Tonight, I’m going to do something just a little bit different. There is no author tonight. No books to discuss. But what I have to share with you is just way too cool to pass up. During my travels, as well as my Internet social networking, I have met many diverse and amazing people. People you usually only hear about in snippets on TV. People who lead lives that resemble the best television shows, movies, and books. I’ve met explorers who brave the unknown. Monster hunters (cryptozoologists) who track down the world’s most elusive creatures. And yes, I even know a few ghost hunters too.
Tonight, I wanted to introduce you to one such ghost hunter and ghost hunting team. Tammy “Crash” Ferrar and the group of intrepid investigators known as S.P.I.R.E. (Southern Paranormal Investigative Research & Exploration) in Houston. Joining the ranks of numerous paranormal investigators all over the country, thanks in large part to the interest created by shows like Ghost Hunters, S.P.I.R.E. stands out from the rest as being a top notch, no-nonsense group of investigators who are serious about discovering the truth.
S.P.I.R.E investigates reports of paranormal activity, focusing on southern and Gulf Coast regions of the United States. Its investigators have a healthy mix of open-mindedness and skepticism, each talented in their own way and an incredible asset to their team. SPIRE also takes the initiative by locating sites that have historical significance, using highly inventive technology and analyzing data from a scientific standpoint. The nature of SPIRE is to observe and report. It is their primary objective “to serve the truth”.
“The truth is a viable entity,” their website reads. “It is sustainable and reliable. It does not change to fit the needs of its environment; it is the environment. And beyond that is where we are trying to find it.”
Recently, I met up with the team’s founder, “Crash”, and asked her a few questions about what it’s like to be a real paranormal investigator. Here’s what she had to say:
1) How did you get your training for paranormal investigations? Can you describe briefly what the training is like? How long did you train?
My training was completely informal. TAPS Boot Camps originally, then I decided to start my own team in Houston due to a lack of reputable teams available in my area that were under 400 people or not closed to the public. In starting my own team, I gained some of the most knowledgeable people in the field, and we all train each other. Our training consists of as much hands-on training as possible. We make as many attempts to investigate as often as possible because you learn something new each time you get out there. We also hold private training classes for the 4 CORE team members. Training can last from 2 hours to 10 hours depending on what we’re doing and where we are.
2) What would you say is the creepiest or just plain scary place you’ve ever investigated? Can you tell us a little about the experience?
So far, Yorktown Memorial Hospital’s basement ward. It was eventually used as a make-shift morgue where rudimentary autopsies were done and illegal abortions were performed. I visited the hospital twice before I scheduled an investigation with my team. The entire hospital is really cool, but has the creepy effect from the poor condition of the structure. The basement is the “scariest” if you will because it is almost completely void of light, and is not your typical basement: it is huge and has lots of corridors and rooms that are hidden behind more rooms.
3) I know you believe in ghosts…but what would you say is the most common explanation for a haunting? I guess, what I’m asking is…what exactly is a ghost? (I realize there are numerous types from intelligent haunts to residual…so you can be vague in your explanation of this if you’d like.)
I would have to say a more accurate way of defining what a “ghost” is depends on the person experiencing the “haunting.” Some people could mean one thing, when another person could consider it something else, or use a different term for it. For instance; if a person saw the body of a dead person walking around, and they say that dead person looks just like you or me, aside from the time period of clothing it was wearing, they could call that a ghost. Someone else could call that a “residual haunting.” It really just depends.
4) What is the silliest situation you’ve gotten yourself into during an investigation? Any funny stories you’d like to share?
We were investigating the Black Hope Horror area, and I suddenly had to pee. I didn’t want to trek off too far in the woods and get ripped apart by what Jax calls a “chupacabra, “ which actually was a nutra rat, so I stepped about 15-20 feet from base camp, and squatted to pee. Unfortunately I peed on my shoes. The whole thing was caught on digital voice recorders and was blasted all over facebook (which I thought was funny.)
5) Could you briefly tell us what the different members of your team do? I mean, many have seen “case managers” and “tech specialists” while watching Ghost Hunters, but they may not know what each job really entails.
Yes, we have a “case manager” and a “Lead Investigator” as well as a “tech manager.” I think these functions are vital to a team and not everyone can do them, however they are necessary. Our case manager scopes out the place we are going to investigate, she gets as much information and history on the place as possible, and reveals her findings AFTER our investigations to corroborate any evidence findings. Lead Investigator has the most knowledge and experience in the field, so he makes sure we are all doing the right thing. Our tech manager does pretty much everything related to IT. LOL! And me, I show up, listen, learn, and have fun.
6) What do you see as the greatest danger in investigating the paranormal? How can someone prepare for these dangers? Any advice?
I haven’t really experienced any dangers. I would say a danger could be simply a safety hazard from the building/ area of investigation, as well as any other persons involved in your investigation (whether it be the owner or resident.) You never know if they will go crazy on you. I’m more afraid of the humans than the ghosts, but if I ever did have a problem with a ghost, I feel that I have enough light inside of me to keep me safe from too much harm, thanks to the big guy upstairs.
You can catch a few videos of S.P.I.R.E. on their website or on YouTube. Here’s an interesting one on how to start your own paranormal investigation team:
And a local TV news story that was done on one of the team’s investigations: