Five Things to Keep in Mind When Going on a PRS Investigation
By Brian Lutz
The members of the Paranormal Research Society are dedicated to their work - Paranormal State is one of the most successful shows on A&E, and yet, the program is secondary to the actual stars of the show. The PRS was formed to help people understand and solve paranormal dilemmas. Yes, they're willing participants in the show, but when they're conducting their investigations, they are totally focused on their work.
I was asked if I would like to follow the PRS during one of their cases (which will air during season 4) so that I could write this article (that you're reading right now!) about what goes on behind the scenes. It's not an experience that most people are allowed to have. The team have very specific rules about their investigations, and they last thing they need is somebody to ruin their hours and hours of work. During my days "on set," I saw a lot of things that I'll remember for a long time, but the one thing I'll remember most is seeing the entire PRS gathered around a table, listening to EVPs, totally oblivious to the entire production crew in motion around them. Mics were fixed, lights were set... and the PRS didn't react to any of it. Their one and only mission was to crack the case, and no amount of outside distraction could deter them.
Get ready to have your internal clock totally screwed up - We've all seen Paranormal State and we know that Dead Time takes place in the wee hours of the morning. The thing that isn't totally obvious is that Dead Time isn't the end of the "work day" for the PRS.
The subjects of the "my" investigation, a very nice family, were being tormented by some sort of spirit, and at the time, nobody had any ideas as to its origins. Some of the interactions were benign (opening and closing doors), while others were far more malicious (a guest was shoved down a flight of stairs). After being unable to interact with the spirit, the PRS decided that they would attempt Dead Time to try and make contact. At the appropriate hour, the team started their work, and Dead Time began.
The PRS remained at the residence until around 6am or so, checking and rechecking their notes and evidence, trying to determine the origins of the spirits that were haunting their subject. I, of course, missed all of this, having been in my hotel bed for several hours previous (I left after Dead Time, thinking that we were wrapping for the night). Being able to function on no sleep is clearly a job requirement for the PRS.
Another thing to keep in mind when hanging out with the PRS, since they keep unusual hours, you'll have to get used to hearing "good morning" from them at two in the afternoon.
Pack warm clothes - This is one of those things that SHOULD have been obvious. As mentioned in the above item, the PRS keeps some pretty wacky hours. As the clock marches forward, the mercury falls... and any poor soul that ends up outside will feel a (non-supernatural) chill in their bones.
During the second night of the investigation, it was decided that having a huge number of people wandering around the subjects' residence was only hampering the process. Therefore, it was decided that I (being extremely non-essential) would have to wait outside for a "brief while" so that the PRS could get to work. I wasn't alone, mind you, and I was very happy to have had good company to spend the rest of the night conversing with (yes, the "brief while" took about three hours), but I would have happily traded any of them for a hat and/or scarf.
Expect to see some unusual things - At one point in the investigation, it was determined that a psychic medium would be needed to help coax the spirit into the open. That isn't wholly unusual for Paranormal State, but what was unusual was seeing the medium completely blindfolded as she was driven to the location. The idea was to help focus the medium on paranormal activity, and to help her to not be thrown off by visual distractions. This is not something most of us see often (or, in truth, ever), but to be sadly clichéd, this was just another day at the office for the team.
Later on, I was having "lunch" (at around 8pm at night) with a couple of PRS members when we all saw a crazy light in the sky. We all stopped to stare at the UFO (which was later reclassified as an FO, specifically a rocket from Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia), but for the PRS, this seemed to be just another ordinary extraordinary moment.
As an aside... when we were all looking at the "UFO," I was holding a fully charged HD video camera, but I never thought to actually capture some footage. That's one of the reasons they're never going to ask me to actually join the PRS.
The production team is absolutely awesome - You'll never see them on an episode of Paranormal State, but a lot of the success of the show is due to the incredible production team. During my three days on location, I never saw a single crew member slow down or stop working. Every potential challenge had already been anticipated, so the entire process of creating a hit television show was seamless. Best of all, every member of the crew was pleasant and polite, even in the wee hours of the morning. Without a crew of this caliber, there couldn't be a Paranormal State. Yes, Ryan and his team are the stars of the show, but the next time you watch Paranormal State on A&E, make sure to read through the credits!
By the way, if you're curious as to exactly what happened with the rest of the investigation... well, apologies are in order. I was sworn to secrecy, and I can't give out any more specific details about the case or the subjects, or what guest experts played a part in the investigation, or the utterly strange origin of the spirit.
Okay, now I'm just being mean. Paranormal State returns with new episodes this December. When this particular episode airs, we'll let everybody know.