Richie Lathrop, back right, begins his presentation on ghost hunting on Saturday, Nov. 18, at Jay-Niles Memorial Library in Jay. Brian Ponce/Franklin Journal

JAY — Even though Halloween is done and over with, that doesn’t mean ghosts and specters are on a break. Jay-Niles Memorial Library played host to a class on ghost hunting 101 with the Paranormal Five, a family of ghost hunters from Stanford, on Saturday, Nov. 18.

Stanford natives Missy Lathrop and Richie, along with their three children, gave a presentation on the basics of ghost hunting, which included different types of hauntings, equipment and some background on the history of ghost hunting.

The event took place at 5 p.m. and was followed by a walk through of the library so that participants could apply the knowledge taught during the presentation. The event was an all ages event, which Missy felt was important.

“If you speak to any investigator out there,” she shared, “they more than likely will say their interest in the paranormal started in childhood. We also want kids to know that things that may go bump in the night are not scary and what you see on TV is not what paranormal investigating is like.”

In their presentation, Missy and Richie spoke about the history of ghost stories, stating that they go back as far as the Roman Empire in the first century, and Greek and Roman literature included ghosts and other spectral figures in the writing.

The husband and wife duo also mentioned other famous investigators, such as Harry Price, Hans Holzer and Ed and Lorraine Warren, the latter of which are the subject of the Conjuring film franchise.


Both Missy and Richie stressed, however, that ghost hunting is not how it is in the movies.

Richie defined paranormal as “denoting events or phenomena such as telekinesis and clairvoyance that are beyond the scope of normal scientific understanding.”

The couple would go on to define different types of hauntings, such as a residual haunting which is defined as “imprinted energy that plays on a loop with no interactions.” This is contrasted by intelligent hauntings, which are interactive.

Other types of hauntings include demonic, orbs and even elemental/nature spirits as well.

As for tools, the Paranormal Five utilizes electromagnetic field detectors, which are devices that measure ambient electromagnetic fields. Many investigators believe that a high amount of electromagnetic activity could be indicative of a spiritual presence.

The family also uses digital recorders, as it is believed that spirit energy is able to communicate through frequencies that are not audible to normal hearing. The Spirit Box is another device used by paranormal investigators. The device scans radio frequencies to find unusual activity and follows the same principals as digital recorders.

Cameras and motion sensors are also utilized by the family. Metaphysical tools, such as pendulums, tarot cards, crystals and scrying mirrors are also favored by paranormal investigators, but the couple states that investigators’ best tool is their own intuition.

At the end of their presentation, the family stressed to the audience the four aspects of ghost hunting: to remember to respect the history, respect the location, respect people both living and dead and paranormal investigating is not what you see on TV.

The Lathrops shared some locations in Maine for audience members to visit and try their hand at paranormal investigation. These locations include the Strand Theater in Skowhegan and Smith-Anderson Cemetery in Windham.

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