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|Bartow Citizen News
It may be the Christmas season, but for Georgia's own ghost hunters, spirits don't take a holiday off. Harold Berryman's ghost-tracking
agency is called Haunt Analyst. He created Haunt Analyst in 2000 in the Zebulon area, but travels all over to do investigations. One of his
more recent investigations was in Dallas, Ga. Berryman has been doing these types of investigations for 12 years and has done at least
So, what is paranormal activity? Berryman said it goes beyond the four ghosts in “A Christmas Carol.” “Para means beyond,” said
Berryman. “Nobody can really define normal, especially now, the way the kids are acting and everything.” Haunt Analyst has a non-profit
business license to do work in Georgia, and as a non-profit agency, all of their investigations are for free. They investigate strictly ghost
encounters and unknown energy sources---and leave the rest of the paranormal like UFOs and Bigfoot to others. All of their investigators
also have “regular” jobs and “regular” lives, but their passion for investigating the paranormal is far from regular.
“I was a skeptic,” he said. “I lived in a house that had some activity going on. We had some investigators come out after I got the house
because I grew up in it. “They showed me what they could do with their electrical equipment as far as finding them.”
The onset of technology is what has elevated what Berryman calls “ghost chasing” to a science. He says he is, by all definitions, a
scientist who probes into energy, what causes it, where it goes, how to track it and how to get physical evidence of it. “(Technology)
opened up doors leaps and bounds, from 10 years ago and today,” he said. “It's so much easier to do this type of research accurately with
camera and EMF (energy magnetic field detector).”
Berryman said energy is the key to this type of science. “Everything kind of fits into the puzzle with energy being the source of how they
manipulate, illuminate,” he said. “They need energy and wherever you find these fields, that's where you get a lot of activity.” He said
since a spirit needs energy and tend to illuminate with energy, they must chase them at night when they are easier to see. He said it's also
calmer at night, so they tend to be more active.
Haunt Analyst is now working to track a lay line in Georgia and find a certain power point that seems to be feeding a good bit of activity
in a given area. While Berryman can't say exactly where the lay line is supposed to be, he said it seems to be pretty powerful. “It does
start near a church,” he said. “We've found one so far that runs 25 miles long. We don't know if there's something under the earth that's
doing it or if there is some type of magnetic force. It's very active down there.” Berryman says all things weird are not always
supernatural. All electrical objects generate some type of energy field and the results of that energy aren't exactly a documented science.
But they are, according to Berryman, perfectly natural and entirely logical to explain.
He said his group spends time debunking ghost stories as well as trying to prove them. About 20 percent of all cases he handles are
debunked, he said. “I've been to places where there have been gas leaks, where they are hallucinating. I've been to a place where the
paint mixed with a different type of chemical they were cleaning with made them hallucinate,” he said. He also debunks “rigged” houses
of those seeking publicity. Berryman said they spend a good bit of time closely examining photos of possible ghosts. He said that is where
the most fraud occurs because computer programs have advanced greatly over the past decade. “We scan them from right to left and
analyze them,” he said. “With technology the way it is, people are putting so much stuff in pictures. It's really bad.” He said his relatively
low debunking rate is partially due to the type of clients who call him.
“People in Georgia are very close-minded. Not too many think too highly of what we do,” Berryman explained. “So, by the time they
come to the conclusion to call us they have debunked everything themselves.” Most have some sort of evidence when Haunt Analyst
comes in. Berryman said he requires, at the very minimum, a tape recording of unexplainable sounds before he will call anything a
He said a ghost can, in theory, hurt people by hurling objects or striking a person with an object. But most don't. “A ghost can pick up to
10 pounds,” he said. “When there's more, they are more powerful.” He said there's an easy way to understand ghosts. “You have to look
at them as people that are no longer here with us,” Berryman said a ghost will carry the same personality it had in life. A fun personality
equals a fun-loving spirit. A violent personality results in a haunting most want to get rid of. “Sometimes they try to communicate with
people,” he said. “During the last couple of years we've come out with more EVPs (electronic voice phenomenon). Apparently they have
some sort of rules they have to abide by. That's why you don't see ghosts everywhere. You don't hear them everywhere. If they want to
communicate, they will.” Even if they do communicate, most people will never hear them---at least not without equipment. He said their
sounds are similar to a dog whistle---silent to people but audible in other ways. “When they speak, they speak at a lower decibel. It's a
lower decibel you can't hear,” he said.
Berryman said his group is taken a little more seriously these days. That's largely due, he says, to the media. “The media is the most
powerful thing in America. If media is covering it and they are showing bits and pieces, people will show interest,” he said. He said his
phone has been ringing more with volunteer investigators and clients ever since the show “Ghost Hunters” began airing on the Sci-Fi
channel. “It has nothing doing with the atmosphere or people opening their minds up. It's the media,” he said.
The show, featuring the group TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society), is what led Selena Sheffer and husband, Chad, to find the
Georgia group a little over a year ago. “I know I've been interested in it for as long as I can remember,” she said. “Age 3, I had some
interesting dreams and when I was 12, I saw my first paranormal entity, a shadow person,” “I want to know why they're still here. Why
haven't they crossed over? I want to know why they're hanging around.” She said this work isn't for the weak-hearted. Her scariest
experience was when something called out to her on an investigation. “It said ‘Come to me.’ It was loud and screechy. That frightened
me. I almost ran. I walked fast but I almost ran,” she said.
Berryman has also had his share of strange experiences. He said the strangest was when he was documenting a case study on an exorcism
being performed by a priest. “I looked and what I saw was a person had levitated about a foot and a half and went back down. Then I
saw a large amount of energy. It looked like a gigantic orb come out of this person and it was over the person. It was orange, putting off
this orange energy. It filled the room,” he said.
Berryman said ghosts aren't the only spiritual beings in existence. While most people have no trouble believing in angels and talking about
a heavenly chorus singing at the birth of Jesus, Berryman said there are dark forces as well. “Of course, they're demons,” he said, adding
that all religions have a concept of light and darkness and a battle between the two. “Demons are fallen angels. Angels are beautiful.
Demons are angels that sided with Satan.” Some people might see Berryman's work as contradictory to religion. But, Berryman said they
do not conflict at all. He said you have to have faith in a higher power in order to confront some of what his team deals with. The
perceived conflict, he said, is man-made. He said God becomes very real when you are in a scary situation. “When it comes down to it,
when you get in a tight spot in this field, I mean you'll have to (pray) because you're dealing with spirits,” Berryman said. “Who you