Referring to themselves as paranormal investigators who investigate and document activity for research or other documentation, the North Orange County Paranormal Society studies, interprets, and educates the public about paranormal phenomena.
Ghost busters they are not, the NOPS prides itself on its ability to stay objective and scientifically gather evidence of the paranormal, which is defined as anything that is not commonly known in our world as normal.
“There are so many theories about the paranormal. Some say they are human spirits, some say they are alien beings from another planet and others think they are time travelers from another dimension,” said NOPS co-founder and investigator Jim VanEeckhoutte. “As a society, we need to keep an open mind on all aspects until we actually have a one on one conversation and get real answers from the other side.”
Open for any investigation, the NOPS takes reports from the public of Orange County and will make house calls. The investigative team utilizes the scientific method to determine whether a report is founded or not.
“We have been doing this for several years and we know the average readings from our equipment that measure normal activity versus abnormal activity. We normally test the location and rule out any possible normal, man-made interference before we make a judgement to call it paranormal,” said VanEeckhoutte. “The most common is EMF spikes of energy, sudden battery drain on our equipment, physical movement of objects, sounds that were not heard with our own ears.”
Taking an interesting approach, the NOPS often also utilizes humor and icebreakers to both calm clients and their ghosts.
“In many cases, we may use humor as an icebreaker for the client as well as for the spirit activity. When people are relaxed, they seem to be more open to a resolution to what is happening and that helps us set up a better form of communication,” said NOPS historian, researcher, and investigator Aimee Aul. “If people are nervous and tense, it’s more difficult to capture activity. It’s more of a psychological ploy.”
Besides house calls, NOPS also holds haunted walking tours around Fullerton during the month of October–read more about it here. On these tours, investigators describe the spooky history of many Fullerton buildings including Plummer Auditorium, the Fox Theater, and Villa Del Sol.
Despite their elaborate and thorough approach to paranormal cases and/or investigations, societies like NOPS are consistently written-off or ignored. Though this does not deter the members of NOPS.
“The fact that paranormal research has been discounted in most academic circles has led to the widespread impression that it’s all a bunch of nonsense,” said Aul. “The truth is the research now falls to professional paranormal enthusiast like NOPS. Research is now happening and discoveries are being made. It’s just not happening in academia.”
“TV paranormal ghost hunters are usually based for entertainment and many of them are staged for entertainment. We do not stage anything and what you see from us is real,” said VanEeckhoutte.
“From the TV programs we have been involved in, we, from the beginning, have stressed with producers that we will not fake anything found by us,” added NOPS co-founder and investigator Sam Neill.
Many of members of NOPS have had some sort of encounter with the paranormal, having either been touched, pushed, or scratched by unseen beings. Formed because of these shared experiences and beliefs, NOPS is home to those the Orange County prepared to learn the truth.
“Our best location with the most activity would have to be in Yuma Arizona at a very old theater where we have experienced coins and rocks thrown at us on many occasions and we captured a great Inter-Transmission Communication [a modified radio that sweeps past several radio frequencies very fast] response from our modified radio,” said VanEeckhoutte. “Yuma is our number one testing grounds for researching paranormal activity and testing our equipment.”
“True paranormal activity is a bit rare to find so when we find it, it’s like finding a gold coin,” finished Neill. “We have a few like this although nothing has been able to scare us away.”
For more information on the North Orange County Paranormal Society visit their website.