A group of ghost researchers travels throughout New Jersey helping people get a grasp on what’s going on in their homes.
Linn Craton was approximately 14 years old when his great-grandmother died. His parents had brought her rocking chair into the family den of their Moorestown home, and one warm night in July, Craton felt overcome by cold air in the room where there was no air circulating. He said he felt like he was being watched. He turned over in bed, and for a split second, there was his dead great-grandmother sitting in her rocking chair.
Ever since that experience, Craton became fascinated by ghosts and began hunting them in his teenage years. Today, Craton is still hunting ghosts alongside his friends Mark Davis, Jeffrey Scott and Jeffrey Kratzer in a group known as Moorestown Ghost Research.The group’s goal is simple: to help put people’s minds at ease by offering an explanation as to what is going on in their homes — whether that means telling them it’s a spirit or a leaky pipe.
Craton, who is still a resident of Moorestown, and a group of friends had been researching ghosts under the name Moorestown Ghost Research around four or five years ago, but the group disbanded and the current incarnation formed through mutual friends around two years ago. Collectively, the four members — who consist of three ordained, nondenominational priests and a shaman — have more than 30 years experience in ghost research.
When Craton first started researching ghosts, he said the subject was largely taboo, and people were reluctant to let him into their homes. For that reason, Craton would frequent cemeteries, notoriously haunted roads and other open air locations where he didn’t need a homeowner’s permission to set up his cameras.
Despite having a healthy amount of skepticism in regard to the show’s legitimacy, Craton said the show Ghost Hunters helped destigmatize the subject, so the tide turned from his group reaching out to people to people reaching out to them. The group travels throughout New Jersey helping people get a grasp on what’s going on in their homes.
In Moorestown, the group has done only one investigation to date in a house on 2nd Street. Craton said he had put the group’s contact information on a local message board, and the homeowners reached out saying while they were renovating their home, strange occurrences kept taking place. The husband was convinced that each night he heard the sound of a pebble being tossed down the staircase.
Craton and his group went into the home and began recording. The group usually sets up around eight cameras and captures sound with audio recording devices. Craton said nine times out of 10, it’s almost never in the moment that you’ll hear paranormal activity, but rather, the sounds come through when listening back to a recording. He said the group always walks in expecting nothing.
“Our main goal is to help you understand what’s there or to disprove whatever you’re seeing,” Craton said. “We go in as skeptics.”
At the 2nd Street home, Craton asked aloud if the spirit was upset the homeowners were redoing the home. He said listening to the audio back, he heard a door slam and a voice say that there used to be a door there. Later in the recording, he heard the sound of a pebble falling down the stairs. He said he gathered the recordings and presented the evidence to the homeowners. He said the husband was thrilled to hear the sound of the pebble and know that he wasn’t going crazy.
Craton’s fellow researcher, Jeffrey Scott, said the group gathers the evidence, but they never tell homeowners what to do with it, which can mean one of three things: they live with the ghost, they move or they try to get rid of the ghost.
Scott said it all comes down to what’s happening in the house. He said if the spirit doesn’t feel threatening, oftentimes people will take the information and continue to live in the home. However, if the spirit does feel threatened, their options are not move or ask for help getting rid of the ghost. Craton said in the past, saging homes has proven to work well from them at getting rid of unwelcome and threatening visitors.
However, the researchers are often in the business of debunking ghosts. Scott said high electromagnetic field ratings can often cause symptoms of nausea and dizziness akin to a feeling that might come over someone who thinks they’ve seen a ghost. He said the group will go into homes with K-II meters and test for high EMF readings.
“You have to be open to the possibility that it might not be an encounter,” Scott said. “It could be some kind of other natural, physical phenomenon.”
The group never tells people they’re “wrong” or that there isn’t a ghost, but they will suggest other underlying possible causes such as high EMF readings. He said in homes with high EMF readings, they’ll often encourage homeowners to have the power company come out and take a look at the power lines, which may just as easily be causing the feeling of unease in a house as a spirit.
Craton said they don’t tell people their house is “haunted” because until the day they see a ghost in person or on camera, they can’t prove that claim. He said their goal as researchers is simply to gather evidence and present it people.
They save and compile all of their research. At the end of September, the researchers gave a presentation about what they do to a group of 65 Rowan University students. On Oct. 17, the researchers were scheduled to share their stories, photos and audio recordings during a presentation at the Moorestown Library.
The group isn’t seeking money, fame or accolades, Craton said. He said the payoff is the satisfaction they get from putting people’s minds at ease. He said this may mean offering a physical explanation to the phenomenon they’re experiencing or maybe it’s letting them know they’re not seeing things and there really is evidence of a presence in the home.
Moorestown Ghost Research is always open to like-minded individuals joining their team, and anyone is welcome to come along on an investigation. Craton said Moorestown residents are welcome to join them on their investigations of the infamously haunted McElwee Road where Craton himself has captured an audio file of a little boy asking him if he wants to kick the ball he had brought with him that day. He said his photos of ghosts taken during an investigation at Saint Mary’s Cemetery in Burlington have even made believers out of skeptics.
Craton said he thinks people shouldn’t fear the unknown but instead should embrace it. He said they’re eager to get the word out about their group in hopes that people in Moorestown reach out and want them to come investigate their homes because so many are historical with some even dating back to the 1800s.
“If you feel that your home has activity and you want it debunked or proven and want to be able to sleep better at night knowing what you see is real or not real, reach out to us,” Craton said.
To contact Moorestown Ghost Research, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MoorestownGhostResearch.