Ross Allison, the only full time ghost hunter in Pacific Northwest, came to campus on Saturday, Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. in SMC MPR. Students listened to his presentation about paranormal happenings and did an investigation of the campus. The event was sponsored by UAB.
Allison wrote around 30 books that include his 25 years of research into paranormal activity. He founded AGHOST, a paranormal investigation company based in Seattle.
Allison also helps run Seattle Death Museum. He teaches Ghostology 101, 201 and 301 at University of Washington. His work has taken him all over the world, including Rome,to investigate the catacombs.
He has been featured on television networks such as Discovery Channel, CMT, MTV and TLC.
Allison first became interested in the profession because his mom loved ghost stories. He asked a few friends to inspect a cemetery for spirits but they wanted to hit up the bars first. It was then that he wanted to find people who were seriously interested in paranormal investigation.
In order to become a paranormal investigator, Allison suggests having these characteristics: honesty, education, an open mind and skepticism. Before people call sounds and movements paranormal, he suggests for people to see if anything of this world can explain it.
When talking about those who do not believe in ghosts, he mentioned having experiences that led him to be a believer. “They have to experience it for themselves,” Allison said.
Though he believes ghost exist, he advised the audience to be skeptical of any little noise or orb found.
“People want to be sacred,” Allison said. “It’s our own imagination that scares us the most.”
Allison spoke on the history of people’s fascination with all things morbid.
Afterlife is the basis of many religions. Many like to think there is something more out there than this earthly existence. People are sometimes obsessed with death because then they will have a greater purpose.
Allison mentioned death masks, a mold made of a deceased person. This practice was typical of those murdered and had to be buried before their identity was found. This occurred before photography.
Artists were also called in to paint the deceased on their death bed.
Post mortem photography was also popular once cameras were invented. Sometimes the family would not have enough time to take a picture together and they would prop up the deceased among the living for the photo.
In the 19th century, death became more private and families were able to mourn outside the public’s eye.
Thomas Edison was working on a machine that would allow humans to communicate with ghosts but he died before the project was completed.
One of the most common questions Allison gets is “why do ghosts wearing clothing?” He has his own theory on the matter. “How you see yourself is how you project yourself as a ghost,” Allison said.
The crowd became noisy when he played a recording of an exorcism off of which the movie “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” was based.
Allison played a few clips of Electronic Voice Phenomena captured by him and his team.
Allison and the audience investigated Biemesderfer with paranormal investigation equipment. Allison gave the equipment to students to try out. Students scanned a few rooms inside the building. They were able to ask questions and see if the spirit answered. Unfortunately or fortunately, nothing was found. Others suggested that the group investigate Dutcher Hall, the oldest building on campus.