Friday, October 15, 2010


Cathy Greenfeder

At the Liberty State Fiction Writers meeting this month Mark Sarlo, founder and leader of the Chester County Paranormal Research Society, spoke about his research and his books on the paranormal investigations in West Chester County, Pennsylvania. His experiences and stories are documented in his two books GHOST OF WEST CHESTER and HAUNTED GETTYSBURG.

Mark started off the program by surveying the audience about their beliefs in ghosts and other non-living beings. Almost three-quarter of the audience believed, two-third experienced encounters with ghosts, and a few less encountered other non-living beings.

Science or Pseudo-science?

According to Mark, the paranormal is not an “exact science”. Although scientific instruments and measures are used including EVP and ICC machines, researchers also base their findings on reports from residents of haunted houses or institutions, as well as the feelings - both physical and emotional -- that researchers experience upon entering and visiting haunted premises.

EVP is speech (or speech-like sounds) heard on electronic devices, but not heard in the environment at the time they are recorded. For purposes of research, investigators can pose questions or comments and hear human-sounding voices in response.

EVP recordings usually register noise below the human hearing range. Early on when Mark used such a device, he forgot to turn it off. He fell asleep, and while he slept something crawled into bed beside him. He woke, prayed, and the thing left. Therefore, as with all kinds of paranormal research, Mark urges caution. He suggests that you prepare yourself mentally and emotionally if you are to do parasitological research.

Web sites on the Internet offer all kinds of equipment for amateur psychic sleuths including digital cameras, webcams, night vision, thermal imaging, wireless cameras, voice recorders, microphones, two way radios, and measuring equipment. It’s best to contact the experts before you involve yourself with such research. You can find various associations for parapsychological research.

Haunted History

Gettysburg, the site of one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War, is reportedly one of the most haunted sites in America. The Jenny Wade House is very active. Jenny was a civilian killed by a stray bullet shot during the battle. While baking bread, a bullet struck her through the back and pierced her heart. Her spirit is among those that haunt the site.

In some cases, haunting have led to historical research and findings. “Anthropologists and historians are unearthing a mass grave containing the remains of dozens of Irish workers who died nearly two centuries ago. The find called Duffy’s Cut Project started out as an investigation into local folklore and ghost stories.” (AOL News). Mark’s research team has worked with Immaculata University on this particular site. “Duffy’s Cut is a stretch of rail line in Malvery, 30 miles west of Philadelphia. It was constructed for the Philadelphia and Columbia Railroad in 1832. Much of the construction was completed by a group of 57 Irish immigrants. Within eight weeks of their arrival, all of the men reportedly died during a cholera pandemic. The dead were buried together in a mass grave along Duffy’s Cut.” Research is leading to a theory that Duffy’s Cut may be one of the oldest murder mysteries in Pennsylvania. “All the remains found so far indicate that the men were brutally murdered,” according to William Watson, head of the history department at Immaculata University in Immaculate, Pa.

Ghosts on Film

Movies tend to over dramatize things or over simplify them according to Mark. Not all apparitions are harmful, nor do ghosts only come out at night. Paranormal researchers look for patterns of activity, and that can happen at any time. Children and animals, particularly animals, are more sensitive to paranormal activities. Pet owners often implore the researchers to help them calm their dogs or cats down.

Mark’s book GHOSTS OF WEST CHESTER details the various types of haunting in his Pennsylvania community. These include residual haunting, crisis apparitions, shadow people, poltergeists, haunted houses, and inhuman and demonic haunting. Portals, Mark explained, are locations which become a gateway where things come and go as they please.

Ghost Busting

Who you gonna call?

While most ghostly encounters are benign, there have been injuries and even deaths linked to haunting. Mark told of one person who had been struck by lightning that came up the ground, another man had been thrown down so hard he broke his rotator cuff, one house had over twenty five deaths linked to its haunted premise, and so on.

How do you get rid of a ghost? Mark said that tell them to get out. You need to take control of your residence. Simply say, “I don’t want you here. Leave my family alone.”

For more information or to find out about Mark Sarro’s books, you can go to his website at

Have a Happy and Safe Halloween!♥

Cathy Greenfeder is the author of ANGELS AMONG US and WILDFLOWERS from WingsePress.


  1. Cathy - Thank you for sharing all this fascinating information. I didn't know it was so easy to get rid of a ghost. I guess in our paranormal stories we have to make it much harder or there wouldn't be a conflict!

  2. The world of the paranormal is fascinating and still a little scary. Your post reminds me of Cheryl, whom I still think of often, especially her warnings to never play with magic and remember that ghosts can be harmful.
    Happy Halloween!

  3. Like the cowardly lion, "I do, I do, I DO believe in ghosts." And have no interest in running into them! Great post. Wish I could have been there to hear the speaker!


  4. Ok, I'll be the sceptic here and play "devil's advocate" (though I don't really believe there is such a thing as the devil). Parapsychology is not a science. True science involves such things as double-blind studies and proof in the form of reproducing results by multiple controlled experiments. It is not that ghosts might not exist; it is just that to my knowledge, no one has ever proven that they do, using scientific methodology. "Feelings" don't count in science. I've seen documentaries and read books that have debunked some of the "experiments" conducted by parapsychologists. Ghosts, goblins, vampires and "evil spirits" can be a lot of fun in fiction, and I even enjoy a scary movie involving the so-called "paranormal" now and then. But I'm a pragmatist at heart and believe in the scientific method. That's not to say I would volunteer to spend a night alone in a "haunted" house. As Hamlet said, "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."
    Very interesting and thought provoking post, Cathy!