“Don’t think I’m crazy, but … ” It’s not out of the ordinary for calls to Amarillo-based Texas Intuitive Paranormal Research to start this way.
“They say, ‘Hey, this is going on. What do you think we should do?’ Sometimes it (is imagination),” said Dulce Flores, TIPR cofounder and paranormal investigator. “A lot of times, it’s not.”
People are scared of the unexplainable, she said. They’re hesitant to believe in the existence of paranormal activity, and even when they call or accompany the group on an investigation, there’s a chance they’ll still be skeptical.
“We’re going out, sitting in a dark room, talking to ourselves,” said Josh Wilson, TIPR cofounder and paranormal investigator. “It’s easier to brush it under the carpet than to say it’s real.”
Wilson and Flores said it’s good to have a healthy amount of skepticism in order to differentiate when something is actually a paranormal event and when something might be an imagination run amok.
After the initial contact with a potential client, the group takes several steps to determine if there is a legitimate reason to conduct an investigation, including conducting a preliminary walkthrough. If it appears there is, they’ll set up a time to complete an investigation.
Tools of the trade include everything from full-spectrum cameras with an infrared booster and electromagnetic field meters to modified voice recorders and dowsing rods. There’s a science to the investigations, they said, and they make sure to be very thorough.
Flores said they conduct around five investigations a year. Investigations are confidential and some clients request non-disclosure agreements. Locations range from residential to commercial, inhabited to abandoned. But they always get permission before entering a location, Wilson said.
Julie Young, president of the Panhandle Inn Foundation, invited the group to the inn after meeting Wilson at an open house. Wilson gave her his card, but didn’t tell her much about his interest, she said.
“He told me later he was afraid if he told me what he was doing, I would be like, ‘Ah! Get away from me!’ After that, I called, and he explained it to me,” Young said.
Young said she and her son accompanied the group on the preliminary investigation. The group introduced themselves to any entities that possibly inhabited the hotel and then used a flashlight to interact with them. The light, which was turned on and off by screwing and unscrewing the head, was set on a surface away from the people in the room and then questions were asked, Young said. She said she received a yes when she asked if her grandfather, who worked in the barbershop of the hotel, was remembered.
“Sometimes nothing would happen, sometimes it would have a little bit of hard time and it would come on,” Young said. “That was just something I couldn’t explain.”
Even though she couldn’t explain it, she said she wasn’t scared during the investigation. She said she also didn’t feel as if the group, whose members she calls smart, was misleading or trying to trick her.
“I just thought they were such nice kids, there was nothing creepy to me about it,” Young said. “They were just interested in something, and things happened that I couldn’t explain.”
An open mind like Young’s is crucial when accompanying the group on an investigation, Wilson said. They avoid telling anyone on an investigation what to expect or about previous investigations and the type of activity they encountered. It’s a way to make sure guests or new investigators don’t come in with preconceived ideas of what they will experience.
“You just listen for everything that’s not an everyday occurrence, stuff that you feel that shouldn’t be there,” he said. “You never know until you actually find something. It’s us trying to validate what’s going on.”
The services the group offers are free, even though equipment can get pricey. Some of the members of the group came with their own equipment when they joined. The rest is paid for out of their own pockets, or comes as a result of donations from appreciative clients.
They said they don’t solicit those donations. They don’t expect to ever recoup all the money they’ve invested, Wilson said.
“And that’s fine,” Flores added.
Producers who work with TV shows portraying paranormal investigators have contacted the group, but they said they’ve declined those offers as well. For them, it’s more about enjoying themselves as they spend time with the people they’ve come to call family, and maybe giving peace of mind to someone experiencing something they can’t quite explain.
“We’re not there for fame or fortune or anything like that,” Wilson said. “We’re just here to help.”
For more information, contact the group at 806-471-9313, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook at facebook.com/TexasIntuitiveParanormalResearch.