MARCH AIR RESERVE BASE, Calif. --
(This is the third in a four-part series on things that go bump in the night.)
Senior Airman Jose Mora, 452nd Aerospace Medicine Squadron, isn't just a ghost hunter. He is also known as sensitive in the psychic arena. His mother and sisters are sensitive also. He said that if something bad is going to happen, that they are unaware of at the time, they might get an upset stomach or something like that. The feelings were never wrong and were not out of the ordinary to him because it's all he knew.
"Being sensitive actually runs on my mom's side of the family. Because of that, things were just noticeable to me," he said. As a young teen, Mora noticed he had different psychic abilities or sensibilities.
"I lived in South Central LA. It was kind of a rough area. The school we went to had good security, but if something bad happened near the school, mom would know (before it happened)."
About 12 years ago, something happened that put everything into perspective for Mora. He helped a woman, who he describes as his second mother, pass on or cross over. He said he had an overwhelming feeling that he cannot explain, that he needed to be the last one to talk to her. He could see and hear her after she passed and knew he was talking to her. He said it was unmistakable and heartfelt.
"I just couldn't believe it happened but I couldn't disregard it," Mora said. "I felt like I was there at that moment and given this gift to be able to communicate with her and help her pass."
Ever since that life-altering moment, he has just been trying to understand what is going on.
"It's probably going to be a life-long process, and I don't have a full understanding of it right now, but there are definitely things that I know are out there that I'm trying to get a better understanding of."
Since that time, he has tried to be more open-minded. He feels like he is translating what he sees into something that is giving him some sort of insight. For example, he was going too fast on the freeway when he noticed some birds flying in a certain direction which caused a gut feeling that something was going to happen. His instinct told him to slow down and just after he slowed, a highway patrol cruiser entered the roadway.
"I don't think signs are put there just for me. I think I notice things that I need to see at that particular time and can translate them," Mora said. "It's all about what needs to happen right then for me to understand what's going on. I think that is a life process. We're all here to find out why and as we are ready for it, things will become apparent."
He has met other people who are sensitive and said that everyone interprets things differently because of where they are in their spirituality or experiences. He thinks being more relaxed, less stressed and more involved with life makes one more open and accepting of the paranormal.
"It's kind of hard when you have so much going on and you're stressed out," Mora said. "It's good to just slow down and take a step back."
When he first came to March, he heard stories of children being heard running down halls and laughing in a certain building, as well as different sounds coming from the restrooms, like loud noises and knocks. Since he already had equipment from doing investigations on his own, he decided to check it out.
"On the very first night that I did an Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) with the Digital Voice Recorder (DVR), I was joined by two co-workers. We sat in the restroom (of the building where voices and noises had been heard) with the lights off and the doors closed," he said. "We only had one small flashlight with a red light and a ghost box."
A ghost box is a radio that has a scan capability, continually shuffling through all stations non-stop, and it is used for communicating to whatever spirits or entities that are there, Mora said. The whole premise behind that is that they come through on the static or white noise in between stations on whatever frequency works for them to communicate.
They recorded for a couple of hours and talked to eight or nine different spirits or entities in one sitting, he said. They couldn't believe that most of the stuff picked up on the review was not necessarily what they heard when they were there in person, although there was a lot while they were there too, Mora said. The DVR had picked up stuff that they had missed.
After a ghost box investigation, the audio is reviewed using special software that allows you to slow down the audio, change the pitch, reduce noise and minimize the interference you might have in order to better isolate and listen to the recorded session or investigation, Mora said. The software also allows you to concentrate on different segments, listen and playback. That review often helps him understand and make sense of what words or phrases were recorded in response to the questions that were being asked by investigators in the room.
"It's just unbelievable, because it's not just a word (recorded on the DVR)," Mora said. "It's a phrase or it's in direct communication with us, or they're actually having a discussion with each other. You can hear it progress with conversation."
"We didn't know that there were so many spirits there or that they were communicating with each other while we were there trying to communicate with them," Mora said. "At one point I got goose bumps or chills and one came through saying they were being stepped on. So, they were either talking to each other or that was just an improbable phrase that came through on a radio that was rifling through channels."
Mora believes the radio could pick up some music or a word during the scanning, but not a whole phrase.
"For it to say your stepping on them, when I'm getting chills or goose bumps, is something that I can't dismiss."
Some people might consider this a hobby or an interest, but for Mora it's become more than that. Passion is a strong word, but that's pretty close to what it feels like, he said.
"I have a YouTube account called Ghost Force Paranormal. That's who I am. At times I have different members join and then leave because some people do this as a hobby or because they've seen ghost hunting shows on TV, so it's a fad."
Senior Airman Mathieu Beaulieu, 912th Air Refueling Squadron, saw one of Mora's YouTube videos and sent him a message that he was also here at March, had done some investigating with his own equipment and was interested in working with Mora at March.
