Paranormal researchers to give presentation at Portage library
It should be easy for people to let go of misconceptions concerning paranormal researchers in the Fox Cities Paranormal Team’s presentation Oct. 19 at Portage Public Library, lead investigator Tim Maile says. They need only listen.
“Some people have this idea that we just sit in a room and summon spirits,” he said of his Oshkosh-based team of 14. “That’s not the case at all.”
Many people in this world remain skeptical about the paranormal, in general, and go as far to assume researchers like Maile lack religion or morals, he said. But skeptics don’t bother him. His team has investigated paranormal cases in more than 200 homes since 2008, he said, and their reasons for doing what they do are clear to the people they work for.
“This is about helping families,” said Maile, who will present in Portage alongside teammate Todd Arnold. “People often find us via word of mouth and they typically contact us when they’re at their wits’ end.”
It takes a while for someone to ask strangers to come over and sit in their home for an evening, Maile said. Paranormal is “taboo” in most circles. His team gets most of its cases from positive “word of mouth” and that’s why library visits like the one in Portage hold a lot of value for his group: Lectures put them in touch with families who didn’t know the team existed.
“This might sound corny, but if we leave a home and the family feels better than when we got there, I consider it a victory,” Maile said.
Their presentation marks the first of three adult programs set for this fall at Portage Public Library, adult services librarian Autumn Baumann said. The author of “Wisconsin Supper Clubs: An Old Fashioned Experience” — Ron Faiola – visits Oct. 25, and the author of “The Packer’s Century: 100 Years of Packer History” visits Nov. 3.
“We really wanted to offer something for everyone – something that’s free and interesting to a wide variety of people,” Baumann said of the schedule. “We want our programming to be all-inclusive and multi-generational.”
A closer look
The Fox Cities team has been to Portage before – their first two visits for home investigations. Respecting the privacy of people involved in these investigations, Maile would only say their first investigation in Portage occurred three years ago and their second took place in January.
Issues they deal with during investigations “run the gamut,” Maile said. Homeowners see shadows or apparitions or they hear noises like banging on the walls or voices.
But not every home the team visits experiences the paranormal. “Shadows can be explained, banging in the walls could just be an old house, and a lot times people lose the ability to think about things logically when they’re thinking: ‘ghost,’” Maile said.
“If you’ve never had this stuff happen to you, it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking everything is a spirit, and so it takes another set of eyes and ears to sit down and say, ’I think this is what’s actually happening.”
Each investigation presents a new puzzle to Fox Cities – one case is never the same as another, he said. Fox Cities once investigated a case that lasted two years.
Their first step is to conduct a phone interview, and when the client feels comfortable, they visit the home to learn more. The team typically holds home investigations from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. — not because things happen at night but “because things are quieter and it’s easier for us to do our jobs,” Maile said.
The team sets up cameras and audio equipment, and on average leaves with about 60 hours of material to review. They tell families what happened or didn’t happen, and provide recommendations about where to go from there.
“A lot of times people think we’re in the business of removing spirits form a home, but I would say 80 to 85 percent of the spirits we deal with end up being a family member or friend, and once people have an idea of who it is, they no longer want it to go away.”
“There’s a lot of pressure in this job, honestly,” Maile said, “especially when a family is considering leaving their home.”