Ghost walk graces Edinboro University’s Reeder Hall

Category:  News
Thursday, November 1st, 2018 at 9:20 AM
Ghost walk graces Edinboro University’s Reeder Hall by Amber Chisholm
Graphic: Claire Smiley

The existence of paranormal forces is widely debated, yet continues to intrigue both believers and skeptics. 

On Sunday, Oct. 21., John Zaffis, aka “The Godfather of the Paranormal,” gave a presentation on paranormal forces, looking into the reasoning on both sides debating their existence. Taking place in the theater of Frank G. Pogue Student Center, the lecture segment of the event ran 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Following the presentation, Zaffis took the show to Reeder Hall from around 10 p.m. to around 11 p.m. for a more personal look into the paranormal.

Hosted by the University Programming Board (UPB), the John Zaffis lecture and ghost walk captured attention from all levels of interest and experience.

“We wanted to have a cool, festive event for Halloween,” Abbie Iler, a sophomore who works for UPB, said.

Zaffis, a demonologist and spiritual researcher, has been to campus numerous times, yet is “glad to be on campus, to be able to share experiences,” yet again, he said. 

He claims to have had his first paranormal encounter at age 16, upon seeing the ghost of his late grandfather standing at the foot of his bed. Now 62, with more than 44 years of work, Zaffis defines a ghost simply as “a human spirit” and that their intent is not to harm or kill, but “to communicate with us.” He even added that most people, including those of Edinboro, have no reason to be afraid.

His presentation, “A Journey Through the Paranormal,” covered topics ranging from historical sites, poltergeists, extreme hauntings and more.

The first topic was near-death experiences, which involved him sharing that he had a heart attack in 2015. He did not sense anything spectacular or otherworldly, but was still altered by it. “It changes you,” said Zaffis.

He continued, talking about how his favorite place to visit is Gettysburg since there is haunted activity everywhere. He also spoke about poltergeists, which involve spontaneous occurrences that are more difficult to explain than the presence of spirits, and thus are most intriguing for him, as they “defy anything that you can imagine.”

For extreme hauntings, his most disturbing case is the notorious “Haunting in Connecticut,” which was depicted in a 2009 film of the same name, along with numerous documentaries. He also claimed that it even made him doubt as to whether he wanted to continue his job.

He also discussed his private collection of more than 10,000 items that have what he called spiritual history. He opened the collection in 2003 and calls it the Museum of the Paranormal.

His TV show, called “Haunted Collector,” started in 2011 and is on the Destination America channel.

After a Q&A session, audience members walked to the third floor of Reeder Hall with the goal of contacting spirits. Zaffis used an app called Echovox System 2.0, which connected to an amplifying device, and students were encouraged to ask questions and share answers. The group agreed to go to the basement and more activity was believed to have taken place there.

This possible activity focused on somebody determined to be “Tom Smith” and a possible fire that was started by a group. Answers were usually called out as “yeah” or “no” and sometimes with numbers to either signify how many spirits were there or the year of something happening. Some participants claimed that areas got colder on a few occasions.

Nobody felt strange touches or saw objects moving by themselves, but people were still intrigued.

While there is no scientific proof of spiritual existence, both Iler and Claire Pullen, a senior, are open to the possibility of ghosts being real, while maintaining skepticism, which both Zaffis and Pullen acknowledged as important. 

Zaffis feels that interest in this topic is higher than it has ever been, especially in his point that people of all ages are open to discussing it more as it has become less hush-hush. 

He added, “To the skeptic there won’t be enough evidence, but to the believer there will be overabundance.” 

Amber Chisholm can be reached at edinboro.spectator@gmail.com.

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