Have you seen the spirits? Are there inexplicable events taking place in your dwelling? Sudden chills, unforeseen movements? The Connecticut Ghost Hunter, Barry Pirro, will shed light on the paranormal when he delivers a lecture at 3 p.m. Saturday, March 26, at the Inquiring Minds Bookstore.
Public school band teacher by day, ghost hunter by night, Pirro only began professionally investigating the paranormal twelve years ago. His interest in ghosts came much earlier, however, when he discovered his childhood home was haunted. “A lot of strange things happened there…the piano would play by itself. A man was seen several times,” he recalled. His curiosity and inquisitiveness also began early on. “I was a mini ghost hunter,” said Pirro. “This was back in the 70s, so I was ahead of my time. I used to put talcum powder on the keys of the piano to see if there would be any fingerprints left in the morning.”
His first investigative stint came when he was contacted by a paranormal group and was hired as a technician. “I was following with my recorder, and that was where I got my first EVP (Electromagnetic Voice Phenomenon).” Ghost hunters often use EVP recordings during investigations. When played back, EVPs sometimes reveal ghostly voices and whispers that were not heard during the time they were recorded.
After several years, Pirro broke off from groups Katonah Paranormal and Synchronicity Paranormal to become an independent investigator. Since then, he has conducted numerous investigations at houses, apartments, and businesses, and is frequently called in by frightened and confused homeowners who are searching for answers to otherwise unexplainable occurrences.
Pirro’s methods of testing for paranormal activity vary from electronic to intuitive. For starters, he tests the room with an EMF (Electromagnetic Field) meter. “It’s a meter that electricians use. It’s not a ‘ghost meter,’” he said. This meter detects changes in the electromagnetic field over time. Sudden, extreme spikes and divergences from the baseline are thought to be indicators of the presence of a ghost or spirit.
Pirro relies more heavily on intuition and the “feel” of the space than on the readings of the EMF meter, however. “Sometimes it’s just an electrical feeling. Sometimes you feel a bit sick. I wouldn’t describe it as a fearful feeling, but you definitely get tingles down your spine,” he said.
When he first gets a call to investigate a space, he tells the client not to tell him any information regarding the specifics of the alleged haunting. “I don’t want to know what room it’s in,” he said. “Then I go around, and nine times out of ten, I’m right.” Before entering into a paranormal space, he gives himself time to “reach out intuitively.” This usually entails entering into a meditative state, whereupon names, images, and other details come into his mind. Often, these details end up playing a part in the case he’s about to investigate. “It’s not that I have magic powers — it’s just something you get good at,” Pirro laughed.
Along with his work as an investigator, he has also taken on the role of teacher and lecturer. Pirro is frequently asked to do presentations at libraries, writer’s workshops, and, predictably, Halloween events. Though he’s sure that many are skeptical of his line of work, he has come into contact with surprisingly few doubters. “I’ve actually had some skeptics come to my lectures and leave non-skeptics,” he noted. He does not, however, feel that it is his responsibility to convince people that ghosts and spirits exist. “I just tell what I do and show them the evidence that I gather, and let people make their own decisions.”
Though he was raised Catholic, Pirro describes himself as “more spiritual than religious.” Nonetheless, he uses prayer in the “clearing” of a home. The clearing process is necessary when spirits are “stuck there,” or when a house exhibits a lot of paranormal activity. This is the only way to “send them on their way.”
Pirro notes a sharp distinction between the poltergeists and ghosts seen in horror films today, and the spirits he encounters during his investigations. None of his ghosts have seemed ill-intentioned. Even if they were mean-spirited, “[ghosts] don’t have the energy to hurt you,” said Pirro. He clarified that horror movie ghosts are not really ghosts at all, but rather demons. These entities were never alive to begin with.
Though he does not always discover paranormal activity in the spaces he investigates, he maintains that every person he has ever interviewed has been genuine when describing their experiences, even if their idea of the source was misguided. He is also careful never to enter into a house believing already that it is haunted. “I go in saying, ‘I don’t know what this is. This could be nothing,’” Pirro said. He concluded, “When you’re doing an investigation, you’re adding up all the evidence to get to the point where you think, ‘Yes, I think there’s something going on here.’”
Barry Pirro, the “Connecticut Ghost Hunter”, will appear at the Inquiring Minds Bookstore, located at 68 Partition Street, on Saturday, March 26, at 3 p.m. Tarot card readers and psychic mediums will be on-hand to give readings to the public for a small fee after the event. Hosted by the Saturday Psychic Meetup group, this free event is open to the public.