The Meridian Star
By Terri Ferguson Smith
The long-closed jail atop the Lauderdale County Courthouse will again have some occupants later this week when members of a local paranormal investigative group take another look inside.
Justin Pritchett, team leader of Ghost Chasers of Mississippi, said they went into the old jail a couple of years ago, but they've always wanted to go back.
"It was the first place outside of a private home that we had ever done. Last time we were there we got some pretty interesting stuff," he said.
But they were more green back then, he said, so they want to take another look, this time armed with the information they've since learned.
"We think that there's something up there that still thinks Kennedy is president," Pritchett said.
Also, while he said he and the investigators don't usually get scared, they do sometimes get a little freaked out. The team's last excursion into the old jail proved somewhat freaky. On his way down from the stairs, Pritchett said he was shoved against the wall.
"It was out of nowhere. I didn't trip or anything. We got it all on camera. I hit that wall and I took off. I didn't stop and take a second look," he said.
The team has been together about three years and has eight investigators and three assistants who provide technical help. Since their trip to the jail two years ago, Pritchett said they've been to numerous locations in and out of Mississippi.
Pritchett said he and some of his friends have always been interested in the paranormal.
"The reason it's fascinated us is because it is the unknown," Pritchett said. "When I don't know how something works, it kind of bothers me. I want to get my hands dirty and figure out what's going on. It's something that doesn't make sense and I want it to make sense."
They use sensitive, high-tech equipment to monitor and record their investigations.
Pritchett said the team tries to determine what is fake and what is real; they take an analytical approach to each case; and they don't rely on physical sensations or feelings. They get information from the person at the site of the reported paranormal activity, whether at someone's home or business.
"People tell us what's going on, what's happened to them, stories that people have passed down," Prtichett said. "We try to replicate it. If it does happen we try to figure out how it worked. Every now and then we come across some stuff that just blows our minds. That's what drives us to continue to do what we do."
Unlike some paranormal investigators that are often the subject of television programs, the G-COM team doesn't try to be dramatic or sensationalize the process, he said.
"We're real skeptical. We aren't like these people who go in, and believe that they can feel something. We go in from a logical point of view. We try to go in and say, let's see if we can figure this out," Pritchett said. "Our job is not to go in there and make it a thrill ride. Our job is to go in there and see if there is anything to this, if anything can be explained or if it can't."
Some events are easier to interpret than others, he said.
"Sometimes we can go into a house and explain everything that's going on. It puts the family at ease or puts the business owner at ease," Pritchett said. "Sometimes we go in, just laugh and throw our hands up."
G-COM members will in the old jail from 6 p.m. until 6 a.m. on Dec. 7. Pritchett is quick to point out that the team is not in it for profit and they never charge anyone for their services.
"This is not our priority. We all have families. We all have jobs. This is a hobby for us," he said.