Tri-City Paranormal takes national stage with unique, medical approach
By Sarah Steele Wilson, Newsroom Editor
Jan 21, 2013, 12:32
After eight years of investigating things that go bump in the night in an area of Virginia that has more than it’s fair share of historic sites and houses, Tri-City Paranormal has gotten the break that will allow it’s team of investigators to take their local show on the national road.
“The team has signed a contract with Ideal Event Management, which is a talent agency,” explained Chris Balassone, director of Tri-City Paranormal.
Ideal Event Management, a Vermont based group that represents talent in the paranormal field, including the investigators on popular television shows “Ghost Hunters” and “Haunted Collector,” was attracted to the Tri-City Paranormal by the group’s approach.
“...Everybody’s doing it, but how they’re doing it and what makes them unique, in my line of work, is what we look for,” said Ideal Events owner Marc Tetlow, explaining how the initial social media contact between his company and Tri-City Paranormal blossomed into a management deal.
What makes Tri-City Paranormal unique, he said, is the medical approach the group takes when investigating strange phenomena.
“That’s an approach that you don’t see very often, and it’s a very good topic,” Tetlow said. “...It really opens your eyes to a lot more than just the standard paranormal investigative type things you see out there.”
He was impressed by a presentation the group put together, explaining how the effects of scientifically explained medical conditions can be misconstrued as paranormal activity.
Tetlow said that he recently saw statistics reporting that 26,000 paranormal teams have formed in the United States in the past few years, but Tri-City Paranormal has set itself apart from the flock with that focus.
“They look at it from both the paranormal side and from the medical side, so that really adds a different dimension to what they do, compared to a lot of the other teams out there,” Tetlow said.
Medical work is part of what drew Balassone to Tri-Cities Paranormal in the first place. When he was looking for groups in the area and stumbled across the Tri-City Paranormal website, he immediately recognized the group’s founder, Steven “Tree” Moring” Moring had taught Balassone’s paramedic class.
“I’ve been going strong every since,” Balassone said.
The group prides itself on looking for “normal before paranormal,” and tries to find rational explanations for strange phenomena before delving into paranormal speculation. With a team that includes paramedics, technologically gifted individuals and experts in H-VAC systems, the group has found itself well situation to separate the paranormal from the normal, in several fields.
“If it’s something normal, one of us is going to figure it out,” Balassone said.
And they have figured it out, on several occasions.
A family once called Tri-City Paranormal because their young son was waking up every night crying. When they would get up in the morning, they would discover their screen door open. Lights were on and objects were out of place.
The group set up cameras and discovered that the child was sleepwalking. He would get up every night, go downstairs, move things around, open the doors, turn on the lights, return to bed and wake up afraid.
“We showed them, this is what’s going on, and even got them in touch with a sleep clinic,” Balassone said.
Another client in Colonial Heights called because the family was hearing footsteps ascending and descending their stairs every night.
Tyler Adams, a technology specialist for the group who is also an expert in heating and cooling systems, realized that one of the fans in the house was unbalanced, and made a clicking noise when first turned or off. Through the structure of the stairs, the sound became muffled, and sounded like footsteps.
In the medical realm, many mistake sleep paralysis, a normal phenomenon the brain uses to keep the body from acting out its dreams, for spirits holding them down at night. Other common medical conditions can also cause strange effects.
“We go a little deeper into seizures, mico-seizures, stuff like that, into diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular, hypoxia, all kinds of stuff than can actually cause some of the things that people think are paranormal.”
Adams said a lot of their callers are frightened by their basements, a complaint that usually has the same, normal explanation.
The basement is typically where much of the wiring is located in houses, and the wiring and common household appliances can throw off electro-magnetic fields, which can have strange effects on individuals that are sensitive to them.
Amongst those effects are hallucinations and paranoia.
Tetlow said those kind’s of explanations are why he decided to do something Ideal Event Management doesn’t usually do.
“We deal primarily with TV talent, unless there’s a group out there that has something extraordinary to offer, like Tri-Cities does with the medical stuff,” he said. “...This isn’t something we typically do, taking on a team that doesn’t have a lot of exposure yet.”
Nevertheless, there are some things that the group can’t explain rationally.
“If we can’t, whatever’s left over is paranormal,” said John Barrington, the team’s technology manager. “It still doesn’t mean that it’s something ghost related, it just means that we cannot figure out what in the world it is.”
If paranormal activity is discovered, the group works to help the people experiencing it.
Toni Hughes, who is now a member of the group, was originally a client. She was seeing shadows and hearing voices, many of which the group did determine were paranormal.
“They actually helped me understand a lot of the paranormal stuff too,” she said. “They helped me deal with it.”
Tri-Cities investigators said most people can learn to live with whatever might be causing the strange phenomena. Helping people do that is part of their job.
“Don’t think of it as anything scary, but as, ‘they were once living too,’” advised Adams. “They were once living people that you’re dealing with. It’s not a monster, it’s not a bogey man.”
Tri-City Paranormal hopes partnering with Ideal Event Management will give them an opportunity to share their ideas with a wider audience. They may even be able to help other groups find ways to explain the seemingly unexplainable.
“It’s going to put our name out there,” Balassone said. “We’ve got a pretty good name in this area. This is going to put us more on a nationwide scale, where more people will know who we are. And not only that, we’ll get to spread some of the knowledge that maybe some other investigators, even in the bid time, haven’t even thought about yet.”
Tetlow has booked the group for a conference in Lake George New York, where they will offer lectures on medical explanations of paranormal events. He said he is going to continue to share the group with the world.
“We’re going to do our best to expose them to the masses,” he said.
He has booked them for a Paranormal convention in Lake George, New York later this year.
Local fans can visit with the group on Thursday, Jan. 24, at the annual “Ghost Watch” at Centre Hill Mansion in Petersburg.