We are a team of professionals that pride ourselves in conducting research into reports of paranormal activity with integrity. We use the latest equipment available in our investigations. All investigations are conducted free of charge, though we do accept donations to offset the logistical costs such as batteries, equipment, gas and lodging (when extensive travel is required). Our client's safety is our primary concern. We conduct our investigations with respect for the other side and do not employ the use of provocation to get results. It is our goal to prove both scientifically and historically that "We Do Continue"

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Leigh Deb and the team
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Recent EVP's

Special Report: Local ghost hunters try to make contact with the other side
Posted May 13, 2013 at 5 a.m.
Outside, rain fell and palm trees blew in the wind. Inside the house, the only light came from a handheld machine in Leigh Nickerson’s palm.

“This is Deb and Leigh — we’re paranormal investigators,” Nickerson’s wife, Deb, said to any spirits that might have been listening. “We’re not here to harm you, or to hurt you, or to ask you to leave. We respect you, and all we’re doing is proving that people do exist, once they pass away, on the other side — for what reasons we’re trying to figure out.”

“You can communicate with us by tapping, making a knocking noise,” she continued. “You can communicate by touching gingerly on the arms, on the hair. Any way you can communicate. We might not hear you with our human ears, but we’ll be able to capture it on our machines, and then we can hear it later.”

And with that formal announcement, the Nickersons launched into their latest paranormal investigation at a for-sale home in Sarasota, where the owner believed there were a handful of spirits trying to make contact with him.

The Nickersons’ Southwest Florida Paranormal Researchers is one of a half-dozen local groups that do such investigations across the state, free of charge, to quench their own curiosity and give clients some semblance of an answer.

Not everyone believes in ghosts, but more than a third of Americans do, according to a survey from Public Policy Polling last year around Halloween. A full 26 percent of the 1,200 registered voters who were surveyed said they had actually seen one before.

The nearly two-hour investigation in Sarasota consisted of video, photographs and audio recordings, all of which were combed through when the Nickersons returned to their home in Port Charlotte. (They jokingly refer to their workspace as the base of operations — B.O.O.)

On the night of the investigation, there were no audible voices from ghosts — just creepy feelings and a general sense that there might be something otherworldly in the house.

“I think we wore ‘em out,” Leigh said toward the end of the night.

Looking over the photos on a laptop, he assured the homeowner, Joe Lofgreen, that it was possible he could later prove the existence of spirits.

“It doesn’t happen overnight,” Leigh said. “It takes about a month to go through everything. If we got anything, it’ll be there in the pictures or on the recordings.”

Deb and Leigh use tools like a K-II meter — which detects electromagnetic field (EMF) levels — and a noncontact thermometer gun — which can be pointed at an area to determine its temperature — to assist in their investigations. A spike in EMF or a strange inconsistency in temperature could be possible signs of the paranormal, they said.

The investigations where they believe they have disproved a client’s claim are no less important than those with suspected paranormal activity, they said. But the latter type? They make the long drives and dead ends worth it.

“I really believe there’s more than what we’re doing right here and now,” Leigh said. “I believe we continue in some form.”

■ ■ ■

Gary and Virginia Walter consider themselves the yin and yang of paranormal investigations.

Virginia said she has communicated with the other side since she was 4. Gary was a longtime skeptic who eventually came around. He now considers himself the fact-finder, the one who operates the machinery and tries to prove or disprove the presence of ghosts.

“I’m a former marine and cop, so it took me many years to believe in what my wife does. I’m a black-and-white guy, prove it to me,” Gary said. “But there’s so many things that she’s said that, logically, I can’t explain.”

Fittingly, the two operate the Cape Coral-based agency Fire and Ice, what they consider a perfect balance between the elements. (“Ice” is a nickname of Gary’s from the ‘80s, and most people call Virginia “Red” for the color of her long wavy hair.)

Like most of their peers in the field, the Walters work full-time jobs, although they’d prefer not to say where. Weekends are spent driving to investigation sites across Florida.

“The reason we’re doing this, genuinely, honestly, is we want to help people,” Virginia said. “We get no monetary gain, and in fact, spend thousands of dollars a year.”

Frequently, the two end up bonding with whatever ghosts they say they encounter on investigations. The couple said they have to “clean their house” of spirits about once a month by reciting prayers throughout their home.

“You know how you meet someone and you say, I could see myself hanging out with this person? Spirits are the same way,” Virginia said. “If they find an attraction to you, you can bring it into your own home. We’ve had close to 400 cases since 2006, so you can imagine some of the stuff we bring home.”

Although it doesn’t happen often, occasionally the two have fallen victim to pranksters calling with a false report.

“I don’t get pissed off very often, but when we drive five and a half hours to help someone and find out it was a scam, ooooooh,” Gary said.

But most of the time when the phone rings in the middle of the night, they say it’s a person with a legitimate fear who is at the end of his or her rope and not sure where else to turn.

“Our intent is to go there and help the family get rid of anything that’s in there or come to terms with what’s in there,” Gary said.

“We’re like detectives. We just are the police of things you can’t see.”

■ ■ ■

Photo by WILLIAM DESHAZER // Buy this photo

William DeShazer/Staff Specialty equipment Southwest Florida Paranormal Investigator's use in the field while investigating a home suspected of paranormal activity in Sarasota, Fla., on Wednesday March 20, 2013.

If there’s one thing that frustrates Rich Ramsey, it’s this: If ghosts are real, why haven’t any of his now-deceased mentors communicated with him or others they worked with?

