Spirits stirring in Baldwin library's series on the paranormal
Thursday, September 27, 2007 • view this article at the Post Gazette website

By Jennifer Goga

*The article that you will read has just a few discrepancies that we would like to clear up. GPPS has not collectively done 75 investigations in the area-but this was a ball park number that includes the outer regions and even out of state investigations.

Also, it takes forty hours for an entire investigation - not just the research. This is including the research, interviews, pre-investigation visit, investigation, analysis and review. We would like to take the time to thank the writer, Jennifer Goga for the article, and for being patient with our Founder who tends to talk forever when interviewed.*

Mary Ann Street, of Overbrook, believes she lives across the street from a ghost. Though she's never seen it, Ms. Street enjoys hearing stories about the apparition from her neighbor and has made a hobby of learning about other reported hauntings in Pittsburgh and its suburbs.

"I'm interested in the paranormal. It is a fascinating subject," Ms. Street said. "But I'm frightened at the same time, because I don't think I want to see one."

Ms. Street may get her chance when she embarks on the Baldwin Borough Public Library's Behind the Screams, Amish-Style day trip on Oct. 20. The bus trip includes a trip to a Victorian home in Sugarcreek, Ohio, which boasts a resident ghost. The tour includes lunch at Hotel Millersburg where a Gypsy "reader" will entertain participants by telling their fortunes.

The bus trip is one of a slate of Halloween season library events designed to educate the community about paranormal investigators, psychics and related topics.

A summer teen event on ghost-chasing generated a surprising level of interest, said program coordinator Joyce Chiappetta. "We had so many adults that wanted to come, that we got the idea that there was a lot of interest in paranormal topics."

The idea quickly grew into a series of events, including a bus tour called "The Phantoms of Fayette County" that took place Sept. 8 and included a tour of Nemacolin Castle.

"Supposedly, there are 10 ghosts that have been experienced there," said Ms. Chiappetta. "One is a child who giggles and plays in the nursery."

A tarot card reader discussed the history of the cards and conducted readings for participants on Sept. 17.

The series continues when the ghost chasers from the Greater Pittsburgh Paranormal Society make a return visit to the library on Wednesday to explain how local paranormal investigations are conducted. The program is free, but registration is required.

Tonya Boff, 33, of Green Tree, founded the society in January 2006 after experiencing four years of paranormal "activity" in her first home.

"My daughter had nightmares every night until we moved out," Ms. Boff said.

Motivated to help others find the cause of strange sounds and happenings in their homes, Ms. Boff and 11 other "team members" have conducted 75 local investigations. They use a variety of equipment including digital cameras, voice recorders and ambient air gauges to detect paranormal activity in a residence.

"We rule out any natural causes," Ms. Boff said. "Yet, there were two cases that we couldn't explain."

Finding no ghosts usually makes Ms. Boff happy. She reports that suspected hauntings can cause emotional turmoil for families.

"When it's a resident in fear, we hope we don't find anything. There's no better feeling than when the For Sale sign come down," said Ms. Boff.

According to Ms. Boff, most of her group's paranormal investigations require more than 40 hours of research. The services are free.

"There's no charge because we're learning from it," she said.

The society hopes to educate the public about safe ways to investigate paranormal activity.

Paul Meidinger is a psychic and medium who will visit the library on Oct. 10 to discuss his abilities of communicating with "those who have crossed over." The free program requires registration.

"I want to describe how it works for me," he said. "Then I try to help people open up to their natural talents and abilities and establish a practice of doing it for themselves. It could be for self-healing or it could be just for fun."

Mr. Meidinger, of Beaver, began conducting psychic readings four years ago at the Open Mind Bookstore in Sewickley. He now conducts numerous classes and workshops on various metaphysical arts topics

The Halloween season is a particularly good time to speak to ghosts, he said. "Anytime you have a seasonal shift, you have increased energy and it's easier to communicate with the other side."

Other Halloween events include a teen bus trip to a haunted house in Moundsville, W.Va. Oct. 27, a teen murder mystery dinner Oct. 25 and a Fright Night Halloween Family Fun Night on Oct. 30.

Call 412-885-2255 or baldwinborolibrary.org for more information.
First published on September 27, 2007 at 6:43 am
Jennifer Goga is a freelance writer.


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