Homeowners have a clear idea of who to call for an intruder in their house, except when it’s an intruder they can’t see..

Ghost Hunters of Southeast Texas is a volunteer-based organization whose mission is to aid individuals being affected by paranormal activity. Founded in 2011 by Matthew Winn, “GHoST” grew to a team of 11 individuals eager to help in hauntings.

Two team members of GHoST, co-founder Reichal Winn and historian Stephanie Brady, shared what life is like for a paranormal investigator.

A haunting can occur for several reasons: the person may not realize they are dead, they may be scared to move on because of repercussions, or their spirit may be attached to the location or homeowner.

Another more sinister reason for a haunting could be that a person was experimenting with a Ouija board or witchcraft and inadvertently conjured a spirit.

“Kids think that it’s just a game, but this innocent game they’re playing is really opening the door to good and bad,” said Brady.

There are three stages when dealing with spirits interfering with the living, including haunting, oppression, and possession.

A haunting is where an entity will manifest itself regularly and become disturbingly present. Oppression begins when the entity interacts with the living and can take over the person’s mood or thoughts. Possession, the most serious, occurs when the entity alters the physical, mental, and spiritual functioning of a person through the entity’s own energy.

If the entity haunting a person or house is human, perhaps a deceased loved one, the team can try to help its spirit move on to the next life, but efforts may not work.

“You don’t lose your free will, we can ask it to leave, but if it wants to stay it’s going to stay,” said Brady.

Encountering a demonic entity is quite a different matter. A demonic entity has never been human and can call on its own energy to manifest itself without using the energy of a living person.

In a case of demonic possession, the team will perform an exorcism on the house or person.

“We’re basically sending it back where it came from,” said Brady.

Before assuming the disturbance in a client’s house is paranormal, the investigators take a scientific approach. The homeowner fills out a questionnaire with information about the land the house is built on and a description of what sort of disturbances have been happening.

“We’re looking for energies that are attached to the location and that gives us a lot of insight,” added Winn.

At the first meeting, a baseline reading of the house is collected to ensure there are no wiring or frequency problems. Research is also done on the land and house by the team before the preliminary meeting with the client.

Once the actual investigation begins, cameras and audio recorders are used. All equipment used is sensitive to the changes in atmospheric energy and temperature.

“We have lots of little gadgets and toys,” remarked Winn.

Before and after the team enters a house to be investigated, they say prayers as a form of protection as well as bringing holy water, holy oil, and salt. Salt works as a barrier to the spirit world and, while holy water and oil can get rid of an entity, salt prevents it from coming back.

Once the equipment is ready, everyone sits in the dark for two to three hours asking questions and taking pictures.

“There’s a lot of silence where we just let the equipment do its work,” said Winn.

When the investigation is over, GHOST will let the client know of any feelings a team member had, if contact was made, or EVP recordings (Electronic Voice Phenomenon). An EVP recording can pick up voices, music, musical instruments, and many otherworldly sounds.

The team offers to do a cleansing of the house with the holy water and oil before leaving.

In the week following the investigation, the team analyzes the video and audio recordings and compiles them for the client. They will check to ask if disturbances are decreasing, if the client is sleeping better, and if their life is returning to normal.

Should the team’s findings prove to be a haunting, the team arranges a final meeting with the client to decide a course of action.

Recently GHoST had a case where an entity was starting to separate a husband and wife by becoming more noticeable each time they fought.

“We actually didn’t get rid of this one and that was the client’s decision. He was OK with the fact that it comforted her,” said Winn.

Although GHoST is based in Texas, they will help people get in touch with a paranormal investigator in their own area. For more information visit www.GHoSTexas.org