(Watch for a monthy paranormal coming soon in The Sampson Independent)
Curious about things that go bump in the night? So are Sampson residents Billy Edwards and Mark and Tina Joyner, all paranormal investigators.
Edwards is the founder of the Southern Paranormal Society NC while the Joyners are the Night Whispers Paranormal Investigators. However, the three often work together and are part of a larger, local seven member team that doesn’t ghost hunt, but investigates suspicions of paranormal activity in private residences as well as public buildings, businesses, and historical landmarks.
“If people call about things going on in their house that they can’t explain, we can come in, gather evidence, and validate — or not — their claim,” described Tina of their work.
The team uses a variety of equipment, including digital video recorders (DVR) with night vision cameras, voice recorders, electronic magnetic field (EMF) detectors, trigger objects, dowsing rods, K2 meters, and full spectrum cameras to gather evidence of the paranormal.
They also do thorough research on the history of the property that is under investigation. “We’ve got a girl on the team who’s a historian and she is very knowledgeable about the history of Sampson and Johnston counties,” Mark pointed out.
“We’re investigators and we mean business,” he stressed. “We’re there to help the client. We don’t leave anything uncovered.”
And the team doesn’t just utilize equipment and historical records; they also depend on their own skills when conducting investigations.
“Some team members are real sensitive,” Tina explained, noting that some can see and sense paranormal activity.
“Some people are born with gifts like that, but I think a lot of it is that we spend so much time in the dark, we’ve learned to rely on our other senses,” added Edwards.
According to the team, they do about two paranormal investigations per month. “We try not to do more than that because it takes about a week to process the evidence,” Edwards said.
A big part of their job during investigations is debunking, Edwards noted, explaining that many suspicious sights and sounds can be the result of natural causes.
Edwards used EMF levels as an example, explaining that high EMF levels can be caused by household appliances and have the potential to cause a variety of health issues.
“One of the things we look at initially are the presence of high EMF fields possibly caused by electrical disturbances, or any appliance such as ceiling fans, microwaves, lamps, or anything that runs off electricity and can produce high EMF fields,” explained Edwards on his website. “If the EMF fields are high enough or the individual is sensitive to EMF fields (high sensitivity to EMF’s) this can cause a variety of symptoms, heaviness or pressure on a person’s head or chest, nausea, fatigue, or skin irritations. They can also cause a variety of visual and auditory disturbances, ringing in the ears, hair on your neck or arms standing up, a feeling of being watched, and just an overall ‘creeped-out’ feeling. Also fuse boxes, breaker boxes, and improper wiring can also be a source of the high EMF’s.”
The team will also explore the attic and grounds of a house to determine if noises are coming from other natural causes like squirrels, mice, or pipes, added Tina. “We find out if it’s something to be worried about or not.”
Once the team completes an investigation and processes the evidence, they meet with clients to share their findings. “That way they can ask questions and we can explain,” noted Tina.
The team’s findings and the clients’ wishes determine the next steps taken. If paranormal activity is discovered, “some people are OK with living with ghosts,” Edwards said, acknowledging that others are far from OK with it. “Out of every 10, probably four (investigations) lead to house cleansings. It just depends on the client and what it is.”
If the client wishes, the team will perform house cleansings, particularly on demonic cases.
Edwards, who is an ordained minister, usually leads the cleansings, which, he explained, involve two rituals — a spiritual aspect where the team expels the spirit by commanding it out through the power of God and then a second ritual using sage and other aromas to create an unpleasant environment for the spirit. Edwards called this last ritual “the added kick” a spirit may need to leave.
These services the team offers are available at no cost; they operate solely on donations and sponsorships.
Ultimately, it’s the team’s passion for what they do, coupled with their curiosity, that keeps them working and searching for answers.
For Edwards, this October will mark eight years that he has been investigating paranormal activity.
“I had some experiences growing up,” Edwards recalled of how his interest in the paranormal began. “It scares the heck out of you to begin with, but it’s something I always had in the back of my mind and thought about doing but never did.”
One of those experiences happened when Edwards was a teenager and went ghost hunting with friends. Although he can’t remember the specific graveyard, Edwards recalled that it had a huge oak tree in it. As he walked toward the oak tree, Edwards thought he saw someone peek out from around the trunk. At first, he thought it was one of the friends he was with. However, when it peeked around again and stepped out, Edwards knew it was something different.
“It was a woman in a white dress,” described Edwards. “The moonlight didn’t penetrate her but it illuminated her.”
He noted that the woman’s dress seemed to move as if by a slight breeze and that he didn’t see any feet.
“She was an attractive female ghost,” said Edwards, adding that she was also intelligent. “She looked at me, smiled at me, like she knew I saw her. Then she took two steps and disappeared.”
Such experiences with the paranormal are what hooked Edwards as well as the Joyners, who have been paranormal investigators since 2011. Now, they are kept busy, traveling throughout North Carolina and even out of state to conduct investigations.
In addition to numerous private residences, the team has also investigated Clinton’s Victor R. Small House, the Battleship North Carolina, West Virgina State Penitentiary, Flemming Hall on Pope Air Force Base, Ferry Plantation House in Virginia, and locations in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
As they continue their work, the team wants the community at large to grow in its awareness and understanding of the paranormal.
To help with this, the team shared that they are interested in offering a paranormal awareness class through Sampson Community College’s Continuing Education Department, which Edwards noted, would also be good training for anyone thinking about becoming a paranormal investigator.
Eventually the team also hopes to hold paid events where people can come on investigations with the them. “If we can go in and prove what’s being said about a (historical) place, we hope to do paid events there. It would not only help us in our work but would also help keep these (historical) places up and running,” explained Mark.
“People aren’t crazy. If they feel like something’s going on — suspicious noises, shadows — they can contact us,” Mark added. “Our goal is to get more people opened up to it.”
To learn more about the Southern Paranormal Society NC, visit southernparanormalsocietync.com and check it out on Facebook. To contact Edwards, call 910-214-5887 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To contact Night Whispers Paranormal Investigators, call 910-850-8591 or 910-850-8655 or send emails to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at email@example.com.