Jim Heater is the founder and lead investigator of the Champaign Illinois Paranormal Society, based out of the Champaign-Urbana area in east central Illinois.
Was there any specific event, book, movie, or experience that sparked your interest in the paranormal?
I guess my interest in the paranormal started while walking countless cemeteries investigating my family lineage. The feelings of being watched, and the thought of trying to communicate with the dead, lead to me bringing a tape recorder to my genealogy hunts. I started with just trying to communicate with my Grandparents, but they didn’t want to talk to me. I expanded to abandoned buildings and the like, because you never know where or when a spirit will show up.
When did you form the Champaign Illinois Paranormal Society, and were there any obstacles you had to overcome in creating this group?
I started the organized group in late 2007 with a friend of mine from work. As the group grew we started seeing the group going in different directions. I had to unfortunately ask him to step down. That was a very hard decision for me to make. He was a good friend. We are still friends, but it is not he same. We have had good people come, and go, and we still have a great group today. We get requests for help from all over the Central United States. When this happens we network out the cases to groups that we feel are reputable. We have got so many case requests from the Chicago area, I opened a branch office in Chicago. It is run by Laura Redmond.
What was the most interesting case you have ever investigated?
This is an easy one. This investigation just occurred on June 11th. It was an antique store, and we asked Amy Dick and her group, Midnight Moon Paranormal Society to join us. This place was so active this night. The owner was on his deathbed in ICU and ended up passing that night. We experienced mists, shadow figures, whistles, voices and a little girl giggling twice. One group heard what they thought was me having a loud phone conversation in another room. When they came into the room I was in, I was just sitting there watching the camera system trying to stay awake. Imagine their surprise when they found out they were not listening to me. They may have been listening to the owners last phone conversation before he became ill. We are still going over the audio and video with a fine tooth comb.
Describe the most useful and the most useless equipment your group has used during investigations.
The most useful is the digital voice recorder with a separate clip on microphone. The most useless… I know I will make some people mad, but I am not a fan of dowsing rods. Since they have contact with the operators hands, I cannot see bent coat hangers as a good means to communicate with the dead.
How can our readers contact your group if they would like to request an investigation? What are some of the things you consider before conducting an investigation?
Before we accept an investigation, I like to meet with the client with one other member of our group. We have standard questions we ask, and then any other questions that pop up during the initial questioning. We had a request from a family a couple of months ago. They had claims of being pushed, hit, all sorts of bad things. We did an investigation, and near the end one of our team members saw the client scratch himself, and then claim he was just scratched. So you never know about people, you have to take everybody seriously, and sometimes you get burned. If you would like to have us investigate your home or business, contact us if you are in the Chicago area, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org and if you are in the Central Illinois area, you can contact me at email@example.com
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