Case Study Review: Investigating an Allegedly Haunted Japanese Restaurant
Over the course of his life-long career in parapsychology, the late William Roll (the PRF's first research director) had conducted numerous field investigations at various locations which were said to be haunted. One of them was a Japanese restaurant in Georgia, where in the early 1990s, a range of unusual phenomena were reportedly being experienced by the restaurant's staff and its customers (the phenomena have long since ceased to occur). These included: feeling "cold spots" in certain parts of the restaurant, hearing phantom footsteps, observing erratic behavioral displays and malfunctions with the appliances & equipment, and spontaneously sighting ghostly figures. Initially unable to explain these unusual phenomena occurring in the restaurant, the manager eventually reached out to Roll for help. Collaborating with parapsychologist Michaeleen Maher, he made a deeper inquiry into the phenomena that was briefly profiled in a segment on one of the premiere episodes of the then popular paranormal documentary TV show Sightings. The segment itself can still be viewed via a digitalized video copy of that episode that has been uploaded onto YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0wI7x_Rvd0&feature=youtu.be&t=1950 The findings of this investigation may provide some preliminary insight into the ways in which haunt phenomena and "poltergeist" phenomena (the latter are also known as recurrent spontaneous psychokinesis, or RSPK, in parapsychological parlance) may sometimes intersect with each other. Although they appear similar on the surface and may often be confused with one another, parapsychologists have managed to identify certain distinct characteristics between haunts and poltergeists which allow them to be classified as separate phenomena. But occasionally, one does come across cases where the two phenomena seemingly occur in tandem - this Japanese restaurant case would appear to be one of them (another would be the Johnson case, examined previously in our 2017 Halloween blog entry). An article which takes a look back at the case and its investigation, and which discusses some of its possible implications, is available to view at this link (the article is in Adobe PDF format). The PRF hopes everyone has a very happy and safe Halloween!