As Halloween approaches, Severn woman shares tips for a successful ghost hunt


October 28, 2001|By Christina Bittner | Christina Bittner,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

MOANS AND GROANS and things that go bump in the night - they could be the cat jumping off the sofa, a passing car or typical "house sounds."

Or they could be ...

Then there are the times when you think you see a person out of the corner of your eye, or you can't find the keys that you are sure you put on the table. It could be that you are tired, distracted or in a hurry.

But then again ...

Such mysteries intrigue Kelly Sowers, a Severn resident who is not afraid to consider that answers might be found by looking to "the other side." She's a full-time secretary and part-time paranormal investigator, and as Halloween approaches she recalls that one of her most productive ghost hunts took place in Brooklyn Park.

"I didn't really feel much at first," she says, describing the night last year that she ventured into Cedar Hill Cemetery with her camera. "Then, I could feel the energy coming through. When the pictures were developed, I said to myself, `Good Lord, they're having a party!'"

Sowers first became interested in the paranormal when she was a child living in Brooklyn.

"I was about 5, and my sister Vicki and I walked into our bedroom," she recalls. "We saw a girl in a rocking chair. She turned and looked at us and she looked really sad. She was illuminated as if there was something shining on her.

"My sister ran out, but I walked toward [the girl] because I wanted to ask her why she was so sad. Then she faded away," Sowers says. "My mother was talking with a neighbor when I told her about it, and the neighbor said that a little girl had died in that room from scarlet fever."

The sighting was not an isolated event. At age 13, Sowers and her family moved to Brooklyn Park, and she continued to experience strange events in the bedroom she shared with her sister.

"I went to bed, and the blankets came off the bed. I thought that my sister had moved, but when I looked at her, she was asleep. I thought that it was just my imagination," she says. "Then, 10 or 15 minutes later, the sheet and blankets were pulled really hard, and I bolted out of bed.

"My father doesn't believe in any of this. He says that it's a figment of my imagination."

But Sowers believes - and she's not afraid.

"This stuff doesn't scare me," she says. "I've grown up with it. I think that they are more afraid of us than we are of them."

She, her sister and her team of investigators go out at night hoping to experience what she experienced as a child - and they have, she says.

Sowers contends that when people die their energy remains alive and can often be seen in the form of an "orb" or "vortex." An orb, she says, is a round form of a ghost, often with a blue or gold outline, and a vortex is a streak of energy that looks like a bolt of lightning.

More often, she says, she sees a mist where it is possible to make out the form of a person. Sowers says she has been able to photograph her sightings. "I never see it when I'm taking the picture. The type of camera doesn't matter. I've gotten results with a disposable camera," she says.

She says there are many reasons why a person's spirit would be visible after death.

"Sometimes people who don't want to leave a family member get stuck in between. If someone experiences a quick death, the spirit might not know that it is dead. They keep going through the same routine, like a movie that plays over and over again.

"But one never knows the answer. We never know why they are here," she says.

"Sometimes you can see them and other times they let their presence be known by moving things around. We called the ghost in our [Brooklyn Park] house George. He was mischievous and would move things around," she says. "Once, my cell phone was missing, and I always keep the cell phone in my purse. It was missing for two days, and then I found it on the microwave in the kitchen. I know that I didn't put it there. We just said that George must have done it."

Some ghosts however, are not as nice as George, she says.

"There are evil spirits out there, like the spirit of a murderer. The negative energy stays. A lot of times I can feel the negative energy, and I know that I shouldn't go there," she says.

Sowers has some tips for ghost hunting.

"When I begin a hunt, I always ask for the permission of any spirits that are there to photograph them," she says. "I always seem to get more on film when I do that. I try to communicate with them and find out why they are still here."

And she urges ghost hunters to be careful.

Never go alone, and go during the day to look over the area and check out the landscape," she says. "Always get permission from the property owner. If you do not have permission to enter a building, don't go in. Bring a cell phone, watch and compass.

Halloween, she says, is a perfect time to go on a ghost hunt.

"When I take a photograph on Halloween, there are all these things in it," Sowers says. "I can feel the energy differently on Halloween. They are stronger. Maybe it has something to do with the seasons. The moon is close to the earth on Halloween and the earth's energy is pulled tight."

Sowers invites any who have questions, a ghost story or photographs that they want to share to write to Scary Screaming Ghosts of Maryland, P.O. Box 512, Odenton 21113. She can be reached by e-mail at Photographs may be viewed at

Some might find her story unbelievable.

All I know is that about 10 years ago I was staying in a hotel in New York City. I couldn't sleep, so I just lay in bed and listened to the radio. Then I saw a woman walking toward me. She looked at me, turned away and faded into the dark.

Maybe I was dreaming.

But then again ...

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