The following Q&A is part of our "Faces of the Paranormal" series, profiling local paranormal investigators and ghost hunters. For more Haunted Tri-State coverage, click here.
How many cases has your team done?
Cornerstone Paranormal has conducted 200 investigations over the past four years. Some team members have been in the field for seven years or more, so those members have more than 500 and up to almost 750 investigations.
How did Cornerstone Paranormal start?
As Cornerstone, we started in January of 2010 and started with five members. We have 10 now. Our original five members all came from a team we were on before and didn't like the direction it was headed, so we left and started our own team. Five of us have been together about eight years total.
How many times do you believe your experienced something truly paranormal?
Of the 200 cases we've done, we'd feel comfortable with about 10 percent (roughly 20) of the locations having had some level of activity that we cannot yet explain through normal means.
How often are you called to investigate a home or business?
We are contacted weekly through email and Facebook, and accept only a small portion of those requests. We don't do private homes much anymore, and stick to businesses or historically significant locations for our investigations.
How do people find out about you?
We have a unique blend of media exposure (some of our members have been on television and are on AM/FM radio), as well as high search engine rankings and good Facebook referrals. So I'd say it's 50/50 online/offline exposure.
What made you want to do this?
Many of our members have different reasons. I came into the field as a skeptic for another team, and while the first investigation revealed what I expected (nothing of substance) the second investigation I was ever on I had a personal experience I could not justify. I really wanted to find that answer, and ultimately found over the years I have more questions and my search continues.
Is this a side-gig for all of you? What are your day jobs?
This is a side-gig for all of us. We never charge to do what we do, and sometimes we even pay or donate money to a site so we can research it. We have a certified ethical hacker, an ER nurse, an art teacher, a nanny, a graphic artist, a college student studying biomechanics, another IT guy, a warehouse person, a master electrician and a soon to be published PHD historian on our team.
Do people ever mock you for doing this and believing in the paranormal?
Many years ago before the TV craze people would look at you with a raised eyebrow and just dismiss you as a kook. Now with the para-TV craze, we get people contacting us saying, "I've always wanted to, can I go with you?" For the others who still disbelieve, I tell them they're entitled to believe what they want. But if I could have them for a few investigations, they are likely to have some experience even the most jaded cannot explain. Then I invite them to come along.
What was your scariest experience working in this business?
We were at the Mansfield Reformatory and while up high in the prison tiers, we could hear cell doors closing right next to us. We could hear voices that we couldn't make out the words, and what sounded like footsteps. By far the most active place I've ever experienced.
Have you ever needed to use a demonologist or an exorcist?
We've had folks who believe a demonologist or exorcist was needed, but the criteria for those types of people is very high. Unfortunately, there are many fakes and flakes who will state they experience demons every day and they've exorcised thousands in a few short years. Our team has never had such an experience that we thought we needed such a person.
In your opinion, what's the single most haunted place in the Tri-State region?
With our total level of experience, we would say the Heritage Village in Sharon Woods (video, audio, physical reactions and several other teams corroborating it) and Arnold's Bar and Grill is a very close second.