Want to increase your chances of experiencing paranormal activity?
Well, find a place near running water that is close to the railroad tracks.
Oh, having lots of limestone wouldn't hurt either.
That strange trinity seems to be the key to scaring up spooks and spirits, according to paranormal researchers Grant Wilson and Jason Hawes.
And they should know, having done hundreds of investigations since starting the The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS) 21 years ago, including seven seasons worth of investigations on the popular SyFy Channel series "Ghost Hunters."
Still, Wilson and Hawes are quick to point out that while a ghost is a sign of paranormal activity, not all paranormal activity is a ghost.
"Paranormal activity is anything above the norm of what we are used to," said Hawes, who, with Wilson, works as a plumber for Roto-Rooter in New England.
Wilson jumps in to explain further.
"It's different than a haunting," he said. "In a haunting, we definitely know that a ghost is haunting the place, but if something moves we can't explain or something like that, that's paranormal activity."
Wilson says that most places with high paranormal activity have spooky histories that might explain the reason they're frequented by spirits. However, Hawes says there are some common factors shared by many paranormal sites.
"One thing we found is that you find more paranormal activity around flowing streams of water, railroad tracks and places with high limestone deposits," Hawes said.
Places that rank high on these ghost-hunting guys' list include the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colo., and the Bird Cage Theatre in Tombstone, Ariz.
"We had some startling moments at the Stanley Hotel, such as glass shattering form the inside out, and a door unlatching itself and then opening and then closing itself and latching itself closed -- all caught on camera," Hawes said.
Wilson is nostalgic about the Bird Cage, which was a combination theater, saloon, gambling parlor and brothel that operated in the 1880s.
"We got up on the stage and looked over and saw, honestly, what I thought was a mannequin ... that moved down the stairs," Wilson recalled. "That was startling."
Wilson and Hawes both believe in ghosts and apparently believe that paranormal researchers are made, not born. Both of them got interested in studying the subject after having experiences that, while they don't comment on them, affected them profoundly.
"When something paranormal happens to you, you have a burning desire to figure out what it is," Wilson said. "Then you realize there are people uncomfortable with where they work or live because of the paranormal, so any answers we find, we want to share it with them so they feel more comfortable."
Wilson and Hawes will be celebrating Halloween by doing -- what else? -- a ghost investigation at Pennhurst State School and Hospital, a former asylum in Pennsylvania, live on the SyFy Channel.
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