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Potsdam paranormal investigators launch radio show

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POTSDAM — For three years Paranormal Investigations St. Lawrence Seaway has crisscrossed the north country studying things that go bump in the night. Now they are on the airwaves.

The group, which calls itself PISToLS for short, is now broadcasting an internet radio show on ZTalkRadio.com.

“We’re going to have a variety of guests and we’re going to talk about all sorts of different types of paranormal things,” said PISToLS co-founder Lana M. Putnam.

The show airs from 5 to 7 p.m. Sundays.

Ryan Meashaw, another co-founder of PISToLS, said the show is an opportunity to publicize the group’s years of paranormal investigation, but he would rather see it as a method to inform the public.

“A lot of people think we’re doing this to gain publicity and to get our name out there,” he said. “The main reason is to spread awareness and to help educate people.”

PISToLS works for free, according to Ms. Putnam, and aims to help worried property owners who have experiences they can’t explain.

“Each one of us has all had our experiences, for example I grew up in a haunted home, I owned a haunted home,” she said. “To help other people understand it is not that scary, to help people who have had bad experiences get through it and conquer it, that is what we’re all about — and we’re learning, everybody’s learning.”

Though there is no direct evidence supporting the existence of ghosts, PISToLS’s findings are based more on their desire to believe. The group uses scientific observation to determine what is happening.

A team of six investigators enters a property after sunset and divide into groups of two, Ms. Putnam said. Each investigator carries an audio recorder and cameras. Sometimes, unmanned cameras are set-up in areas known to be hot spots of paranormal activity.

Ms. Putnam said the group catches a lot of electronic voice phenomenon, sounds recorded that cannot be explained by activity in the area.

“Personality wise, as far as spirits, we’ve caught everything from laughter to dog barks when there are no dogs anywhere,” she said. “Children giggling at us, we’ve been yelled at before, told to get out and we’ve been screamed at before. A lot of it you don’t hear at the time.”

At the investigation’s conclusion, the recordings are analyzed for anything which seems out of the ordinary. Ms. Putnam said the group has high standards for what it considers significant observations.

“It takes me at least an hour to run through 15 minutes of audio — we back it up and listen to it again, and again, and again,” she said. “When we go through our pictures and our video, it is the same thing. I’m not talking about dust. We’re watching and listening for real stuff. We’re very picky about our audio.”

The recordings are also compared with an investigation site’s history, any coincidence between sounds or images and former occupants of the site is noted. After the analysis is complete, it is handed over to the client, along with a description of what was found.

Though shows like SyFy’s ‘Ghosthunters’ popularize applying science to paranormal investigation, Mr. Meashaw and Ms. Putnam acknowledge their field is controversial.

“Orville and Wilbur Wright, when they were learning how to fly, everybody was laughing at them,” Ms. Putnam said. “We’re learning how to communicate. Someday, this may be as common as flying.”

Mr. Meashaw said that the group operates on conditions of confidentiality to protect their clients from ridicule.

“Our clients may be afraid of what other people may think about them or their family,” he said. “We’ve come a long ways, but you still have a lot of people who attach a stigma to the paranormal. We’re more than happy to keep quiet, get them the help they need.”

PISToLS is not ‘The Ghostbusters’ — the group is sympathetic to any potential ghosts in the room, according to Ms. Putnam.

“You have to consider their point of view,” she said. “You walk in to a place they’ve inhabited for who-knows-how-long, and you’re changing things, they can see you but you can’t see them. You’re tearing down their wallpaper, moving furniture — what are they going to do? Try to get attention, try to communicate.”

““It is exciting, because they want me to come over and talk to them, they want me to see something. To me that will always be awesome and exciting to me that they want to communicate.”

Anyone interested in having PISToLS investigate their property can reach the group at (315) 804-8940.

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