OSWEGO, NY Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Angels we have heard on high.
And, in a moment, I heard on the roof the prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
Think about it. Christmas time can hold its own with Halloween as far as paranormal activity.
Port City resident Tracy DeCann has begun a group to examine all sorts of such activity Ã¢â‚¬â€œ at any time of the year.
The Oswego Paranormal Research Society will allow anyone to examine all sorts of paranormal events Ã¢â‚¬â€œ from a scientific perspective. Membership is free, and DeCann encourages everyone to join.
“I have always been interested in all aspects of the paranormal whether ghosts, the occult, Bigfoot or UFOs – as was the topic of interest in the 1970s when I was in high school,” she said.
Originally from the suburbs of Sacramento, Calif., DeCann said she has had her fair share of personal encounters now and again throughout her life.
These include a near-death experience as a child.
“A teacher who had survived a terrible car wreck and lengthy recovery, spoke to me the next day about what I had experienced the night before, even though she could not have known what had happened,” DeCann noted.
In December 1994 after military (Signal Corps, communications attached to MI) and DOD (Department of Defense) work she had been readmitted to the military hospital in El Paso, Texas, following delivery of her youngest child.
“I had had CHF (Congestive Heart Failure) at the age of 30 and subsequently survived it. It was a very close call,” she said.
While hospitalized and with Christmas time nearing, she noticed an “older gentleman” who was always up at the desk at the nurse’s station.
“He just seemed to wander up and down the halls. I had hoped to be able to come back when I felt better to visit because he didn’t seem to have any family,” DeCann said.
The head nurse kept a close eye on her and DeCann recovered slowly.
A couple times, DeCann asked about the man who walked up and down the halls in his hospital gown. She didn’t get a response right away.
“It was just before I left that the nurse told me that she knew who I had been talking about all along,” DeCann said. “The gentleman had passed away the week before I had got there and had been her patient. I could see him as solid as any other person.”
This and other occurrences have left DeCann with the realization that there is a very thin line between the terrestrial and the ethereal Ã¢â‚¬â€œ “we just can’t see or really experience it very often,” she said.
It has taken the better part of her lifetime to try to understand and rationalize such things; but, it has given her time to reflect upon the things that are important, she said.
“Do I believe in ghosts? Only the Holy Ghost. The rest I’m certain can and does fall into the realm of science,” she said. “The bad thing is at times the two ‘worlds’ collide and it can have an ill effect on family life.”
This very thing occurred again when she, her (now ex-) husband and two sons moved to Oswego in the spring of 1997.
“We lived in a house that had activity and I thought I was loosing my marbles since I spent the most time in the house as a homemaker,” she recalls. “Someone told me about the town historian, who I later learned was our own dear Rosemary Nesbitt, to whom I give much credit for easing my nerves.”
After listening to DeCann’s story and to all the strange things that had gone on, Mrs. Nesbitt said she would give DeCann a call in a few days and she did.
“I was relieved to hear her explain the history of the house, which fit (what I experienced) and made me feel much better not having been laughed at,” she said. “She truly was an amazing woman and gave so much to the city of Oswego.”
DeCann said she hopes her endeavors will, in a way, carry on a small part of Mrs. Nesbitt’s efforts of documenting the stories of area residents and helping others whenever possible.
DeCann is a member of the VFW Post 2320’s Honor Guard. They go to schools, march in parades, attend civic events and attend funerals for veterans.
“It is in this capacity that I tend to spend time at local cemeteries. I have been for some time now the go to person for many who have questions about the paranormal. I have always had a keen interest in science, everything from Geology to Anthropology,” she said.
Much of what might be perceived as paranormal is usually explainable, according to DeCann.
“I have personally seen energy balls the size of a VW before an earthquake in California,” she said. “Had I not known what it was, I’d probably had seen it as a UFO or a spirit.”
Many friends and neighbors have asked her about ghost hunting and have wanted to go but had no experienced team to join.
“That is why I started TOPRS, to give those who are willing the opportunity to learn or ‘ghost hunt’ with people who have the patience and ability to teach others,” she said.
TOPRS is an open forum for anyone with an interest in the paranormal to network with other individuals in the area.
“Our members are also members of other groups or are researchers themselves,” DeCann said. “We do not discriminate or turn people away. We offer assistance to those who need help in finding out what is occurring in their homes, businesses etc. that might have something to do with paranormal events.”
She is currently working on developing an annual Paranormal Expo to be held in the fall (of 2010).
“I have been in contact with a former member of TAPS or ‘Ghost Hunters,’ the popular TV show on the SYFY channel which has had several spin-offs and given a boost to the interest in the field of research,” she said. “He is quite excited and willing to visit Oswego, and has a new show in the works. We have here in Oswego many popular ‘haunted’ sites including Fort Ontario, theaters and much more that isn’t as well known.”
“I am surprised how many people out of the area have heard of Oswego for its ‘haunted sites’ and want to come visit,” she added. “I have spoken to a few local business owners who can offer deals to researchers who want to visit the area.”
The group will publish a yearly anthology, and a paperback book: 101 Tales of the Paranormal.
“The book will have stories which cannot be really be documented otherwise but will record a particular happening. Perhaps in the future, another researcher will be able to use it to refer to local lore,” DeCann explained.
The TOPRS website (http://toprs.webs.com) went up Oct. 24 and has since had more than 1,000 hits.
The website is being updated regularly and DeCann can be reached via email at [email protected]
“We are linked to more than 400 paranormal webrings and 5,000 fellow researchers from around the world. We work to facilitate other groups with their efforts, consult for businesses who may be interested in the growing interest and wish to cater to the tourist market, and offer help to home/business owners who might have an unwanted ‘houseguest’ or two,” DeCann said.