife, "We’ve got to get out of here … ”

The couple, members of the Georgia Paranormal Research Council (GPRC), have had many experiences with the supernatural since they moved to Georgia. In their new book, "Shadows Among Us," they discuss the supernatural and include photographs and stories of many of their expeditions.

After the Heberts left the small cemetery that night, they still felt as if something was not right. Tom felt a sharp chill crawl up his spine and his hair stood on end. Margaret’s right foot started going numb. As they reached their vehicle, Margaret looked up and saw a figure in front of the old Post Office. She could tell that the person, if it was a person, was wearing a black cowboy hat and black coat down to his ankles, clothing reminiscent of a time period long since passed. She couldn't make out his features because it was dark, but the clothing was evident. As Margaret looked away to grab her camera, the person or thing looked directly at Tom. Margaret pulled out her digital camera and snapped a photo. When she looked up, the individual was gone.
The photo was completely black with the exception of a small red light, spherically shaped, in the center … where the person she saw should have been. The couple said those eerie feelings did not leave them until they were halfway home, approximately five miles away from Andersonville.

Tom and Margaret Hebert said they decided to write "Shadows Among Us" because "we want to try and give people a better understanding of the unknown." Margaret said that the two do are just beginning their education into the paranormal as members of GPRC.

The Heberts, originally from Michigan, moved to Americus several years ago from Florida. In August 2002, their cousins, Molly Reiser and Bev Pasden, came to spend a couple of days with them. Having heard about the ghost tales at Andersonville, the group decided to go on a ghost hunt. The photos they took were haunting. One particular photo, taken inside the Andersonville Stockade, was puzzling. The ground in the photograph was greenish in color. However, when the picture was taken, the ground was red with clay, not green with grass. Also, there appeared to be a horse's hoof. "If this is the case," said the Heberts on their website, "then where is the rest of the horse? This has us puzzled; there was nothing there when the picture was taken."

Shortly after their expedition, the couple established contact with Rudy Adams, president and CEO of GRPC, who asked them to join the group.

"It's an ongoing educational course on the paranormal," said Margaret. "You start off with the apprentice course, which only allows you to investigate historic places and cemeteries. We took the first course, passed it and became certified apprentice investigators two years ago."
The couple then started on their next step, the journeyman. This step is more advanced, because journeymen are authorized to investigate any paranormal event, excluding a malevolent spirit or malevolent spirit complaint. Both Tom and Margaret passed their journeyman course with flying colors and received certificates on Halloween weekend 2004. Now, they have to do two years of field investigation to apply for their master status.

After a paranormal investigator receives his/her master status, two more years must be spent in the field before the individual can apply for the title of Instructor. Then, investigators receive classroom instruction, teach courses and supervise field investigations. When the GPRC feels that the investigator is ready, the ultimate status of instructor will be bestowed.

A year ago, the couple traveled to Florida for a ghost hunt at a cemetery in Crawfordville. "Before you went into a cemetery, you had to tell the spirits who you were and that you were only coming in to take pictures and not destroy anything," said Tom.

Tom produced a photo of the Crawfordville cemetery visit that was taken of him as he walked along the cemetery fence. To the right, on the other side of the fence is a spherically shaped ball of light (referred to as a spirit orb or ball).

"I was walking along the fence line and Rudy was behind me, and I got this chill that went right through me. I told Rudy there was something there, and he took this picture," Tom said.
Tom then began producing more photographs, showing the spirit orbs in all of them. One picture, shot in Andersonville at the Town Hall building, showed numerous orbs of various colors surrounding the building.

Another photo of Tom’s, shot in November 2003, showed him walking around Andersonville National Cemetery. His sweater, gray and black, appeared to be blue and white in the photo. His legs were also largely distorted, and his body appeared out of focus in comparison to the rest of the picture.

"I had people asking me," said Tom, "can you feel anything? Does it feel like there is anyone inside of you? I said 'no.'"

The spirit orbs in the photos, said Margaret, "are actually energy in the spirits. You can see the energy in them when you look at them."

Other photos, depicting strange lights, not spherical in shape, were produced as well. "These are called ectoplasm, spirits trying to form."

