I spoke with senior Sara Schoen, president of JMU Ghost Hunters recently. Here’s what she had to say:
What is JMU Ghost Hunters?
JMU Ghost Hunters started about 3 years ago and it’s just a group of normally about 10 to 15 people who are either skeptics — meaning they don’t believe in spirits — or believers and they want answers and we go to supposedly haunted locations.
What made you want to join? Are you a skeptic or a believer?
I’m more of a skeptic ‘cause I study science, so it’s more like I wanna find out if it’s a rational thing and if it’s not and I can’t explain it, then it’s just something interesting.
What made you want to be president of JMU Ghost Hunters?
We only had a small amount of people ‘cause it really just started up and I was gonna be here longer, so I took the vice president position, enjoyed it enough and then became president when the actual president graduated.
Do you find more skeptics or more believers?
I find a lot of believers. They’re joining because they’ve either had an experience or a lot of them join because they watch all the ghost hunting shows and are like, ‘Yeah, that’s really cool!’ That’s the thing that happens the most.
Have you ever seen anything similar to a TV show?
I haven’t seen anything. I’ve experienced it. I had my hair pulled in Weston Plantation, which is in Hopewell, Virginia. It didn’t, like, hurt, but it was just kind of shocking because you’re not expecting anything to touch you.
I’ve never been scared while ghost hunting. You normally get really excited when something happens because you’re like, ‘Oh my God, yes.’ This is what you want. No one’s ever been, like, scared. People do need breaks.
What gear do you use when you ghost hunt?
A K2 meter, an EMF detector — an EMF is an electromagnetic field, voice recorders … we’ll use miscellaneous objects, so like, if there’s a child, we use, like, a ball and see if they wanna play with us … we also have a laser grid, so if I set a ball up and I wanna see if it moves, and I’m gonna sit there for a while, I’ll set the laser grid up and … I’ll be able to see it better if it moves.
Where do you get the gear from?
We buy our own right now. Our president actually left a lot — our founder actually — left a lot for us to keep and if we want more, we can get grants from JMU.
What do you want readers to know about JMU Ghost Hunters?
I mostly just want them to know, like, it’s just for fun. I have a lot of people who get freaked out very easily. They ask me if I’ve ever had a ghost follow me home. I’ve never had that happen. I’ve done this since I was eight and I’ve never had that happen. Or they’re worried about demons. And we don’t use Ouija boards or pendulums or anything that’s going to attract those kind of things. We don’t provoke either, so it’s not like you’re gonna be like Zak Bagans and have stuff follow you around because you’ve made them angry. It’s just, we do, like, group activities, like, it’s not just ghost hunting, it’s just like, this is what we’re interested in and now you can talk to, like, people, you don’t have to be afraid to be like, ‘Yeah, I believe in ghosts.’
The JMU Ghost Hunters meet every Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Keezell Hall G002.
Photo by: Allison Lindsey