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Spooky Plumbers-Turned-Ghost-Hunters to Speak

By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
October 10, 2007

Believers will want to come early. Skeptics who think what they hear will debunk anyone’s beliefs in the paranormal should, too; the Oct. 24 presentation by the stars of the Sci-Fi Channel’s popular “Ghost Hunters” is expected to be such a hit that organizers fear they will have to turn people away.

And you can forget haunting the planners for a seat in advance. The talk is first-come, first-serve.

“We’ve never had as many phone calls for an event as we have in the past three or four weeks for this,” says David Zamansky, assistant director of the MUB. “Ghost Hunters” Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson are coming to UNH as part of the MUB’s 2007 Current Issues Lecture Series. “People have been trying to reserve a seat. We’re telling them to come at least two hours early if they want to be sure to get in.”

The event featuring Hawes and Wilson has been moved from the Strafford Room, where the other series’ talks are held, to the Granite State Room, which seats 744. Another paranormal tracker who has spoken at UNH a couple of times before has filled the Strafford Room—and he isn’t even very well known, Zamansky says.

But almost anyone who has cable television is familiar with the one-hour show that has Hawes and Wilson traveling around the country investigating reports of haunted houses. What sets them apart, avid fans will tell you, is their use of electronic equipment that is supposed to be able to detect spooky activity.

That means being able to tell the difference between a ghost and a cold draft. To do that, the ghost hunters rely on digital thermometers, infrared and night vision cameras, electromagnetic field scanners, digital cameras and recorders and laptops. The duo—both professional plumbers by trade—head the Atlantic Paranormal Society, or TAPS, a group of ordinary people who try to sniff out unusual occurrences and determine if they are, indeed, other worldly.

“This is going to be a huge event. We’re hearing from people in Maine; Massachusetts. We usually average 100 to 200 people a lecture. The Ghost Hunters are going to bring that way up,” says Zamansky. “Every once in a while we have an event that maxes out. This one will for sure. Especially because it’s around Halloween.”

The ghost hunters will give a presentation on some of their findings and talk about their major cases. They are also expected to answer as many questions as possible.

“In their work, they try to be sure of the things they are witnessing and not mistaking something,” Zamansky says. “If you listen to them, it really makes you believe in ghosts.”

The event starts at 8 p.m. in the Granite State Room and is co-sponsored by the MUB and MUSO. For information on the MUB lecture series, go to http://www.unhmub.com/leadershipcenter/pdf/mub_lectures.pdf.

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