An airplane pilot.
A supervisor at a savings institution.
A police officer.
All of these people have one thing in common: The Ghosts of Louisiana Paranormal Society. A group with a passion for investigating the paranormal, GOLAPS has had members from a host of careers, but they all have a common interest—spirits.
Brent Soileau started the GOLAPS in 2010, but it wasn’t just with the intention of investigating public places. While the group has done everything from investigating notoriously haunted locations like the Myrtles Plantation and the Guaranty building, GOLAPS has also advised for accuracy on a local movie set. But most of the team’s work, about 90 percent of it, according to Soileau, is in normal neighborhoods around Louisiana.
“They always say, ‘I hope you won’t think I’m crazy,’” Soileau said.
GOLAPS members see their work as a form of community service, helping people feel safe in their own home by ridding the residences of evil spirits. Many people they visit never had any experience with dealing with the paranormal, so Soileau sees it as GOLAPS’s duty to help them. The group doesn’t charge for its services.
“We get the spirits out if that’s what the homeowner wants,” Soileau said.
Unlike the ghost hunting TV shows popular during the Halloween season, GOLAPS doesn’t use any form of technology to rid houses of spirits. Instead, the group uses faith-based methods.
“I use various methods from various spiritual disciplines…that I kind of stumbled on that seem to work,’ Soileau said.
Soileau became interested in the paranormal long before he created GOLAPS. Back in 1976, when they both were children, Soileau and his brother formed a club called “Ghostbusters.” The two would go into neighbors’ houses and look for ghosts.
His interest peaked when he and his family moved into a house he believed was haunted. His parents also believed there was something otherworldly in the home, so they called for a priest to bless the house.
“One day me and my brother were home by ourselves, and we were in the kitchen where the master panel for the intercom system was, and we could hear…(on the monitor) stuff moving and people whispering,” Soileau said.
When the boys went to check it out, there was nothing there, but the sounds continued, so listening to their investigative instincts, they left a tape recorder on to see if they could capture the noise while no one was in the house. They were successful.
“You would hear things being moved about that you couldn’t explain,” he said.
After doing some research, they came to the conclusion that, because the house was new, the spirit was most likely a worker who died while the house was being built.
All members of GOLAPS have formed an interest in the paranormal in different ways, but many have done so through photography.
Janie* who is also a member of GOLAPS, had a similar experience, but her belief in the paranormal was sealed when she took a photo of what appears to be British Redcoats forming a group at the Myrtles Plantation.
“I’ve gone on a tour, and I’ve heard things showed up in your picture. I was just snapping, snapping, snapping, and I developed them and I said, ‘Wait, what is this?’”
If you have an interest in the paranormal, GOLAPS is currently looking for dedicated, sincere new members to join the group.
*Janie requested her last name be withheld from this story.
Top photo by Sean Gasser.