Wandering through graveyards at night isn't for everyone, but for Calvin Price and Amanda Haupt, it has become a passion.
The two started the Coldspotters Vancouver Paranormal group on Meetup.com about a year ago, but their interest in ghosts started much earlier, they say.
Haupt says she was "absolutely fascinated" by the paranormal at a young age, and she began experiencing it on a personal level when she was 16 and living in a group home in East Vancouver.
"We had doors slamming, we had lights that would go on and off, we would have kitchen cupboards slamming open, condiments coming out of the fridge and just being splattered everywhere," she says. "We had actually a lot of activity."
While the staff advised the residents not to talk about ghosts, Haupt says, there was one adult who believed - a former resident who visited the home.
She asked for a tour of the place and at the end, she turned to Haupt and said, "He's here to protect you - and you know who I'm talking about."
For Price, getting adults to believe him was not a problem - he grew up in a family that had frequent séances and used Ouija boards.
"I got introduced to it by virtue of the fact that most of the members of my family on my mom's side all had abilities," he says.
Because of that, he says he was never really afraid of ghosts, even when he had his own encounter.
"When I was seven years old, I had an encounter or visitation or whatever you want to call it, with what is called a shadow man," he says. "A shadow man - I think it's just called that because you don't know if it's a ghost or ... it's very unclear what it is. It literally is a shadow that has sort of, the three dimensions to it, as if a shadow lifted off the wall and started walking towards you."
Price and Haupt took the NOW for a tour through Mountain View Cemetery in Vancouver, which the group has visited twice.
One of the most active spots, they say, is the grave of Col. Laurence William Herchmer, where they have felt cold spots and also recorded audio.
Ghost hunting can often seem about as exciting as "watching paint dry," Price says, because it is very quiet and things can happen slowly.
But even when it seems quiet, there can be things happening that the group is not aware of, he adds.
During the group's first visit to Mountain View, they experienced a clear example of electronic voice phenomenon, or EVP - when sounds are found on a voice recording that shouldn't be there.
"When we had the event here, back in April, and we were videotaping everything, you know, we wanted to make our own documentary and everything. So Amanda is videotaping me and I'm calling out team names," he says. "And Amanda, she calls over to Erin and she says, 'Wow, you've got a big team' and she says 'I know,' and then you hear this voice say, 'and me.'"
Price played the recording for the NOW, and at the end, there was a distinct, though low, voice saying, "and me."
Price and Haupt started the group in June 2012 after joining another local group that was no longer active.
The group has visited local cemeteries and other reputed haunted spots throughout the Lower Mainland, including Burnaby, and travelled to Victoria. They also do private investigations.
Saturday, the group is going to the Kent Cemetery in Agassiz, where they had some spooky experiences last year, Price says.
The group also attends movies together and has plans to go to Hallowe'en events such as Fright Nights. They have monthly luncheons, often in New Westminster, as well as monthly Tarot nights where they learn about Tarot cards and do readings.
For more information, go to www.meetup.com and search for Coldspotters Vancouver Paranormal.
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