What do ghosts sound like?
How can history tell us who they are?
Should we be afraid of them?
Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski
Paranormal investigator Patty Wilson, seen here posing at Old Bedford Village in Bedford, is the founder of the Ghost Research Foundation and has authored 14 books.
Any local children or adults who have asked themselves these questions about the paranormal world can finally have them answered when Patty Wilson, a paranormal investigator, historian and the author of 14 books will present information on "What Haunts Central Pennsylvania" at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Hollidaysburg Area YMCA.
Wilson, also the co-founder of the Ghost Research Foundation in Bedford, said she has been interested in ghosts and the paranormal her entire life. She has read more than 3,000 books on the subject, beginning with Irish author Elliot O'Donnell.
"I found his stories fascinating, and I knew someday this was what I wanted to do," she said.
If you go
What: "What Haunts Central Pennsylvania," a presentation by paranormal investigator Patty Wilson
When: 6 p.m. Saturday
Where: Hollidaysburg Area YMCA, 1111 Hewit St., Hollidaysburg
Details: Tickets are $13, and are available at the YMCA or by calling 695-4467. Refreshments will be provided.
After releasing her first book, "Haunted Pennsylvania," Wilson said she received many questions from residents of Blair, Bedford and Cambria counties about the paranormal, but also some requests for explanations of hauntings in their homes.
"I began to do some work," Wilson said. "There were some cases in Blair County where people really needed help."
One of the stories Wilson will likely tell during her presentation is from one of her first local cases, when a little boy was being terrorized by a spirit inside his home. But if there is one thing Wilson hopes people come away with from her talk, it's that not all ghost stories are spooky.
"I think the thing I would like people to understand the most is that ghosts are human beings," she said. "They're not something to be scared of. Most of the time they're not scary at all. ... Many of the places that I go, the people are very fond of their spirits."
There will also be an interactive portion to Wilson's presentation where she will play "ghost talk" recorded on audio tape, and show photos of "entities" from the area. She will be accompanied by Scott Crownover, co-founder of the Ghost Research Foundation who specializes in the scientific explanations of the paranormal world.
Wilson said they will also be "very" open to answering questions and listening to the audience.
"Everybody has a ghost story," she said. "It's a part of almost everybody's human consciousness. It's a universal thing. Almost every culture has had a ghost story."
Laurie Smith, the director of human resources and arts and humanities programming for the YMCA, said she wanted to bring Wilson in for the presentation in order to meet the diverse interests of people in the local community.
"We thought, 'You know what??We want to step outside the box and meet the needs of what people are interested in today,'" she said. "This whole paranormal thing seems to be something people gravitate toward. I think [Wilson] is very credible, and will offer a very interesting night and engage in people's questions."
Wilson said this is an all-ages event, but parents can use their discretion when bringing small children. She will also have signed copies of her books for sale.
"I enjoy what I do, and I enjoy sharing the stories about what I do, what my life is like," Wilson said.
Mirror Staff Writer Beth Ann Downey is at 946-7520.