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Paranormal groups search for Rock River Valley spirits

Monday, November 01, 2010  
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By Rebecca Rose
Posted Oct 29, 2010 @ 08:00 AM
Last update Oct 29, 2010 @ 10:05 AM

On Sunday, you can expect to see a few ghosts and ghouls, in the trick-or-treat form that is. Others, however, prefer the real deal.

In Rockford, the Forest City Paranormal Society and the Rockford Area Ghost Hunters explore the unknown.

The Forest City Paranormal Society began after co-founders Bill Rose and Aaron Powers graduated from Rockford College. The two had formed the college’s first paranormal club.

"After school, Aaron and I wanted to stay involved in the field and founded the Forest City Paranormal Society,” said Rose.

Rockford Area Ghost Hunters was formed in 2007 by Rickie Traeger. Scott Ruggles is the co-founder.

Each month, the Forest City Paranormal Society says they get about two or three requests for investigations, while the Rockford Area Ghost Hunters say they get about one investigation request.

"Most of our clients experience things like strange noises, lights going off and on (and) seeing and hearing things that aren’t normal. A lot of people don’t want to face the fact that the paranormal might be in their house or business and shrug it off,” said Traeger.

Both groups however, say real-life ghost hunting is nothing like the movies and TV.

"In the movies they chase and capture ghosts. And it is pretty easy to capture a ghost in the movie. In real life, we go to the place of interest and do our investigations, and hope to get some kind of paranormal evidence,” said Traeger.

"Paranormal research is not easy. It is nothing like television. I cannot stand the TV shows where investigators go into a property, gain evidence, and release the evidence in a matter of one hour. Life does not work like this. Most investigations take hours of planning, hours of investigation, and
countless hours of evidence review. It takes us a minimum of about a month to have a report complete on a single property investigation,” said Rose.

"The (biggest) misconception (about ghosts) would have to be that people think a place is haunted 24-7. In reality, a ghost only haunts when they want to. ... If a place was actually haunted 24-7, we would be capturing evidence all the time,” said Traeger. "Another misconception would be ‘orbs’ in photos. Many people think orbs are ghosts floating around in the air. But in reality, orbs ... are most likely to be dust particles in the air and the flash of the camera.”

-- Rebecca Rose, GO

Question and answers about ghosts
We asked Rickie Traeger with the Rockford Area Ghost Hunters and Bill Rose with the Forest City Paranormal Society the same questions. Here are their responses:

Question: Have you or any other member of the group had a paranormal experience growing up?
(I) was living in a house in Loves Park, and one night (I) was lying in bed, and the bed started to shake, and it lifted off the ground.”
Rose: "I witnessed a flying aircraft that I don’t think came from this world. ... I know what I saw and what I did not see. That is good enough for me.”

Q: What are some of the most haunted places you’ve investigated in Rockford?
"I would have to say our best places of research have been in private homes and businesses. We haven’t had any luck (in the public places).”
Rose: "The most haunted place I have been to is Tinker Swiss Cottage. It is by far one of the more active paranormal places in the state-line. One time I was there and had money hurled at me in two different rooms, with nobody else in the room.”

Q: Are there any places in Rockford rumored to be haunted that really aren’t?
"I think Bloods Point would have to be the most famous place rumored to be haunted but really isn’t. Bloods Point has a lot of myths and legends to it, but not once has anyone actually caught anything of value on tape there.”
Rose: "I think Blood’s Point Road is an urban legend. I have been out their numerous times, and at no time has there ever been a paranormal occurrence. It’s a waste of gas.”

Q: What do you say to nonbelievers?
"I tell them to open up their minds to the possibility of the paranormal. ... If they have seen or experienced some of the stuff (we have), they would definitely change their minds very quickly.”
Rose: "People who don’t want to believe in anything are all right. I respect their beliefs. I just ask them to respect mine, too. You can’t prove something to someone who is close-minded because no amount of proof will get them to believe unless they experience it for themselves.”

This story appeared at on October 29, 2010.

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