The unexplainable can be haunting
That's why the University of Colorado-Boulder graduate joined the Paranormal Research Association of Boston in 2009. Last year, he moved to Denver and founded a sister organization, the Paranormal Research Association of Colorado, or PRAC for short.
Ian Murphy founded the parent organization, the Paranormal Research Association of Ireland, in 2004. He established an association in Boston in 2008, and similar associations were spun off in Colorado and New Hampshire in 2012.
When Goldstein isn't conducting medical research at his day job, he's trying to scientifically explain paranormal activity.
His team of volunteers might check out that vision of great uncle Fred, who, if he were still with us, would be 139 years old — or that knocking from within the conference room when you're positive no one is in there.
But Goldstein is quick to point out that PRAC should not be compared with anything "Ghostbusters" or reality TV shows such as "Ghost Hunters."
"That's not a factual representation of the work we do," he said.
At your home or business, if warranted, the PRAC team will conduct an investigation. It won't cost you anything, and all investigations and findings remain confidential.
The association is a nonprofit funded by its members and some outside donations.
Goldstein has a master's degree in biology from CU, and he's been a professional research scientist for nearly 15 years, focusing on cancer. He has a keen analytical mind, and is neither a skeptic nor a believer when it comes to happenings that can't easily be explained.
"We want to be open-minded," said Goldstein, who first became interested in the paranormal when he was a child.
"I became fascinated when some unexplainable things happened in the family cabin near Bailey," he said. "They piqued my interest. I joined a 'ghost club' and read books on the topic of ghosts and scary places."
He since has graduated to approaching the unexplainable scientifically. While he has witnessed some unexplainable events — for example, the set of car keys that flew across the room during an investigation in Boston; "We never were able to come up for a reason that happened," he said — the four divisions combined have been able to explain 98 percent of the occurrences they have investigated.
Goldstein said many of the occurrences they investigate revolve around sleep paralysis, a phenomenon in which people, either when falling asleep or waking, temporarily experience an inability to move. It is often associated with terrifying visions, such as an intruder in the room, to which one is unable to react because of paralysis.
PRAC uses night-vision cameras, digital recorders, meters and sensors in its investigations. Members often provide their own equipment, and some equipment is paid for with money from outside donations.
Right now, Goldstein is taking applications for a few volunteer trainee paranormal investigators. People interested in becoming an investigator or having an unsettling occurrence explained can apply online at firstname.lastname@example.org and learn more about the organization at colorado.praofb.org.
The group generally is inundated in October with media invites, Halloween being what it is with ghosts, spirits, goblins and that incessant knocking from the conference room.
Doug Storum can be reached at 303-630-1959 or email@example.com.
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