Do you hear something go bump in the night, tossing and turning filled with fright?

With All Hallow’s Eve upon us, you might simply write your experiences off as seasonal shivers brought to life by ghosts and ghouls roaming the streets in search of tasty treats.

Or could it be that your dwelling is plagued by spirits or entities making their presence known?

Never fear, there is a group in Erath County equipped to answer those questions and help shed light on potential poltergeists. While their stories may seem no more than tall tales tailored for the season, The Cross Timbers Paranormal Society (CTPS) is serious business. In their investigations, they have found that somewhere, perhaps in an alternate dimension, a place where those who have left this life dwell.

Local ghost hunters Stan Mathes and Daniel Carter both say their curiosity of all things paranormal peaked at a young age, but the two men, now in their 20s, say first-hand experiences that continue today leave little doubt that something is lurking in the night.

Carter

He first became convinced of other worldly realities following experiences that occurred when he was around seven years old. He had recurring dreams about his grandmother’s death. In his slumbering sightings, he heard her last words. Just weeks after the dreams started, his grandmother passed away and her death seemed to mimic his dreams. It was then Carter realized that not everything could be taken at face value.

“I have always tried to look at the logical part of everything but at that moment, I started to question things,” Carter said. “I started to question the paranormal.”

By definition, paranormal is an adjective, and defined as something pertaining to the claimed occurrence of an event or perception without scientific explanation, as psychokinesis, extrasensory perception, or other purportedly supernatural phenomena.  

When he was still a child, Carter began to experiment with the idea that there could be things not readily explainable and somehow supernatural.

The most notable occurrence from the early years came when he was 12.

He began to experiment with a homemade Ouija board - a flat board marked with letters, numbers and other symbols used to communicate with spirits. 

On one particular occasion, Carter said the temperature suddenly dropped in the room where he was performing the seance and a spirit made its presence known.

“The next thing I knew, it was very cold,” Carter said. “I could see my breath, the temperature had dropped significantly.”

He spoke into the darkness and suddenly “someone” walked toward him and began “speaking back.” Carter said the being was nobody he knew or had seen before. He also said he was alone at the time of the occurrence - except for the entity before him.

“It told me to keep looking,” Carter said.

Mathes

He said he has always had a fascination with “anything paranormal,” and his first experience came when he was only five. Mathes said at that early age he developed a “strong belief in things that were not fully explained or explainable.”

“There was a window in our house and every night at the same time, there would be a shadow figure that passed in front of it,” Mathes said. “It could not be explained away. I became so comfortable with the phenomena that I would be unable to sleep and rarely would a night pass without my seeing it.”

CTPS

The pair and five other founding members formed CTPS about five years ago. It was around a television set in Mathes’ living room, watching a show where seasoned Ghost Hunters showed viewers their experiences, that the group was formed.

CTPS was comprised of an even mix of skeptics and those who were “sensitive” to paranormal experiences.

“Through those initial investigations, the skeptics quickly became believers,” Mathes said.

“It is not necessary for someone to believe in spirits for them to have a paranormal experience,” Carter added.

An abandoned house

I was not the abode it had once been. The building was barely standing on its once adequate foundation. The abandoned home was located out in the country between Stephenville and Dublin. Mathes, Carter and a few other male members embarked on an investigation into the eerie edifice.

At the time, their equipment was nothing more than still and video cameras. The group was snapping photos into the darkness on that quiet, still night. Suddenly, with their bulbs flashing, there came a cry. It was the voice of a little girl - remember there were no females present, and certainly no little girls. The distraught damsel simply said, “Turn out the lights!” The group captured the demand on video recorder.

“It was a plain, audible female voice,” Mathes said.

A familiar haunt

After hearing stories of spooky occurrences at an area referred to as “McDowell’s Hole,” four members of CTPS decided to see if those tales could be true. It was almost immediately apparent something supernatural was lurking in the countryside.

The group set out on foot and despite Mathes’ normally keen sense of direction, they found themselves walking through the woods, trying to get their “bearings.”

“Something or someone kept telling us to turn back,” Carter said. “And then it started messing with us.”

Messing with them? Mathes said it was like they lost control of their bodies - the tools they were toting seemed to have a life of their own. Without being propelled by the person that was carrying it, a flashlight seemed to fly through the air and hit Mathes in the back of his head. Carter was hit in the head with a rock, despite the fact that there was nobody walking behind him.

Then, things took a disturbing twist. Carter, who is known to attract spirits and typically works on his own, parted from the group. Suddenly, he lost consciousness and hit the ground. His cohorts had no idea he might be in trouble, but they did know they no longer heard his voice, which had been talking into the darkness. They only knew the direction in which he had been traveling. Then they heard Carter yell from the opposite direction, from where the rest of the group had just come. Carter later estimated he awoke about 300 yards from his original location.

“I had fallen on the ground and woke up in a different spot - underneath a bridge,” Carter said.

“His arms were covered in scratches and blood,” Mathes recalled.

Although it seemed impossible for the incident to become any stranger, Carter said it did.

Despite the fact that he knew little about the stories and legends surrounding the Erath County haunt at the start of the investigation, when he regained consciousness, he could recount the entire tale. Suddenly he knew the names and events surrounding McDowell’s Hole.

Touched

At an Erath County cemetery on a spring morning just after midnight, Mathes said “things got real crazy after about two and half hours.”

“We kept seeing an object walking in front of us - a shadow, a black fog, not really a recognizable figure,” Mathes said. “We began to hear footsteps following us but when we would look back, there was nothing there. When we would look back to the fog, it was gone.”

That same night, a few crewmembers became light headed and passed out. Mathes claims they were acting “possessed.”

“They started speaking about the past, about events and people resting in the graveyard, things that none of us knew about,” Mathes said.

They decided to leave, when suddenly Mathes’ wife Melissa had a brush with the supernatural.

“My wife and I were the last ones to walk out the gate. We turned to face the tombstones, to take a few photos and were about to walk out of the cemetery when I decided to take one last picture,” Mathes said. “Melissa was standing two to three feet to the right of me and suddenly she was forcibly pushed to the ground. She was only an inch or two from hitting her head on a tombstone.”

The occurrence was creepy enough, but when Melissa stood, she felt something beneath her shirt.

“There was a handprint on her chest, red and showing evidence of being forced to the ground,” Mathes said, recalling that everyone else had already crossed the gate.

What they do

If you think you or your property may be touched by spirits, CTPS is offering their services. Through the use of digital and video cameras, voice recorders and EMF (electromagnetic field) detectors the group works to capture evidence of the supernatural occurrences and paranormal events. Visits are typically overnight and oftentimes disprove supernatural suspicions.

The group researches the location in advance to determine if there are prior events at the property that could cause spirits to linger.

For more information, log on to the CTPS Web site at www.crosstimbersparanormalsociety.com. You may also contact Mathes by phone (nights) at 254-485-0142 or Melissa (days) at 485-0154.