Nebraska's own team of 'Ghostbusters' scours the state for the supernatural

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November 3, 2011 - 7:00pm

A smile came across Nate Raterman's face as he slowly opened the metallic case filled with various electronic devices.

"What I have here is a K2 meter. It detects electromagnetic fields. During investigations, you'll ask a question and it'll light up four lights for 'yes' and two lights for 'no.' Basically, you'll ask a question, and sometimes it'll light up and respond to you."

Raterman is one of the co-founders of the Tri-City Research and Investigation of the Paranormal team. Two years ago, Raterman and Chris Collins established the group to investigate paranormal incidents across Nebraska. The group's popularity has since exploded, and several chapters have formed in other states, including New York and Ohio. The original Nebraska group has grown to seven members.


Map by NET News

A map showing cities in Nebraska where Tri-City Research and Investigation of the Paranormal has examined possible hauntings. View a larger map.


Photo by Ben Bohall, NET News

TRIP investigator Scott Collins interviews Lonnie before the investigation begins.


Photo by Ben Bohall, NET News

Team member Chad Frerichs uses an EVP device to scan belongings throughout a home thought to possibly be haunted.


One of those members is Investigator Scott Collins. As he armed himself with a temperature gun to detect cold spots in different rooms, Collins explained that the biggest part of the job for him has simply been helping people that really have nowhere else to turn.

"When there's somebody out there that has these experiences, they realize that nowadays it's not such a taboo like it used to be," he explained. "They have somebody they can go to and talk to. We try to go there and help them explain what's going on in their house and maybe give them some kind of peace and comfort with what they have going on. We're definitely in it to help people."

And that kind of help has been requested much more than you might think. It's not uncommon for the group to be called to several locations across the state in the period of a week. Some of their investigations have led the group to historic landmarks, including the Broken Arrow hotel in the central Nebraska town of Broken Bow and the Nebraska State Capitol building in Lincoln.

So business has certainly been booming for TRIP, and last Tuesday night was no exception. A request had come via email for the team to check out an old house in Hastings, located in the central part of the state, that dates back to 1879. The email described instances of doors opening and closing on their own, the sound of footsteps at night, and apparitions appearing before the eyes of its current and former inhabitants.

The team grabbed their gear and hit the road.

Upon arrival, homeowner Lonnie greeted the team outside and explained that the majority of the paranormal activities occurred when she first acquired the house and had since dropped off. Lately, it had been strange instances of doors in the house opening and closing on their own.

"And it can be locked, and I'll make sure. Then it just will open," she said. "And the dogs always react to that and I'll tell them, 'It's just Grandpa ... it's just Grandpa.'"

After gathering the info they needed, it wasn't long before the lights were turned off and the true investigation was underway. It began with EVP sensors being placed around each room as Collins politely introduced the team to any ghosts present in the home, specifically Lonnie's great-grandfather, Warren.

"Well, I just wanted to introduce ourselves so that you feel comfortable with us and we don't what you to be scared in any way," he told the house. "Warren, your great-granddaughter is here and she mentioned that she had a good feeling, a good presence that you're here with us. Can you please just give us some kind of sign that you're here. We're not scared, we're not going to run off. We just want to know if someone's here with us."

But the night remained quiet. Floor boards creaked and the cold wind rattled the windows, but the team found no signs of ghosts. Video cameras, EVP recorders and K2 meters also showed the house as being "clean." Collins made one final plea to anything supernatural residing in the house.

"If you can, just give us some kind of sign. Try everything you can, just give us some kind of sign because we're going to be leaving. Then you won't be able to communicate with anybody," Collins warned.

With still no indications of ghostly activity, the crew prepared to leave. But they didn't view it as a wasted trip. Collins stressed that it's not only about finding old spirits or ghosts haunting around, but that sometimes it's just giving residents like Lonnie the peace of mind they're looking for. In this case, he said, maybe it was just letting Lonnie know that her grandfather's spirit has still been with her.

"You know, maybe every once in awhile, you might get little signs here and there, (that) they're still here and maybe they're watching over you," he said. "I really think that whatever's here is at peace, if there is any."

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