GSI: Ghost Scene Investigation
RIFLE – Some people think Clarissa Vasquez is a freak. And that doesn’t bother her.”Just 500 years ago people were convinced the world was flat,” Vasquez said. “And no one knew anything about cells or bacteria until the microscope was invented. Now they say there’s no such thing as ghosts. Sure there is. We just haven’t been able to unquestionably prove it yet.”Vasquez, 28, is a paranormal investigator.”That’s our mission,” Vasquez said. “We’re experimenting in the name of science to prove that there is life after death.”Vasquez said all of this as she prepared her equipment at the edge of the Rose Hill Cemetery in Rifle a couple of hours before sunset. She uses a digital camera loaded with disposable AA batteries. She also carries a small flashlight with a red filter over the bulb, a digital tape recorder and a Polaroid camera.These are the tools of her trade.”Any idiot off the street can investigate,” Vasquez said. “All you need is a camera, a flashlight and a compass.”Vasquez said the compass acts erratically in the presence of unusual electro-magnetic energy, which spirits produce.Vasquez has graduated from the compass and now opts for an electro-magnetic field (EMF) monitor. She also follows her instincts.
“You have to make sure you always have fresh batteries,” Vasquez said as she replaced the ones in her camera. “One thing is for sure, if there’s something going on and there’s something that can go wrong with your electronics – it will.”Vasquez has short curly blond hair and big curious blue eyes. She wore a new black polo shirt embroidered with the letters CCPI and her first name. CCPI stands for Chade and Clarissa Paranormal Investigators. Chade Abplanalp, 23, is Vasquez’s partner. The two met in Grand Junction about two years ago. In the last year, Abplanalp has moved to Vernal, Utah, where his parents live, and Vasquez has moved to New Castle, closer to her mother.She works as a 911 operator while studying to get an online degree in paranormal psychology.Vasquez’s mother, Cindy George, baby-sat Vasquez’s 5-year-old son, Jacob, while she set out to do her work. Jacob’s dad, Vasquez’s ex-husband, still lives in Grand Junction. Vasquez doesn’t tell Jacob about her second job, not because she’s embarrassed, but because she wants to wait until he’ll be able to understand without being afraid.There’s nothing scary about graveyards for Vasquez.”Ghost stories are great for kids, ” Vasquez said. “But the real thing – there’s nothing like it. It’s exciting, and it’s peaceful.”Vasquez has explored graveyards in Grand Junction and in Utah. But she’s never investigated the Rose Hill Cemetery. That’s a little unusual, since most of her family is buried there.The George family homesteaded north of town near Rifle Creek. When she arrived at the cemetery, Vasquez placed a bouquet of flowers at her grandfather’s headstone. Gene George died in 1990.While Vasquez and Abplanalp have honed their channeling skills and always aim to make connections with the spirit world, they have never tried to talk to Gene.”He would hate this,” Vasquez said. “He didn’t believe in this. He believed in the circle of life theory – he’s in the ground and he feeds the trees and the trees feed the birds.'”Vasquez did connect with her paternal grandfather once. She and her mother went to a store in Grand Junction about three years ago, when Vasquez really started to study the paranormal. His name was Royce Hoyt, and he died before Vasquez ever got to know him.”I just recognized him immediately, and he recognized me immediately,” Vasquez said. “He told me things only my mother would know. By the end of it, we were both crying.”
Abplanalp arrived with his friend Mike Hardy a little after 8 p.m. They drove all the way from Vernal, three hours from Rifle. It’s not often CCPI has a house to investigate.A woman Vasquez knows said she hears footsteps upstairs when she’s home alone in the basement.”In 90 percent of the houses we investigate we’re able to say, it’s banging pipes or your house is settling,” Vasquez said. “But there’s a 14-year-old girl in this house.”That’s important because Vasquez said 80 percent of “genuinely haunted houses” have an adolescent girl living in them. Vasquez guesses the spirits might thrive on the extra emotional energy.”Cemeteries are a great way to hone your skills,” Vasquez said. “And you can usually always find something.”
Hardy followed Vasquez and Abplanalp, also in a black CCPI shirt, into the graveyard.”I just come along sometimes,” Hardy said as he filmed the two investigators – because the spirits are attracted to people.Abplanalp has short stylish hair. He works with his dad in Vernal, opening a Footlocker. He had to get back to work by 9 a.m. the next morning. Vasquez stopped from time to time to take digital photos in the cemetery.”Man, I’m getting squat,” she said after zooming in and scouring the image for orbs or mists. Orbs are spherical collections of energy, often explained as dust or water marks. Mist is a foggy apparition that looks like it could be a fault in the film or a funny reflection. But those are the explanations of skeptics. Vasquez and Abplanalp believe they are spirits.”Got one,” Vasquez said, as she stood in front of a large granite headstone with the camera. There was a large orb that looked almost like a child’s bubble, floating above the tombstone and another smaller one behind it.”It’s warm,” Abplanalp said, running his hand over the rock.”It’s also granite, and it’s been soaking up the sun all day,” Vasquez said as she scanned the headstone with her EMF monitor, which measures electro-magnetic activity with green, yellow and red lights. The monitor stayed green, but for a brief flick to the yellow.Abplanalp started walking deeper into the graveyard.”He’s looking for a feeling,” Vasquez said.
After some walking in the dark, deserted cemetery, the group was ready to pack up and head over to its special assignment.”This place is really dead,” Abplanalp said.Hardy and Vasquez snickered at his pun and started back to the cars to get fresh batteries. Their equipment was acting up.”Whoa, there’s a guy standing next to that tree,” Abplanalp said, pointing off to the distance.”I see him,” Vasquez said. “Tall, bald?”They walked over to where they saw him standing – nothing.With dead batteries, the crew packed up and headed out.
“We don’t charge for investigations,” Vasquez said. “If we find something we might ask them to reimburse us for expenses.”She said the people she’s worked for are usually referred. The woman CCPI worked with in this case was a friend.”I hear footsteps upstairs when I’m here in the basement by myself,” the homeowner said. She didn’t want to be identified. “Sometimes it’s so loud and clear that I’ve come up to see if someone is here.”Her 14-year-old daughter said she hears footsteps that grow in intensity as if the person or creature upstairs is running.Vasquez and Abplanalp set up a tape recorder in an empty room downstairs, where the homeowner said she hears rustling sounds. They used the EMF monitor and took some digital photos. They didn’t come out with anything.Vasquez said she thought the house might be too active for the spirits. She could come back to investigate again and in the meantime she would look up the history of the property.The 14-year-old said she was hearing a lot of noises, and she was a little scared.”It’s nothing to be too concerned about,” Vasquez said. “It’s not going to hurt you.”Contact Amanda Holt Miller: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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Down 14-7 with less than 11 minutes left in regulation, Rifle head coach Todd Casebier decided it was time to deviate from his ground-and-pound offense for a bit of an aerial attack.