Scares, fun at paranormal summit


By Nicholas Sauma, Reporter


A variety of people, gadgets and displays from professional paranormal teams lined the walls of the Milo Bail Student Center’s Nebraska Room.  

The UNO Paranormal Society and UFO Study Group combined to put on the second annual Paranormal Summit on Oct. 12.  

“We’re a one of kind group because we’re the one that brings all the other groups together,” said John Powers, a member of both UNO groups. “We help them analyze data, post our own methods and collaborate for greater benefit.”

Walking around the room was a strange blend of past and future. The Squirrel Cage Jail had a display model of the rotating jail, one of the last still around. Other groups had investigations from old houses and historic sites. Couple that with technologies from voice recorders and thermal cameras, and it was hard to see how anything could get past them.

The summit embodied the mission to help teach people to be paranormal investigators. Hartland Paranormal professionals explained their methods and equipment, shared EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomena) and answered questions.  

Nebraska Paranormal Society presented the  “Best of the Worst” of hoaxes and mistakes made in the field.  From a mysterious red orb in a cemetery, which turned out to be a distant stop sign, to a client submitted photo they perfectly recreated, they stressed how important it was to be calm and double check your results.

The Squirrel Cage Jail, which benefited from 20 percent of the proceeds, also presented. They showed photos of the  three-story jail’s rotating cells, shaped like slices of pie, that allowed jailers to rotate prisoners away from the main cell entrance.  

Raffle tickets were given out for a ghost hunting tour of the jail with P.R.I.S.M.  The historic site is also available for tours, if scheduled in advance.

The UNO Paranormal Society presented their findings from a hunt on the fourth floor of Arts and Sciences Hall.  Students Mike Petranick, Ashley DeBolt and Ashley Chism think the spirit of Carolyn Nevins, who was murdered in 1955 in an unsolved case, still inhabits the building.  

“I joined the group two months ago, and I’ve seen full body apparitions, felt my hair being pulled, and I get really ill at some sites when we’re getting strong readings,” DeBolt, a junior, said.  

Chism, a sophomore, also had experiences to share. 

“I had a really serious event that I don’t like to talk about, but it got me like religiously involved in this,” Chism said. “My boyfriend Mike also had an event where he thinks he heard someone tell him to ‘get out’ while investigating at a cemetery.”  

Chism and DeBolt said the club has about five active student members, but the number fluctuates, and a lot of people from the community are involved.  Both said they wished people would stop being afraid to embrace their paranormal experiences, and join the group to help them.

Nearly 120 people showed up when the event started at 6 p.m.  Students and families, young and old were excited and full of questions at the door. The summit was a great time for the amateur enthusiasts to the professional hunters. 

The UNO Paranormal Society and UFO Study Group team will analyze EVP readings taken during Friday night’s summit.  

“I have no doubts we’ll find something, especially in some of the hotter spots around campus,” said Dave Pares, faculty adviser to the group. “We’ve got a nice cloudy night.”