Ever wonder what it’s like to be a real-life ghosthunter? Olde City Paranormal, based out of Philadelphia, does just that — searching for paranormal activity throughout the region.
Founded by Philadelphia Police Officer, John Levy, the team also includes two other Philadelphia Police Officers — George Finstein and Mike Kacey, as well as Amanda Levy, Glenn Orwan, David Hajduk, Billy Fritz and Shawn Price.
The group first came together in 2009 and within a few years, they were already being approached about starting a television series.
“TV Shows are what they are — a show,” Levy admits. “I’m not saying everything that happens on one is fake, but some of it is. I was told by a producer once before ‘no ratings, no show.’”
Levy explains that he’s seen a lot of paranormal shows where events are labeled as “paranormal” without any further investigation.
“This doesn’t do our profession any justice at all,” he says.
Once Glenn Orwan came into the Olde City Paranormal family, however, the group found a new focus — teaming up with historic landmarks to host paranormal events for the purpose of raising money.
“We give 100% of the proceeds to the historic landmark. One site which benefited from this incredible event was Graeme Park out in Horsham,” says Levy. “We raised over $37,000.00 and continue to work with them today. The next event we are holding for Graeme Park is November 18th.”
So how does one get interested in becoming a ghosthunter in the first place? Levy reveals a personal experience sparked his passion.
“I was at my mom’s home in the Jersey shore in the bathroom with the door open. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a figure, which appeared to be my grandfather who had been deceased since 1988,” he says. “He walked from right to left past the bathroom into the next room, which was his bedroom when he was alive. I had to do a double take.”
Levy immediately called his mom and she admitted to feeling his presence in the house, especially when it came to pranks.
“She said my grandfather would always move items around in the house. She [initially] blamed my stepfather,” he adds.
Levy sees some similarities between the work he does as a police officer and as a paranormal investigator.
“There are similarities in both fields strictly in the investigative side, proving facts and doing
a thorough investigation,” he says. “I hold all of my investigators to a high standard of accountability, which is also another reason i have other Philadelphia police officers on my team.”
One of the craziest experiences Levy has had while doing a paranormal investigation was at the old nursing school on the Temple University Episcopal Hospital Campus.
“The rumor was that the first nurse administrator had an affair with one of the founding fathers of the school. I was alone with the staff member and heard what sounded to be a sigh, as if someone had just walked some way to the right of me. I looked up the hallway thinking it was members of my team but nobody was there. Seconds later, I was touched on the lower half of my back. I looked behind me to see if maybe I leaned on something that may have been protruding, but i was approximately two feet from the wall — which was flat as a board.”
Levy notes that the most haunted places he’s encountered so far are Graeme Park, Burlington County Prison Museum and Fort Mifflin.
“Olde City Paranormal is very critical when it comes to deeming a location ‘haunted,’ we do numerous investigations to see if we can reproduce any of the things that happen or try to debunk them,” Levy notes. “We use equipment like a Modified KII (reads electromagnetic fields, has a thermal temperature gauge and UV laser grids), digital voice recorders, Sonic Ears (records sounds beyond human hearing) and an air quality tester.”
Levy reveals that paranormal investigations don’t always result in the discovery of paranormal activity.
“Environmental factors have a major effect on people that could cause major medical problems and hallucinations,” he says. “We did an investigation in Lafayette Hills, where the client thought she had some kind of demonic entity in the house only to find a major gas leak in the property. Our investigation helped save the lives of her and her family.”
For more information on Olde City Paranormal, visit: oldecityparanormal.com.