A request by a paranormal research group to present an educational demonstration of their equipment and techniques in the Groveport Cemetery did not have a ghost of a chance with Groveport Village Council.
Earlier in October, council and Mayor Lance Westcamp denied the group’s request because they felt it would be inappropriate to hold such an event in the Groveport Cemetery.
The officials maintained their denial of the request at council’s Oct. 27 meeting.
At that meeting, Tim Martin, a Groveport resident and founder of the 11-member paranormal research group named Ghost Research and Verification Experiment (G-R-A-V-E), sought to describe his group and explain what the educational presentation would involve.
"We’re God-fearing and not cultish," said Martin. "We meet monthly and share personal experiences and discuss ghost hunting. We asked for permission to teach about it. We’re good citizens and wanted to do it legally."
Martin said his group wanted to structure their event similarly to the annual historic cemetery tour, "History Comes Alive," that is held in the Groveport Cemetery each October.
"Ours would include stations, but it would be smaller. We could show how our equipment is used and educate people about paranormal research," said Martin. "It would not have to be done at night. We would not actually be attempting to ghost hunt. We just want the opportunity to teach the community about paranormal investigation and about the equipment we use."
In an interview Oct. 28, Martin said the proposed demonstration would involve showing how paranormal researchers use digital voice recorders to record "electric voice phenomena."
"These are used to ask questions and maybe get a response," said Martin. "You can’t hear it (at first with your ear) but maybe you could hear it when you play back the tape."
He said G-R-A-V-E has only captured one such response so far. Those interested in hearing it can go to the group’s Web site at www.g-r-a-v-e.com for a listen.
Also demonstrated would be digital cameras and video infrared cameras, which are used to "pick up things the naked eye can’t see."
Martin said images that are watched for using this equipment are things such as shadows, balls of light, or apparitions. He added the group goes through a thorough debunking process to check for other explanations of their findings.
"We take a scientific approach," said Martin. "We’re not in this to try and convince people. If we find any evidence we put it out there and let people decide for themselves."
Council remained steadfast in its denial of the paranormal group’s request citing they did not feel it was appropriate to hold the event in the cemetery.
Councilman Ed Rarey said he did not see the paranormal research event as being similar to the historical tour of the cemetery, which he said is "based on historical fact."
Councilman Shawn Cleary said he respected Martin and his group for going through the proper channels to seek permission, but he still opposed the request. He said he checked with seven other area cemeteries and was told by some that they also would not allow a paranormal research educational event in their cemeteries, while others noted they had never been asked.
"We’re not singling you out," Cleary told Martin.
On Oct. 28, Martin said that the "odds are pretty good" cemeteries will start receiving requests like his group’s in the future.
Citing the rise of television shows about the paranormal, Martin said interest in the paranormal has become more mainstream.
"We’re not the only paranormal group in Ohio; there are tons of them," said Martin. "These types of requests will become more frequent."
Saying he understood council’s hesitation, Martin said his group will look for another site to hold their class, possibly at Groveport Town Hall.
"We hope council will take us seriously and give us the opportunity to do the event at another venue, like Town Hall," said Martin. "We want to be completely respectful to village officials, the police, residents, and those who are laid to rest. We don’t want to upset anyone or stir up trouble. We want to investigate. We have a passion for it."