"I normally don't communicate with anyone online other than comments or answering questions, but Matt was interested in getting together with me and doing an investigation," Mora said. "He mentioned how he does ghost hunting as well and has his own investigating equipment, and that it was not just a hobby for him either".
So, they met for an investigation and got along really well. Beaulieu has a lot of information and is a great tech guy, Mora said.
"He knows his stuff, so we decided to get together more often to do more investigations," Mora said. "We make a pretty good team."
Having done a lot of investigating here at March in the past several months, Mora said the best and the most awesome video happens to be the very first video that Beaulieu shot in the basement of an old building on the base. Five seconds into walking in with the camera rolling, he captured great evidence; two, full-body apparitions.
"One looks like a boy and the other looks like an adult male near the corner of the basement," Mora said. "It's pretty compelling evidence and I haven't seen anything like it anywhere, not on any shows or anything. It's like gold!"
When asked how he responds to people who might say, 'that was light, or that was somebody else who was in the room with you, or you added that to the video after it was shot', Mora said, "Those are obvious, understandable questions. We went back the next day and investigated the area. We took pictures of it during the day and there is nothing on the walls, doors or windows, like a fire extinguisher for example, or any discoloration on them. We made sure that all the members (who were there when the video was shot) are accounted for, including the cameraman. It's five seconds into the video, so there was no time to stage anything, like having one of the members run from where they were on the video to another position and then away again. It's hard to dismiss. If you slow the video down and pause it at the right time, you can see through parts of their bodies. The little boy was on the left of the two apparitions. If you look close enough on the video frame, you can almost see one of his legs going through the wall. (This frame was printed on page two of the Oct. 4, 2013 Beacon, although the quality is diminished in newsprint.) If that was one of us, you wouldn't be able to see that happening."
There are still quite a few stories he has heard about activities here at March that he would like to investigate. Stories about planes being haunted get his attention right away. He wants to investigate some of those planes. There are ways of finding out if anyone passed inside and learning their history; who they were; what they did, Mora said.
"Unfortunately, things happen and people pass. You have to have a respect and approach investigations from different angles, especially when you get to areas where you know people have passed away," Mora said. "If there are friends, family or community members who knew the deceased, you're not just talking about a ghost or an entity. You are talking about someone's friend or husband or wife. So you really have to come at it from a different angle, to respect the situation.
If there is paranormal activity, it's something that you want to either prove or dismiss. That's what they are there to do, Mora said. He always tries to debunk whatever might be going on; if it's a vent, external noise, environmental, etc.
"One of the best tools to debunk something is you. No tool or piece of equipment can pick up what your intuition can pick up, like feeling that you are being watched, or getting chills or goose bumps," Mora said. "If we pick up or hear a noise, we try to find out where that noise is coming from. Are there vents or opened windows nearby? Is it plumbing or electrical or even critters causing the noise? Is the weather or environment affecting the building, causing it to creak?"
A change in the temperature can cause a building to compress and expand, which can cause creaking. Sometimes they even think outside the box. You have to make sure that everything you carried or wore in, like a cell phone, cologne or clothes that make noise, isn't going to contaminate the location. You have to really minimize what you bring into an investigation so as to make the environment as sterile as possible, he said. You also have to try to make sure the environment you are investigating is not disturbed. For example, there may be dust on a ceiling fan or in a vent that could contaminate any part of the video evidence by resembling orbs. You have to debunk anything and everything you can, Mora said.
The paranormal community
He has had a chance to talk with people from other paranormal groups and said it's like talking to old friends with the same interests. You can keep talking for hours and hours and hours, Mora said. Discussions run from déjà vu experiences to being psychic or sensitive to things that you just feel or that you just know, he said.
"You can't claim that you don't have anything (psychic abilities), because you can't tell what the other person has or doesn't have. Everybody feels and interprets things differently. It's about getting as much knowledge as you can and dismissing as much as you can," Mora said. "What you can't dismiss as being normal, everyday life, tells me there is more out there. Try to build on what you've picked up on and continue forward so you can build your own perception of what's really out there."
The most important thing Mora wants people to know about paranormal investigation is that it's not always scary. Many people think that anything they don't understand is scary.
"I respect that; that people fear the unknown, but if you keep an open mind, it's really more about trying to understand what's there before having an indication that something is negative or harmful."
He believes that the spirits or entities that we have around us are really more curious about us and they are trying to enjoy life as we see it while they're here either visiting or if they are stuck, Mora said. Perhaps it's like a movie that's playing over and over again and they don't know that they are here, and in our dimension at the same time that we are experiencing our life here.
"I believe there's more out there, and one day we are all going to know exactly what it is," Mora said. "We'll be wiser. We'll be more understanding and spiritually advanced, and to be able to do what we can on the other side without being bound by this physical vessel that we call our body."