Duo wants to teach you how to hunt ghosts
Tifany Jorgensen likes to have fun, even if it takes getting terrified.
A ghost hunter, Jorgensen and her partner, Marie Odom, scour Utah and surrounding states for evidence of the paranormal. They not only gather digital-camera shots of orbs and tape-recordings of voices from the dead, but also a treasure trove of stories they mine to amuse students in their Ghost Hunting 101 classes.
"Ghost hunting is a lot of fun," Jorgensen told 11 class members recently at the Herriman Public Library. "It's freaky. I get scared. I get hurt. But most of all, I love it."
If the duo's tales of derring-do - probing haunted buildings, cemeteries and other sites - are any indication, that love comes with a lot of labor and frustration.
On one occasion, Jorgensen and Odom got lost in the woods while trying to find Peck Cemetery in rural Macon County, Ill. Closer to home, the pair once trekked the wrong direction in the Utah desert in an attempt to locate a graveyard.
They've heard flute music, with no visible musician in sight, and a child coughing at a deserted site where a fire at the landfill reportedly killed most of a town's inhabitants.
"You have to be prepared for what you might hear,"Jorgensen said. "It can get gruesome sometimes."
As ghastly as ghostly encounters - dead children calling out for their parents, for instance - Jorgensen and Odom fret about hanging out at haunted sites without proper equipment. Take, for example, the nearly all-day desert tour that produced less than a half-hour of electronic voice phenomenon because they forgot to carry extra tapes.
Successful or not, their forays provide fodder for the beginning ghost course. They know what students need to pack and must know before they are confronted with a suspected encounter from the hereafter.
They also know how to navigate the system to gain access to places, and they are happy to impart tips to help others start hunting ghouls.
"Anyone can do this," Odom said. "You don't have to be sensitive to the paranormal to hunt for ghosts."
Odom, who has been probing the paranormal for nearly seven years, has racked up scores of otherworldly experiences. She once watched a cup move on its own across a table. Jorgensen, who has been in the business for five years, says she once spied a man clad in a black cape walking down the hall of her former childhood home in Emigration Canyon.
She also sold a house after her probe of the premises revealed the voice of someone refusing to let go of the grounds.
"I don't recommend investigations of your own home," she said.
Josh and Angela Rawlings are eager ghost hunters, and with the tips they picked up at the class in Herriman, ready to launch their own investigation.
"This is something that fascinates us," Angela Rawlings said. "Hey, what else do we have to do for Halloween?"
The Rawlings plan to pack ghost-hunting gear for an evening investigating a long-deserted town outside of Tooele.
"If we get really creeped out we might not stay too long," Angela added. "But I don't think we'll give up too easily."