During Iowa Paranormal Activity Research Team's investigation Friday, members collected data using inferred cameras, electromagnetic field (EMF) meters, digital thermometers, motion sensors, parabolic microphones, multi-cameras set up recording to hard-drives, handheld audio recorders, digital cameras and laptops.
The equipment helps research identify electronic voice phenomena (EVPs), cold spots, photographic anomalies and changes in electromagnectic fields.
Berger said, at one point, when he entered the dressing room, located behind the stage, he heard a loud boom coming from an empty shelf a foot from his head. He observed the same noise a-half hour later, which he could not explain and also recorded.
"That definitely got my attention," said Berger. An EMF meter, which was placed on the theater's balcony in front of the stage went off after about an hour.
Berger, who is an experienced contractor, said he couldn't explain what was causing the EMF meter to go off, but was able to rule out any wiring within the walls and nearby electronic devices. An EMF meter detects unexplained fluctuations in electromagnectic fields. One theory is that ghosts require large amounts of energy to manifest or interact with people and draw that energy from their surroundings.
The team collected "several" EVPS. On one recorder, which was placed on the theater's balcony section, a voice, which was not one of the investigators, can be heard saying "Dylan" and "It's your birthday."
On a recorder that was placed near the dressing room, two different voices can be heard saying, "What's in there?" and "Oh, nice." Of the voices on the audio, Berger said he's been investigating long enough that he knows when an EVP is not one belonging to his fellow investigators. "It's just something that doesn't match what is going on at the time," he said. "They just sound off — off key, off pitch, off freqency. "We know our own voice and the people we are with, so I can rule out any of our people." Additional data is being reviewed and will be presented to the Corning Opera House staff in the coming week.
Berger said the main mission of IPART, which originated as the Des Moines Iowa Extreme Paranormal Activity Research Team (DIEPART), is to help people understand what they are experiencing.
"We want to help people feel comfortable being in their own home," said Berger. "We don't set out to prove a ghosts exists. It's about helping people."
Berger said, part of helping people feel comfortable in their homes is sometimes debunking the presence of ghosts and sometimes it's about helping people be at peace with a paranormal activity. According to Berger, paranormal activity is defined as activity that cannot be explained by mainstream scientific methods.
"My goal is just to help," said Berger. "That can come in many different forms."
Aside from investigations and paranormal investigative training, IPART offers other services such as smudgings and blessings. A smudging is a ceremony performed to bless people and places, and to ward off evil and negative energy using, what some consider to be "sacred" herbs such as white sage, sweet grass, lavender and cedar. All services provided by IPART are free of charge.
For more information about IPART or the Corning Opera House, visit their websites at www.diepart.com and www.corningoperahouse.com.