Hidden away in a tiny room at the back of the Fullerton Museum, sits a group of three men, each resembling the cadence of what one would expect to see on your favorite ghost hunting show.
Sam Neill, the co-founder of the North OC Paranormal Society, and brothers Jim and Shawn Eeckhoutte sat at a table exuded excitement for the evening’s investigations. With large stainless-steel briefcases open for display, giving a glimpse into the techniques and gadgets used while hunting for the paranormal are aplenty.
Neill said, “There’s a reason why they call it ghost hunting. I don’t care what TV shows you watch, I don’t care who you talk to, it is still not a proven thing. That’s why it’s called ghost hunting, not ghost catching.”
The tour audience, distressed by the trigger dolls on display, watched with curiosity as the NOPS team explained the mechanics behind the children’s toys. When an entity enters the trigger doll’s vicinity, the eyes light up and a loud ring fills the room.
The trigger dolls are there to help in the hunting process. While in a dark room, seeing as humans are basically blind, the dolls’ eyes will light up and a loud pitched ring will fill the space. The noise and visual queue indicate to the hunters that there is indeed a presence in the midst. If the sound and glowing eyes are not enough, the recorders embedded inside the dolls record the incident at play.
The tour, which stretches for two miles, give or take, takes the audience through downtown Fullerton, exploring the history of its people and the hauntings surrounding the old buildings and restaurants.
Susie Dittmar, the tour guide, has worked for the Fullerton Museum Center for over 20 years, hosting the tours for ghost fanatics and history buffs alike. Dittmar said, “We have only done a few of these because we usually always do it in the fall for Halloween. This one we’re changing it up a little bit because it is a full moon. I have had paranormal occurrences, many of those taking place at locations we’ll be seeing tonight.”
A very lively host, Dittmar loves to crack jokes while always respecting the dead. She tells stories about ghost sightings and the history of downtown Fullerton. The evening runs a hefty two and a half hours long, but Dittmar’s energy and knowledge of the city are both interesting and profound.
The Full Moon Haunted Tour guides its guests through well-established locations such as Angelo’s and Vinci’s Ristorante, The Fox Theater, and the eerily chilling Villa Del Sol courtyard.
On this tour, skepticism of the paranormal is not only expected but encouraged.
Neill said, “There is a theory that paranormal activity heightens during the full moon. We have proof that convinces us that something else is happening. We can’t tell you that it’s a ghost, or a spirit, or whatever, but I’ve had experiences.”
The tour ends with the passing out of drink vouchers to the tour guests at the popular Italian restaurant Angelo’s and Vinci’s, where patrons are encouraged to ask more questions and share stories of personal ghostly sightings.
The Full Moon Haunted Tour happens once a month, on a date coinciding with the full moon. In the month of October, the tours are more frequent, happening two to three times a week.