Dale Kaczmarek is President of the Ghost Trackers, Newsletter, editor of Ghost Trackers Newsletter, and director of Excursions Into The Unknown, Inc., the only year-round ghost tour of haunted Chicagoland locations. Dale Kaczmarek is also the author of "Windy City Ghosts", "Windy City Ghosts II", "A Field Guide to Spirit Photography" and "Illuminating the Darkness: The Mystery of Spooklights". Ghost Research Society http://www.ghostresearch.org
Kaczmarek has been actively investigating ghosts, hauntings and poltergeist phenomena since 1975 and is active in a number of organizations including: American Association for Electronic Voice Phenomena, Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained, International Fortean Organization and the prestigious Ghost Club of England.
His website Ghost Research Society www.ghostresearch.org is one of the most active of its kind anywhere in the world.
Kaczmarek has appeared in numerous books, publications, newspapers and periodicals. He has been a guest on "Oprah", "Encounters", "Sightings", "The Other Side", "Rolanda", "Mysteries Magic and Miracles", "Exploring the Unknown", and was called on by the "Discovery Channel" to help produce and appear in two segments; "Real Ghosthunters" and "Phantom Photos".
Dale Kaczmarek 20 Questions
1. Where do you see ghost hunting and Paranormal groups like your own in 10 years?
I would hope that they will continue to prosper and stay with their strict protocols in ghost investigation and research. They should be objective but also a bit skeptical at the same time. Healthy skepticism is good but it should be tempered with an open mind.
2. What would you consider to be the definitive proof that ghosts are real?
I don't believe you can point at one bit of evidence and claim that to be definitive proof but I think it is a combination of both audio, video, still photography, personal experiences, equipment fluctuations and client interviews that make for my evidence. When you combine all of these, it's hard to ignore that fact that something is very strange and perhaps has no other earthly explanation.
3. What is the most real evidence you have uncovered so far?
As far as I'm concerned it's photographs where I know that the proper
safeguards were in place, brand new film was used and there wasn't
anything there when the pictures were taken that could possibly explain
the image as natural. When you employ good protocol and make strict
assurances before a picture is taken, it's very satisfying when a
strange image later turns
up on the developed film.
4. Are you skeptical of the claims other make of their findings?
I am always a bit skeptical especially when the story and encounters sound "to good to be true". However I believe that an open mind is essential in this field. After all, you weren't there when the witnesses experienced what they did so I say it's not fair to insist that the stories are fabricated or untrue.
5. If you could investigate your "Dream Haunted Hot Spot" where would it be?
There are several locations that I would be very interested in investigating in the future but near the top of the list would be the Myrtle's Plantation in St. Francisville, Louisiana.
6. What was your first Paranormal encounter?
I've not had that many unexplained instances that have happened to me however the one that was perhaps one of the first is when Pat Shenberg, a professional psychic, my brother Wayne and I were investigating Bachelor's Grove Cemetery back in 1982. Mrs. Shenberg had never visited the Morris, Illinois. As we entered into the cemetery, she claimed that a woman was beckoning here to the far end of the cemetery. On both audio and video tape, I asked for a name before we reached the grave and she commented: "Strange name, like Dora or Dorma Myer or Myers." When we finally reached the grave, the name of the stone was indeed Dora Myers. I could only assume that she was in contact with something outworldly and it raised the hair on the neck and arms to say the least.
7. What scares you about Ghost Hunting or Paranormal Investigations?
Well, I've never been scared or frightened at investigations but have sometimes had things happen that were unexpected. It's not the ghosts that one should be concerned, frightened or worried about but the "real people" that sometimes hang out at the haunted and/or out-of-the-way places. Now they can be a cause for concern and that is one reason that you should never visit a haunted site by yourself. It's safety number one but also if something happens while you are there you have a witness if you go with a partner.
8. If you could work side by side with one of the Paranormal Investigator greats, who would it be?
Well two of my favorite researchers of all times are Brad Steiger and Hans Holzer. I've actually met Brad Steiger several times but have never had the pleasure of talking to Mr. Holzer. I have met other great researchers of the day including Mark Nesbitt, Loyd Auberbach, Ed and Lorraine Warren, Dennis William Hauck, Nancy Roberts, Martin Ebon, Troy Taylor, Sarah Estep, L.B.Taylor, Jr., Loren Coleman, John Keel, Rosemary Ellen Guiley, Peter Underwood, Ed Okonowicz, William Roll and many others.
9. Read any good Paranormal Books lately?
Some very good books that I've recently read included: Encyclopedia of Haunted Places by Joshua Warren, Ghost Tech by Vincent Wilson, Ghosthunting Illinois by John B. Kachuba, Weird Illinois by Troy Taylo, Murder Gone Cold by Tamera Shaffer.