It would seem logical to Ramsey, a Fort Myers resident who studies ghost theories, that of all the dearly departed, those who spent their lives investigating the paranormal would be first in line to make a post-mortem appearance. But for whatever reason, that hasn’t happened yet.

As a child, Ramsey recalls seeing and feeling his grandfather’s spirit in his bedroom before learning the next morning that he had passed away. Later, as a security officer at an Edison Mall department store, he said he experienced things like mannequins moving without being touched and musical snow globes sounding off without being wound up. Other times, he has felt his sleeves being tugged on during investigations.

In the ‘80s, the ghosting community was smaller, Ramsey said. People weren’t as open about experiencing the paranormal, for fear of being labeled as crazy. Now, with dozens of TV shows as a national platform, it’s never been more acceptable for those in the field to talk about what they’ve seen and heard.

“There’s a song ‘I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool,’” Ramsey said. “I was a ghost hunter before ghost hunting was cool.”

The surge of ghost hunting popularity hasn’t been all good — Ramsey sees people faking hauntings to attract tourism or exaggerating normal occurrences to make them seem otherworldly.

“It’s become a moneymaker,” he said. “It’s really sad sometimes. Gettysburg became ‘haunted’ about five years ago. Now, people go there to look for ghosts. They’re not there for the Civil War, where many people lost their lives.”

Most sightings of spirits aren’t even prolonged, he said — the majority are visitations, a one or maybe two-time appearance by a deceased family member to someone still alive.

“In the ghost shows, you never hear anything about visitations,” he said. “They want to take you to a scary place and find ghosts.”

Ramsey said he’s increasingly skeptical, but also insatiably curious. He knows others who have given up the hunt, but his search for answers has spanned the better part of three decades and, at this point, he sees no reason to stop. He meets every few months with the Fire and Ice team and others in the small community of local paranormal investigators.

“Others like me are trying to find the truth,” he said.

Ramsey tends to agree with people who say they don’t believe in ghosts.

“I like to say the same thing, that I don’t believe in it either,” he said. “But the things that have happened to me drive me to find out what’s happening.”

■ ■ ■

Photo by WILLIAM DESHAZER // Buy this photo

William DeShazer/Staff Leigh Nickerson, with Southwest Florida Paranormal Investigator, get ready to perform an investigation of a home suspected of paranormal activity in Sarasota, Fla., on Wednesday March 20, 2013.

Nearly a month after the investigation in Sarasota, Leigh Nickerson began posting the results on his YouTube channel , which chronicles all of his findings.

After examining his audio recordings, he believes he captured a few phrases from the spirits in Joe Lofgreen’s house.

Hi. Now I have you. Get back, hey. Battery.

Lofgreen said he found other voices in his own recordings: Get ready, Joe. Join me up here. Get Ray, get Ray.

After the Nickersons came to the home to investigate, Lofgreen contacted a psychic to see what he could do to address the spirits. The Nickersons don’t do any sort of clearing — they’re more or less there to confirm any presence of ghosts.

“From what I gathered, the spirits were being captured or held against their will, not being allowed to leave. They wanted to ‘cross over’ or whatever,” Lofgreen said.

The psychic told him to tell the spirits to forgive themselves for what they did on Earth, then use their strength to move on. Lofgreen did as advised, and believes he helped solve the problem.

“That was always my primary concern, so I’m satisfied,” he said.

Nickerson said he was surprised but pleased to find voices — referred to as EVPs, or electronic voice phenomenon — in his recordings.

There’s still work to do. He needs to analyze the recordings and take another listen, just to be sure he didn’t miss anything. Sometimes he returns to a recording years later and finds something new.

But for now, he trusts what he’s found is some confirmation to Lofgreen’s suspicions.

“As far as I’m aware, it’s voices of people that weren’t in the room at the time,” he said. “It wasn’t us, so if it wasn’t us, we got something on the recording that wasn’t supposed to be there.”

He pauses.

“It’s up to your own judgment on what it could be.”

Our episode of My Ghost Story is season 3 episode #47
A post on facebook from one of our clients Shirley Waldron Moore...
After I announced the second paranormal investigation that was going to take place at my home, several of my FaceBook friends mentioned they are very interested in paranormal phenomena, so I thought I would share the investigation recording with you all.

The investigation team is Southwest Florida Paranormal Researchers. Leigh and Deb Nickerson, along with the rest of their team, have been very supportive throughout the prolonged events that have been taking place in and around my home and property. As a matter of fact, they were featured on a recent episode of My Ghost Story about their investigation at the Opera House here in Arcadia.

To start, I’ll tell you that I was experiencing some strange things. I kept getting the sensation of being touched. Not really like a person touching me, but rather like walking through a spider web, or the sensation of a hair touching and being dragged across my arm. My smoke alarms would go off in th
e middle of the night with no explanation, along with many other things. At first, I wasn’t really sure what was happening, but when I started to really pay attention, I knew something strange was going on. I was at that time very, very afraid, knowing that something paranormal was happening, but not knowing who or what was doing these things. So I contacted Leigh, and he agreed to bring his team.

If you decide to watch this video, pay close attention to the picture that shows up at the 10:39 mark. Anyone who knew my husband, Burrell Moore, will surely be able to see that the image on the screen is in fact his face. This image was taken from a television that had only static on the screen. As it was explained to me by Leigh and Deb, spirits have the ability to communicate through electronic devices. I have shown this video to many people who knew Burrell, and they are absolutely astounded by the image. Not only that, but Burrell answered questions that the researchers couldn’t possibly have known. No one could have known many of the answers but two people: Me or Burrell.

Leigh and his team will soon return for another investigation to gather more evidence. My case has been presented to My Ghost Story for a possible episode in the future.