Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Haunted States of America Is the Carnegie Free Library of Connellsville Haunted? See What Was Captured on Film at Chatham University's Eddy Theater

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Haunted States of America Is the Carnegie Free Library of Connellsville Haunted? See What Was Captured on Film at Chatham University's Eddy Theater

Article excerpt

You shouldn't have any problem enjoying the film tonight at Eddy Theater on the Chatham University campus -- once you get into the spirit of things.

It's the free public screening of "Haunted States of America" by local filmmaker Chris Nicholson.

Mr. Nicholson, who graduated from Chatham's Master's of Fine Arts program in December, will be on hand to present his 30-minute film exploring stories of poltergeists hanging out in the Carnegie Free Library of Connellsville.

Joining him will be Shawn Kelly, founder of the Pittsburgh Paranormal Society, who worked with Mr. Nicholson on the project last summer.

You don't have to believe in ghosts to enjoy the film. But it helps to have an open mind.

"I was really skeptical," Mr. Nicholson said. "But during filming, some weird things happened. Kind of strange. For example, a friend helping me out once asked me, 'Why'd you shut the door?' And I said I didn't shut the door. We realized it closed on its own.

"Over the course of filming, we got a voice answering the investigator's questions. A thermal image showed up on the infrared camera. So we came away thinking, 'Wow, I guess there's something to it.' I can't doubt what I saw and heard on camera."

Mr. Kelly never had any doubts. He hasn't since 1983, when he ingested a bad mix of prescription drugs and alcohol.

"I died," he said. "Ten minutes later I came back, and all of sudden I started to see things that weren't there and hearing voices that weren't there. And it kind of freaked me out."

Eventually, his anxiety evolved into acceptance, thanks in part to his talks with others.

"A lot of people that I've met have experienced it," he said. "Others come to me wanting to experience it. I try to help them. I don't judge anybody. We have a saying at the Pittsburgh Paranormal Society: 'We will respect what you believe in. Please respect what we believe in.'"

Mr. Kelly founded the PPS after a moment's inspiration in March 2006 at Eat'n Park on West Liberty Avenue in Dormont, where he lives. He reached out to other believers via the Internet and over the years has had nearly 100 members of his group.

"Right now, it's closer to 20," he said. …

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