History and Organization
The Ghost Research Society (GRS) was founded as the Ghost Tracker’s Club in the late 1970s in the Chicago area by Martin V. Riccardo, a hypnotherapist who also founded Vampire Studies Society information clearinghouse. Dale Kaczmarek was research director. Then in 1981, the name was changed to the Ghost Research Society, and in 1982, Kaczmarek assumed full ownership of the organization and became its president.
He launched the society’s journal, The Ghost Tracker’s Newsletter, which remained in print until 2001. Paranormal investigator Richard Senate was among the noted columnists for the newsletter. Kaczmarek directs the GRS activities, the Chicago-area “Excursions into the Unknown” tours, and the Midwest Ghost Exposition. Second in command is Jim Graczyk, who investigates, leads, and trains GRS investigators.
Graczyk is the author of several books, A Field Guide to Chicago Hauntings, Field Guide to the Land of Lincoln, and Field Guide to Mysterious Waters, and a co-author of A Field Guide to Illinois Hauntings. Corresponding secretary is Chris Wallbruch. Stan Suho has been electronics expert since 1993. The GRS has a network of state coordinators.
Tom Perrott, former chairman of the Ghost Club of London, serves as area research director for the United Kingdom. In 2004, the GRS launched the Ghost Research Society Press Publications. Titles include works by Kaczmarek, Graczyk, and others. Investigation Activities GRS investigations have become increasingly sophisticated using technology since the early 1990s and involve the use of a wide range of equipment (see Paranormal Investigation).
In earlier years, psychics often were involved, but use of them has decreased in favour of technology. Monitoring equipment includes flat screen, high-quality monitor and multiplexer devices that will allow the real-time viewing of several different cameras on the same monitor at very high resolution. The GRS has obtained inexplicable phenomena, such as mysterious energy presences called ORBS and clear audio disturbances.
In one case in the Chicago area, audio disturbances included the unmistakable sounds of footsteps like someone walking and dragging a football going upstairs, the dropping of objects, and metallic sounds. Like other paranormal research organizations, the GRS finds that 70 to 85 percent of reported cases have natural explanations. However, most GRS members, including Kaczmarek, have experienced unexplained phenomena to support the conclusion that ghosts exist and there is survival after death.
The GRS maintains one of the world’s largest collections of spirit photographs and analyzes them by digitizing them with a computer. According to Kaczmarek, approximately 90 percent of them have natural explanations (see Spirit Photography). One of the society’s most controversial photographs shows an alleged apparition of a girl seated on a tombstone in BACHELOR’S GROVE CEMETERY. The GRS also has a large database of Ghost Lights and collects information on Electronic Voice Phenomena.
- Ghost Research Society Web site. Available online. URL: https:// www.ghostresearch.org. Downloaded June 29, 2006.