And just what is that lurking under the bed?
“When I was 12, I suddenly woke up a little past midnight,” said Carol — she asked that her real name be withheld — who still remembers a strange occurrence in 1962, with what she thinks was the paranormal.
“I sat up in bed and distinctly saw a black hand floating down the hallway,” she said. “My dad was away, and I woke up my mom and my brother, trying to describe what I saw. I would not stay in the house, so in the middle of the night my mom drove us out to my grandparents.
“I remember later my parents talking about it and saying it must have been a nightmare, but it wasn’t. It was real. Today, I can still see that hand.”
Belief in the supernatural is beside the point; strange things happen that cannot be explained. At least that’s the philosophy at Midnight Paranormal, an Oklahoman answer to TV’s Ghost Hunters.
“Our research and investigation team comes from all walks of life,” said Lindsey Miles, founder and president. “We have one common goal: to better understand paranormal phenomena, and to help those who feel their lives may have been touched by those who have passed on.”
Miles said that in each case, Midnight Paranormal members conduct research and educate themselves and their clients, emphasizing professionalism.
Three types of free investigation are offered: business, residential and abandoned sites; for a small donation, the group will take you on a private investigation.
Bridges and basements
It was nearly a decade ago when an unearthly encounter led to Miles’ fascination with the supernatural.
“I was about 20, and working at Foley’s when I heard some of my coworkers talking about an old bridge that was supposedly haunted,” she said. “After work, we made a trip out to the bridge, and took some cameras and recorders. Once we got there, I really wanted to stay in the car because the bridge itself was very spooky. Reluctantly, though, I joined my friends.”
Noticing an eerie quiet on the bridge, they took photos and made audio recordings before returning to the car.
“On the way home, we listened to the tape and heard the distinct sound of a baby crying. I couldn’t get it out of my mind,” she said.
Miles was compelled to return to the next day.
“While I was exploring underneath, I looked up to see a woman on the bridge with a blanket, and then she just disappeared, vanished,” she said. “If you had asked me before that experience if I believed in ghosts, I would have laughed and said, ‘No.’ Today the answer is a definite ‘yes.’” Using electromagnetic field detectors, sophisticated voice recorders and other ghost-hunting tools, the group has collected a ton of evidence and had some spooky experiences.
One such occurrence happened recently at the old mercantile in Guthrie.
“We learned about this ‘woman in white’ who was haunting the basement,” Miles said. “We set up our equipment and positioned ourselves in an L shape where we could all see each other. The lights on the electromagnetic field detectors were supposed to change from clear to green if any movement was detected, and then red if something came close to us.”
She and her team watched as the lights turned green one by one, indicating a presence getting closer.
Then all the lights went red. “I felt a hand touch my hand, and it was really cold,” said Miles. “Then it felt like someone hit me on the back of the head and I had difficulty breathing. I have a set of rules I live by when I’m doing investigations, and I had to quickly remember the first one: ‘Don’t run.’” She was scared but determined to finish the investigation.
“Experiences like that make me sometimes question if this is the field for me, but I’m pretty stubborn and realize it is just part of the business,” Miles said.
Reel vs. real
Stories of haunted spaces might make many people think of movies like Poltergeist and The Amityville Horror, but Miles said rickety old mansions and creepy little women squealing, “Go into the light, Carol Ann!” are mere Hollywood concoctions.
“Those kinds of movies are made to scare audiences, and are not an accurate representation of the paranormal,” Miles said. “I have seen some frightening things, but a lot of what you see on a movie screen just doesn’t happen.”
Some folks are always going to be skeptical when it comes to the supernatural — and Miles said that’s OK.
“Those who don’t believe what they don’t understand are always going to voice their opinion. We do not try to persuade people into believing; our only intent is to capture evidence and show what we have found. Skeptics just make us work harder to prove there is something out there beyond this world as we know it.”