Bob Schaeffer of Blue Mountain Paranormal Society was the speaker for the March 14 meeting of the Palmerton Area Historical Society. He brought a report about the society's visit to the Little White Church in October.
His report was quickly out of the way when he said there were too many people and too much noise. However, people did have fun using the society's equipment and speculating on what might be there, he said.
So members of the society returned to the church on March 13 and it is that visit he reported about.
The first question people ask is if the building or site is haunted. Being haunted looks for intelligent interaction - not necessarily talking back and forth.
The other thing they look for is residual input from a historical event such as the cannon shot at 3 a.m. when they stayed overnight at Fort Mifflin.
Schaeffer said they did have the former - intelligent interaction at the church. Three members of the paranormal society visited the church because of its historical significance. From the burying ground bangs and knocks could be heard many of which could have been the wind, but he thought some were of significant value.
Bangs in the building are pulled out from the recording and made louder. A small aura was felt at the altar so they thought they might be able to get a picture but all that showed was a purple blob on a photo. Todd stood at the altar where he shouldn't be. A voice seemed to come from the center aisle end of the last pew. When it was played louder it could be heard saying "No respect."
The banging continued and between two bangs could be heard "Here." A third bang was followed by a hollow sound that doesn't fit the picture, said Schaeffer.
He asked if the back door normally unlatched and would blow open. Although it has never been known to, it opened four times that night and after the first time people made sure it was properly latched.
On a Frank's Box a.m. and f.m. radio can be manipulated. Schaeffer said the communication from that was a complaint that the Christmas tree had not been taken down.
"I think an intelligent individual wanted to do more," said Schaeffer.
He was asked if some recordings are still analog but they are all digital. Another question was whether video was used. Schaeffer said black light can give some images but not like a photograph. They also use infrared cameras.
Although the society enjoys visiting historical sites, the ones they like most are with local families.
A lot of evidence has been found at the hotel in Mahoning. They found the best things they get are when they are not in a room - just leaving equipment there. Sometimes they will ask pointed questions but seldom get a reply.
Before doing a study there will be a preinvestigation and a walk-through of the home. Deeds will be pulled to get names of previous owners.
The homeowner just says, "Something is not right."
At 99 percent of the places nothing happens. It is the remaining 1 percent that maintains their interest
Betsy Burnhauser, historical society secretary, said at the grave of a man named Robert she said, "Robert, according to your stone you passed at an early age."
The man in the grave told her he was "Bob."
The paranormal society has given $3,400 back to the community from money people pay to watch them work, said Schaeffer.
In other business: A 1964 issue of the Palmerton Post was donated to the society. Acquisitions manager George Ashman said they are hard to come by because the only person known to have a large collection had them destroyed in a flood.
Membership has hit a new high with some still coming in, reported Jane Borbe. Decorations will be removed from the church on April 18, 9 a.m.
A program, Victorian Funeral Customs, will be held in the Little White Church with a tentative date of Oct. 10. The annual ecumenical service will be held Dec. 4.
The Christmas banquet will be held Dec. 12 at the Blue Ridge Country Club. Jack Gunsser will talk about some of the items in his collection.
People found out the security system at the church works when it was set off by a member. It reset itself.
There are 10 historical throws still available at the Heritage Center. A new order for 25 will be sent in.
George Petrole of Northface Development will talk about the plans for the West Plant site in April. However, he will be coming home from Florida that morning so there may be a surprise substitute program.