- Associated Press - Saturday, September 26, 2015

CONVERSE, Ind. (AP) - Bob Freeman started looking for ghosts when he was 8 years old. Nine years later, he found one.

He and a group of friends were exploring the woods around Mississinewa Reservoir one night when they came across an abandoned house. The two-story building was dilapidated. Trees grew through the windows.

“It looked like the kind of place Hansel and Gretel would have stumbled upon,” Freeman said. “It was a gorgeous house, but nature had reclaimed it.”

Once they got inside, though, the place didn’t look so abandoned.

All the furniture was still there. A newspaper from 1966 lay open on a coffee table in front of the TV. Plates sat on the kitchen table with rotting food on them, Freeman said.



In the attic, the crew found a trunk full of religious tracts and boxes packed with cult literature.

That’s when they heard the door open downstairs, and footsteps entering the living room. Freeman peaked out from the attic door, expecting to see a cop. Instead, a full-bodied apparition stood in the middle of the room.

“It was like a mist in the shape of a man,” he said.

The footsteps continued into the kitchen and stopped, and then there was silence.

The crew dashed out of the attic and out the front door into the night.

That was in 1983, when Freeman was 17 years old and played on the football team at Oak Hill High School, and he said there’s no doubt in his mind that he saw a ghost that night.

Since then, he’s encountered more spirits and specters than he can count.

The 49-year-old Converse native has now worked as a self-proclaimed occult detective for nearly three decades, tracking paranormal activity and consulting with people who believe they’ve seen a ghost or live in a haunted house.

And for the last 15 years, he’s used his experiences as narrative fodder for his five novels and numerous short stories featuring vampires, werewolves and, of course, occult detectives.

His novel “Keepers of the Dead,” which was first published in 2006 as part of his Cairnwood Manor series, is being re-released next month by Seventh Star Press. The third novel in the series called “Shadow of the Wolf” will be released next year.

Freeman said he’s always been a seeker of strange, haunting experiences. By the time he was 8 years old, he had already formed a group called the Monster Club with some classmates, and was sneaking out at night to explore graveyards.

He started his first academic research into the paranormal at the same age after reading “Unseen Forces” by Manly Hall, which explains how to communicate with ghosts and specters.

He found the book in a steamer trunk packed with literature on spiritualism and the occult that belonged to his great-grandmother.

But it wasn’t until college that he got a real education on the paranormal. Freeman attended Ball State University, where he took classes exclusively dedicated to witchcraft, magic and religion as part of a two-year independent study program.

That’s when his research and work in the paranormal began landing him consultation gigs with people who believed they had encountered the supernatural.

Freeman said some of his first meetings were with conservation officers working around Mississinewa Reservoir who had found pentagrams drawn in the dirt or cats that had been sacrificed out in the woods. They wanted to know whether these were legitimate satanic rituals, or just kids goofing around.

Word started to spread that Freeman did detective work in the occult. That’s all lead to some pretty crazy experiences, Freeman said.

While on a ghost hunt in a building in Converse that formerly served as an Odd Fellows meeting house, he said he encountered a demonic presence that reached into his chest and squeezed his heart before forming as a dark shadow and fleeing.

At another home in Converse, Freeman said, he came across what he calls a residual spirit who would appear in the kitchen, walk through a wall and head outside to the yard.

But a lot of times, the supernatural doesn’t have anything to do with the haunting experiences people encounter, Freeman said.

“Not everything is supernatural,” he said. “You’ve got to know the difference.”

Freeman said that’s why the first thing he does when he comes into a house that the owners believe to be haunted is head into bathroom and check the medicine cabinet for prescription drugs like Prozac or Ambien.

“That doesn’t mean they’re not seeing something, but you need to know the mental state of people you’re dealing with,” he said. “There are legitimate mental health issues here, and you run into that a lot in the occult. A lot of times, people just have overactive imaginations.”

Consulting on the paranormal and hunting for spirits is a unique gig, but it’s one that’s gotten way more popular due to a crop of paranormal TV shows that have popped up over the last decade like “Ghost Hunters” and “Ghost Adventures.”

Freeman said he isn’t influenced by the wave of new paranormal investigators. Instead, he sticks to what he knows.

“I hunt old school,” he said. “Analog tape. Divining rods. Pendulums. Ouija boards. That’s the kind of stuff we had to operate with in my time.”

Of course, lots of people consider the whole enterprise of ghost hunting to be an exercise in fantasy. Freeman said he knows that, but it doesn’t bother him. He said he’s seen too much not to know there are supernatural forces at work in the world.

“If you don’t believe in ghosts, it doesn’t matter what I show you,” he said. “You’re not going to believe unless I have you standing right beside me when it happens. I don’t care if people believe or not. I have no interest in proving or disproving the existence of the paranormal. I know it exists, and that’s all that matters to me.”

___

Source: Kokomo Tribune, https://bit.ly/1PpquDk

___

Information from: Kokomo Tribune, https://www.ktonline.com

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide