When there’s something strange in your neighborhood, who you gonna call? If you’re in Santa Barbara County, try Central Coast Paranormal Investigators.
Founded in 2007 by Nipomo resident Mitch Flores, the five-member ghost-hunting crew searches out specters from Paso Robles to Ventura, with such spooky haunts as the Santa Maria Inn, the old Far Western Tavern in Guadalupe, and the abandoned Barnsdale gas station in Ellwood under their belts. “We try to disprove people’s claims, looking first for alternative explanations,” said Flores. “If we can’t, we turn to investigating it as paranormal.” That includes monitoring electronic voice phenomenon (EVP), the use of high-tech video surveillance systems, and honed techniques like provocation, in which spirits are challenged to present themselves — and often do.
One such recent occurrence was at the Lompoc Chamber of Commerce headquarters, which was built in 1892 as a mortuary and has been notorious for freakiness, especially in the room where they used to drop off the coffins.
Flores and his crew were called in to investigate the things that went bump in the night. When Flores’s associate asked the ghost to suck his human energy and come forth, the man went sickly white, and then footsteps could be heard scrambling above and coming down the stairs at the pair. “We started yelling, ‘Who’s up there?’” said Flores, but the rest of the team hadn’t budged. The footsteps abruptly stopped and the associate recovered, so they provoked the ghost again. “The steps came closer and stopped between me and him,” said Flores, who was sitting about five feet from his buddy. “Then all we heard is a deep breath exhaling right out. Our jaws dropped. It’s all caught on audio and video. That was one of our most memorable ones.”
Perhaps best of all, if you got a ghoul, the team works for free, so long as it’s within the Central Coast. ccpinvestigators.com.