The best time for taking photos of spirits, said Tom, is between the hours of 3 and 5 a.m. when it's really cold. Having a full moon also produces good photos. Margaret added that cold fronts are a sign of a spirit’s presence as well. “Some people,” said Tom, “are extremely sensitive to spirits and know when one is around immediately.” He said that spirits were usually attracted to people classified as sensitive and that spirits feed off of batteries and other energy sources in the area. These sensitive people usually know when a spirit is around because they feel a sudden cold chill.

Tom said that when a person is feeling tired or exhausted, that could be because a spirit is draining that person's energy. Margaret discussed the time the couple had visited Oglethorpe Cemetery. "We were so exhausted," said Margaret, "that we couldn't hardly move for two weeks. We couldn't even look at our photos."

The couple's land also has a bit of history, having once been a part of farmland. A woman who had lived to be 103 years old had died across the street. After obtaining permission to take photographs of the dilapidated house, the Heberts walked to the front of the house and immediately felt as if they were being watched. A photograph of the carport produced a blur in the picture that resembled a silhouette of a person.

Tom then produced another photo that is included in the book “Shadows Among Us.” “We take pictures of our dogs too,” he said. He put a finger on the photo, stared at it momentarily and looked up. “Tell me, what color is this dog’s eyes?”

The eyes were a neon blue, and the photo of the dog had been taken at their house.
Two headstones are also in the couple’s yard. One is of a World War I veteran. “We had the police out,” said Tom, “because we didn’t understand why anyone would put a government issued headstone in the backyard. So they checked into it and said the veteran was buried in a cemetery in town. I asked them, ‘then what’s this headstone doing here? It doesn’t make any sense.’”

The couple also found that an old house formerly on the property was where a three-year-old girl had burned to death. “There’s a headstone here,” said Tom, “that has a three-year-old girl’s name on it. The police said that the girl’s name on this headstone was spelled wrong and that she was buried at a Baptist church. I asked again, ‘why would this be here?’ Then I asked them if they were going to dig the ground up. They said, ‘no.’”

One of the most interesting of the 3,000 to 4,000 photos the couple have taken of the paranormal occurred in their backyard one afternoon at 3 p.m. This picture is on the cover of their book. IMargaret said she had felt something drawing her outside to the backyard that day. She said she took her camera, almost as if in a trance, and walked out back, stopping in a spot behind the pole barn. She pointed the camera, aiming at nothing in particular and snapped a photograph.

The photo, however, appeared to be shot at night, not day. Margaret said she took the photo to Rudy. After he analyzed the picture, “Rudy said that it was a djinn, an alien creature standing in front of the camera,” she said. Margaret said it was clear to her that the two circles in the pictures were eyes. In the center of one of the eyes is a light. “Rudy said the light in the center was the reflection of the camera’s flash in the djinn’s eye.”

Another piece of equipment that picks up a spirit’s presence, said Margaret is a tape recorder because “you get EVP’s (Electric Voice Phenomenon).” During a Halloween weekend ghost hunt, the Heberts and other investigators in the Shadows Among Us Paranormal investigation group went to an Oglethorpe cemetery in Macon County. “We went to the old cemetery in Oglethorpe where a murderer is buried ... This man was a very evil man. He jumped a person and killed him. They hanged him and buried him in the cemetery. Before he died, he told everyone he didn’t want to be buried East and West, but North and South, against the world. We went to the cemetery and Rudy took an EVP. He called me over and said, ‘Margaret come over here and listen to this.’ He turned the recorder on and you could clearly hear something say ‘Margaret.’ Rudy asked me if I wanted to go sit down on the bench and talk to the murderer, and I said, ‘No way.’”

The couple returned to the cemetery the next night. Another EVP was taken and Margaret began asking questions, such as “who are you” and “what do you want?”
“When we played the tape back it was very static, but you can hear something saying, ‘no,’ in response to my questions.”

Tom said that when he was in the Oglethorpe Cemetery, walking around, he felt a hand on his shoulder. He turned around to Rudy and said, “Don’t touch me.” Tom, seeing Rudy 50 feet away from him, realized that the investigator couldn’t have touched him. “It would have been impossible for him to have done that,” Tom said.

