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Bangor Ghost Hunters Association

Bangor Ghost Hunters Association
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Greenbush, Maine
Harold Murray, director

Harold Murray had a paranormal experience when he was
young, but that is not what turned him into a paranormal
investigator. “Watching the Travel Channel, the Discovery
Channel, the Learning Channel — this is what did it,” Harold
says. “Every year, they have these specials on. I’m a retired magician,
and I wanted to see what it could do. I wanted to see if this
stuff could be explained. So I started taking pictures and started
using tri-field readers and we started picking up stuff. The next
thing we know, Maine Paranormal contacted us. They liked what
we had, and they offered us their northern branch in 2000. As we
were learning, we were finding out that much of this stuff could
be explained, but it was the unexplained stuff that really got us
into it.”

Harold founded his team in 2000. Most of his investigators are
family members. “My son, John Murray, is the co-director. He
started out with Northern Maine as a cameraman. He did video
interviews with people,” Harold said. Recently, Harold has looked
outside of the family for talented people. “We are always looking
for somebody who can do it better,” Harold said. “We just brought
in a new team member who is a professional photographer.” One
of his members, Spike, is a gold prospector. He uses his dowsing
rods to measure the electric and magnetic fields of the earth. Harold
believes Spike is more accurate than the team’s tri-field meters:
“He’s been with us for a year now. He uses rods made of copper,
steel, iron, bronze, and a couple of other metals. He makes them
himself. It’s pretty impressive what he does.”

Harold, who is an
ordained minister, carries holy water and the Bible with him on
investigation in case the team runs into a demonic entity. Harold
has no psychics in his group. “I have had some psychics apply to
be on our team,” Harold says. “I tell them I’ll take psychics. I give
them a psychic test I have at home. ‘If you can tell me what is in
each of these envelopes, I’ll take you along as a psychic. Otherwise,
you’re just a field investigator.’ For some reason, they don’t come
back. Actually, this test does not exist. I just made it up.” From
Harold’s viewpoint, Sylvia Browne is probably the only genuine

Harold maintains that the team members are the most important
members of the team: “The Ghost Hunters television show makes
it look like the director is the most important part of the team, but
that’s not true. You have your field investigators, you have your
lead investigators, you have your researchers, you have your cameraman,
you have your technical support, you have your computer
guy. These people are not mentioned in all the stories about TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society). The team is important to me. I can’t do it alone. It’s not a two-man operation.” The group holds its monthly meetings at the Bangor Museum. All of its meetings are open to the general public.

Sometimes, overly enthusiastic members can jeopardize the validity
of an investigation. Several years ago, Harold’s oldest son accompanied Harold and a reporter on an investigation. “My son thought he was doing good for us,” Harold said. “He faked an EVP (electronic voice phenomena). This did not go over too well with me, and I exposed him in
front of the reporter. And he is not allowed to be a member of the
team because he pulled this stunt. This is how serious I am about
ghost hunting.”

Harold’s son John also fabricated evidence. “He sent two videotapes to the head office in northern , but he was practicing magic. He took an orange seed with a prop that we use, videotaped it, sent it down to them and told them it was a ghost. They believed it and posted it on the Internet. My son finally went down with me and showed them how the trick was done. They felt like asses, but they couldn’t retract it because they didn’t want to look like fools,” Harold says. Because Harold knows how
easy it is to fake evidence, he does not take EVPs or videotape or
pictures off the Internet. “Anything that comes to me has to be in
negative form or the actual videotape because we don’t want any
hoaxes,” Harold says.

Bangor Ghost Hunters Association uses a variety of scientific
equipment in their investigations, including tri-field meters, digital and analog cassette recorders, analog VHS and digital VHS,
infrared thermometers, digital Hi8, booster mikes, and laptop
computers. The group also uses metal detectors, cell phones, and
walkie-talkies. Most of this stuff is donated to the team, but Harold
has picked up some old videocassette recorders (VCRs) and
cameras at yard sales.

Most of the group’s clients find out about Bangor Ghost Hunters
Association through word of mouth. “If people in town say a
house is haunted and new people move in and know nothing about
the house, the first thing they’re going to hear is a neighbor telling them, ‘Oh, you live in a haunted house. I heard someone died there.’ Then the power of suggestion takes over, and every noise in the new house, the people think the house is haunted,” Harold said. A large number of the group’s clients seem to feel that an investigation by a group of paranormal researchers is a quick fix to a serious problem. Harold blames TAPS for giving the general public this impression: “We see TAPS and the other ghost hunters on TV, and they only spend one night there. We tell our clients that we could be here for a day or we could be here every weekend
for six months. It took us six months to catch something in a house in Old Town. Up here in , we have strong weather. A good, strong wind will make a house creak. A lot of the stuff they have here like the old stone wall basements have minerals that will affect the electromagnetic fields. Electromagnetic fields do affect brain waves and make people hear and see things that they can’t explain.”

Very few of the places the group investigates are actually haunted,
however. “We give out certificates if we have enough evidence that
the house has paranormal activity going on, and we have only
given out two since 2000,” Harold says. “The certificates don’t
mean that the house is haunted, though. They just mean that something
is going on that we can’t explain.”

All of the group’s investigations begin with an interview. “We
interview our clients on the phone or in person,” Harold says.
“While the interview is being conducted, we send another member
around the neighborhood to gather information on the house
and the land to see if anybody really died there. Then after we do our interview, we meet up with the member who tried to get
information about the house. We meet up at my house and get
everybody’s opinions to see what they thought about the house.
We then look into the legal limits of the family to see if they are
credible people. We don’t get involved with people if they have had
trouble with the law.”

Before the group begins an investigation, Harold goes in with
a cameraman and they do a sweep. “The cameraman follows me
around, and being a retired magician, I look for ‘smoke and mirrors’ —
strings and everything else,” Harold says. “I have come
across speakers in walls. These are people who do haunted houses
at Halloween.

And a lot of them do it to see if the ghost hunters
are on the up-and-up. We had this one case where there were
strings and speakers in the walls, and I told the owner, ‘You have
no haunting here. You know what you’re doing. You’re trying to
run a ruse.’ The gentleman said, ‘Yes, I am, but I wanted to see if
you guys were on the up-and-up.’ He was testing our people. He
was a follower of Henry Houdini. Houdini tried to debunk the
fake seances, and I do the same thing, but I don’t look for fake
psychics. I look for fake haunted houses.”

If everything turns out
clean, Harold sends in his team to do the initial investigation. They
go through the house one more time, looking for things that Harold
might have overlooked. Then the group sits down and starts
videotaping and recording EVPs. “We use boom mikes attached
to tape recorders that will pick up the lightest sound two houses
away,” Harold says.

Updated Wednesday, July 16th, 2008

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