As she lay in the middle of a church, trying to relax and figure out what was going on in the main alter, Kirsten Thorne, 46, began to feel her necklace move. The chain with a heavy metal skull gripped tight around her throat and left marks as it crawled up her neck. She felt as if “it” was going to choke her while her friends were watching. The ghost was trying to tell her to respect the environment that she was in.
Kirsten Thorne, an associate professor of Spanish at Pierce College, and founder of the group Paranormal Housewives, defines the ghost in this creepy story as being a “splinter of a persons consciousness.”
Thorne sits outside her dimly lit office as she recalls one of the first experiences she had with a “ghost.”
“I just remember early one morning before everybody was up, my grandfather saying goodbye, hugging me and telling me that he was going to miss me,” says Thorne. “When I told my mom that he had come see me, I found out that it was the same time that he died.”
Several more experiences throughout her life that she couldn’t explain led her to start a team that investigates reports of the paranormal.
“When the whole thing of ghost hunting got popular I realized that this is something that I could do myself and probably do better than the ones on TV,” says Thorne.
Through the Southern California paranormal community, Thorne knew a group of women who wanted to leave their respective groups and find teams that better fit their interests.
Lizeth Martinez, 32, a member of the Paranormal Housewives, was grateful the group was founded.
“This is awesome,” says Martinez. “There are other women who like doing the same thing I do.”
Another member, Jen Storey, 38, said she was 19 when she had her first ghost encounter.
“Something actually touch me and its hands climbed up my body,” says Storey. “Of course it creeped me out but it opened doors of interest.”
The Housewives go out on investigations two or three times a month and they report experiences with the unexplained almost every time.
The contact they receive is mainly personal, such as someone feeling as though their hair is being touched, or an object on them moving. Thorne is no stranger to negative experiences. Some get as dramatic as clearly hearing a voice say, “I’m going to kill you,” on a recording.
Although during some investigations the mood can be dark, the Housewives say they are not scared.
Paranormal Housewife Erin Potter, 36, claims, “Nearly 99 percent of the time ghost hunting is not scary—it’s not negative. All ghosts are, are just people without a body. And just like people, some are nice, some are grumpy and some are mean.”
One thing Thorne is continuously stressing to people interested in contacting ghosts is to take precautions before going on an investigation, including entering a site with only “the purest intentions.”
The Paranormal Housewives do not charge for investigative services.
“I think we’re just trying to help people and let them know that there’s nothing to be afraid of,” says Storey. “We just want to make people feel better.”
Another precaution that the Housewives take is choosing sites with a positive history.
“You don’t really walk away from it, which is why we try to be very careful to where we investigate and what we expose ourselves to,” says Thorne.
Bringing a ghost home is something that frequently happens to Thorne, but it took a while for her and her team to learn that no matter where you go, something may follow you.
“Sometimes things do seem to follow you,” says Thorne. “You have to make sure you don’t allow that or don’t allow yourself to get exhausted or too affected by what’s going on in your investigations.”
Praying, meditating and finding her center are some ways Thorne tries to mentally and physically recover from an investigation.
“Basically, I have to accept the fact I won’t sleep much the night of an investigation and the next day I’m pretty useless. It completely drains you on every level,” says Thorne.
Aside from restless nights, Thorne’s experience has changed her view on the world.
“I have to tell myself to shut it out because if I don’t I’ll scare myself all of the time,” says Thorne.
In the old dormitories at Pierce, which are now the faculty offices, she reports that things happen when she’s by herself. Usually she feels that someone is hanging out in the common area or watching from a window. Thorne says she never feels alone in her office, so she never goes there alone at night.
Thorne says that although she’s had a lot of ghost encounters, she still doesn’t have all the answers to life’s mysteries.
“It’s my hope that I’d have more answers in the future than I do now, but it’s not my expectation,” says Thorne. “Part of me thinks that we won’t understand this until after we’re dead. To me, what I want to know is, what happens to human consciousness and what happens when there is no body to support it anymore?”
However, the different Housewives see what they’re doing is giving different answers.
“The more I do this, the more it shows that there is life beyond here,” says Potter. “For me, it shows that you are an actual person and you don’t need a body to be alive.”