By TRAVIS MORSE
MT. VERNON — — One of the key things to remember about the Little Egypt Ghost Society is it's made up of skeptics, said co-founder Bruce Cline.
Members of the Carbondale-based group have investigated numerous historical sites over the years, looking for evidence of the supernatural.
But society members always try to find a “reasonable explanation” for occurrences before dubbing them paranormal, Cline said.
“With the history, a lot of times you'll find some kind of a mystery associated with it,” Cline said. “And if you're even luckier, you might find a haunting that goes along with it. … Our group is made up of skeptics. We don't see Casper behind every gravestone or anything.”
Three co-founders of the Ghost Society gave a special presentation at the Brehm Library Tuesday night entitled “History, Mystery and Hauntings of Southern Illinois.” Over 40 people were in attendance.
Cline led the program, but was joined by his wife, Lisa Cline, and Kale Meggs of De Soto, author of the recent historical book, “99 Nooses.”
As part of the presentation, Bruce Cline spoke about a number of allegedly haunted sites in Southern Illinois, including the Rose Hotel in Elizabethtown, Oakland Cemetery in Carbondale, the Old Slave House in Gallatin County, and many others.
Cline also reviewed the four major types of hauntings — residual, intelligent, poltergeist, and portal — and even debunked the alleged “hoax” of the Big Muddy Monster.
In addition, Cline gave the audience a crash course on the art of ghost hunting, showing them the main pieces of equipment they would need for their search.
Examples include: electromagnetic field meters, laser thermometers, and digital voice recorders which can pick up EVPs or electronic voice phenomena.
Society members often speak to the public about their experiences and it's important to be “interactive” with the audience during these sessions, Meggs said.
“We ask questions and then if they tell us something, we give our input on why we think something may have happened, how to do EVPs correctly, (and) how to take photographs correctly,” Meggs said.
Meggs advised would-be ghost hunters to take at least three photographs of a single location so they can be compared later on if an anomaly is found in one picture.
Library Director William Pixley said the Ghost Society presentation fits in well with the library's mission.
“Basically, it's dealing with the history and the folklore of Southern Illinois and therefore is educational in nature,” Pixley said. “And that's one of the library's functions is to educate the public. It's also entertaining, which is another one of the library's functions.”
A second library program dealing with the paranormal will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday. It will feature a speech by Sindy Smith about her paranormal experiences at Wirsing Manor in Belleville.