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Published: Tuesday, 6/26/2012 - Updated: 2 years ago

Ghost-hunting group sets sights on local museum

Hunt for paranormal set for Saturday

BY TAYLOR DUNGJEN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Toledo Firefighter's Museum will be host to a ghost hunt. Toledo Firefighter's Museum will be host to a ghost hunt.
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Should there be any spirits lurking around the Toledo Firefighters Museum, an Ohio ghost hunting group hopes they'll make themselves known this weekend.

The Ohio Researchers of Banded Spirits plans to spend up to four hours Saturday night at the museum, 918 W. Sylvania Ave., using thousands of dollars in sophisticated equipment trying to validate suspicions of lingering souls.

Chris Page, the founder of the Banded Spirits group, said he has equipment that will allow him to talk directly to ghosts, on the chance there are any around the museum.

Reports of paranormal activity have been "very vague," Mr. Page said, but they've come from "various people" who have toured the museum and have felt like they're being watched, have heard footsteps when there was no one else around, or saw dark shadows walking the halls.

"It's very scientific how we approach it," Mr. Page said. "There's no hocus pocus."

Mr. Page said the group will bring with them thousands of dollars in equipment, state of the art gear including digital thermometers, digital cameras with night vision, recorders, static meters, thermal imaging tools, and motion sensors.

"It goes against religious teaching, it goes against mommy and daddy telling you not to believe. That's why we do it scientifically," Mr. Page said. "The evidence speaks for itself."

The group, which does the investigations at no charge, has been contacting the museum about the investigation for about a year, said Jamie Ferguson, a firefighter who serves on the museum's volunteer board. The nonprofit museum group was founded in 1976.

The Ohio Researchers of Banded Spirits plans to spend up to four hours Saturday night at the museum at 918 W. Sylvania Ave. The Ohio Researchers of Banded Spirits plans to spend up to four hours Saturday night at the museum at 918 W. Sylvania Ave.
THE BLADE/LORI KING Enlarge | Buy This Photo

A skeptic, Mr. Ferguson will be at the museum as the investigators make their way through the museum.

He doesn't expect much, but "I've been amazed more than once in my life," he4 said, adding that he's spent the night inside the museum before and never had contact with ghosts.

The museum's president, Bob Schwanzl, a retired fire captain, isn't sure the team will find any spirits -- he worked in that museum when it was still fire Station 18 and never had any unusual experiences.

Two firefighters died in the building decades ago in separate incidents.

Paul J. Quigley died Feb. 13, 1931, when he fell from a ladder during a training exercise. Edward A. Stapleton died of a heart attack at the station on Jan. 1, 1953.

"I don't know what they may or may not find," Mr. Schwanzl said.

Mr. Page said the group will, if it makes contact with a spirit, question the presence to determine who's there and why. He's not sure what they'll find, but because firefighting is a job that "requires a lot of heart and soul," he thinks spirits may be unwilling to let go.

Several years ago, the same group did an investigation at the S.S. Willis B. Boyer, which has since been rechristened as the S.S. Col. James M. Schoonmaker.

"There was some pretty crazy stuff," Mr. Page said. "There were past crewmen that were still walking the corridors."

Contact Taylor Dungjen at: tdungjen@theblade.com, 419-724-6054, or on Twitter @tdungjen_Blade.



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