Hazel Bishop was 13 years old when she said she saw her dead grandmother appear before her to say her final goodbye.

The experience chilled her, but established her curiosity into the paranormal, she said. Years later, the 45-year-old founded West Houston Paranormal Society, a group of like-minded individuals who investigate the unexplained, including hauntings, mysterious lights, ghosts and other paranormal phenomena, she said.

The group is one of many ghost hunter teams in the Houston area and across Texas, who frequently get called to investigate strange occurrences.

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Ghost hunter teams do an initial walk-through at a property, speak to the family and research all aspects of the home when they investigate whether a home is actually “haunted,” said Matthew Winn, founder of Ghost Hunters of Southeast Texas.

“We’ll have a conversation with you to determine your state of mind,” Winn, who’s been ghost hunting for 17 years, said. “You can understand a lot of someone by just talking to them.”

If the interview goes well, the team will arrange for an onsite home walk-through, Winn said. This will include checking light bulbs, appliances and plumbing to ensure there are no physical or mechanical issues that could be causing the disturbance in the home, he said.

The team has all the high-technology gear you’ll recognize from the popular TV shows, he said.

The investigation includes determining whether the house is invaded by a run-of-the-mill “Casper-type” friendly ghost who is looking to reconnect with family or in the worst cases, performing “mild forms of exorcism” of “spirits who have not walked this earth.”

When dealing with a spirit, it’s good to lay ground rules, Winn said.

But it’s not unheard of that a family can co-exist, Bishop said.

Winn said that homeowners looking into getting services for teams like his should do their research into who they’re hiring.


Michelle Iracheta is a digital reporter in Houston. Read her on our breaking news site, Chron.com, and on our subscriber site, houstonchronicle.com. | michelle.iracheta@chron.com

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