These are only a few of the many encounters with the supernatural the Heberts have had since becoming paranormal investigators. They are currently regional directors of the GPRC for the state of Georgia.

Copyright 2004 South Georgia Media Group

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Blogger blog-editor said...

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9:53 AM  
Blogger Tekrat said...

Tom turns his head and notices a black grave behind the one he just photographed. Suddenly a pungent odor appears in the air; it smells like death. Tom looks over at his wife Margaret, and asks her if she smells anything. She doesn't, but she feels that something is not right. Tom tells his wife, "We’ve got to get out of here"This sounds like something for the first 15 minutes of Ghostbuster. They wanted to see balls of energy and smell things a Slimer, from the aforementioned movie, would make. So, the family in this story sought and found what they were looking. Ask yourself this: why is it only the husband smelled the odor, but his wife didn’t? Does he have some secret power she doesn’t have? I very much doubt it. After the searching in graveyards, the article moves on to the inane idea of EVP.

EVP, or Electric Voice Phenomenon, is right up there with backward masking. The human mind will see and hear what it wants to. If someone wants to hear a voice in EVP, they will hear a voice. If someone wants to spin a record backward and hear demonic messages, they will hear the message they want to. You’ll notice that a lot more people are hearing voices in the static of their radios since the movie ‘White Noise’ came out.

I believe the Bible is real, and I believe in angels and demons. I also believe that in someway a Satanic force maybe fueling this quest for the supernatural. These people have empty lives; these poor souls are looking for something to fill that void. In this case, they are looking for a supernatural filler material, instead of their families or fellowship with the Lord.

6:58 AM  
Anonymous Rose M said...

May be Margaret and Tom find these investigative activities interesting and exciting but not me. Having read their stories it prompted me to write my story about moving into a newly purchase home in a small town of Northern New South Wales Australia, called Binna Burra. The home in on a small acreage and during our first night's sleep I was woken by the CD player turning on by itself and the music playing loudly. It was just after midnight. I got up and turned it off and went back to sleep having had a strange dream about a large house and the property agent explained that I was allowed to stay there however I was not allowed to cross the courtyard to another section of the house because the man with power lives there and he is evil. I woke at 3.00am with the dream so real in my mind that I though a cup of tea would help to settle my mind. Sitting in my kitchen the dream continued and a voice spoke to me in my mind. I tried to dismiss it as this wasn't possible I thought, having now woken up. But the person that was talking to me was saying that what I had just dreamed was real and that they wanted me to write a book for them and I would be told how to word it.

I kept saying aloud " no! no! go away your not real", but I felt a fear that I have never felt before in my life. I tried to sleep for the rest of the night but to no avail. I told my husband there was a ghost or evil presence in this house and that I would not be able to live here. He dismissed the idea and said it was my imagination. However, the days that followed became more apparent to me that this was no imagination. The revelation of this spirit was terrifying me. And I could feel the presence all around me. Also the smell of mouldy mushrooms was very strong the our bedroom. The previous owners phoned and enquired, if we had settled in and were happy. I took the opportunity to tell them of my scarey experiences and that I was not very happy at all. They confirmed to me that there was indeed some kind of spirit in this house. I realised unless I could have the house exorcised I would be living in fear continously, so I engaged the local Catholic priest who came and blessed the house- thank God! I have since then investigated details of the owner who committed suicide after she left this property, but she had alot of issues still unfinished that relates to this house and that is why she is still here. Needless to say thereis alot more to this story but I felt the need to put my experience down just to let whoever reads this that there is no way that I would want to investigate paranormal activity such as Margaret and Tom.
And Tekrat I can tell you that being a believer in the Bible and a Christian my first thought was that this could be a demon of sorts and that idea terrified me. But now I'm almost certain that the spirit is that of Julie Beaumont the woman who had this house built for her in l975 and had several still birth children. And that is why she was not able to let go of this property.

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Anonymous tiffanypritchard said...

There are those who search out the paranormal in an attempt to fill a void, but then there are those who find themselves led to find the truth for reasons that will ultimately uncover something unexplained.
The difference is in the motives, faith, and surrender to God to reveal the truth in all things.
Judging something you don't understand is pointless. Making a decision to see what is being shown to you is a entire different aspect in the overall assessment in investigation.

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