Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Local group seeks a presence

WIPIT visited the Peavy family home in Rockton, Illinois on Oct. 9. The Peavy family says their house has been haunted since the day they moved in. Photo by Amber Levenhagen

By Amber Levenhagen

By Josh Hafemeister

Oct. 14, 2015

Between the realm of the living and the unknown, a local investigation team hunts to define the paranormal.

The Wisconsin-Illinois Paranormal Investigation Team spent Oct. 9 at a house in Rockton, Illinois, a house rich with a terrifying history.

Laura Baker founded the investigation team, known as WIPIT, and her husband Mitch Baker has since became a team leader.  The team leads a group of investigators as they explore the paranormal unknown around Wisconsin and Illinois.

Laura was contacted by Kim and Mike Peavy in the hopes of finding answers to what their family has been experiencing.

The house was built in 1890 and the Peavys moved in in 1989. They have been experiencing unexplainable events since the first day.

“The little boy has been messing with me since day one, he’s a little jokester,” said Mike about one of their more frequent paranormal visitors. “He’s always in your peripheral, it’s like he’s playing peekaboo.”

The little boy has no known connection to the house, but has been seen by Mike and Kim around corners and running up and down stairs.

“My sister was visiting a few years ago, and she looked at me and back at the house while we were outside and she said ‘you know there’s a little boy running around your house and he just looked out the window,’ and I said ‘oh yeah he’s been here the whole time,” said Mike.

Besides the little boy, the family suspects other ghosts live in their house. The odor of perfume was claimed to move around the house, and a shadow of a man was spotted on the front porch by Mike in the middle of the day.

Other claims were of activity around the staircase and kitchen.

“A lot of popular claims are opening closets, hearing footsteps, seeing doors open and close and sometimes apparitions are a popular claim too,”  said Kira Gookin, a sophomore and psychology student at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

WIPIT was requested to investigate the house because Kim is worried for their children. Their nine year old child is fearful of his bedroom, because of the paranormal activity in their house.

“We got to a point in our house where it felt like a fever pitch,” Kim said. “We can’t go one night without seeing something on the stairs. By the time you turn, it’s gone.”

The night started with the family taking the children and the pets out of the house. This helped prevent noise contamination. The children stayed with family or friends and the pets were relocated to a safe area.

The team was split into three groups. Two teams investigated the house and another team stayed in command central to monitor the equipment. Command central was a tent outside  the house that hosted all of the equipment and computer monitors.

The house, full of cameras and voice recorders, was pitch black when the teams entered around 8:30 p.m. The investigation lasted until around 2 a.m.

At different points through the night, the teams experienced intense static electricity, unexplainable noises, and phenomena with the electronic equipment.

A voice recorder stationed upstairs was found turned off halfway through the night. The battery was still fully charged.

Back at command central, the team that was monitoring the equipment heard a “whoop” that was not a noise made by any member of the investigation team.

“It’s not like the movies,” Gookin said.

Gookin founded Second Salem Paranormal Investigation Team, SSPIT, after her involvement with WIPIT sparked her interest in the paranormal.

Christopher Calvert-Minor, associate professor of philosophy and religious studies, heard about the event through Gookin, who is one of his students.

“I find the thrill of possibly having some of my beliefs being overturned very interesting,” Calvert-Minor said. “Something would have to happen which in my mind it’s so blatantly obvious that there’s something there.”

In the house, two of the teams experienced issues with walkie-talkies. One team heard noises that sounded like Morse code, or almost a drum beat, playing in the static.

The static beat ended immediately after leaving the house. It was learned through Mike that the previous owner, who died in the house, was a drummer.

Outside of the house, an infrared camera showed a face in the window through the heat map. A few moments later, the image of a face was gone.

Each team had a camera to record using night vision. This was used to document any physical activity, such as an object moving across the room. This didn’t happen, but at one point while investigating the house, a fully charged video camera turned off as if the battery was drained.

“We aren’t freaked out by what’s going on,” Kim said. “If they were going to hurt us, they would have done so a long time ago.”

From here, the family and team will reconvene to talk about what was found on the recordings after the investigation. At that point, if it seems like anything needs to be done, the team will talk with the family about what they want to do.

“Sometimes we’ve had to talk to religious people, from either churches or whatever they’re comfortable with doing,” said Gookin. “It really depends on the situation.”

A lot of the material found isn’t discovered until Laura reviews the evidence after the investigation. Some of the material is thrown out, if there is contamination or if it could easily be refuted.

“My official position would be that I’m skeptical about the paranormal but I’m open to possibilities, but that night, that Friday night nothing there convinced me that there was something there,” Calvert-Minor said.

Calvert-Minor teaches an intro to philosophy course. The course covers a unit on life after death, which divulges into if us as humans are essentially material beings or if we are spiritual beings.

The investigation intersects with some of the material taught in class.

“I much rather go with the physical explanation than to automatically think there’s some non-physical something going on,” Calvert-Minor said.

But for now the Peavy family awaits an update from WIPIT about the fate of their situation.

If interested in the unknown, Second Salem Paranormal Investigation Team is a local team independent of WIPIT that covers the Whitewater area. The team meets Monday’s at 6:30 p.m. in UC 266. Their web page can be found at “Second Salem Paranormal Investigation Team” on the UWW Connect Page.

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Founded 1901
Local group seeks a presence