Going on a wild ghost chase

By KLINT SPILLER

kspiller@dailynews.net

WILSON -- For paranormal investigator Terry Rowe, ghost hunting is not supposed to be a thrill ride.

Rowe, who owns and operates Catch a Ghost Tours of Kansas, chronicles different paranormal experiences across Kansas, trying his best to adhere to the scientific method.

His investigations have taken him throughout the state, but he runs regular tours in Hays, Wilson and Hill City.

His tours regularly put him in the presence of rumored apparitions, and he tries to capture as much evidence about them as possible.

On Oct. 15, Rowe conducted a ghost tour at the Midland Railroad Hotel in Wilson and the Wilson Cemetery. Rowe, his mother, his son and four tour participants were in attendance.

Rowe utilizes tools such as electromagnetic frequency meters, laser grids, portable ion generators, digital thermometers, digital recorders and digital cameras, and he takes copious notes about the baseline electromagnetic frequency, baseline temperature, humidity, moon cycle, wind speed, sound contamination and air quality.

"You are out there trying to catch paranormal evidence," Rowe said in his training session before the ghost tour. "If you are out there just for the fun of it, you probably should just not come. This is about catching evidence for the paranormal community."

Each tool has different functions. Rowe said ghosts' energy set off the EMF meters when they get close, and the ion generator is designed to draw in ghosts by feeding them with electricity.

While different tools are useful, Rowe said the best tool at one's disposal is one's own senses.

"You use yourself as a tool more than the stuff that takes a battery," Rowe said. "You can feel things in your body that aren't normal. Your hair will rise up on your arms. Your hair will tingle. You might feel dizzy or lightheaded. It feels like something might be sucking your feet to the ground."

Rowe said it is important to research the history of a location before investigating.

For example, the Midland Railroad Hotel was built in 1899, and in 1902, the hotel caught on fire. Rowe said many died, and he said this type of event might cause spirits to haunt areas.

Tom Mahoney, the owner of the hotel, said he never has witnessed an apparition, but he has heard stories from his housekeepers.

"(A housekeeper) saw a blonde-haired girl," Mahoney said. "She went back and looked again, and the girl was gone."

Rowe's tour took the group into the rooms of two possible apparitions -- Sheriff Bart and a young girl.

While there was no clear evidence of ghosts on this particular hunt, there were some strange occurrences noted by the participants.

While in Sheriff Bart's room, two participants in the group said they felt uneasy.

"Your equilibrium wasn't right, like when you are on one of the spooky rides or a roller coaster," said Dena Donley of Lincoln.

The participants also recorded several "orbs" on their digital cameras in the hotel and in the cemetery, which many ghost hunters say are the manifested energy of ghosts. Rowe said he didn't put much stock in the orbs, saying dust in the air also can create that phenomenon. Rowe said he prefers his photographic evidence to be of actual ghosts, such as an apparition's body or face.

"If you go on the Internet, you will see people who have faked different pictures of ghosts," Rowe said. "We just have to laugh, because we go out here in five minutes and can catch some pictures of paranormal."