They're not the Ghostbusters, but they might be the next best thing, and they're coming to White Rock.
Called Northern Paranormal Investigations, the team of supernatural sleuths will be on hand this weekend in White Rock to show off what their work is all about as part of Saturday's seventh-annual Pumpkin Festival (read more about the festival on page 19).
Founded by Coquitlam's Darryl Pearson, the NPI is a volunteer team of investigators dedicated to seeking answers for the seemingly unexplainable.
Brought together by various unexplainable experiences in their pasts, Pearson and the other NPI members now make it their job to help other people explain what may be going on in any potential paranormal experience.
"Our first mandate is we aim to debunk. Somebody comes to us and says 'This is what we've got,' and we go in there to try and debunk it," he explained. "We try to find out why this is happening and we look at all the possible alternatives as to why it happens."
Pearson said a lot of what people think maybe something otherworldly can actually be attributed to things like rickety pipes, bad household wiring or mould making people sick.
"There are a lot of times that we are able to ease people's minds and they find out what's wrong," he said. "But there are also times when we go in and we can't disprove it."
When that happens, Pearson and his crew go about trying to find evidence of something paranormal.
One of the group's more recent unexplainable encounters? White Rock's own Coast Capital Playhouse.
According to Pearson, there have been numerous reports of paranormal activity occurring at the playhouse, perhaps due to the ashes of several of the site's founders being placed beneath the stage.
"When we were there we had noises off to the side of the stage and noises above the stage," he said. "We had noises and voices in the change room as well... one sounded like a male voice and one sounded like a female."
Nicole Danish, building manager of the playhouse corroborates Pearson's claims, noting paranormal activity has almost become a staple of the site.
"I hear knocking all the time, constantly, sounds like people are running up and down the stairs," she said, noting that as well as Pearson's team, another has also found evidence of something supernatural taking place in the area.
One incident that has Danish convinced is when she was locking up by herself one night and she heard someone run up beyond her and said, "Hey!" in her ear, but when she turned around there was nothing there. Another took place when it was nobody but security watching.
"We have security monitoring our theatre when it's closed and I'm the contact person and when I came in the next day the security guy said that at a hundred different times in one evening, all of our sensors and alarms were going off and there was nobody in the theatre," she said.
For Pearson, it's a clear case of something more than just mice or creaky pipes.
"We had our own experiences where we heard a bunch of little taps and bangs but we couldn't debunk them," he said. "There was no rhyme or reason."
When Pearson and his team do find evidence of something more taking place though, he's quick to point out that's where his team's involvement ends.
Despite some people thinking otherwise, Pearson explains that the purpose of NPI is simply to let people know if they believe something paranormal is taking place.
"We don't perform exorcisms or anything like that," he said. "That's a common misconception."
Rather, Pearson hopes to give people some sort of clarity on what they may be experiencing, which, for some, is all that's needed.
"If we can help people understand better what they may or may not be dealing with and help them move on, that's fantastic and we've done our job," said Pearson.
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