The rational, daylight, functional, get-about-and-do-things part of my mind welcomes the broom of reason as it sweeps away the cobwebs of spookery.
Then, led by the museum director, a handful of us descend into the bowels of the museum to begin our very first EVP session. It was the vivid pictorial craziness that caught my mind at first. It should be noted early that along with one of the members girlfriends, I'm in attendance as both a museum volunteer and a skeptic.
My imagination comes to life only in the presence of the uncanny; the despot I serve is the part of my mind that feels a thrill as fierce and sudden as lust when it encounters a deserted graveyard, or comes on the idea of personal daemons, or hears those old familiar words: ''Once upon a midnight dreary.
We never get full sentences. He didn't say anything, but you could see in his eyes he'd started to believe. After a flurry of discussion, it's discovered that it was simply the result of an NPI team member knocking something over.
If we don't bring everything we have to the task of writing a story, there's a psychological cost: we feel that it's a fundamentally trivial and worthless occupation, and we despise ourselves for wasting our efforts on something so contemptible.
As we hunker down, Nikki asks if I'd like to start the session off by asking a question. Or, to put it another way, belief in the paranormal seems a lot like genital warts: problematic, transmitted from person to person, and once you've got it, it's damn hard to get rid of.
Gerhold, along with partner Alex Schollain, are the otherworldly experts Berlin calls on when something spooky is afoot. One team member tells the story of a night spent in "a private residence" where, during an EVP session, their REMpod—a device which allegedly interacts with the electromagnetic fields given off by ghostly presences—went crazy.