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“He really packed them in,” Linda Mahone, administrative assistant at Shelby County Library, said of an appearance Thursday by so-called ghost hunter Tommy Jones.
Malone said that what surprised her about Jones’ presentation – which was only supposed to be an hour long but was almost twice that long because of tremendous public interest – was that the crowd was so diverse and asked so many questions.
“We had a mixture of all ages, from teenagers right up to senior citizens,” she said. “And they wanted to know everything about ghosting hunting.
“He called his presentation, ‘Ghost Hunting Basics, 101,’”
Jones a Lexington police officer who lives in Georgetown, said he established the Kentucky Paranormal Society in 2007 after becoming interested in the supernatural because of a photo that was taken at his wedding.
The photo, taken at the Bell House in Lexington, showed what appeared to be an apparition standing in a doorway of the 113-year old historic home.
Susan McCullough, an employee at the Bell House, which is not affiliated with the restaurant in Shelbyville, said that even though she has never personally seen any apparitions herself, the house, used by the city of Lexington for community events, does have a reputation for being haunted.
Jones said after seeing the photo, he was seized with determination to find out what it was, if he could. Armed with a digital recorder, a monocular night-vision camera and flashlights, he embarked on a journey that continues to this day, he said.
At the library, he told the story of how he started his organization, which currently has 10 members, most of them police officers or law enforcement personnel.
“I was very impressed with turnout,” he said. “I speak mostly at libraries, and this is the largest crowd I’ve had yet; usually I have about thirty to forty people show up.”
Jones showed a video detailing information on “orbs,” explaining that orbs are believed by many to be spirits in the form of balls of lights and are the anomalies most often caught on film.
“My take on orbs is that ninety percent of them are insects,” he said. “But the rest…”
Jones said the mission of KAPS is to find out the truth about the paranormal, to share it with the public in an effort to educate and enlighten and to “further the science of detection and analysis of potential evidence of paranormal activity.”
Jones said the group does investigations on possible spiritual presences for private residences, public buildings and paranormal “hot spots.”
“And we never charge a fee for our services,” he said.
And investigations always are conducted in a scientific fashion, he said, adding that the organization has a complete array of equipment for the purposes of conducing investigations.
He encouraged the audience to check out his Web site, www.kentuckyareaparanormalsociety.infofor more information and said he thought many of them will be, judging by their interest in the topic.
“All of this has been created with one mission in mind, to share and allow others to share in the wonderful world of the unknown,” he said.
Mahone said she asked Jones to speak as part of the library’s One Book, One Community program, and that his presentation drew so much interest, the library would like to schedule a return engagement.
“We plan to ask him to come back,” she said.