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3 Jul 2009


Paranormal investigators check Scottish Rite Temple


Members of the Wichita Paranormal Research Society set up equipment Saturday night in preparation for an investigation at the local Scottish Rite Temple. After all of the data has been examined, the investigation could either prove or disprove the existence of paranormal activity at the Temple.
(Submitted photo)
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While a thunderstorm blew through Fort Scott on Saturday night, an investigation of the ghostly kind was underway at the Fort Scott Scottish Rite Temple.

About 9 p.m. Saturday, members of the Wichita Paranormal Research Society began investigating the Scottish Rite Temple in order to determine whether or not there is paranormal activity occurring at the Temple.

According to Scottish Rite Temple Executive Secretary Terry Claar, when he was contacted by Nancy Wimmer from the Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce about allowing a paranormal investigation to be conducted at the Scottish Rite Temple, he was excited to allow the researchers access to the temple.

Wimmer said the paranormal investigators were in Fort Scott in April to investigate the Chamber of Commerce building and a private home. While they were in the area, they expressed an interest in investigating the Scottish Rite Temple. After getting the okay from Claar, the investigators scheduled a day to begin the research.

According to Shane Elliott, founder of the Wichita Paranormal Research Society, the investigators brought in eight infrared cameras that were hooked up to a DVR system.

"We broke up into small two-person groups to capture things on audio and video," Elliott said.

According to Elliott, the group of investigators research different places to either "prove or disprove" that there is paranormal activity going on. An official determination that either proves or disproves paranormal activity at the Temple has not been reached yet because the investigators are still examining the data received during their investigation. However, research participants said they had several "personal experiences" during the investigation that could indicate paranormal activity could exist.

According to Wimmer, who was present during the investigation, all of those involved in the exploration saw, heard and felt indications that something out of the ordinary could be present at the Temple.

"We all had some personal experiences," Wimmer said. "We were trying to go on the balcony, and we heard a piano playing on the stage. One of the girls heard a door at the back of the stage open and shut. We can't confirm anything. It was just personal experiences."

According to Elliott, the investigators did come away with five possible electronic voice phenomenon (EVP). However, researchers still have to examine the recordings before a determination can be made as to their source.

"When you are recording with a digital recorder and you play back and listen, you hear a voice that wasn't there when you were talking," Elliott said, explaining what an EVP is.

In addition to the recordings, Elliott said he too had strange personal experiences during the investigation.

"I did find bats up in the theater," he said. "That was interesting. Two of them kept flying around my feet."

Claar said he would not be surprised if the investigation proved the existence of paranormal activity inside the Scottish Rite Temple. The existence of a cemetery next door to the temple is one of the reasons Claar said it would not surprise him to find out there is paranormal activity going on.

Claar explained that before the building connected to the Scottish Rite Temple was built, town officials had to exhume the bodies of about 16 people who were buried in a small cemetery at that location. The bodies were re-buried in the Evergreen Cemetery, and a hotel was built on top of the very spot the cemetery once stood.

"I'm pretty much convinced that there's forces or whatever you want to call it, especially since I found out there was a cemetery next door ... The spirits don't like to be moved around," he said.

Claar said he believes, if the investigators prove the paranormal activity exists, that existence might be caused from a combination of the spirits from the cemetery and spirits from the Scottish Rite Temple.

"I think it's intermingled," he said. "I think we have our own and some of it is over there (building next door). I am anxious to hear the results. We'll wait and see what they say."

Elliott said it usually takes about two-weeks for his team to go through and analyze all of the data collected during the investigation. He added, about 85 to 90 percent of the time he and his team are able to disprove the existence of paranormal activity.

According to Elliott, the Wichita Paranormal Research Society is the Kansas state representatives for the TAPS family, which is the same group that does the Ghost Hunters television show. For more information about the Wichita Paranormal Research Society, visit their Web site at www.wichitaparanormal.com.

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