CLINTON, Tenn. — While Halloween season may be coming to a close, one group in East Tennessee investigates paranormal activity year-round.
Appalachian Paranormal Investigations has been working as a team for nearly 15 years. They bust myths about some haunted houses and identify paranormal activity in others.
The team uses video, motion detectors and temperature sensors and electromagnetic field meters (EMF's) to collect and review evidence.
Josh Ooten started Appalachian Paranormal Investigations (API) with some of his friends.
"I had a lot of little things happen to me growing up, I would hear noises down the hallway and footsteps and stuff," Ooten said. "My friends always thought I was crazy until they saw some of the stuff I saw."
He formed an investigative unit in college and has been doing it ever since.
Jessie Hackworth joined the team a little bit later.
"I had some incidents happen in my house," Hackworth said. "You know, things that wouldn't just happen."
Hackworth called Ooten and asked him to do an investigation. From that point on, she believed in the process.
"We've had we've had our fair share of experiences. You know, we've seen crazy, we've seen the mundane and everything in between," Ooten said.
Hackworth said she once felt some sort of hand grab the inside of her leg during one of the API investigations.
"Nothing ever like that ever happened to me before. It definitely got my attention and I was up the whole next day. Just couldn't handle it. My mind was blown," Hackworth remembered.
Some of their other situations have been anything but paranormal. For example, the team got asked to check out a home. The residents of the house were afraid a spirit was residing in the garage.
The residents reported their keys being moved to the other side of the garage each morning. It was a phenomena they could not explain.
"We watched it all night long. At the end of the night, I went and told them, 'the good news is that it's not haunted. But, you might want to keep your cat up at night, because he's getting in there batting your stuff around and playing with it all night,'" Ooten said.
Ooten said the API spends a lot of time convincing people that their home is not haunted; rather than convincing them that it is.
However, the API said paranormal activity in East Tennessee is common. Due to the plethora of historical sites, buildings and homes.
"Especially if you go somewhere that has a rich history, and it's been around that location has been around for a very long time," Hackworth said.
The team used to conduct an investigation once a month; however, as they have gotten older they started cutting back to once every three or four months.
Upon request, the team will stay overnight at the site in question. they arrive at 7 p.m. to start setting up, then stay until 4 or 5 a.m.
"When we first get there, we lay everything out, we get a good view of the site. And then we will do a base reading, we do our base reading to make sure everything's kind of leveled out zeroed out, and nothing's going to spike the meter on accident," Hackworth said.
The API runs several cameras and other recording devices to try and catch the activity on a recording. Once they're complete with the night, they have over 40 hours of footage to rummage through.
The team said their inbox starts to blow up each year at the start of October.
"If we're getting these messages in July, or April, that's one thing. But, in October, we get so much, there's so much that comes through October, you have to filter it all out," Ooten said.
The API said scary movies and the spookiness of the season contribute to the added worry people feel around their homes.
"People don't want to think that they're crazy. They don't want their neighbors thinking that they're crazy," Ooten said.
The team spends time in October reassuring people that they are safe in their home.
"It's really all about setting their mind at ease," Ooten said.
Ooten said that he has met people over the past 15 years that do not believe in paranormal activity.
"I would say, good for you. You've not experienced anything, you know, that's fine. That's fair. The people that do believe are the ones that have experienced something. It's definitely okay to be skeptical," Ooten said.