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Investigator To Teach Art Of Ghost Hunting

Have you ever noticed your dog or cat watching something that isn't there? Maybe it's a ghost.

This Halloween, you can be more prepared in your ghost hunting, and maybe even find out what Fido is really looking at, with a course offered by SHSU's Continuing Education office.

Victoria Dingler, a certified paranormal investigator, will teach "Ghost Hunting" on Friday (Oct. 28), from 6:30-9:30 p.m.

The computer specialist by day-ghost hunter by night has taught four different classes on the topic, showing people how to catch apparitions on film and what they look like when caught on camera.

"There are many forms, ranging from mists to orbs to full body apparition," she said. "In a photograph, they could look like an orb of light, or a streak of light, or even a mist. It can appear as a fog.

"I talk about how it feels to me when a spirit enters the room, or when one is trying to speak to me," Dingler said. "It is really a very individual experience. Each person perceives spirit communication in his or her own unique way."

Since she began ghost hunting, at least 100 people have asked her to investigate their homes, though she said only about half were truly haunted.

She seeks them with a tool kit that includes gauges to measure electromagnetic fields and infrared thermometers to find cold spots caused by an apparition. Her most important tool, however, is the ability to quiet her mind and to believe, she said.

"A ghost can look like anything, but mostly, they look like themselves. Or, the self they were in the life they just left," she said. "I think sometimes we do not even know we have encountered a ghost, that the person we just talked to was as 'real' as you or I. Then you have the ones that look like they are from another era, dressed as a Civil War soldier or a Native American."

Among the many ghosts Dingler has encountered was that of her own brother, who was killed in an airplane crash in 1998. She said he came to her, sat on the edge of her bed and inquired as to why no one would talk to him. She had to tell him he was dead.

"When someone dies a very traumatic early death, they really don't understand what happened to them. I was happy to see him, but I was broken hearted that he did not know what was happening," she said. "I just wanted the nightmare to be gone for all of us. My father had passed away three years prior, and I knew he could help Dennis, once he understood that he had died.

"He's come to visit me a few times since then, wanting to check on his children," she said.

Dingler believes that anyone has the ability to see people who have “passed over.”

"Little children and pets are a good example. Kids have ‘imaginary friends’ that are spirits," she said. "Have you ever watched your pet, and it appears to be watching something in the room you are unable to see? Or barks at a weird place on the wall? This is the animal acknowledging the presence."

Many people choose not to see ghosts simply because they don't want to, she said.

"We teach our children to not see by telling them that they are not really seeing anyone; it is just make believe," she said. "I was lucky; I was born to a mother that believed and never told me I could not talk to or see anyone that had passed on.

"Also, as we get older, most of us push the ability to the back of our minds because of work or school and everyday life."

Dingler said that shows such as the “Ghost Whisperer" and "Medium" have made the ability more acceptable.

"I love it that more television shows are about spirit communication," she said. "It does help people understand a bit more about those that have died but not crossed over.

"Hollywood does tend to make it a bit more 'glamorous' than what I believe it really is, but it makes for a good story."

Dingler also contends that ghosts aren't evil. In fact, some of her "guests," whom she has invited into her home, have been described as "playful," and one was a "prankster."

"If they're grumpy and hateful in life, they're going to be the same in death," she said. "They may be angry, and they may be unhappy, but they can't hurt you."

There are many reasons why people are drawn to Dingler's class.

"Some want to know just because they have never had anyone to ask questions to," she said. "Some need validation, to know that they are not the only people that can see or feel something beyond normal explanation.

"Some have ghosts in their lives and want to share their experiences. And some, in my opinion, want to see a real live freak in action," she added with a smile.

She said reactions to the course have been very positive.

"I was very nervous at the first one. I have felt like a freak most of my life, and I was not sure what kind of people would be there," she said. "I have never had anyone come up to me later and tell me that they thought I was crazy. Most everyone has a story to share, and many questions."

Those interested in taking the class, which costs $25 to participate in, can sign up until the day of the event through the Continuing Education office.

For more information, call 936.294.4568.



SHSU Media Contact: Jennifer Gauntt
Oct. 21, 2005
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Director: Frank Krystyniak
Assistant Director: Julia May
Writer: Jennifer Gauntt
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Telephone: 936.294.1836; Fax: 936.294.1834