By Holly A. Phillips
“It takes a certain stamina to keep up with this, things can follow you home, affect your life, you have to be very strong spiritually to handle this, and you have to keep yourself safe.”
Louisiana is synonymous with spirits, ghosts, voodoo, and sometimes evil. But what’s often kept in the crevices of nightmares is being exposed to light in the wake of television shows led by paranormal investigators. Louisiana’s got those, too.
In 2007, Brad and Barry Klinge created Everyday Paranormal and started researching unexplainable activity. Two years later, the Discovery Channel noticed them and together, they started a show called “Ghost Lab.”
From its popularity, investigative branches sprouted everywhere and Everyday Paranormal of Louisiana was created, with Ken and Maria Allaire as the lead investigators. They also work with Beau Vorhoff to create the local television show, “Haunted,” which will air its fourth season in December.
Ken and Maria began investigating paranormal activity during their years in law enforcement, both working as detectives for more than 60 years, combined.
“Basically when somebody had something happen to their house and they can’t figure it out or explain it, who do they call?” Ken said. “They always call the cops.”
Those calls were answered by the detective division, which would visit the location, take pictures, and write a report, which was often hidden by a higher-up, Ken said.
Today, Ken and Maria are out of law enforcement, focusing on paranormal investigations, many of which come by request through their website.
After a request for an investigation is made, Ken and Maria try to gather information about the location and its history to determine if a visit is needed.
If so, Ken, Maria, and other members of their team visit the location with no one else present to ensure the premises is secure, and all noises can be accounted for.
The team sets up cameras, recorders, and uses magnetic field detectors to start the investigation. The team, often Maria, leads a series of questions, known as an Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP) in order to reach out to the entity, in hopes of getting a response on the recorder.
“It could be a 15-minute session, and it may take well over an hour, or two to three, depending on how much activity is going on,” Maria said. “Sometimes they’re indiscernible and all you hear is voices, and you can’t make out their words, and there are some as loud as our voices and they come across clear.”
The team has recorded evidence on their website, including a session near The Alamo, and a local 1800s cemetery.
“The day we went to the cemetery, we just wanted to get pictures,” Ken said. “Maria has the camera on the tripod, hits the timer, I’m standing out front, she runs to me, we hear the camera beeping, she has the tape recorder running, there is nobody out there, when she plays it back, you can hear her run off, and you can hear a voice say, ‘Can I see it too?’
“It’s almost sad,” he said. “You feel bad because someone is talking to you and you never acknowledge them.”
From their experiences, Ken and Maria said the voices aren’t “deathly-zombie” like the movies. Instead, they often sound like children, regular people, and sometimes it’s animal sounds such as a dog barking, or even music.
Once the team finishes the EVP session, they get to a computer where they can begin analyzing the camera and video footage.
“We’re at a location for six or seven hours, and then the analysis begins,” Ken said. “Think of it like this: think of your favorite TV show, and watching it, pause it, and stare at that frame for two hours – that’s what analysis is like, you can’t look away, because a lot of things happen within a second.”
After many hours of analysis, the team has video evidence of paranormal activity at The Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville, and photo evidence at The Spanish Moon, among other places.
Although people request an investigation for various reasons, hearing voices or seeing things are fairly common, Ken and Maria agreed.
“We try to tell people that paranormal activity doesn’t always mean bad,” Ken said. “It could be a deceased family member, or a very close friend just trying to tell you something. They’re not hiding in the closet waiting for you… most of the time.”
The lead investigators aren’t scared of spirits, but they do have their limits.
“We’ve both been Catholic all of our lives,” Ken said. “We are not demonologists. We don’t perform séances. If someone tells us something that sounds demonic, we don’t touch it. There’s way too much danger, it’s as bad as it gets.”
Ultimately, Ken and Maria have found that most people are just looking for validation of a spirit’s presence.
“The owner wants to know they’re not crazy,” Ken said. “A lot of people think that paranormal has to be in a haunted location somewhere somebody died, where someone committed suicide, on a rainy night, no, it could be 4pm on a Saturday, downtown baton rouge.”
Check out the trailer for season four of “Haunted” at wfmf.com, search: Haunted.
Email Ken and Maria: [email protected]