Normal Is Tracking The Paranormal
Joe Van Leer
By Joe Van Leer/StaffWriter
Rick Rowe, founder and lead investigator for the Paranormal and Ghost
Society, travels the country looking into the unexplained.
Rick Rowe sees ghosts. He's heard voices and shrill howling. He's traipsed
through dark cemeteries and darker woods. He's hunted for ghosts. He is
investigator and founder of Paranormal and Ghost Society. That's his job.
The pay is dismal but for Rowe the rewards are phenomenal.
Rowe, 31, of Orange City, a stay-at-home father of three, knows some
people think he's off the radar but he is secure enough and also dedicated
enough to his calling that he can humor the doubters.
He believes there are unexplained phenomena in the universe, the galaxies.
"Most people are open to what I do but there are some who send hate
mail and make snide comments." said Rowe, whose tattoos include an
alien creature on his chest, four ghost on his arms and a vampire on a
calf. "I figure with every bad email, there are five that are
If people think their house is haunted, they call Rowe to investigate, He
and his team of five or six travel around the U.S.
Transportation expenses are often paid and members (at last count there
were about 10,000 in the U.S.) make donations to the society.
Rowe has explored many plantations, abandoned ships, mines, and
cemeteries. Some paranormal groups stick with just investigating haunted
inns and cemeteries.
Rowe picks Colby Park in Cassadaga, Bulow Plantation in Ormond Beach and
just about anywhere in St. Augustine as most haunted.
While walking through a wooded area (Colby Park) in Cassadaga very late at
night, Rowe heard noises and if some creature were following him.
"I was with a friend and we both heard a strange screeching noise and
a tree shook pretty violently and we heard it run in circles around us but
we couldn't see anything," said Rowe.
He has found the grounds around Stetson University active with the
paranormal but hasn't obtained permission to investigate the interiors of
Around a year ago, Rowe investigated the trails behind the St. Augustine
lighthouse at night.
"I heard little girls talking and giggling." he recalled,
"Then, I researched the Internet and consulted with members who do
research for us and learned that three or four little girls died 70 years
ago when their wagon tipped over in the ocean and they drowned."
A month ago, he heard footsteps and a moan in a vacant and boarded house
in New Smyrna Beach. A relatively new, part time paranormal Investigator also
heard the sounds. She was stunned.
He said Florida could be one of the most haunted states in the union
because so many historical skirmishes, and events occurred here. He said
there are at least 300 places in Florida which paranormal activity is
high; about 200 in New York. He has visited about 640 sites, and that
includes return visits to some.
When Rowe was a child he would awaken, to an extremely tall, shadowy
figure watching him sleep, He was baffled until several years later he met
other people who had similar experiences.
"Maybe because I work with it all the time I'm more open to the
unexplainable," he said.
During an investigation in New York in June 2003, Rowe's 19-year-old best
friend was killed by a drunk driver as they walked along a road leading to
a historic cemetery to investigate the paranormal.
"We used to talk about death and afterlife and he was a
skeptic," said Rowe. Ten months later he was gone. It took a lot of
motivation to get back into living and the paranormal after that."
Where some people see mere whitish objects in photos, Rowe sees an
ectoplasmic energy. He said ghost seem to exist in other dimensions. They
are energy and sometimes a mass of ghosts combine to make one mass of
energy. Ghosts can appear as small, bright white orbs.
As Rowe walks through the cemetery that borders Cassadaga and Lake Helen,
he remembers talking with a woman who claimed she could not move after
sitting on the so-called Devil's Chair late one night a few years ago in
"Problem is there area a few benches and I don't know which is
haunted," he said as he walked toward a tombstone that was knocked
over by vandals.
"Vandals are trespassing on ghostly ground and they are disrespecting
the dead," he said.
Then there was the wine cellar in a vacant house in New York.
"A 50-pound hatch closed by itself and we heard a nasty voice telling
us to get out," said Rowe.
Rowe is open-minded about reincarnation, life forms on the other planets
even about weird creatures like Bigfoot.
Next Paranormal stop is Western New York where Rowe and team will
investigate Indian Catacombs that go on for miles.
By Joe Van Leer/Staff Writer
Rick Rowe sits on what may be the so-called Devil's Chair in a cemetery
that borders Lake Helen and Cassadaga
Five places considered among Volusia's most haunted:
Ridge High School (Deltona)-There
is a ghost who sometimes is seen by the janitors at Pine Ridge. Legend has
it, the pesky poltergeist is the ghost of a man who was caught in the
gears of the school's clock tower.
Devil's Chair (Lake Helen)-
a cemetery on the Lake Helen/Cassadaga border is the Devil's Chair. It is
said that, if you are brave enough to sit in the chair at midnight, the
devil will appear and have a conversation with you.
man and a woman are said to haunt the playhouse. Their names are unknown.
It is believed the man died fighting a war in Spain and when the woman
could wait no longer for him to return, she committed suicide.
Avenue Bridge (Daytona)-On
the north side at the bridge approach, a dark-haired woman is a night robe
has been sighted. There have been reports of flying objects such as chairs
in the area, even when there is no wind.
Lights (Ormond Beach)-This
tale could be subtitled "Death Rides In Your Car" because many
have said that if you go looking for the Lights you might not come back.
If you go north on Beach Street in Ormond Beach towards Tomoka State Park
any night after midnight, you might possibly see the Lights. Some say the
lights are just swamp gas, or phosphorous lights from algae growth, but
others say the lights are from a more unearthly source. The most popular
story is the tale of the Native American Warrior who was determined to
visit the princess of a neighboring chief. His father had forbidden him to
leave the tribal camp, but he went out into the darkness with his knot
torch in search of his princess. It is said that he became lost in the
vast wilderness never found her and never returned.