Do you crave a little something spooky around Halloween? Do you love a good ghost story? If you answered yes then you’re going to love this article about South Carolina Investigators of the Paranormal. Our chat with owner Melinda will fill your need for a scare and maybe even transform a skeptic or two into a believer with her tales so read on. If you dare.
Are you looking to conduct your own ghost hunt? Check this guide to some of the Upstate’s Haunting Hot Spots
When Melinda was just four-years-old, she lived in a home that was haunted in nearby Woodruff, South Carolina. She didn’t live there long but it was enough to pique a lifelong interest in the paranormal.
Today, Melinda and her husband, Joe, head up the South Carolina Investigators of the Paranormal (SCIOP), a group of individuals that investigate possible ghosts, haunted homes, and other paranormal occurrences here in the Upstate.
“Our goal is to help people – both the living and the dead,” Melinda told me. “Don’t be afraid”
For the past five or so years, SCIOP has been taking calls from local residents and families, asking Melinda and her team to check out a possible ghost in their home or business. Oftentimes, people will hear something unusual or see a spirit, or even be touched.
But usually, these ghosts aren’t harmful, although Melinda did have some creepy stories of receiving bruises and scratches and never having felt them happen. Most of the time, the spirit is stuck here or closely attached to a place or thing or maybe doesn’t even realize they have passed.
Melinda assures me that people often have nothing to be worried about when ghosts are around.
“If someone suspects a ghost in their home, I’d tell them not to be afraid,” she says.
Melinda and her husband have seen things move without anyone nearby, no windows open, nothing that would make the object move other than a spirit. But she has never seen anything so crazy as a book being thrown across the room or someone being pushed down the stairs.
Nothing too crazy, just the average ghost, that’s all.
Finding Paranormal Activity
When the team from SCIOP checks out a client’s home, it’s not far off from what the ghost-hunting television shows are like. Her team has a ghost box – basically a radio-like box that can pick up sound on different channels, cameras, and other gear that are typical of ghost hunters.
When listening to the audio recordings, Melinda tells me she uses headphones to hear better – and she has heard things. One story was of her asking the name out loud of the person who had passed, and having the spirit whisper that name, which was caught on audio.
Melinda tells me this story like a baseball player excitedly recounting his home run that won the game.
The thunderstorm outside the building where we met up to talk about ghost hunting was kicking into high gear. The rain pounded the windows. The lightning flashed in the sky. Appropriate for ghost stories I thought.
I asked Melinda to tell me a good ghost story and her green eyes went wide as she asked me if I was familiar with the town of Beaufort in the Lowcountry. Turns out I knew exactly what she was talking about since I had just been a couple of months earlier to the Old Sheldon Church ruins, a church that was burned twice – once during the Revolutionary War and again during the Civil War.
“There is a lot of activity there,” Melinda said.
I didn’t doubt it.
She told me a couple of years ago she had gone with her husband and friends at night. It is really a gorgeous place, with the Spanish moss trees encircling the ruins, gravestones scattered about the area, and woods surrounding the site.
They were walking the perimeter of the ruins when they all clearly heard footsteps crackling on the leaves along the edge of the woods, not far from the church where they were standing. They all had flashlights and shone them where the noise was coming from. Nothing. No one.
The footsteps got closer and louder, then faded back towards the woods. This went on for 15 minutes yet no one was there.
Sensitivity to Spirits & Skeptics
Melinda said she sees spirits sometimes but she feels them even more, especially as an adult. I asked her about children being able to see paranormal activity more than grown-ups.
“Oh yes, children don’t have their guard up as adults do,” Melinda said. “If, as a parent, your child comes to you with what seems like a ghost story, try to make sure they aren’t scared and be open to listening to what the child says.”
Spirits can be like children – they will try to get attention and if someone is able to see or feel them, then the spirit will keep trying to stay in contact. Melinda tells me the spirits sometimes like the attention or maybe they just need some help.
“We are all sensitive to spirits, but some of us more than others. Children are usually more sensitive than anyone,” she said.
My husband frequently tells me he does not believe in ghosts but he is scared of them. Melinda laughed when I mentioned this to her.
“It’s okay to be skeptical, but just wait until you experience the paranormal and then let’s talk.”
Getting Spirits to Leave
The SCIOP is happy to investigate suspected paranormal activity, if not to put minds at ease and calm down residents, but also to help spirits get where they need to go.
If they find evidence of paranormal activity and the client is not comfortable sharing their home with a ghost, the team uses sage and salt to attempt to put up a physical barrier where the ghost won’t go but Melinda said that many spirits will listen to the residents if they tell them to leave.
SCIOP does not charge for its services.
Ready to go ghost hunting?
Interested in learning more about paranormal activity? Feel free to contact the SCIOP via their Facebook page.
Paranormal activity happens all year round, day and night, but does increase around Halloween.
“It definitely picks up that time of year, which could be because of the season but also because people are more open to experiencing the paranormal,” said Melinda.