Soul Searchers — paranormal group takes the young and curious under their wing

Kevin Bamonte, of South Williamsport, was visiting the battlefields of historic Gettysburg, where he thought, why not try “ghost hunting” with the group he was visiting with?

“We all met up and went to the Sachs bridge, a Confederate retreat point after the battle that was supposedly very haunted,” he said. “It was freezing cold and the six of us huddled close together and began asking questions.”

He said the whole “hunting” thing was for fun.

“Well this fun, relaxing trip soon took an eerie turn when later that night I listened to the cheap voice recorder I had along on the hunt. I remember playing it back and jumping out of my seat when I heard a spirit clearly state his full name, ‘Paul Wheaton,’ on the recording … my life changed forever,” he said.

After sharing this experience with others, everyone found it fascinating. So began the paranormal group called Soul Searchers.

In early October, the group’s seven members, who all are friends, met at what they refer to as the Snyder House, on the property of Snyder Farm in Montoursville.

That evening, about 10 children joined the investigators, who mentor paranormal investigations.

With a huge interest blooming about the paranormal and ghost hunting, it seemed like a good idea to Bamonte to get children who are interested in the paranormal, involved and help mentor them.

“We all have kids and some of us have coached kids in the past. The mentoring idea I guess grew from that; it’s such an incredible location and it’s great to see the excitement when the kids are investigating,” he said.

Unlike what is seen on TV ghost hunting shows, a night-long investigation is a lot of hard work.

Bamonte said sometimes, much of the time that is spent researching and prepping, can produce very few tangible results.

Though, occasionally, there is an investigation that produces a lot of hits of paranormal activity, and Bamonte said when that happens, the excitement is beyond description.

“We wanted the kids to experience this along with teaching them some of the ‘do’s and dont’s’ of good investigating as well as working with the many pieces of equipment that we use,” Bamonte said

He said the group also shows the rookie ghost hunters that spirits or ghosts were people at one point, and to treat them with respect and invite them to tell their story.

Ali Bower is one of those investigators; her mother and father are in the group as members, but Ali said she always has been interested in the paranormal and began to tag along.

“I am definitely a believer,” she said of the paranormal.

During one investigations, both of Bower’s dangling earrings began to twirl, even on command when the spirit was asked to do so.

Bower’s mother, Karen, said its nice family time they spend together.

“You walk away from it and talk about what she has seen and heard and talk about what they are thinking about it,” she said.

Johnathan Cobby and his friend, Bryce Brewer, began investigating on their own in 2010 and found the Soul Searchers mentoring group.

Both are very curious about the paranormal, so they began conducting their own investigation in Cobby’s attic, which yielded a voice on a digital recorder.

“I think it’s intriguing and you never know what is going to happen,” Brewer said.

Robbie Pascho is another paranormal investigator who is being mentored and his father also is in the group.

“When Kevin started the group and found this house, I started (investigating) with them. I was a skeptic,” she said. “So now I am easing toward being less skeptical because of getting touched and hearing things.”

“I never forgot how I felt when I heard that first EVP (electronic voice phenomenon) from Gettysburg … how excited and overwhelmed I was I want kids to feel that same excitement, the realization that not everything in this world is explainable – there is a lot we do not know … that’s exciting to me – like a new discovery, it has really opened my eyes,” Bamonte said.

Members of Soul Searchers are all from South Williamsport, sharing in the common interest of paranormal. They all are given an even keel when it comes to the field of the paranormal.

“Some of the members are more sensitive to the spirits, some are skeptical and take a more scientific approach trying to disprove things so we have a real good balance of interests and beliefs,” he said.

Bamonte said the website was developed to share the evidence and experiences the group has had. It also allows those who they are mentoring to see their names and pictures on it.

“It’s like a badge of honor to be included on an investigation and get their names and photos up on the website,” Bamonte said.

The website also is a way to contact the group, whether for children mentoring, interest in the paranormal or for an investigation.

“We don’t charge and are just looking to show the community what it’s all about,” he said.

On the website, one can find the whole Snyder House, with cameras throughout the house.

“So you can watch investigations online as they happen – there is no other website that I’ve found where you can view a haunted house online 24/7 from the comfort of your home,” Bamonte said.

Soul Seekers will have a talk as part of “Teen Night” at the James V. Brown Library in January.

“We love to share our experiences and teach kids how to do an investigation.

“So we’ll be showing them some of the evidence we’ve captured off our website, going through the various pieces of equipment we use, telling them some stories of our investigations and then taking them through the old library on an actual investigation,” he said.

“We are really excited to be doing this in such a great location, it should be a lot of fun,” he added.