Author Topic: Another haunted theater  (Read 1963 times)

Devious Viper
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Another haunted theater
« on: August 25, 2006, 04:12:13 AM »
After the last movie at the triplex ended, six members of the Tamaqua-based Coal Region Ghost Hunters went to work setting up their camera and sound equipment in order to scientifically assess what many skeptics dismiss as fantasy. "I've been coming here for three years, and working here for four months and I've never seen anything weird - although there is someone here who is afraid to go down and get ice," said Christine Bohr, Lansford, a theater employee.

Group founder Tim Heckman contacted Angela owner Mike Danchak last weekend and asked him if he had ever experienced anything out of the ordinary. Danchak immediately recalled a phenomenon he refers to as "Pete's Pennies." From time to time, Danchak said he has discovered pennies on the floor of the theater. He didn't think too much of it until he spoke to Andy Magazzu, whose father, Peter, built the theater in 1949.

Magazzu told Danchak that he and his brother threw rolls of pennies into the cement while the foundation was being poured, believing this would bring good luck to the business. "Since we reopened in 1998, business would be slow and there would be a struggle - but then we would find these pennies and business would pick up drastically," Danchak said.

Determined to discover the story behind the phantom currency, the Ghost Hunters volunteered to do an assessment. First, they scoured the theater for loose change, finding several quarters, two dimes, a nickel and one penny.

Then the Ghost Hunters spent more than 20 minutes setting up their equipment.

Of the seven cameras used by the group, three were patched into televisions with sound so that they could monitor the noise levels and measure the electronic voice phenomenon. Four cameras were assembled to monitor images alone using night-vision camcorders and infrared cameras. In addition, the Ghost Hunters measured the electromagnetic fields (EMFs) in the surrounding air to detect a change in energy levels. Extreme spikes in temperature were monitored using a digital thermometer - "extreme" defined as a drop of more than 20 degrees.

For three hours, group members took turns sitting in the theater and asking the ghost(s) to leave change, make noises, or explain the reasoning behind the pennies. Others stood outside and monitored the recordings for strange noises or unexplainable visuals, while another member went up and down the aisles, surveying EMF levels.

Although nothing was immediately apparent on the monitors, members weren't ready to draw conclusions. "Just because we don't see anything, doesn't mean there isn't anything," lead investigator Kelly Mills said.

[A Viper motto: Absence of evidence is not always evidence of absence"]

Following each study, the Ghost Hunters devoted additional time to careful analysis of the footage in order to more accurately assess the environment. However, some physical evidence "appeared" approximately one hour after the investigation began. Heckman discovered a quarter and a penny under one chair, which group members believe were not there when the study commenced.

Many people find evidence like this hardly worth noting.

Michael Shermer, founder of the Los Angeles-based group The Skeptics Society, recently gave an interview in which he attributed many of these "findings" to "confirmation bias" - in which people interpret data in order to confirm their own personal belief system. This often leads to misinformation and statistical error.

Still, the Ghost Hunters donít consider themselves naive. "If we say we've got something, then we've really got something," Heckman said. "We do this stuff to disprove what the experts claim to have found."

Despite, or because of, the findings, the Ghost Hunters will return to the Angela Theatre on Friday to conduct a final inquiry at the site on which Danchak is building another theater screen - where a funeral parlor used to be located. Heckman and members of his family founded the Coal Region Ghost Hunters 4Ĺ years ago, although Heckman's interest in the paranormal extends back into his childhood. His troupe grew to include approximately 20 others. Present Tuesday night were Heckman; Mills, Williamstown; Jamie Marcum, Reading; John Kintz and Dorothy Gulla, both of Lansford; and Will Lentz, Branchdale.

source: Pottsville republican & Herald (PA)

« Last Edit: August 25, 2006, 04:13:52 AM by Devious Viper »