Kelley Kennedy has had many ghostly experiences, including several at the former Dana College.
Kennedy was visiting a friend in her dorm and witnessed a piano that would play by itself.
“Doors would open and shut by themselves as well,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy is an investigator and director for Paranormal Research and Investigative Studies Midwest (PRISM) in Omaha. The nonprofit research team aids those who need help with a paranormal situation in their home or business.
The team conducted an investigation in Blair at a residence nearly six years ago, but they would like to get onto the former college campus.
“That has always been a goal of ours to get into Dana to investigate,” Kennedy said.
The home in Blair offered a few small experiences, Kennedy said, but they were unable to find anything on their audio or video to show proof of a haunting.
Kennedy has been investigating with PRISM since 2004. She joined because she and her husband were living in a house that was haunted.
“We reached out to PRISM for an investigation and enjoyed ourselves so much once we understood what was happening more that we joined the group,” Kennedy said. “I have been on many, many investigations.”
PRISM tries to investigate at least once per month, Kennedy said. When they are asked to investigate, the team first conducts a pre-investigation.
“During the pre-investigation, myself and a few other investigators sit down with the homeowner and get a back story on the haunting,” she said. “What are the claims, what time of day the things occur — that sort of thing.”
While they are there, Kennedy said they will also do sweeps for electromagnetic fields (EMF). In some cases, homeowners were only experiencing things in certain areas of the home. The team found high EMF readings because of wiring in the house. Kennedy said once the electrical issue was taken care of, the experiences stopped occurring.
“High EMFs have been linked to hallucinations, so that’s one of the first things we check for,” she said. “If we warrant the locations as needing a full investigation, then I bring my team out to the location at a later time.”
A full investigation takes place in the evening and can last as late as 4 a.m., Kennedy said. The team uses four to six infrared video cameras, digital cameras and audio recorders. They also will use a PX Ghost Box. This device claims to allow spirits to use electromagnetic fields to use the box to create words and speak to the investigators in real time.
“We have had a lot of good luck with this in the past,” Kennedy said. “But we never use this as proof of a haunted location.”
Kennedy’s team has come upon some different situations while investigating.
“An investigation in Omaha was the strangest for a lot of my team,” she said. “We all felt something different while in the house: male spirits, female spirits, children, every sort of thing. On audio, we have captured a bit of everything at that house as well.”
PRISM has also investigated the Villisca, Iowa, ax murder house, where an entire family and two overnight guests were killed in 1912.
“It was one of the first times we investigated there, and on command we were able to have a door open and shut whenever we asked it to happen,” Kennedy said. “That was definitely one of the freakiest things ever.”
Studies suggest there are two types of hauntings — residual and intelligent.
“A residual haunt is claimed to be basically like a movie,” Kennedy said. “During a certain time of month, day or even once a year, something replays so to speak at a different location.”
Intelligent-style haunts are claimed to be those of spirits that are still here and will directly communicate with the living.
“This is where you see on those TV shows when they ask for something to make itself known and something knocks on the wall,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy believes that spirits that are communicating with them aren’t necessarily stuck here.
“I feel that they can sort of come and go as they please and they are here because they enjoy whatever it is that they are doing,” she said.