SIKESTON --A different type of hunting course will be offered next month in Sikeston. But instead of searching for wild animals, the object of this one-night workshop is to hunt ghosts.
"Missouri Haunts: Ghost Stories and Ghost Hunting in Missouri" is set for 5 to 9 p.m. Oct. 18 at the Sikeston Career and Technology Center.
The Paranormal Task Force, or PTF, of St. Louis will present types and history of hauntings ghost hunting techniques, and stories along with audio and video, of previous hauntings and investigations the team has been involved in.
"It's a class that is wildly popular across the Midwest," said Richard McGill of Sikeston Career and Technology Center. "They do about 30 ghost hunts a year."
Last year PTF conducted a class at Southeast Missouri State University, following with investigations in Cape Girardeau.
The group that investigates paranormal phenomena was featured in the horror documentary, "Children of the Grave," which was released on DVD in 2007 and aired on the SciFi Channel this year. PTF will be featured in another horror documentary, "The Possessed," which will be released on DVD next month and air sometime after on the SciFi Channel.
"I've gotten a lot of interest in the class," said McGill. "Last year I noticed a school in Columbia was doing a ghost stories class right before Halloween so I was looking for someone to do that."
Through his research, he came across PTF, McGill said.
"We'll be going through some of our investigations in the past and probably include some of the more well-known hauntings in southern Missouri," said Greg Myers, PTF director and president. "... We would love to add an investigative site."
Myers said the workshop will be a classroom-type setting with he and Sandy Oates, who is a PTF director and case management coordinator, presenting the information. They will also give participants a platform and code of ethics to help ensure certain levels of professionalism are used when ghost hunting, he said.
"We want to give them the basics and show them things we've captured," Myers said.
Demonstrations of equipment used during investigations will also take place. PTF uses the most common equipment -- digital or film camera, video camera, audio recorder -- when on interactive tours, Myers said.
Myers said he remembers paranormal experiences dating back to his childhood. His personal experiences that he couldn't forget drove him to become one source that could have all the resources for someone who needs assistance within in the paranormal realms, he said.
Paranormal phenomena is seen in so many capacities in the media now, and it's popularity comes in cycles, Myers said.
"You always have that spiritual movement and it's been around since the 1800s. One year it's ghosts, and the next 10 years, it's aliens and UFOs. Then it's Big Foot," Myers said.
PTF is a paranormal social service center, and it's main goal is to help others, Myers said. It deals mostly with client-based cases, he said.
"A lot of times people are experiencing things. They don't know what to do, and their family tells them they're crazy and they don't have no where to turn," Myers said.
That's where PTF offers its assistance.
"We try to come up with every logical explanation there could be to rule out the explainable and what you're left with is possible paranormal activity," said Oates, a Perryville native.
Among paranormal phenomena Myers has experienced includes seeing full-bodied ghosts, having objects thrown at him when nothing else was there and more.
Oates said another example of paranormal activity is electronic voice phenomenon, which is the term used to describe sound caught on an audio recording device that wasn't heard during a visit to a possibly location.
"You may not hear it with your ears when you're there, but when you get back home, pull it up on your computer, and listen carefully, sometimes responses are there," Oates said.
Ghost hunters have to expect the unexpected, Myers said.
"Sometimes there are certain situations that can get unnerving," Myers said.
Both Myers and Oates said the people who attend PTF's workshops come from a wide spectrum.
"We get everyone from, 'Oh, yeah, I believe,' and others who say, 'I'll come along' with their spouse or friend," Oates said.
Attendees are encouraged to bring any kind of equipment such as flashlights, cameras, digital recorders, Oates said.
"Bring your ghost hunting equipment ... and an open mind," Oates said.
Anyone who has suggestions of places in Sikeston where PTF and workshop attendees can conduct an interactive investigative tour should contact Myers or Oates. E-mail suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about PTF, visit www.catchmyghost.com.
What: "Missouri Haunts: Ghost Stories and Ghost Hunting in Missouri" presented by The Paranormal Task Force of St. Louis
When: 5 to 9 p.m. Oct. 18 at Sikeston Career and Technology Center
Registration: Cost is $30 payable in advance by Oct. 10. Space is limited. To reserve a spot in the workshop, call SCTC at (573) 471-5442.