In culture after culture, people believe that the soul lives on after death, that rituals can change the physical world and divine the truth, and that illness and misfortune are caused and alleviated by spirits, ghosts, saints ... and gods.

STEVEN PINKER, How the Mind Works

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hunting ghosts in Regina

REGINA -- If there's something strange in your neighbourhood, who you gonna call?

Ghost Hunters! ... Research Team.

Dana Hryhoriw and Wendell Kapay are the Ghost Hunters Research Team (GHRT). They've been helping people with paranormal problems since 2004 -- for free, mind you, all for the greater good.

"One of the biggest things for us is we're not exactly what you see on TV," explains Hryhoriw. "To us, these spirits were and are still somebody's loved ones. We go by respect first and foremost. We try to communicate with the spirits rather than banish them."

Hryhoriw and Kapay say they help roughly 30 people in Regina every year deal with suspected spirits or unexplained noises in their houses. Every investigation is strictly confidential.

"Usually when we go there we'll take a look at every alternative possible. We don't necessarily go there looking for a spirit, but we also don't debunk our client's claims," Hryhoriw says.

They communicate with the spirits using a variety of equipment including night-vision camcorders, cameras, voice recorders, motion sensors, thermometers, candles and compasses.

"I like to use a compass ... Because of the magnetic force of the spirit, it makes the compass kind of dance around when you stand still," Hryhoriw says.

They've saved clips on their tape recorder: A girl's voice in an empty graveyard, a mysterious voice saying "hi" in a suspected haunted house. They've also accumulated creepy photographs over the years. Some have random smoke appearing, while others have orbs streaking through the frame.

They have always considered ghost hunting a hobby, but when they moved from Wynyard to Regina in 2004 they formed their research team. More precisely, the research team formed after the night Hryhoriw saw her first ghost.

She says she and her partner wanted to explore Darke Hall at the University of Regina campus on College Avenue. Just as they were leaving, Hryhoriw says she saw something she'll never forget.

"I looked up at the front doors of Darke Hall, and there was a man standing there," she says. "Just the way he was standing there and looking at us, it was like 1,000 volts of electricity surged through me. It took my breath away."

She didn't know at the time that this mysterious man, who appeared and disappeared in the old hall, was actually Francis Darke, the founding father of Darke Hall. They went to a library to find out more information on the hall when she saw him in a book.

"That's the man I saw," she says pointing to his picture in the library book. The man, 64 years deceased, appeared to her looking the same as he did in a photo taken in the early 1930s.

Both Hryhoriw and Kapay experienced the paranormal at a young age. Kapay explains some of the noises he heard as child.

"I would hear things in the night that I shouldn't have been hearing," he says. Like the rocking chair that would rock back and forth when only he and his brother were home. When his father died, Kapay believed that his spirit stayed in the house.

"Cupboard doors were opening and closing on their own," he says.

Hryhoriw's first real paranormal experience happened while she was in the eighth grade. She was very close to her grandfather when she was young, and in the months before he died she had the same dream every night.

"I was in school, wearing these certain type of clothes. I'd get a call to the office, so I'd leave my homeroom, go down to the office and they would tell me, 'Get ready, your parents are picking you up, your grandpa has passed away,'" she recalls.

Night after night, the same visions played in her dreaming mind. In every dream she had the same clothes on and every time the same result occurred. Disturbed by the dreams, she decided against wearing those particular clothes together and valued every moment with her grandfather.

One day she had slept in so she threw on some clothes in a rush. When she got to her homeroom class, the moment played out just as it did in her dream.

"The minute the secretary said, 'Please send Dana to the office,' I looked down and I realized I was wearing those clothes and I cried all the way to the office," she says. "It hit me like a ton of bricks."

Losing someone so close to her stung, so she's vowed to help out others who have lost loved ones as well.

"If somebody has unfinished business, or they passed away without being able to say goodbye to a loved one, for me, my ultimate goal would be to capture that message and just to be able help them pass on," she says.

With Halloween approaching, calls are coming more frequently for the Ghost Hunters. Because so many people ask for their help, they won't stop their investigations, not until the day they finally get an answer.

"For most people it's one of the most popular unanswered questions: What's out there?" she says. (above taken from the Leader-Post website )

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