‘I see dead people’: Paranormal investigator founder of organization for ghost hunter s

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Selma Times-Journal


“Not scientifically explainable.” Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary

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Johnny Rushing is the founder and lead investigator of Central Alabama Paranormal Investigations, organized Nov. 5, 2006, and known as CAPI. The 14 members of the organization, according to Rushing, “are a collection of people interested in the paranormal, historic research and fact finding.”

The members, whose occupations are varied, consider involvement in CAPI as an avocation rather than a vocation, Rushing says. An Emergency Medical Technician by profession, at present on medical leave,

he got into” the paranormal” at age 13.

“We lived in a house in Selmont occupied by people other than my family. I frequently saw a gentleman, elderly, wearing a straw hat and overalls. I would see him walk through the backyard, which was by the riverbank, and also inside the house. My mother, brother and sister also saw him.”

Rushing says the sighting did not frighten them. “He was a benign presence, known as a residual haunting. But I went crazy with interest in it. Every book I could find I read, getting acquainted with ghosts, especially Kathryn Windham’s 13.”

By age 18 to 19, Rushing was investigating the sightings, “using a big old tape recorder and a Polaroid camera. There were no sophisticated instruments such as we use today.”

“How did he know where to look, or did the sightings just happen?” is a frequently asked question about the paranormal investigations.

According to Rushing, “I’d get the feeling that it was kind of spooky some place, or people would tell me of a personal experience and I tried to identify the presence. The next step is to obtain evidence:

a photograph or a video or a recording, but I found no concrete IDs on historically famous people.”

The first recorded sighting by CAPI came from a digital photograph and a recording of a little girl in red. “We called her ‘The Lady in Red.’ However, she has not been identified.”

At present, the team is investigating several places in Selma with several more “coming up.” However, unless the building owner gives consent, the finds are not publicized.

Rushing speaks briefly of “an interesting photo from Brownstone Manor, which we are still studying. The old Tremont School is one of the most active to date, with digital recordings of what is known as ‘intelligent hauntings.’

“These are actually in skin, who are aware of surroundings and will interact with you. At Tremont we moved a stack of boxes blocking the door to a room, asking if it were all right. On the recording a clear male voice is heard, emphatically saying ‘No!’ We didn’t hear it then. We heard it later on the recording.”

Rushing emphasizes that in CAPI investigations “we don’t advertise, we don’t run to the newspaper with findings. Anything found becomes the property of the investigative site. We get permission to keep the evidence or copies of it to further our research.

“I am a very logical person, believe in only what I see. If we don’t find anything, we say so.”

Rushing and CAPI feel that “unfortunately, some people use claims of ghostly presences to help business. Often, in searching, the mind will find a face and try to make sense of it. International Ghost Hunters Society lends assistance in verification of finds through evidence we submit to them,” he says.

CAPI members are frequently asked to do cemetery investigations, Rushing says. “Cemeteries are seldom haunted – we have done 100 and never found anything. They are so beautiful and historic that it is a pleasure to visit them, but they are not haunted. Every piece of evidence I have seen to the contrary is false.”

Rushing teaches a class for new members of CAPI, called “Paranormal 101,” and says he has found it necessary “due to the increasing popularity of TV shows about the paranormal. They are interesting, but just shows.”

The one true incident in his life about “the light” frequently featured in these shows concerns his grandfather, the late Roy Grindle, “who truly saw a light on the night he died.”

Although the deaths of his wife in ’95 and of his infant son helped fuel Rushing’s interest in the paranormal, the Bible is his guide, he says. “We don’t conjure up spirits for gain or profit. We do it because we know they are there.

“I am a churchgoer. I do believe in Heaven and Hell, in good and evil, in God. And I enjoy our paranormal investigations; from them we get a lesson in history.”