EAST PALESTINE - Engaging in curiosity about the after life, Jennifer Albert is expanding the research organization she founded in Cleveland about two years ago.
Albert was born and raised in East Palestine and relocated to the village recently after living in Cleveland for college, where she earned a Bachelor's degree in criminology and psychology. She founded the Cleveland Paranormal Research Society while attending college and has always been interested in the paranormal.
Her own experiences include communicating with her deceased grandmother in her childhood home on West Main Street, and seeing or hearing spirits through the use of equipment geared toward paranormal research.
One piece of equipment is called a Spirit Box, and is a device that allows spirits to speak through the white noise created through radio channels as they are being scanned.
Other, more common equipment used in the research are computers, digital cameras and digital recorders.
On the society's Google page, clevelandparanormalresearch, Albert said the digital equipment is great for capturing things not seen by the naked eye, such as orbs or mists that signify the presence of spirits.
She finds the communication to be a comfort and not something to be afraid of, although caution is always advised.
The purpose of the research society is to help people understand the paranormal world.
"We want to bring closure to those in need about loved ones they have lost and educate people on what could be on the other side after death," she said.
The society also attempts to help spirits who may be "trapped on Earth move on since their journey has ended," she added.
Since its founding the society has gained a crew of eight people and conducted investigations in places such as the Mansfield Reformatory, Ashtabula, Elyria, East Palestine, and most recently at Hill View Manor in New Castle, Pa.
Ironically, the trip on March 16 drew a group of 13, she said.
"We actually had a lot of really good results, good mist pictures. It was an all-around really good experience. We had things whistle at us. The Spirit Box was very active all night," she said.
While the investigations typically draw people who are already interested in the paranormal, some skeptics have taken advantage as well, she said.
"Obviously you're going to have skeptics. I had been there previously so I knew the place legitimately has things going on," she said of Hill View.
Hill View Manor was constructed in Lawrence County in the late 1920s for purpose of housing the mentally ill, aged and homeless. The 63,000-square-foot facility closed in 2004 as a result of financial difficulties. More information is available online at www.hauntedhillview.com
The society has another investigation planned for the Mansfield Reformatory on May 16 and tickets are already sold out. The crew conducted a successful investigation there last summer, she said.
While that event is no longer available, those interested in the paranormal will have plenty of opportunities to get involved since the society is now serving Columbiana, Mahoning, Allegheny, and Lawrence counties.
Specific coverage will include the cities of Salem, Youngstown, Warren, Pittsburgh and New Castle, Pa. The society plans to have a local office out of Shops on Main in East Palestine in May, Albert said.
"We are looking at getting a lot of projects in this area going, to stir up the economy here," she said.
The society functions on donations and will be selling T-shirts and bracelets at the East Palestine Street Fair and Columbiana County Fair. A portion of the proceeds will go toward the Ballas Foundation in California, a non-profit organization for suicide prevention.
Albert said she got connected with the non-profit after learning it was looking for sponsors.
"If we can do something to keep someone from a committing a crime that can't be undone we will do whatever we can to help," she said.
The society is an official member of the Ghost Adventures Crew and can be contacted on Facebook and Twitter. It can also be reached by phone at 216-632-2702.