Agawam Paranormal Society grows from family ghost hunting hobby
Rob Goff speaking at Town Hall.jpg
Rob Goff Sr., director of the Agawam Paranormal Society, talks about “Ghostology 101: A General Study of the Paranormal” at Holyoke Town Hall in this 2012 file photo.
(Dave Roback / The Republican File)
AGAWAM – Hope and Rob Goff Sr. were huge fans of paranormal investigative TV shows like “Ghost hunters” and “Ghost Adventures,” but they did more than just watch.
With their four children, they created their own investigation team.
“As a family, we thought we could do something to bring together everyone’s collective interests,” Hope Goff said.
The Goffs started off slow, occasionally visiting sites where paranormal activity was reported.
However, when family and friends got wind of what they were doing, more and more people wanted to join us. The hobby took off in what is now the Agawam Paranormal Society. The team has 34 members and includes its own research and technical departments.
Now in its fifth year, the company is working with local libraries and historical associations to publicize paranormal activity and the investigative process.
Many members of the team insist that they are natural skeptics, despite their interest. Rob Goff, who is the director of the company, says he is “the last to jump on the Casper train,” working hard to debunk any paranormal claims until there is no longer an explanation.
The research and preparation leading up to an investigation is extensive.
Prior to a recent visit to the Thomas Smith House in Feeding Hills, for example, Director of Research Coordination Karen Plante took a look at the property’s 250-year history to see who lived there and died there, and what the site was for.
The team receives a briefing at home and sets up an external command center, where plans are completed and equipment prepared.
The attitude is optimistic and positive. The jokes are cracked and the snacks are gone. Topics of conversation range from “Game of Thrones” to 1970s baseball to music.
“It’s a very family atmosphere,” said Goff.
There are seven infrared cameras to be placed throughout the house. Goff can monitor them simultaneously on a computer.
Motion sensors are positioned in anticipation that something invisible will trigger one.
Standard voice recorders look for EVP, electronic voice phenomenon. Infrared sensors look for cold spots, signs that spirits are sucking in hot air to “manifest”.
Electromagnetic field detectors are positioned.
It may take a week for the team to review and analyze all the evidence gathered.
But before the team enters, the team medium is scouring, sometimes able to sense things that machines and other people can’t.
“Christine P.,” does not give her name publicly.
She only visits a site after the team discovered signs of paranormal activity on a previous visit. She doesn’t know anything about the location until the team arrives.
“I’ve had this gift since I was 12,” she said. “It’s genetic, it’s in my family.”
She joined the team two years ago after hearing from a friend that Agawam Paranormal was looking for a medium.
On this visit to Smith House, which was built in 1757, Christine P. said she was able to capture the spirit of a male slave in the basement and the spirit of a young boy in the first stage.
On the team’s first visit, they recorded a shiny white orb dancing on the basement camera screen. He was present for almost half an hour.
“In the five years we’ve been doing this, I’ve never seen such orb activity before,” Goff said.
Despite the cost of the equipment, Goff said, Agawam Paranormal does not charge for the services. It’s a hobby, and helping people is the priority.
“If at the end of the day I can give the customer peace of mind, that’s all that matters,” said Goff.