Halloween is upon us and if you think your hearing things go bump in the night, you may be right. According to the Texas Society of Paranormal Investigators, or TSPI for short, Hurricane Ike did more than flood Orange County and destroy property; it has also stirred up the spirits.

Don Dennis, founder of the group says recently investigated homes in the area are reporting increased activity since the storm.

It is common for activity to increase after repairs, remodeling or the severe weather recently experienced by the area.

TSPI is planning to re-investigate the homes claiming an escalation of incidents since Ike.

One homeowner in a historic neighborhood in Orange, Sherry C. has become frightened at times in her home with the increase of activity.

 “It calls out our names, we hear voices and now it’s moving the furniture,” she said.

Last week she was in the kitchen and walked to the living room for a minute. When she walked back down the hall, a small table was in the middle of the floor. The candles on top of it were not disturbed.

The table has moved on her daughter also. Last week when a friend was over, they were standing in the hall near a mirror, when something ran by them very fast.

Sherry said recently her daughter heard humming while she was asleep. “When she opened her eyes, it stopped, and started again when she closed them,” she said.

Recently the family has started getting sweet smells just for a few seconds at a time. Actually that is something investigators had experienced when at her home a couple of months ago.

They feel there are eight spirits in the house, including the man that built it.

Sherry has another group of investigators from Louisiana coming on Nov. 8.

Another homeowner is worried, because it’s his children that are experiencing the spirits and it keeps disturbing their sleep, especially their young daughter.

With all the caskets washed up in Hollywood Cemetery, there is no telling what is walking the grounds, disturbed from their eternal slumber.

A woman in Bridge City communicated with whatever is sharing her abode as she prepared for evacuation and was told, “Iek will break Bridge City.” (Apparently ghosts can’t spell.) She didn’t understand it at the time and didn’t realize it was so accurate.

 She was given this message through what is called “automatic writing.” The method is achieved when a pen or pencil is put to paper and the hand is allowed to do whatever it wants, allowing spirits to sometimes spell out messages.

This is not a method TSPI uses in investigations.

They use only scientific methods, attempting to gather hard evidence using digital voice recorders to receive electronic voice phenomena (EVPs), which are disembodied voices that are not heard audibly at the time, but show up on the recordings.

Photographs and videos are another method to document activity. The most common occurrence in photographs is orbs. Disputed by many who claim orbs are just specks of dust or bugs, the round balls are sometimes solid balls of light or they can appear see through. Some think, these are the energy of those that have passed.

Occasionally, but much more rare, images of apparitions are captured, or mists and unexplained shadows.

TSPI always tries to disprove any claims of paranormal activity, as most anomalies can be explained. Sometimes, it can be as simple as I a high electromagnetic field given off by faulty electrical wiring or an appliance. High EMF readings can affect the way people feel over time, giving them “creepy” feelings, or making them think someone is in the room with them. Noises could be creaking floor boards, car headlights flashing on the wall could be mistaken for spirits; drafty windows could be responsible for cold spots. All of these things are looked at to find possible explanations. Only when everything else is ruled out is a home declared haunted.

Recently, Channel 12 followed the group to a cemetery investigation and broadcast the story Thursday, Oct. 30, at the 5, 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts.

Nov. 15, the group will go to the legendary Myrtles Plantation, reportedly the most hunted house in America. They have high hopes of catching something on their equipment during the night.

Halloween night they are scaring a little fun up for area residents, holding their first scavenger hunt.

It will be a welcome break from the day to day drain, hurricane recovery takes on people. Half the proceeds with be redistributed in cash and prizes. Some of the items collected will be donated to hurricane victims and some of the funds will be used for equipment for the group.

Some of the prizes donated so far are gift certificates from Outback, Olive Garden, Wienerschnitzel, Cinemark Tinsel Town, Hair Cartel and The Great American Cookie Company among others.

There is a $10 fee per person and a mandatory list of five items to be donated being eligible for prizes. Bring a camera, as some of the items are photographs.

Dennis will be on channel 12 Friday morning promoting the scavenger hunt.

For more information, call 769-1457 and leave a message, or show up at Sertino’s Friday at 6 p.m. to register if you would live to participate in the scavenger hunt. Hunters must return by 9:30 p.m. with their items for prize distribution at 10 p.m.

If you have a home you feel is haunted and would be interested in an investigation, call the above number, leave a message and someone will get back with you. There is never a charge for an investigation.

Check out Diary of a Ghosthunter.

About Penny LeLeux

Penny has worked at The Record Newspapers since 2006. A member of the editorial staff, she has "done everything but print it." Most frequently she writes entertainment reviews and human interest stories, with a little paranormal thrown in from time to time.She has been a lifelong member of the Orangefield community.