Imagine a sixteen year-old boy helplessly choking on his guitar pick, struggling in vain for air as hordes of people have no idea that he is in a life-threatening situation. All of a sudden, a whack on his back from seemingly out of nowhere opens up his windpipe—this is the paranormal experience that Eric Olsen, a ghost hunter and writer, relayed to about 50 people on Friday, Oct. 31, in Ness Auditorium.
Olsen, a ’79 Wittenberg graduate, went on to tell the audience that he believes that it was the spirit of a deceased mentor that had saved him—the same mentor to whom he was dedicating the song that he had been playing.
The story was among several that Olsen shared at the Friday afternoon talk that was titled “Writing, Publishing and Ghost Hunting.”
Several of Olsen’s stories took place at Wittenberg, and he said that although some could be explained through other phenomena — such as sleep paralysis — he truly believes that he has some connection to the paranormal.
“I do see myself as an open-minded skeptic,” Olsen said. “I try to de-bunk whatever I can.”
After discussing his paranormal experiences and asking for audience members to share any experiences that they may have had, Olsen talked about his book, “America’s Most Haunted: the Secrets of Paranormal Places,” and some of his personal writing techniques.
“The essence of writing has two parts—inspiration and perspiration,” Olsen said. “You shouldn’t interrupt the inspiration as it flows through you, but you also can’t forget to self-edit over and over and over again.”
Following Olsen’s talk was that of ghost hunter Darin Hough, who said that ever since he was a little kid, he has had strange occurrences happen to him, such as toys operating without batteries or doors slamming shut without notice.
“The paranormal is something that can’t be explained, but also something that can’t be denied,” Hough said.
Hough, a Springfield native, is a part of the Miami Valley Paranormal Services, a group of paranormal investigators that researches the paranormal through scientific means.
Hough told the audience that to ghost hunt, all a person really needs is a flashlight and a camera.
Although Hough did not have time to demonstrate his investigative techniques through the various instruments that he had brought, he was able to talk about some of his investigations, such as at the Robertson building in Springfield.
He also shared with the audience pictures and audio tapes of ghost hunting trips that were successful in terms of encountering the paranormal.
“More often than not, nothing happens,” Hough said, “but we are always sitting around, just asking for something to happen.”