Monday, March 16, 2009

Students head to plantation in search of ghosts

Almost any ghost story can be debunked by common sense.

But sitting in a dark room talking to spirits makes skepticism difficult.

And once evidence reveals a muffled voice in a recording or a ball of light in a picture, the doubt changes, if not to belief, then certainly intrigue.

“That’s when you get the ‘frissons,’ the chills,” said Cally Chauvin, leader of Nicholls State University’s non-credit course on paranormal investigation.

On Saturday night, Chauvin led 27 students and 10 helpers from a local group called Bayou Spirits to explore the unexplained at the historic Rienzi Plantation house and Nicholls’ Polk Hall and student union.

It was the first time a Nicholls class had investigated the plantation house. Some former owners have said it is fraught with paranormal activity, said Chauvin, 48, of Mathews.

There’s no doubt the old house is a place with spirit potential. One of its owners died after falling through the home’s third floor, where he was making renovations, she said.

At the house and campus, students broke into groups of five or so, venturing into different rooms. The goal was to make contact with entities through questions and visual signals.

Each group carried devices called electromagnetic field readers, which detect changes in energy. They also had digital thermometers, voice recorders, digital cameras, two-way radios and flashlights.

In some rooms at Rienzi, balls were placed in the middle of the floors to see if entities would move them.

Infrared cameras were also set up in four of the rooms at the plantation house.

Chauvin doesn’t consider herself particularly tuned into the spiritual world, but she believes you can pick up signals if you want.

“It’s just listening and seeing if you hear anything strange,” Chauvin said. “If you have an open mind, you’re going to see a lot more than someone with a closed mind.”

Jayme Solet dropped a lot of her skepticism this past summer while taking Chauvin’s course. After investigating Nicholls’ campus, the 31-year-old Houma resident said she and another group of students taped the voice of a little girl humming a song inside the student union. In paranormal investigation terms, it was an electronic voice phenomenon, said Solet, who’s now a member of Bayou Spirits.

“The first one I caught freaked me out,” Solet said, “cause I’m a skeptic.”

You can read the rest of the stroy at this link: Ghost

I did a search for the school mentioned in the article and found this:

Ghost Hunting 101: A Scientific Approach to Paranormal Investigating

For those who have ever wanted to explore the mysteries of the paranormal while having fun being spooked, here is their chance. In this course, students will study a scientific approach to paranormal investigation, using high-tech equipment as well as skeptical and analytical methods of evidence analysis. Participants will join paranormal investigators as they conduct three sessions: a classroom presentation; a hands-on investigation of a reportedly “haunted” location near Nicholls; and a final meeting to discuss the findings. Transportation to the investigation site is not provided.

Instructor: Brad Duplechien

Date: Saturdays, June 14, 21 and 28

Time: 8 - 10 p.m.

Fee: $60/$65 (late registration)

For more information or to register, visit or call the Office of Continuing Education at (985) 448-4444.

Here is the website for the school: Nicholls State University

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