Sanford’s paranormal investigators

The following story appeared in today’s Herald. Enjoy.

Sanford couple not here to scare anybody; they just seek answers


SANFORD — Walk into the home of local ghost hunters Paul and Tyreese Joseph, and you’ll find the unexpected.
By unexpected, of course, we mean there’s nothing strange at all about their home, except for maybe the electromagnetic field detector sitting on their living room coffee table.
What’s unique about the Josephs is that for ghost hunters (they prefer the name “paranormal investigators”), they are as down-to-earth as their neighbors and their neighbors’ neighbors. No séance music in the background, no ghostly photos on the walls … their cat isn’t even black.
But it was their curiosity and desire to foster “intelligent interest” into all things unexplained that led the couple to start up Sandhills Pranormal Investigators of North Carolina, or SPIN for short. The upstart team has the equipment, the knowledge, a Web site ( and a group of willing volunteers at the ready to find explanations for the things that go “bump” in the night.
“I’ve always had an interest in the paranormal … all things ‘spooky,’” said Tyreese, an administrative assistant during the day. “But this is more than an interest or a hobby. We aren’t taking this lightly.”
Tyreese said her team of eight — which was scheduled to “hunt” its first residence Tuesday night and has a local business to investigate in early November — has all the good qualities she feels it needs: a healthy dose of skepticism, good morals and a solid spirituality.
“Faith plays a lot into what we’re doing,” she said. “We’re both Christians, and just because we aren’t using Ouija boards or séances doesn’t mean we aren’t trying to connect.”
The equipment is impressive. In addition to the EMF sensor, the Josephs own at least three high-powered cameras, both film and digital; as well as an ambient and laser infrared thermometer to check air and object temperatures and humidity and digital voice recorders to pick up the noises their customers think they are hearing.
Unlike the “ghost hunters” seen on television, this team isn’t out to prove that apparitions exist. Rather, they’re out to explain the seemingly unexplainable — why noises are heard, why objects are moving or why portions of an older home may be cold. All of these occurrences could have scientific explanations … or, they could be ghosts.
“Ghosts don’t have to be dead people,” said Paul, a professor at Methodist University. “It could be something from another dimension … long ago, before scientists discovered magnetism, I’m sure there were a lot of unexplained movements. What’s happening now could be occurrences that scientists simply haven’t discovered explanations for.”
All of the “science talk” doesn’t mean the Josephs aren’t in this for the fun, too. Tyreese admits she’s experienced a few weird things in the past.
“My grandmother’s funeral was held on an extremely windy day,” she said, “and during the burial, a stiff wind practically knocked all of us over. But while we could barely stand, her flowers didn’t move at all.”
It could have been an odd wind patter, she said, or it could have been that her grandmother simply didn’t want her flowers messed up.
What is harder to explain was the day her aunt died, and as Tyreese talked on the phone with her sister, they both suddenly picked up a strong odor in their homes … the distinct smell of their aunt’s perfume.
“I really don’t like being scared,” Tyreese said with a laugh.
She said she expects the customers they’ll deal with will be one of two types — they’ll say their house or business is haunted no matter what is found or they’ll say their house or business isn’t haunted no matter what is found. Their Tuesday night case, Tyreese said, was a woman who just wanted her home checked out.
“If we can help her out and explain what’s going on, hopefully making her life a little easier, then we will have done our job,” Tyreese said, “no matter what we find or don’t find.”
As for their spirituality, they say despite what some may think, believing in God and the paranormal go hand in hand.
“If you believe in God, who’s to say there aren’t other non-corporal beings out there as well?” Tyreese said. “If you’re a Christian, you don’t have to believe that any ‘outside activity’ is demonic. Having an interest in the paranormal isn’t ‘bad.’
“God gave us the gift of curiosity,” she said.


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