Two good friends in Hancock County enjoy hunting ghosts and they turned their passion for poltergeists into a group called "Nightmare Investigations".
Their approach to the paranormal is both scientific and spiritual: Prayer books and holy water in one hand; a night vision camera and white noise generator in the other.
Justin Calhoun and Bryant Geary recently let Steve Phillips tag along on a late night adventure inside an abandoned old hotel in Waveland.
"All we want to do, is communicate with you," said Calhoun, calling out to some unseen spirit inside the dark, damp building.
"This room here has a lot of dark, demonic history as well," Calhoun said, in a calm, matter-of-fact tone.
He and his partner are both fearless and faith fueled. They began our adventure by reciting the Lord's Prayer and anointing each of us with holy water. Calhoun and Geary say their faith helps shield them from adversaries.
"There's definitely some evil out there that you can't see. Basically, when people get scared, when they have things going on, that's where we come in," said Calhoun.
They are also possessed, with a sense of humor.
"Housekeeping," Calhoun cried in his best woman's voice, as he ascended a darkened stairway of the old structure.
This old hotel is notorious for causing goose bumps.
"Anybody who says they don't get scared in this line of work, they're lying to you," said Calhoun.
"We're going to set up as many things as we can to try and catch as much activity," said his partner, Geary, as he set up a night vision camera inside a sparsely furnished room.
Now a veteran ghost hunter, Geary had his first encounter with the paranormal as a teenager and has been curious ever since.
"Walking noises, the footsteps, that type of thing, that type of stuff won't scare you after you've heard it for awhile. It will give you a reaction of let's go see what that was," he said.
"It almost looked like it came through this doorway," Calhoun warned, as he quickly turned his head toward the suspected movement.
The old hotel is a prime location for poltergeists. Legend says Al Capone liked the place.
Then there are the darker tales of a murder, a suicide and a child drowning here.
"If it was a very traumatic death and it was not ready to die, or this person was not ready to die, it's going to stay around and try to continue its life," Calhoun explained.
Their electronic voice recorder seems to have picked up a woman's voice saying "Hi."
"Pretty much that recorder picks up sounds, noises and voices that you can't hear with your own ears. It's at a different frequency," Geary explained.
"We heard you a minute ago. Was that you trying to get our attention?" said a somewhat excited Calhoun.
"This seems to be another one of our hot spots, but it's a darker side. We've had people pass out here that we've actually had to carry out," said Geary, in a spot they've nicknamed, "Hell Room."
"There are times when me and Bryant have both looked at each other and we're like, Okay, take a deep breath. Relax. Let's figure out what just happened," said Calhoun.
They both lean close to the voice recorder again, reviewing what was just captured.
"Boom, boom. Then there's the creaks," said Calhoun.
These ghost hunters say the spirits and their behavior are as varied as the people they once indwelled.
"Some spirits may do it to hurt you, to scare you away. Get out of my territory. Others might be like a trickster, playful; I'm going to scare them just to get a short laugh. That sort of thing," said Geary, with a smile.
"You're going to have to do more than just stare at us, 'cause I'm not afraid of you," an emboldened Calhoun shouted to the spirits.
"And then let's go back over to Hell Room," said Geary.
"A lot of dark history and a lot of pain, anguish and everything else that happens to be in this house. And that's one of the main reasons we needed to investigate it," Calhoun said, talking about the old hotel.
"All right. Head out, head out!" he shouted, as the pair rushed toward a noise they just heard nearby.
"Tonight, it looks like something is running from us. So, we're trying to not really like pin it down or get it cornered," says Calhoun.
"Is there anything you'd like to say?" said Geary, though the question elicited only silence.
"That plastic sheet was just raised, was just moving," Calhoun told his partner.
"We definitely have evil. And unfortunately, we have seen it firsthand. Both on the things you can see, things you see on the news every night, and also things that you can't see," said Calhoun.
Nightmare Investigations is available to probe any cases of ghosts, poltergeists or hauntings.
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