The American Ghost Society is an organization of Ghost investigators, writers, and enthusiasts with chapters throughout the United States and Canada.
The American Ghost Society was formed in late 1995 by Troy Taylor and his second wife, Amy, as the American Ghost Society of Central Illinois. Its initial focus was upon regional ghost phenomena, especially in the Decatur, Illinois, area, where the Taylors lived at that time. The organization expanded quickly and was reorganized as the American Ghost Society in 1996. Within two years, it had nearly 500 members.
In 1998, the Taylors moved home and AGS headquarters to Alton, Illinois, where they established the History & Hauntings bookstore. In 1998, Taylor established the Haunted Museum at the bookstore, a collection of books, articles, photographs, and paraphernalia concerning the history of ghost research and paranormal investigation.
Among the exhibits are personal possessions and investigation items once belonging to Peter Underwood. During the assembly of the museum, the Taylors experienced numerous Poltergeist and Haunting phenomena, including the displacement of objects, lights going on and off by themselves, taps and tugs, Rapping, knocking on the front door, and books falling off the shelves by themselves.
In 2005, the Taylors divorced and sold the bookstore. It remains the AGS headquarters. Troy returned to Decatur, Illinois, and established the business office of the AGS. The AGS has a network of area representatives who serve as points of contact for the public and media. Many of them are law enforcement professionals who bring excellent investigation skills to their ghost work. The representatives have their own research groups and set up their own local meetings.
The AGS has an annual conference. The main goals of the AGS are to look for authentic evidence of the paranormal and to assist persons experiencing problems with the paranormal. The AGS stresses a high standard of investigation of Hauntings that combines old-fashioned detective work—visiting and inspecting sites and interviewing witnesses—and high-technology detection equipment (see Paranormal Investigation). All data have to be carefully analyzed before any presentation to the public. Open-minded scepticism is encouraged.
Further Reading :
- American Ghost Society Web site. Available online. URL: https:// www.prairieghosts.com. Downloaded May 21, 2007.