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Team puts haunted house to test

Advertisement Bill Schnell has a hunch his haunted house might actually be haunted. The owner of NecroPlanet, a seasonal haunted house that runs out of the old Wilson’s Meat Co. building at 1207 Rogers St., has had some odd experiences while working late in the building he has leased since 2006. He claims he’s heard crashes while he was alone. He’s seen shadowy figures out of the corner of his eye. Once he heard what sounded like a “forced whisper” over his right shoulder, saying, “Go!” So when a team of paranormal investigators was in town to patronize the attraction, he told them they ought to come back and check it out when the season was through. After all, Schnell said, one of the theories behind paranormal encounters is that fear tends to magnify the phenomena, and people are “screaming their heads off” for two months every autumn, he said. “I watch all the ghost hunter shows. I enjoy the topic,” Schnell said. “It kind of goes along with the haunted house business.” Jason Wyeth’s team of paranormal investigators, Ghost Joes, drove up from Fort Leonard Wood and gave the property the full treatment last night. They set up eight infrared cameras armed with motion detectors throughout the building, which recorded footage all night. “We don’t take their word for what they tell us,” Wyeth said. “We just try to validate their claims.” Six investigators trolled the corridors, recording their own footage and monitoring for unexplainable occurrences using Mel Meters, which measure electromagnetic fields, heat and movement. “This has been like sliced bread to the ghost community,” Wyeth said of the device. Meanwhile, equipment technician Ryan Guzzardo studied the footage on a computer at the front of the building, directing the investigators to check out areas where movement or sounds were picked up by the stationary cameras. The team actually spent the night in the building last month, but a computer virus destroyed their evidence, Guzzardo said. They were willing to return because their last visit wasn’t without incident. While setting up last month, Guzzardo said he saw a figure that looked like “he was in jeans and a T-shirt,” but it vanished. Wyeth said they picked up voices then, too. Wyeth started Ghost Joes in March 2010 while he was stationed at Fort Polk, La. He served a tour of duty in Iraq, and when he got back, “all that adrenaline rush I was getting in Iraq, it stopped.” So he started the ghost investigation outfit to make up for it. Since moving to Missouri, “I’ve had some cases that are off the wall,” he said. Jessica Melvin was on last month’s excursion in the Wilson’s Meat building, and she said she was scared before beginning the first walkthrough last night. “Last time, it told me and another investigator to get out,” she said. The building that once housed a meat retailer and wholesaler was built in the early ’60s, said property co-owner Dale Diggs. He didn’t seem to know what all the hype was about. “To my knowledge, it’s not haunted,” he said. The team of ghost hunters, though, will make sure he’s right. “We’re gonna be up all night,” Wyeth said. “It’s well worth it.” Reach Jacob Barker at 573-815-1722 or e-mail . Copyright 2012 Columbia Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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