The Calling

People always talk about the moment they knew they needed to become a police officer, or a fireman, or just follow their dreams in general…whatever they may be. That proverbial “calling.” For me, the call to follow my old dreams of becoming a Paranormal Investigator came in early 2016. It wasn’t a profound or very interesting moment, to be honest. At least, not from an outside perspective. But it changed my life all the same.

I was flipping through channels one Wednesday evening after work and came upon a commercial for a new episode of Ghost Hunters that would be on later in the evening. I was bouncing in my spot on the couch out of excitement! For some reason, I thought the show had gone off air in 2014 or 2015, so I was elated that the show and the investigators that were so much a part of my younger life was still ongoing. And then the commercial ended by stating something along the lines of, “Join us tonight at 8PM central, for Ghost Hunters-the Final Season.” My elation turned to heartbreak in an instant. I was seriously emotional about it. It was like finding out that a good friend is moving away.

No! I thought. I just found this show again! It can’t be almost over forever! It’s been a part of my life since 2004, when I was only 15 years old!

Then a voice whispered in my head, soft and sweet. Maybe it’s time to do this yourself, Mags. Follow in those footsteps. Become a Paranormal Investigator!

I began researching paranormal groups in and around Cedar Rapids the next day, hoping to find one that I might be able to join. I looked for groups that shared similar ideology as myself—a drive to help people and educate people about the paranormal field, backed by scientific proof of the experiences they were having, whether that meant debunking claims as natural events or capturing evidence of naturally unexplainable happenings with scientific equipment.

A lot of groups were full of self-proclaimed psychic mediums that were used as really the only proof the groups could offer to corroborate paranormal claims. While I do believe people can have a sixth sense and/or be particularly in-tune with the paranormal realm, I am not a fan of personal thoughts and feelings being the only tool relied upon during investigation, because at the end of the night all you can present to the client are stories, and no actual hard evidence like EVPs or things caught moving on camera.

A lot of groups were in it for the thrill and not so much for actually helping clients. Nothing against those groups, of course, especially when they’re backing up their experiences with data recorded on equipment and are able to present their evidence for the speculation of all. It’s just not what I was looking for.

A lot of other groups were defunct.

Eventually, I came upon Cedar Rapids Paranormal Investigations (CRPI). As I looked over their website, I grew more and more excited. They had the equipment. They had the evidence. They had the client-first mentality. They had a phone number and an email address!

I agonized for hours trying to compose the best, most appealing email I could in the hopes that the group’s founder would even remotely consider letting me join his group. On April 10, 2016, I hit “send” on my email, and the rest, as they say, is history.

The founder of CRPI, Scott, responded within twenty-four hours, which blew my mind. I expected a few days or weeks to go by, if I even got a response at all. He said he could tell how passionate I was about the paranormal field and thought that there may be an opportunity for me to work with CRPI, but that he couldn’t promise it would be as an investigator.

We set a date for a phone call about a month later, after several more emails back and forth. The call was awesome! I had never spoken to anyone who shared my same enthusiasm, passion, and general beliefs about the paranormal before. We talked about personal experiences we’d each had in the past, about the CRPI crew and some of the cases the group has worked, and about where I might be able to fit in. I told Scott that I would be thrilled with any position in the group—researcher, evidence review…wherever and however they needed help. He told me about a couple upcoming investigations that I may be able to join in on, depending on who from the main crew could/could not make it. it’s one of CRPI’s goals to keep residential investigation groups smaller (2-4 people, depending on the location size) for the comfort of the client, which was absolutely fine with me.

It looked like my first change to join in as an investigator would be at a non-residential, nationally known haunted location—Edinburgh Manor in Scotch Grove, Iowa. CRPI had booked an overnight investigation in early August.

Scott added me to the Facebook messenger chats which are CRPI’s primary way of communication with one another at the moment. I loved reading the conversations the crew would have about evidence being uncovered from reviews of past cases, and I absolutely could not wait for Edinburgh.

As it ended up, Edinburgh was cancelled due to the majority of the crew being unable to make it for various reasons. We decided as a unit that we would reschedule for sometime in 2017 so we could all experience the Manor together. Though I was disappointed, it turned out I wouldn’t have to wait long at all for my first investigation with CRPI.

On August 20, 2016, we made our way to Davenport, Iowa to help out a client with some pretty interesting claims in an equally interesting location.

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