This is an extended version of our interview with Tim Sandefur that we featured in the May 2009 issue of the Legends and Lore of Illinois. Download the entire issue by clicking here.
1. When did you first become interested in the paranormal?
I became interested in the Paranormal officially in 1985. My friends and I heard about some Chicago haunts such as Resurrection Mary, Bachelors Grove etc from a article in the Chicago Tribune and started to explore. I started going to the library and researching anything I could get my hands on book wise. I read everything Dr Hanz Holzer wrote and obviously read Dale Kazmerak from Ghost Research Society he had been around by that time for 10 years. I met Richard Crowe when I took one of his tours and listened to him on Eddie Swartz’s WGN program around Halloween time for many years and his knowledge inspired me to move forward. The funny thing is I do not have any weird Paranormal ghost stories from when I was a child..My parents built their house and have lived there since, and never had any activity at all to share. So, my interest has been purely research and theory from past Paranormal Researchers and investigations.
2. How long have you been with the Chicago Paranormal Research Society and what compelled you to join?
I started my first official group in 1994 called Northwest Indiana Ghost Research Society, which lasted for 4 years. We were the 3rd group on the Internet after Troy Taylor and Dave and Sharon Oester from IGHS. I moved to Atlanta for my job in 1999-2000 and joined Patrick Burns in the Georgia Ghost Hounds. I moved back to the Chicago area in 2003 and had been doing some free-lance investigations for a few years. I decided I would look for another group to organize or help organize and found some like minded individuals on a Meet-Up group in 2006. We organized into the Chicago Paranormal Research Society and have been going strong ever since that time. So, I am one of the original founders and I am very pleased in the progress we have made. CPRS is a cutting -edge group which has really grown into a respected and up and coming paranormal team.
3. What was the strangest thing you have encountered on an investigation?
One the strangest things I think I have seen and experienced is when our team investigated a old boys school in Indiana around 1998. We had a few people come with our group I had never met as casual observers and to cover some areas because it was huge place. I was setting up equipment near the main administration building. The boys school closed in the 1970’s and had been a nursing home for 10 years and closed down in 1992. After setting up our infared cameras we were preparing to join our team in the building when a woman we had invited yet I didnt know, came running out screaming…kind of reminded me of something out of a movie. She was very pale and breathing heavily. After we got her to calm down she explained something grabbed her very hard…we felt maybe she imagined it so we questioned her along that line.. “Are you sure?””…She suddenly raised her shirt and there was 2 bright red hand prints on her chest that were very hot to the touch..it was the weirdest thing. The woman and her husband quickly left our investigation and we never saw here again..
4. In your opinion, what would you say is the most haunted place in Chicago?
Let me first start off by telling you the 2 most overrated haunted places in Chicago by my opinion is Bachelors Grove and Resurrection Mary. I think both have been fueled by urban legend, folk stories, inaccuracies and speculation. My 1st choice for well known places would have to be the Iroquois Theater and Death Alley, and also the Congress Hotel. I know of a few more places that have constant activity but I don’t have permission to say where, what, who and when.
5. EMF detectors: useful or useless?
The first rule in Pararnormal Investigation everyone should realize is that we use no equipment during our investigations that has ever been proven 100% to detect a ghost and nothing we use was invented for the sole purpose of ghost hunting. The equipment we use detects possible and I do mean possible environmental changes that could signal a spirit.
Why do we use EMF meters in our investigations? Well, the current practiced theory is that Ghosts are simply energy. Which would mean that they generate an electromagnetic field. There are a lot of theories about why they are energy and how they get to be that way. A lot of people think it may have to do with the way the nervous system and the brain works with energy. Some people think its more so that our conciousness as a whole is energy. So, as you see the theories of Ghost are still not defined, so even after 14 years I cannot say it EMF is useful. or useless..
6. How can people get in contact with the Chicago Paranormal Research Society?
You can reach us at www.Chicagoparanormal.org
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