Friday, May 16, 2008

How this all got started...

Although we as a group have only been around since 2007, the history of my involvement in the paranormal goes back even further. As with most individuals in the field, my interest began in 1980 with a personal paranormal experience when I was just three years old where for three consecutive nights a white lit figure stood in my doorway watching me before I fell asleep. Being only three years old and seemingly trapped in my room, my only option was to hide under my covers upon its appearance. Though my mother recalls me saying something to her at the time about the figure in my doorway at night, she dismissed it as me a being a young imaginative child. Who was this figure? I don't know who, but I always felt that it was my grandfather who, at the time, had recently passed away. Looking back as an adult and as a paranormal investigator I acknowledge the inability to claim or account for the experience as being legitimate paranormal phenomena or even the possibility that it had been my grandfather visiting me before he moved on, but whatever it was, or wasn't, the incident was certainly significant enough to me as a child to effect my whole life and make me who I am today.

Years later while in grade school, I ordered a book during one of our classroom book orders and had the great opportunity of ordering "How to Find a Ghost" by James M. Deem (Avon Books 1988), a book which I obviously still have to this day as indicated by the cover (shown on the left). Though this book was written for 8-12 year-olds, the information provided in it was strikingly useful and accurate. The accuracy displayed by Deem was due to him referencing the libraries and journals of the American and the British Societies for Psychical Research. As a result of this book I contacted the American Society for Psychical Research ( and was placed on their mailing list which lasted for many years. The information found in Deems book predates the digital age so in retrospect it has a very grass roots take on paranormal investigation which is valuable in itself and I will always regard Deem's book as a fun introductory text to my journey as an investigator.

In later years (1998) with exposure to the Internet I came upon recordings published online containing alleged anomalous voices that were believed to be the voices of the dead. Referred to as Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) I found such recordings to be quite astonishing, so much that I purchased my own recorder at the time (a GE handheld tape recorder) and attempted to record such voices on my own, but due to lack of experience and determination I was unable to produce any results.

And so for many years my pursuit in the paranormal took a back seat to my other the love, the occult; which was a journey that took me out, around, through, and back to my interest in the paranormal ten years later. Through my exploration of the occult, as a result of my growing spiritual pursuits (I am a pagan), I experienced some very interesting personal phenomena which teetered on the paranormal. For example: the seeing of figures standing about me during a personal religious ritual and another experience when a past girlfriend and I were conducting a ritual outside on sacred ground, apparently without spiritual permission. During the ritual we both experienced the sound of clopping horse-hoofs walking to a halt within several feet of us, a sound familiar to any movie dealing with the old west. Upon which we experienced a sense of uneasiness and felt that it was time to leave. As we made our way out of the field, we experienced a feeling of being rushed out or escorted outside the perimeter of the field by something ushering us along and upon once being outside the field the feeling ceased. Once again these situations in retrospect are questionable as belief entices religious experience; and paranoia, or the knowledge of being somewhere where we perhaps shouldn't be, may have caused the feelings we experienced as we left the field that night. However, both incidents were personal, as are most paranormal experiences, and were not without impact since the sound of the horses-hoofs were heard by both people present.

In the spring of 2006 when my interests in investigating the paranormal not only reignited, but solidified within my being, bringing us to the current chapter in my life. Since then, I previously worked with a local paranormal group for six months during which time I learned a lot in regards to conducting investigations and through my personal work and studies I have been able to fine tune my own procedures as a researcher to yield what I feel are the best results. The best things I have learned from my colleagues and friends in the field is that in the pursuit of science, the goal is control; take nothing for granted; question everything; only present the best of what you find and discard anything you doubt no matter how much it hurts!

In early 2007 I founded Mid-Atlantic Paranormal Research to pursue science in regards to paranormal investigation; to help, aid, and assist those living in DE, NJ, or PA who contact us; to properly inform the public about the paranormal; and to hopefully be a group that can follow in the history and in the footsteps of well-known and respected parapsychologists, psychical researchers, and paranormal investigators however they can or choose to label themselves.

Rest assured, we intend on being around for a long time.

Thank you,

~Chris Orapello

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