10. What Question do people ask you most when you tell them your a paranormal investigator?
The most often asked question is "Have I ever seen a ghost?" I usually tell them that I've seen things which loosely could be called ghosts or spirits but that I wasn't absolutely sure that they were incarnate entities.
11. In your opinion, Where is the most Haunted city in America?
Of course being from the Chicagoland area, I would definitely say Chicago. That's not only because I reside just southwest of Chicago in a big town called Oak Lawn but that there are more than 180 public sites in and around the Chicagoland area that I believe are haunted. I've visited many haunted cities including Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York City, London, Gettysburg, San Jose, San Francisco and others but I believe that mile for mile Chicago may be more haunted.
12. Do you feel more people should get involved with Ghost hunting or Paranormal Investigation?
Yes, I do. I believe especially if they learn or train with more seasoned ghost hunters, they will make very good researchers themselves. I have started quite a number of researchers down the ghost trail in my 31 years of being a ghost hunter myself. Many of them have become quite well-known in the paranormal field and have since written books themselves.
13. What does the future hold for you?
I will continue researching, investigating and writing books just as long as my health will allow me to. I'm not getting any younger but the field still intrigues me and when it no longer holds my fascination, then that will be the time to take down my shingle. That time is not in the foreseeable future as I see myself doing this for quite sometime yet.
14. Have you ever lived in a haunted house or been haunted by ghosts yourself?
I have never lived in a haunted house but the house where I was born into did have a creepy looking attic that my aunt and uncle told me were haunted by ghosts. I think that was just their way of keeping me from climbing the many stairs and going into the attic and it worked!
15. What is your most favored tool of the trade?
One of my favorites is the Tri-Field Natural EM Meter as I believe it to be the most accurate and sensitive piece of equipment on the market today. While most people are usually seen using it in a hand-held mode, it is best used in a stationary mode as it is extremely sensitive to picking up natural electromagnetic fields as well.
16. Tell us why Ghosts are real?
I believe ghosts are real not only because the Bible and Church tells us that there is life after death but because the many years of research and investigation into the paranormal have left me with no other explanation as to the many experiences that I and others have had with alleged spirits. Most ghosts do not realize that they have passed on usually because of untimely death or violence and Hollywood has done a very nice job in recent years with motion pictures like: "White Noise" "The Others" "Sixth Sense" "Ghost" "Poltergeist" They are beginning to portray ghosts for what they are and are getting away from sensationalizing or making them appear scary or something to be feared.
17. What is the hardest part about running a paranormal Group or web site?
Web sites are just hard to keep current with the latest information, techniques and networking groups. It's a constant struggle to get the word out in a timely and quick fashion.
Running a group is not that bad but it's keeping your team members interested and busy which can be hard at times with some groups however the Ghost Research Society usually has some investigation or outing planned almost all the time.
18. How do you document your investigations?
We always bring in all our team members without any prior knowledge of the phenomena so that they have no preconceived notions about the happenings and what they pick up themselves with our equipment or their own personal feelings is more scientific. We employ a three step approach to all our investigations.
Step 1 is to go through a building or location with hand-held devices and maps to get baseline readings or pick up anything out of the ordinary.
Step 2 is to report those findings to the client before they tell our group what they have already experienced.
Step 3 is go back to locations where previous readings were reported or locations the client has told the group where they've experienced occurrences. This is to check if the readings have dissipated or perhaps they might have missed something. Later a thorough write-up is typed up along with any audio, visual or equipment readings for the client.
19. Have you ever taken a ghost Tour? And, What about it did you not like?
I have been on a number of ghost tours both in England and various states of the union. I also conduct Excursions Into the Unknown tours which has recently started it's 25th year here in Chicago. Some tour guides did not know their material well or it was a bit redundant but all in all, I usually have enjoyed sitting back and listening to others conduct ghost tours instead of having to always conduct one myself.
20. What in the field of ghost hunting and Paranormal Investigating needs the most attention.
I believe that every group should have a standard of investigations or protocol and stick with it. That their evidence gathering techniques should be refined and that they don't jump to the conclusion that it's always a ghost without first conducting a thorough investigation. My biggest complaint is web sites that swear that every "orb" photograph that they take is automatically a ghost. They should read the written literature on digital orbs and other natural reasons why these "orbs" appear.
Windy City Ghosts
Windy City Ghosts II
A Field Guide to Spirit Photography
Illuminating the Darkness: The Mystery of Spooklights
Kaczmarek was editor for the long running Ghost Trackers Newsletter first started in November of 1982 until it’s demise in October 2001.
Kaczmarek has put together the following publications and directories:
International Directory of Psychic Sciences
Bibliography of Ghost Movies
Glossary of Occult Terms
Greater Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana Psychic Directory
National Catalog of Occult Bookstores
National Directory of Haunted Locations
Occult Publications Directory
Ghost Research Society & Excursions Into The Unknown
PO Box 205
Oak Lawn, IL. 60454-0205