If there's something strange ... in your neighborhood, who ya gonna call? Try dialing up Shawn Kelly, the lead spiritual investigator for the Pittsburgh Paranormal Society. Simply put, Kelly and his crew are ghost hunters.
The Baldwin Borough Public Library's Youth Services Librarian Gina Leone introduced Kelly to an audience of 30 people at the Baldwin Library on Wednesday night—teenagers and adults lining up to hear some good ghost stories. For the record, Leone is a skeptic.
Inside the , where the Baldwin Library is located, Kelly gave a lecture about his belief in the afterlife. He even supplied photographic evidence of some of his most haunted cases. Generally, Kelly regaled the audience on Wednesday about his experiences as the founder of the Pittsburgh Paranormal Society.
“It all started at the ,” Kelly said. “We were looking for something to do on a Saturday night.”
The group formed in 2006 and remains very active to this day.
Kelly is on a mission to help clients understand that spirits do exist. He also helps people deal with their unwanted houseguests.
Most of the audience members on Wednesday night were believers, but a few skeptics were present. Kelly's mantra is, “I will respect what you believe in, and I just ask that you respect what I believe in.”
Kelly said, “I believe our bodies are shells, and our spirits live within us. When the shell dies, the spirit lives on.”
Kelly believes that ghosts are energy—specifically, electromagnetic energy. He and his team of researchers go to houses and hotels to find evidence of the paranormal. He uses spiritual techniques enhanced by a few scientific tools like a traditional camera, camcorder and an infrared camera (or deer camera).
Kelly told a few fascinating stories about some local ghosts on Wednesday.
“I once went to this house on Polish Hill where this old man passed away,” Kelly said. “A young kid moves into the house and pretty much leaves all the furniture and everything. One day, he moved the television into another room. The kid started getting all sorts of paranormal activity.
“He called me day and night, telling me about the ghostly activity in his house.”
Kelly suggested moving the television back into the room where it was. His client complied and no longer had a ghost problem. Apparently, the old ghost was set in his ways and liked the television where it was.
Leeann Salerno, a colleague of Kelly's with the Pittsburgh Paranormal Society, said, “I went with Shawn to Prospect Place in Trinway, OH ... I was on the second floor, and I felt a ghost pass right through me.”
Salerno has had ghostly experiences her whole life. She decided to join the PPS six months ago. She wears a black onyx necklace that she believes is a spiritual talisman to help her sleep at night.
In the second hour of Kelly's lecture, he shared photographs of some of his more bizarre experiences. He showed pictures of what he believes to be apparitions from the R & R Hotel in Mount Pleasant Borough. Kelly believes R & R to be one of the most haunted hotels in the world.
He also had pictures from the Bushy Run Battlefield in Jeannette, PA; DiMarco's Bistro & Cantina in Uniontown, PA; and the Shades of Death Road/Cemetery in Avella, PA, showing the crowd orbs, “squigglies” (squiggly lines of light) and infrared apparitions.
Kelly believes that antique shops are a great spot for paranormal activity.
“Sometimes, the ghosts get attached to stuff, and they stay with the object,” Kelly said.
“You don't have to go to cemeteries or haunted hotels. Ghosts are everywhere.”
The Pittsburgh Paranormal Society is always interested in investigating haunted locations. If you're troubled by spirits, check the PPS out at www.pittsburghparanormalsociety.com.