Ed Krietmeyer’s belief in the paranormal started when he was tired.
The Unix engineer decided after coming home from work one day to crash out in the spare bedroom downstairs in his Manteca home. He knew that it was the same bedroom that a handicapped girl supposedly died in before he moved in, but he had discovered the comfort of that bed and didn’t want to go upstairs.
With his head facing the foot of the bed, he suddenly felt something violently pull the bangs of his hair, and when he looked forward he saw a small hand disappear between the mattress and the footboard.
He didn’t move.
“I just laid there staring at the mattress until I worked up the courage to leave the room,” Krietmeyer said. “I never really believed before that, and I never thought it would happen in my own house.”
That experience lingered in his mind and he kept it to himself until his brother-in-law started having strange, unexplainable experiences in his home. He would hear footsteps and occasionally see an apparition of a man in a leisure suit.
He didn’t know what to make of it until two neighbors saw the same thing, and another brother-in-law had the same experience while in the house. When Krietmeyer spent the night, something grabbed the curtains in the front room and wagged in. His mind then went into scientific mode.
“I started asking questions, and the more I asked the more I realized I didn’t know,” he said. “You can prove that it’s paranormal activity, but you can’t prove that it’s a ghost. I began researching it and built a website that had 400 pages of information. I put an ad out asking for people who were interested in joining me on a team to investigate this, and then put an ad on Craigslist looking for people that had experiences they wanted looked into.”
The California Ghost Chasers was born.
With a background in science, Krietmeyer still believed that there had to be some explanation to the things that were going in. That all went out the window when he heard his first real EVP – a tactic of recording and discovering voices or sounds at low decibels known as electronic voice phenomenon.
He was out investigating Liborio’s Bar and Grill in Farmington, and within 15 minutes of being inside of the building he captured a female voice that said, “I’m going to kill you.” There was nobody else in the room, and the closest person to him was more than 20 feet away.
“I had to prove it to myself,” he said. “I sat there and started asking questions, and that’s when I began to realize that there’s a way to eliminate the obvious.
“There’s no way to prove that they exist, but you can eliminate things that can easily explain what’s going on. Wind doesn’t turn doorknobs.”
And through word-of-mouth, and via the group’s website, Krietmeyer and the rest of his team – his wife Lourdes, Jessica Humphries, Candy Riggs, Frank Anderson, Steve Watson and Jesus Torres – have been able to investigate 80 cases throughout Northern California and Western Nevada.
Asking those questions of whatever it is that’s present in a room at a given moment has become second nature, and receiving responses has become almost expected when they’re on a case.
“A lot of times they’re very intelligent,” said Steve Watson. “We’ll have a general conversation on a topic and they’ll sometimes come in and correct you when we listen back to the EVP recording. Sometimes they’ll get annoyed and call you names. It can be pretty funny.”
Other times it can be pretty serious.
When on an overnight investigation at Preston Castle in Ione, Jessica Humphries heard a disembodied voice – a voice that can be heard by the human ear – that told her to “get back.” She heard it when near the location of where people believe staffers found the bludgeoned body of Anna Corbin – an employee of the Preston School of Industry whose ghost is believed to haunt the castle.
The voice was also captured on film and on the EVP recorder she had rolling at the time.
While investigating on the second floor of the building, Candy Riggs heard a desk or a piece of furniture being moved above her, saw plaster on the ceiling above her falling. The incident was caught on film and on recorders as well.
Some of their contact is even closer to home.
After making multiple trips to Mountain Mike’s Pizza, they caught a male voice that said his name was “Dave” when asking questions. Owner Jeff Liotard told the group he saw a full-body apparition when walking into his office late at night.
They even have a link on their website asking people with information about who “David” might be to help them discover his identity.
“A lot of the time people are relieved when we find something like this because it confirms what they suspect,” Krietmeyer said. “It answers a lot of questions that they had, and it gives them piece of mind.”
The group hosts a bi-monthly radio show every other Sunday from 6 to 7 p.m. at LiveParanormal.com. For more information about the California Ghost Chasers, visit www.californiaghostchasers.com.