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Here's your proof: Tuscaloosa Paranormal Research Group investigates local haunts

The Tuscaloosa Paranormal Research Group collect scientific evidence around Alabama for the existence of paranormal activity. Photo courtesy of David Higdon

Bailey Shoenberger

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In February of 1877, two young men walked the veranda of Woods Hall in a duel for their honor. When the smoke cleared one man was dead, but his spirit is said to roam the halls to this day.

The Tuscaloosa Paranormal Research Group (TPRG) was founded in 2014 with the mission of recording and collecting scientific evidence for the existence of paranormal activity in the state of Alabama. This dedicated group of ghost hunters is connected to The Atlantic Paranormal Society, the same society that creates the popular television series “Ghost Hunters.”

“We are a very tight group, said David Higdon, TPRG founder and lead investigator. “We all hang out together outside of TPRG. You get to know the person who’s got your back, when stuff happens, you get to realize how they are going to react.”

Higdon collaborated with Brett Talley, a UA alumnus, to write “Haunted Tuscaloosa,” condensing the cities paranormal sightings and giving explanations as to whom these spirits may be. Not surprisingly, many of the sites mentioned in the book are on The University of Alabama campus. From roaming confederate and union soldiers to students who died mysteriously on campus, legends of ghostly encounters surround nearly every building on campus. 

“It makes you that there is something out there – that you don’t just die or get buried. They say energy is not created or destroyed so energy is always there, even if we are dead our energy goes somewhere,” said Heather Boothe, a TPRG member.

The TPRG aims to be professional and scientific in their approach to ghost hunting. When they get a call someone is having paranormal issues and wants their home to be investigated, the first thing they do is ask a series of questions to determine the validity of the assignment. 

“I look for what type of DVDs they are watching, if they are watching paranormal activity and horror movies,” Higdon said. “Then we look in the bathroom, see what drugs they are taking, ask if they drink.”

When they have determined there is a sound case for paranormal activity, they set up a day to visit the site. They bring in boxes of high-end cameras and recording devices and try to clear out the area as much as possible. Most of the time the homeowners will stay the night in a hotel while TPRG does their work.

“There are some families that truly are scared, they want to be validated to know what’s going on at their house,” Boothe said. “It can cause you to feel disoriented and have different physical symptoms.”

The mystery of the unexplainable nature of paranormal activity is what has kept the members excited for each new case. It is impossible to separate the spirits of the dead from the fate of the living, but research like that provided by TPRG give some insight on the process. 

“Every time we get a case, I’m always thinking ‘maybe this will explain it a little bit more, maybe the next case might explain it a little bit more’, but it always just leaves me with more questions,” Higdon said. 

In addition to house investigations, the group also does fundraising events for local and regional historic buildings. Just last weekend the group led a private ghost hunt and were guest speakers at an event to raise money for the Pensacola Light House in Florida. They hope with continued effort they will be able to shed more light on why paranormal activity occurs and educate the community on its presence.

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Here's your proof: Tuscaloosa Paranormal Research Group investigates local haunts