'Believers' Open to Alien Possibility
Robbins, Richard, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Spaceships and talking ghosts. Apparently, it's a matter of believe or not.
And it appears that most of the people who attended Saturday's Paranormal-UFO Conference at Westmoreland County Community College near Youngwood were believers -- true believers.
There was, for instance, the group calling itself the International Parapsychology Research Foundation that set up shop in the Science Building, just outside the doors to where the conference speakers were holding forth.
To a person, the members of the group looked and acted entirely normal. Two arms, two legs, two eyes, a nose. a mouth.
At the same time, to a person they professed a belief in the presence of ghosts, for instance, at the Civil War battlefield at Gettysburg.
Cristen Stephansky of Fair Oaks said it was actually possible to obtain infrared photographic evidence of soldiers, dead since the early days of July 1863, hanging around the battlefield in nonphysical states, as "orbs" or as glowing balls, as she explained, or even sometimes in fully formed bodies.
"It's energy that's left over," Stephansky explained, noting that she and her fellow ghost hunters apply to their work a "scientific procedure" that sounds reassuring, at least to the unscientific.
The chief investigator for the IPRF, Stephansky said, sure, "people are skeptical" of these claims, but then again a lot of folks are coming around to the group's way of thinking.
"What helps is all the shows on television," said Brian Barcus of Cranberry, an IPRF member.
There are several ways to spot a ghost, the group said.
One of the easiest, apparently, is with a digital recorder. Melanie Durish of Butler Township, Butler County, said that during a recent visit to an old graveyard near Moraine State Park she picked up the voice on her recorder of a young man.
She explained that she had stopped near a headstone and started to ask questions -- not the kind of questions one might pose in order to probe the mystery of death but ordinary, everyday questions. …