While the thought of having a paranormal encounter is terrifying to some, the members of Southern Charm Paranormal Investigations in Starke seek out these encounters to prove paranormal activity exists.
SCPI was formed about a year ago after investigative captains Teri and Chris Palmer, a couple from Starke, began having some mysterious experiences in their home.
One time a block was thrown down the hallway while their children were asleep, Chris Palmer said. Another time their oldest daughter told them she speaks to a little girl who lives in the house, Teri Palmer added.
“I’ve had a very passionate love for the paranormal since I was a baby…I was born with a clairvoyance gift and I didn’t know what it was until I did research on it,” Teri Palmer said.
The third captain and IT coordinator of SCPI, Rick Wright, also had an experience with paranormal activity as a child that prompted his interest in the subject.
“I told myself I was going to be afraid of it or understand it, so I went and tried to do the understanding part,” Wright said. “Now there’s nothing in this realm of things that can really scare me too much.”
To carry out its investigations, SCPI uses specialized video and audio recorders, devices that send out electromagnetic energy and a ghost box that picks up noises made by paranormal beings.
Teri Palmer says their team is unique because it’s built on a foundation of trust.
“We have more of a family environment,” Teri Palmer said. “We want to know that whoever goes out [in the field] with us has our back no matter what.”
They use websites like Craigslist to find clients and hire new investigators, but they’re hoping to branch out in terms of advertising and find some alternative avenues. No experience is required to join their investigative team, Wright said.
“We look for someone who’s serious-minded and not a thrill-seeker,” Wright said. “We’re looking for someone who really wants to understand it, really wants to learn from it and really wants to experience something.”
Chris Palmer said while most paranormal groups dislike skeptics, SCPI actually welcomes them with open arms.
“To me, the first time a skeptic has his or her very first paranormal experience, it’s something that they’ll remember forever, and I will too, because the look on their face is priceless,” Teri Palmer said.
Dana Vincent of Starke worked with SCPI in October 2014 when she witnessed some unusual things in her home.
Vincent reported seeing unidentified children walk through the house and having objects go missing, only to appear a few days later in their initial spot. She said SCPI has done a few investigations in her home, where they discovered traces of paranormal activity.
Teri Palmer said they won’t turn down any client who wants to talk to them.
Rather than trying to immediately prove a house is haunted, they will do plenty of tests for other causes such as a creaky floor or wiring issues, Wright said. Once they’ve ruled out all other possibilities, the team can generally determine after a few visits whether they think paranormal activity exists in the home.
They say that the client’s response is usually satisfaction rather than fear, because now they at least know that they’re not just being paranoid, Teri Palmer said.
“During one of our sessions, we gathered that there was a 50-year-old man who died in the front yard. Then I asked [the client] what he knew about the history [of the home], and he said, ‘Well back in the fifties, there was a guy who died in the front yard,’ and I said, ‘Oh that’s what we caught’…that’s not evidence or proof, but if you have one and one adding up, it’s something,” Wright explained.
Their dream is to make a discovery one day that’s groundbreaking for the paranormal field, Wright said. Until then, the SCPI team will keep diving head first into situations that most people would have nightmares about.