Why this Sacramento family called in paranormal investigators
Deanna Jaxine Stinson was having car problems. Really strange car problems. It wasn’t anything mechanical. It was her dead ex-boyfriend, Alex.
Alex was haunting the GMC, Stinson said. She felt his hands on her legs, or stroking her hair. She caught a glimpse of him through her rear view mirror, sitting in the back seat, smiling.
Eventually, the GMC was repossessed. Alex seemed to fade into the background, but Stinson still believes he’s present, regardless of the car.
“If I just ask for him … he would still be there, because he had that protective quality about him,” Stinson said.
The experience with her GMC led Stinson to Paul Dale Roberts, a state worker by day, esoteric detective by night. Their group, Halo Paranormal Investigations, conducts ghost hunts, investigates paranormal activities, and performs blessings and cleansing rituals.
“I actually lived in a haunted house when I was a child,” says Roberts. He’s been fascinated with the paranormal ever since. “My path led me from being a military cop, to military intelligence, to becoming a paranormal investigator.”
His path led him to Stinson. Soon they were ghost hunting together, and on the April 2014 blood moon they were married.
On the hunt for ghosts
Almost five years later, Roberts and Stinson are still hunting ghosts together, as they did on a recent sunny weekend in Sacramento. The first stop was a private residence near Sutter’s Fort, home to the Miles family. Julie Miles was home, along with two of her kids, Samantha, 14, and Aaron, 12.
The family has lived here for nine years, and the place was always haunted; just not this bad. Hanging on the walls are religious symbols – pictures of Jesus, crucifixes and rosaries.
“I’m a practicing Catholic,” Julie said. “I go to church next door.”
Julie brought in a priest to bless the house but the haunting just got worse.
“Things were flying off the shelves,” she said.
The apartment has two stories; the bedrooms are upstairs. But everybody sleeps downstairs; if they sleep alone in their rooms, they say they get attacked.
Julie sees “things” go up and down the stairs but “I don’t get a lot of detail.”
Samantha has plenty of details. She can see several different entities, which she says look like the “black silhouette of a person.”
“We call them ‘shadow people,’” Samantha said. “Some of them crawl up the ceiling. Others just stand there and watch.”
Roberts and Stinson have already investigated this location.
“We got scratched – I got pinched,” Stinson said.
She is co-owner of HPI with Roberts, as well as psychic medium for the group. “There is definitely a dark, aggressive force here.”
“It’s really close to Sutter’s Fort,” Roberts said. “So it has a lot of history.”
Listening for voices
Julie has pictures of a demon on her phone. “Can you see? See the teeth?” It seems to be a picture of a bathroom mirror, a murky reflection.
The group decides to venture upstairs. HPI has a diverse toolkit for hunting ghosts. They use electronic voice phenomenon recorders, electromagnetic field readers, temperature gauges, cameras, night vision goggles, spirit boxes, dousing rods and psychic abilities.
Electronic voice phenomena provide some compelling evidence. The recordings pick up frequencies that can’t heard with the naked ear.
To get an EVP recording, Roberts speaks into a hand-held tape recorder – often just a general greeting to a possible ghost: “If there’s anyone here, please talk to me. Let me know that you’re here.”
He pauses for a response, then stops the recording and plays it back. This is when ghostly voices are sometimes heard, but not this time – not in this room, or the next, or the next.
Later, Roberts employs another device, a temperature gauge.
“It indicates cold spots,” explains Roberts. “At first, it was indicating blue (which is really weak) but then it indicated red – the perfect time to get an EVP.”
The playback: “If there’s someone here, please let me know that you’re here. ... Do you want to harm the family?”
“No.” It’s a male voice, faint but distinct.
‘Hello, is there a little boy here?’
A week later, Roberts and Stinson are at the Broadway Cemetery. They have two small dogs in tow – a Pekinese, and a Yorkshire Terrier mix. They’re both psychic and cute, Roberts said.
Stinson sees flashes and shadows from time to time. As the psychic medium, she often helps identify paranormal hot-spots. Then Roberts can try to substantiate any ghostly presence with an EVP.
Eventually, she wanders from the the group, to check something out.
She’s back a few minutes later with news. She says she just saw a little boy - a little ghost boy - walk behind the chapel. He looked about 7 years old, with blonde hair, a red hat, red shirt and long trousers.
He was walking “just regular-paced,” like you and me,” says Stinson. Then she adds, “He seemed happy.”
Roberts attempts an EVP from inside the chapel. First time nothing. But on the second try, he gets a hit. On playback:
Roberts asks, “Hello, is there a little boy here?”
The answer is clear – it’s appropriately timed – and it sounds like a little boy’s voice.
They try other questions but there are no further responses.
Roberts was asked about the scientific validity of EVPs. How does he rule out natural explanations for the EVP of the little boy?
“Well, the natural explanation is that we picked up a voice from somewhere in the cemetery,” Roberts said. “We were very close to an open space, so if there was someone in the cemetery that said ‘Yes,’ then perhaps I picked that up. So, that would be a natural explanation.”
Nevertheless, he’s pretty confident in this EVP: “It was pretty sharp and it was answering my question. … It was probably an entity.”