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

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Paranormal divers plan summer of ghost-hunting in Tampa Bay

Media General News Service

Published: May 26, 2009

Those who die at sea might never leave the water — body or soul. And if they’re still there, perhaps haunting the reefs and shipwrecks where they perished, Paranormal Divers aims to find them.

The Cape Coral-based company is preparing for a summer of ghost-hunting in Bay area waters, with investigations of the Gunsmoke, a shrimp trawler that mysteriously sank with a cargo of marijuana 14 miles west of Egmont Key in 1977; the Blackthorn, a Coast Guard buoy tender that collided with a freighter in 1980, killing 23 seamen; and the waters beneath the old Sunshine Skyway, where 35 people died after a freighter rammed the bridge in ‘80.

“We pick a wreck that has some potentially haunted history and then we check it out,“ says Lee Ehrlich, president of Ghost Pros Paranormal Inc.

The company films its search and sells the videos, which weave in the story of the site — fact and lore — and the Paranormal Divers’ experience.

“We look for the stories, the romance,“ Ehrlich says. “We’re putting the ghost back in the ghost ship.“

At each site, the dive team first sets up sonar drones to record the underwater sounds. The recordings are analyzed “to determine what sounds you are not suppose to hear ... possibly sounds of the paranormal,“ Ehrlich says.

To capture the sights, Paranormal Divers has teamed with Tampa-based SeaViewer Underwater Video Systems, whose clients include The Discovery Channel, NOAA’s National Weather Service, The Army Engineers and ESPN. SeaViewer’s high-definition studio cameras were used to film scenes in the Russell Crowe movie “Master and Commander”.

Once all the recorded data is collected, Ghost Pros will plan a nighttime excursion. At the Gunsmoke, Ehrlich says, divers will thoroughly explore the wreckage.

“What makes the Gunsmoke compelling is nobody knows what happened,“ he says.

The trawler was found abandoned and sinking in January 1977, according to news accounts. Ehrlich says two people disappeared.

“We want to go into that ship, really see what’s in there,“ he says.

The divers will also watch for the telltale glow of bioluminescence light forms and listen for unusual sounds.

Ehrlich says he’s not trying to convince anyone of paranormal activity.

“We offer our evidence in good-faith for both Scientific (as applicable) and Entertainment value, and it is up to the viewer to believe what he or she feels is the truth,“ according to a disclaimer at

But the sites Ghost Pros explores are rich in lore, and the explorations are fascinating, Ehrlich says.

“If you were to die in some strange setting,“ he says, “wouldn’t you want to know that someone was looking for you?“

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Location - Bekevar Church

What is it that haunts this iconic church south east of Kipling? Stories tell of church bells ringing on there own, a male presence who protects the church, strange smells and an uneasy feeling.

We decided to do an initial investigation of the location and learn what we could.

The Bekevar Church is a Municipal Heritage Property located within the Rural Municipality of Hazelwood No. 94, approximately nine kilometres southeast of the Town of Kipling. The property features a large, wood-frame church with twin spires, built in 1911, an iron gate adorning the property's entranceway, and a cemetery, all surrounded by landscaped, treed grounds.

The heritage value of the Bekevar Church lies in its architecture. Representative of the Hungarians who settled in the area, the property follows traditional church design, incorporating Gothic Revival-inspired towers and pointed-arch windows in the building. These elements complement an interior layout, inspired by the Great Church in Debrecen, Hungary, features a sharply truncated nave and an unusually large transept comprising the main body of the church, an uncommon arrangement in Saskatchewan.
The congregation is predominately seated in the transept in a semi-circular fashion around the sanctuary. Built between 1911 and 1912, the Bekevar Church is the last remaining building from the Hungarian settlement of Bekevar.

This trip we were just passing through and had not made arrangements for a tour or access to the building so out initial visit was just on the church grounds. While we were there we had no strange events occur. I try not to give my wife too much information on a location before we visit just to get her gut reaction to the sites. At this location she had felt like someone was watching her from the inside the church.

Hopefully I will be able arrange something for our next visit so we can investigate some of the stories attached to this amazing old church.