For years, "ghost hunting" was deemed a "sport" in the local Baltimore area. During the 1980's, a few friends used to get together onthe weekends, and would travel to local cemeteries in search of the unknown, the unexplainable. Most of them were history "nuts", and would spend time near Old Salem Lutheran Church at Ingleside Avenue and Calverton Street walking amongst the headstones hoping for something to appear. A cheap adrenaline rush? Maybe. But these band of friends had a shared interest in things unexplainable.
With cassette recorders, 8mm movie cameras 35mm, 110, 126, and Polaroid cameras, and dowsing rods, the group would head off just before dusk, hoping to catch a glimpse to put to rest any questions of life after death. Calling themselves the "Catonsville Ghostchasers", this was a way that the group would go to areas that were supposed to be "haunted". Jim Jones, would pick out a location, and would seek permission from the property owners to gain entry onto the property. The group included friends who he went to school with, worked with, or he bowled duckpins with. And the group was often so "anal retentive", that they made sure the property was cleaned up, even if it wasn't their trash to begin with. Mike Burns was our "official driver" since his car ran. Most of the time Jim's car was out of "commission". John Modler was our photographer most of the time, since he was the tallest out of the group. Mike would be our motion picture guy, and could really do a quality edit. Charles Rohrer was the guy who read every piece of literature, story, article, anything that would look scary to check out the next weekend. Ol' Charlie was our "historical expert", but sometimes our "hysterical expert" as well.
But as time went on, and work became more important, (like paying your bills), the "Ghostchasers" eventually went their separate ways. Unfortunately, Charlie Rohrer was killed by a drunk driver. But we will always remember his laugh, especially when we got the crap scared out of us when he would sneak up behind you and popped a blown up plastic bag behind your ear if you were caught sleeping on an investigation, or even using a water pistol to shoot you with ice cold water. I still owe ya' a cold one, Charlie.......
When Jim's mother was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in 1986, his world changed dramatically. He was one of her caregivers until her death on March 8, 1987 at home holding her hands as she left. It was probably at this time Jim's interest in the paranormal went dormant. Seventeen years later, Jim was back in the same situation, this time being the caregiver for his father. And seeing his father for the last time alive, Jim felt with the last handshake, maybe he wouldn't see him alive again the next day. Alvin, Jim's dad, passed the next day after that handshake on March 16, 2004. Jim began to question whether there was an "afterlife". Being a Christian, Jim had to look to his faith as a guide to get him through that devistating event. But Jim wanted most of all was closure.
Trying to help others through the grieving process, Jim believed that helping those who were plagued by paranormal activity, something needed to be done. He began to search out his old buddies, but being older now, and with families of their own, didn't have time to devote to their old pasttime. So Jim searched out to find those who shared the interest of the paranormal. The Catonsville Society for Paranormal Research was formed in March of 2004. CSPR, affectionally called "Casper", was a small group that had little in common with one another except when it came to the paranormal. Jim shared his experiences, and his expertise with his "ghost huntin'" equipment. But eventually one member after another left to do "their own thing".
Less than two years went by, and CSPR took on a new image. Jim's friends from other areas outside of Catonsville wanted to join. Friends from Rosedale, Baltimore City, Essex, Arbutus, Westminster, all wanted to experience paranormal investigations. so the name had to change to reflect the new era of a group that reflects professionalism, respect, integrity, and dignity. And the main focus is to help those who are in need, and never ask for anything in return. Yet one of the main principles of good service to the community was to lend a good ear to their problems. And still at the core is assist those to help them with the grief of losing a loved one. Jim most of all wanted to help those in this area, and if professional help was needed beyond what the group could offer, outside referrals of more experienced professionals were given.
Today, the Paranormal Research and Investigation Society of Maryland (PRISMd.) is a group that is open to anyone regardless they are a believer in "ghosts", the paranormal, or are a skeptic. Membership is free of charge, but each candidate for membership must pass a crminal background check to ensure integrity of our group. And each member must abide by the strict Code of Conduct. Any deviation by any member is grounds for dismissal. After each case is concluded, the Society will reveal all findings in confidentiality, and follow up phone calls are made to find further investigations are warranted.
The Society uses modern scientific equipment such as infrared thermometers, EMF meters, digital video and still cameras, digital and analog voice recorders, and use of metaphysical specimens such as dowsing rods and crystals to aid in our investigations. We have worked with mediums, or known as "sensatives" in the past, but not only use as a sole support for proof of paranormal activity. We have a basis used through deductive reasoning. Narrowing out all possible man made or natural factors that would explain such activity, our time tested techniques will lead us to a proper conclusion.
PRISMd strives for excellence. We also work with other credible paranormal groups to render assistance where needed. This gives a complete and thorough investigation and analysis towards a successful conclusion of each case. And every case is handled with care, confidentiality, and concern.
Until the day we meet again, Dad. Thank you for being a history "nut" too. With love, Jim......
PRISMd.'s logo was designed with two key points.
The five point star design reflects two things:
A.) PRISMd.'s method of operation similar to a law enforcement agency. The five point star has been a staple of many Sheriff's Offices throughout the United States. With law enforcement officers on PRISMd., each case is handled as if it were a crime scene. All information collected, and evidence captured to provide the client the most efficient, thorough, and complete investigation possible.
B.) To memorialize the birthplace of the American National Anthem, Baltimore's Fort McHenry. Written by Francis Scott Key while aboard a British ship in Baltimore's Inner Harbor, Key penned what would be the anthem as the fort was bombarded during the Battle of 1812. By the dawns early light, the fort stood, and the Stars and Stripes flew as a symbol of preserverence and freedom.
Many of which PRISMd. developed into our methods and practices.