Melissa Tanner is the founder and lead investigator for TnT Paranormal Investigators, LLC (TnT Paranormal) out of the Chicagoland area. Before starting TnT Paranormal in 2009, she had investigated with several other paranormal teams and at several of the most haunted places in America. She has used those experiences to hone her skills as an investigator. Melissa is very grateful to her family, friends, partner, two step-daughters, and three dogs (Chintu, Saffie, and Tango) for allowing her to follow this passion.
How long have you been interested in the paranormal, and what sparked that interest? Was it a particular event or encounter, or have you just always been drawn to the unusual?
Not one event, but rather several. I’ve been interested in the paranormal for as long as I can remember. I grew up in a small town in Missouri that was a lead mining town from the late 1800s to around World War II and close to several Civil War battle sites. My great grandparents would take us for drives on Sunday after church and tell us the “ghost stories” from those times. Then, as a teen we would frequent the Spook Light near Joplin and old Camp Crowder (where they kept German POWs from WWII) and had many weird experiences.
You formed TnT Paranormal in 2009 at the height of popular interest in paranormal investigation – did you see your group as filling a need in the investigation field? How does your group do things differently than many of the others?
It was not one specific thing that led me to form the team. Prior to starting my team I had belonged to two other teams and just felt like something was missing. A few friends, who became team members, encouraged me to start my own team. So in the late fall of 2009 I did. We’ve been going strong ever since.
It is hard to answer that since each team uses different techniques and procedures. What I can say is what we do. We start with a detailed, face to face, interview with the client and a walkthrough of the location. During this interview we are trying to get to the know the client better, learn more about what is happening at the location, and to make determinations on where we could setup equipment and the command center. Based on this information an equipment setup plan is developed and brought to the investigation. Additionally a little bit of research is conducted on the location. For the investigation, we setup a lot of different pieces of equipment and sweep the location with other equipment to get baseline readings.
We also take photos of the entire location to have a documented record of the location and equipment placement before we begin. Typically an investigation will take between 6 and 8 hours. During an investigation we will use techniques to try to prove or debunk claims, as well as: conduct EVP sessions, take EMF and temperature readings, as well as use other methods to try and get the spirits to communicate with us. Once the investigation is done we will review all of the audio, video, photo, and other data that we captured during an investigation. The review process will take 2 to 3 weeks to complete. During this time we will conduct more research on the location and surrounding area, including, but not limited to, geological, environmental, cell tower, moon phase, and weather data.
Then once all of the information is ready we will then meet with the client and present the findings we have and/or conclusions we came to from the data collected. All of the data is stored in a database along with our other cases. So for us, it’s all about data. We log everything thing we do and track all aspects of the investigation and process. To learn more go to: http://www.tntparanormal.com/technologytechniques.htm
What do you believe is the most common mistake paranormal investigators make? How can they correct that mistake?
Not being skeptical enough when doing their research. Not using every possible avenue, tool, and technique before jumping to “it’s haunted” or “it’s paranormal”. On my team we try to debunk every claim, by applying common sense and try to find a natural or man-made cause (aka debunk) for activity before jumping to “ghost”, “spirit”, or “entity”. Educate yourself on all kinds of things from use of equipment to common everyday occurrences (like water hammer and effects certain things can have on you) to medical conditions that can cause “paranormal” type of affects. We try to debunk all things that the client report, that happened during an investigation, and even found during data review (by using a data triangulation technique) before we go to “it’s paranormal”.
You and TnT Paranormal have done many presentations around Chicago and its suburbs – what has been the most interesting question raised by a member of the audience? Have you ever had an audience member bring up a phenomenon or unusual experience that you had never heard of before?
We’ve had a few. I think the most common question we get is what does TnT stand for. Which is the first initial of the last name of two of the founding members. The most interesting question was probably “why do you investigate at night”. To learn more about the answer to that question look for our May issue of Bumps in the Night!!!.
As for phenomenon, we had one. We were sharing the information on the “Black Eyed Kids” phenomenon that we learned about at the last Chicago Ghost Conference from presenter Dave Schrader and this elderly woman raised her hand. She said that a few years ago she had a similar experience where these three children in black outfits, with eyes she could not see, came to her door and rang the bell. From her kitchen you could see into her front room where her door was and she could see them, but did not recognize them. They noticed her standing there and motioned to her to come let them in. She did not. She said she felt sad and very scared. Her story made me wonder…are the Black Eyed Kids for real? Or are they just urban legend?
Tell us a little about your monthly newsletter, Bumps in the Night!!! What kinds of articles do you publish, and where can our readers go to check it out?
The team and I publish a monthly newsletter we have named “Bumps in the Night!!!”. In the newsletter we feature new articles each monthly in the following areas:
- TnT Paranormal Happenings – Focusing on what we at TnT Paranormal are doing
- Paranormal 101 – Articles on Paranormal related topics meant to educate the reader on the paranormal
- Tools of the Trade – Articles on tools used during paranormal investigations
- Famous Haunts – Articles on famous haunted locations around the world
- Paranormal Talk with Rev. Kathy – Articles written by a friend of the team, Rev. Kathy Houck
- Ghostly Believe it or Not! – Featuring ghost stories from our readers, family, or friends
- Upcoming TnT Paranormal Events – If we have public or pay events coming up
- Upcoming Paranormal Events – Events given by big name groups like TAPS or Nightwatchers
- From the Paranormal Bookstore (or Videostore) – Feature a book or video each month
- Investigator Spotlight – A small piece on each of our investigators
Please note all of the content in the newsletter is written by a team member, subscriber, or close friends of the team. If would be interested in receiving this newsletter please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or go to the below link to read past issues:http://www.tntparanormal.com/bumpsinthenight.htm
How can our readers contact you if they would like to schedule an investigation or a group presentation?
They can email me at Melissa@tntparanormal.com and I would gladly help them anyway we can.
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