Kurt Begue says he has never seen a ghost and he doesnt believe in them. Hes a Christian, he says, but when you die, youre gone. You dont hang around as a ghost.
Oh, Begue knows plenty of people who tell him theyve seen strange apparitions and heard disembodied voices, but hes an engineer and wants hard proof, he said, and no ones ever been able to provide that.
So its curious that Begue is a founding member of an outfit called In Nomine Paranormal Research, a local group of paranormal investigators who, according to their mission statement, seek to produce quantifiable evidence of spirits and other strange things.
One of their favorite places to do research, oddly enough, is the Masonic Temple at 216 E. Washington Blvd., that huge sandstone cube that sits practically next to the downtown YMCA.
There is no record that anyone has ever died in that building, Begue said, but when it comes to the paranormal, the temple, some say, is one of the most active buildings in the state.
It depends on how you interpret life and death, Begue said. If youre caught in a limbo, where do you go? To a place that feels like home, where you feel welcome, comfortable and safe, he said.
Begue doesnt buy a lot of stuff, such as cold spots and drafts and electromagnetic spikes, as evidence of spirits or ghosts. All old buildings have cold spots. Theyre drafty. Old wiring can create electromagnetic fields, and electromagnetic fields can have an affect on the brain, he said.
He also looks askance at unintelligible, static-filled recordings of so-called entities that people claim are voices saying something.
If an entity is intelligent it can give you an intelligent (and understandable) response, he said.
Once someone sent him a photo of an individual with a fuzzy entity standing in the picture. Was it a ghost? Begue said he immediately asked whether the photo was taken by a particular model of cellphone, which it was. Well, he said, that phone has a flaw that causes cloudy figures to appear in all photos when lighting is poor.
Look, he says, the country is full of paranormal investigators who say theyve had personal experiences, but you can go through the entire Internet and not find a single video or recording that provides concrete proof.
Whether you believe in this stuff or not, though, theres nothing like going through that huge, ornate temple and having a look around. In Nomine members have gone through the place several times in the past few years.
Some members of In Nomine have told him stories of things theyve heard and seen, but Begue said he has never seen or heard a thing himself.
Well, Begue and his In Nomine cohorts are headed back to the temple Feb. 23, but this time theyre allowing guests to accompany them. Only 40 guests will be permitted, and tickets are $43.50 each for those who want to tag along and see what materializes.
A large portion of the money from the tickets goes to a preservation fund for the temple, Begue said.
The event is for night owls, too. It runs from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. At $43.50 a head, though, you really got to enjoy this kind of stuff.
People can sign up at the groups website, innomineparanormalresearch.com.