2011-10-27 / Community

Paranormal Housewives will hunt your house ghost for free

By Stephanie Bertholdo


ON THE JOB GHOST WHISPERERS— The Paranormal Housewives investigate haunted homes, hotels, schools, theaters and other places throughout Southern California. From left: Kimberly Demmary, Marsha Covert, Lizbeth Martinez, Kirsten Thorne and Erin Potter at the old Amargosa Hotel in Death Valley Junction. The women believe life is a continuum and that the soul survives physical death. ON THE JOB GHOST WHISPERERS— The Paranormal Housewives investigate haunted homes, hotels, schools, theaters and other places throughout Southern California. From left: Kimberly Demmary, Marsha Covert, Lizbeth Martinez, Kirsten Thorne and Erin Potter at the old Amargosa Hotel in Death Valley Junction. The women believe life is a continuum and that the soul survives physical death. Sometimes when things go bump in the night they cannot be blamed on creaky floorboards or clanging water pipes.

Ghostly occurrences, that’s what they are, say a team of ghost hunters who call themselves the Paranormal Housewives.

They’re a group of five women who aim to prove that some odd noises and strange sights in homes, schools, hotels, hospitals and other locations are attributable to the spirits of the deceased trying to make contact with the living.

Kirsten Thorne, Kimberly Demmary, Lizeth Martinez, Erin Potter and Marsha Covert make up the ghost-hunting team.

According to Thorne, a 46-yearold Yale-educated Spanish professor at Pierce College who lives in Woodland Hills, the team’s work is long overdue.

“It was time for an all-female team to do our own investigations and take control of our destinies,” Thorne said.

At a meeting at Cal State Channel Islands, the former site of Camarillo State Mental Hospital, Thorne, Demmary and Martinez told stories of their fascination with the paranormal, how they conduct investigations and some of their ghostly encounters.

Potter talked about her experiences in a phone interview. Covert could not be reached for her input.

First encounters

“When I was a kid I lived in a haunted house,” Demmary said. “I would see a man standing in my bedroom, in the corner, looking like Abraham Lincoln—tall and solid.”

Demmary, a Camarillo resident who works as a senior business analyst at Healthnet, said when she was 20 years old she saw the spirit of her grandmother, who also appeared as a solid figure.

“She walked into the bedroom as if she was going to pick something up from the floor,” she said.

Demmary categorized this type of haunting as “residual,” since the spirit of her grandmother didn’t acknowledge her in the room. Residual hauntings are considered playbacks of previous events, versus an “intelligent” haunting, where there is some kind of purposeful interaction between the living and the dead.

Thorne said the spirit of her grandfather paid her a visit minutes after he died.

“When I was 6 years old, my grandfather came into my room to say goodbye to me,” Thorne said. “He said, ‘Be a good girl and take care of your sister.’”

When Thorne asked her grandfather where he was going, he wouldn’t say. The following morning, Thorne asked her parents where her Grandpa Joe was going.

“My mom started to cry and told me he had died the previous night in Oregon, where I grew up.”

Martinez, 32, lives in Oxnard and works for the City of Ventura as an office assistant and interpreter. As with the other women on the team, she was young when she first suspected something supernatural was occurring in her home. She would routinely see a shadow of a man appear in her home’s hallway. Martinez’s younger sister said that the man would not let her pass him in the hall.

“We kept hearing people walking in the hallway,” Martinez said, adding that she and her siblings also routinely heard dishes breaking.

The clincher for Martinez that something strange was going on in her house came when her youngest brother said he was stopped from walking down the hall by a man. His description matched the one her sister had given years earlier.

Potter’s first encounter was at the age of 5 in Long Beach.

“There was a ghost at my mom’s house,” she said. “He would hide my Barbie clothes, and I had to find them. It was a game we played on a regular basis. Everybody called him my imaginary friend. As I got older I realized that imaginary was not real, and this was certainly real.”

Hunting ghosts

Thorne said one of her strangest encounters happened during a church investigation in Orange County. While sitting in a church pew, with her teammates as witnesses, the skull necklace that she was wearing was pulled back against her neck and flipped under her shirt.

Although no pictures were captured of the event because of equipment failure, Martinez and Demmary vouched that the incident happened.

“It was the best thing I’ve ever seen,” Demmary said.

Thorne said she believed that a spirit wasn’t happy with her choice of necklace.

“Someone didn’t like me wearing it in the church, so they hid it,” she said.

The women use a variety of gadgets to collect evidence of an afterlife. Besides video recorders and cameras, digital recorders are used to capture EVPs, or electronic voice phenomena.

At an investigation at La Purisima Mission in Lompoc, Demmary said she captured a man’s voice saying, “I’m fine.”

Martinez said while she was visiting a college campus, a male voice responded to a joke about her intestinal problems. When the tape was played back, she said a voice was heard saying, “That’s gross.”

Thorne said her favorite EVP was that of a little girl who said, “It’s lonely out here.” She and Covert captured the voice on tape after an investigation that involved a young girl who had died on the property.

The holy grail of ghost hunting is to witness, and hopefully capture on video or in pictures, an apparition.

“The best one I’ve ever seen was at an abandoned hospital,” Martinez said. “I just walked into this huge room . . . and saw a woman dressed like a nurse. She looked angry. Everything behind her looked lit up like daytime. Within a second it was gone.”

At the Olivas Adobe, built on mission land in Ventura, Thorne saw another angry woman, this one dressed in Victorian garb. When she researched the history of the home, she came across a picture of the woman she’d seen the previous day. She believes she saw an apparition of Teodora Olivas and not a docent playing the part of the woman who once lived at the property.

Potter has seen several apparitions over the years. When she was 11, she saw a mist materializing in her aunt’s laundry area.

“It freaked me out a little bit,” she said.

She also says she saw a vision of woman in the paint aisle at a store in Lakewood. “She was looking at the shelf, turned and looked at me and vanished,” Potter said.

Danger signs

The women say that while they rarely feel much fear during investigations, they are aware that investigations could be dangerous.

“One has to be very careful about where you investigate and the intentions you bring to it,” Thorne said.

She says she was touched and pushed at an abandoned hospital by something that she couldn’t see.

“I came home and felt like my mind wasn’t my own,” Thorne said. “It was very scary.”

Demmary said she has come home from investigations and found scratches on her body.

Martinez said she follows her intuition on investigations.

“If something tells me something is wrong or not safe, I say I’m done.”

Free investigations

The Paranormal Housewives will investigate hauntings for free almost anywhere in Southern California.

For more information, email paranormalhousewives@yahoo.com or visit http:// paranormalhousewives.com.

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