2017-06-15 / Living

Hunting hauntings

Local women’s pastime is ‘phenomenal’
BY LANIA ROCHA
810-452-2652 • lrocha@mihomepaper.com


At an old farmhouse in Flushing Township, the Ladies Paranormal Investigation Society prepares to attempt contact with otherworldly entities. 
Photo by Lania Rocha At an old farmhouse in Flushing Township, the Ladies Paranormal Investigation Society prepares to attempt contact with otherworldly entities. Photo by Lania Rocha SWARTZ CREEK – Elisha Szukala had been fascinated with the paranormal since she was a small child, but when unusual things started happening following the death of her mother, she knew she had to learn more about the spirit world.

“I would watch all the (ghost hunting) shows, and I’d think, ‘I can do that,’” she said. “Then I went on a public ghost hunt to the Randolph County Infirmary in Winchester, Indiana, and I was hooked.”

Now, Szukala heads up her own paranormal investigative unit, the Ladies Investigation Paranormal Society, based in her home in Swartz Creek.

Samantha Murphy is part of Szukala’s six-woman team.

“I’ve always loved ghost stories,” said Murphy. “It’s morbid curiosity. Everyone I know has really good ghost stories, but I don’t. That’s a big part of why I joined.”

Along with teammates Ayla Pastori, Sherrie Manning, Tammy Zigoris and Cynthia Osborn, the women spend much of their free time sleuthing for otherworldly phenomena.

They use a variety of equipment, including an eight-camera DVR system, K2 meters that detect spikes in electromagnetic energy, voice recorders, a REM POD to detect disturbances or fluctuations in energy fields, an EMF pump to create electromagnetic fields to feed paranormal entities, night vision cameras, laser grids, regular cameras, infrared thermometers and lights and spirit boxes to communicate.

“It’s 90 percent sitting in the dark waiting for something to happen,” said Murphy.

The team has investigated unexplained happenings at homes and businesses in Genesee and Lapeer counties, but some of their favorite “haunts” are located right here in Swartz Creek, as well as Flushing Township.

Their research has produced some interesting results.

“At one business, they had seen a man walking around, and they wanted to find out who he was and why he was there,” said Szukala.

Electronic voice phenomena recordings revealed several names, including Richard and Mary, she said. Subsequent research showed that the property once was the homestead of a couple named Richard and Mary, and other names heard on the recording matched family members listed in Mary’s obituary.

Often, the EVPs have a more baleful tone.

On one occasion, while wielding a thermometer, Murphy commented, “I’m going to point this, in case anyone if feeling frisky.”

At the time, the investigators heard nothing. But later, when they listed to the recordings, a male voice clearly says, “I don’t want her pointing that at us.”

“I still get goose bumps,” said Szukala. “To know that someone was that close to us that we couldn’t see, feel or hear is amazing to me.”

It wasn’t the only time the recordings picked up words that none of the researchers spoke, she said. The team has heard a woman stating, “he slit my throat.” On another recording, after one of the investigators said, “Tell us your story,” a male reportedly responds, “I ain’t tellin’.” Szukala said she also has heard a disembodied voice calling her name, and pronouncing it correctly, with the uncommon long E.

Murphy admits that, sometimes, “we get freaked out.”

At a 150-year-old house in Clio, the team heard footsteps, Szukala said.

“It was a little unnerving,” she said. “I said, ‘Oh, my god, something’s coming.’ I was scared at first, then excited, then I was just hoping we got it on camera.”

Murphy said she has been an eye witness to some strange visual events. In one instance, she said she observed a shadow in a darkened hallway.

“The door was cracked open, and the shadow went around the door and came toward me,” she said. “I went and told the others, then returned and it happened again.”

When a client contacts the investigators, it’s often because they’ve heard bumps in the night, or objects have flown off shelves, Szukala said. That, in fact, happens often at the group’s favorite venue, an old farmhouse in Flushing Township.

The residents have reported several strange occurrences, such as toys that were left strewn across the floor unexpectedly lined up in a row.

The property, a former schoolhouse, is rumored to have several children buried on site.

“The people who live in the Flushing house are fine with the spirits being there,” said Szukala. “They just want answers. So far, we’ve found evidence of two children, Cindy and Tom, and a woman, Agnes. The woman is always asking the owner to play the piano or guitar, and she says she loves him. The kids, they seem to be protecting the living children.”

Szukala and Murphy are aware that many people think the supernatural is hogwash, but that doesn’t bother them.

“That’s their belief,” said Szukala. “Unless you’ve experienced it yourself, or you’ve been exposed to it in some way, it’s hard to believe. But we’ve all had experiences.

“For people who don’t believe, I’m not going to try to convince them. That’s not my place. I’ve been told I need Jesus a lot.”

Murphy said she does it to collect evidence to explain that which otherwise defies explanation. All the while, she keeps an open mind, understanding that she won’t have a definitive answer until she is on the other side.

The LIPS team’s investigations are free. The group may be reached at 816- 668-3951 or by email at ladiesinvestigationparasociety@gmail.com. They also have a Facebook page.

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