It's two o'clock in the morning, about a week before Halloween and Jim Pace is standing in the basement of the century-old brick building that once housed the Sand Springs power plant.
A violent thunderstorm blew through a couple hours ago, and water drips and pools in the aging structure, even after the rain has stopped. After a storm like this one, it'll continue to rain inside for two or three days.
Pace is watching a glowing computer screen, the only light in the dusty, cavernous room. It's a live feed of three cameras, placed strategically to have the best chance of catching a glimpse of the paranormal activity Pace suspects is present.
Pace hunts ghosts. It says it right on the side of his silver Chevy Tracker. Pace founded Sooner Paranormal of Oklahoma in September of 2007 after finding only disappointment with the existing Tulsa-area ghost hunting community.In 2008 it became what it is today - a team of about a dozen people from across the state that works every weekend to explain why things go bump in the night.
They're business people, security guards, factory workers, and one is even a mayor in real life. Because of the negative stigma sometimes associated with ghost hunting, Pace asked that their full names not be mentioned.
Curiosity is a common theme among them. Dawn drove from three hours Kansas to participate in Saturday's investigation at the power plant, and went straight back after its conclusion at 3 a.m.
Chris, who at 25 is the youngest member of the team, lives in Mannford. He's been with the group for nearly two years, and Pace considers him something of a protege.
Also along for the power plant investigation is Roger, a transplant from another Oklahoma paranormal team who is on his first hunt with the group.
His team is loyal. They call him "boss," and respond to directions with "yes sir."
Months from now, the red brick building is slated to be transformed into the Spring Loaded brewery, restaurant and entertainment venue.
Proprietor Ken Alexander didn't respond right away to Pace's offer to follow a hunch about paranormal activity in the building.
He sat on the idea for a while, consulted family and friends and eventually decided figured there was no real reason to decline the offer. After all, Pace's work is free, and it could help the fire department with their haunted house, which will be hosted in the building. Plus, he wanted to see what would turn up.
"A lot of it was curiosity," he said. "And, the firefighters are having their fright night in the building Oct. 29, so I thought it might help them out somehow."
Previously, Pace has used audio of electronic voice phenomenon to be played at a haunted house in the Sand Springs slaughterhouse. It was met with success to the tune of about $30,000 for that business owner.
But Pace doesn't care about all that. He's certainly not in it for the money. All the investigations are funded by group members and painfully sparse donations, including the thousands of dollars in cameras, audio recorders, computers and a smattering of other technology.
He's not in it for the fame. He's been approached by people with deeper pockets than his about television or film deals. He always says no. When you insert a viewing audience into Pace's line of work, it loses authenticity.
"I think if we get involved with a production company, we'll end up like too many others have, and that's manufacturing evidence for a show, " he said. "And, I don't want a production team telling me how to run my investigation."
The reason he dedicates hours and even days at a time to the collecting and analyzing evidence is simple. Pace wants answers.
"I've had two strokes and heart attack," he said. "I want to know what's coming."
And, he wants to help people, living and dead.
A significant part of SPOOK's work involves investigating private homes, confidentially. Owners contact Pace often after being tormented for weeks by something unseen. Items falling off shelves for no apparent reason and strange noises are common complaints.
Most of the homes Pace investigates are owned by average people with no vested interest in the paranormal, he said.
"They're normal people, and they're just scared," Pace said. He recalled being summoned to a Tulsa home in which the three children refused to go upstairs because of a perceived paranormal presence.
Twice people have moved from their homes after an investigation, citing an inability to cope with the activity. Pace doesn't banish ghosts or perform exorcisms, but in some cases in which he encountered demonic or overly negative entities, he has contacted a Catholic group to do so.
Pace knows he doesn't have the capacity to fully understand the evidence he gathers. Nobody does at this point. Orbs float seemingly consciously through video frames. Shadows move in and out of frame in an empty room with closed windows. Unexplained sounds or voices show up in otherwise normal recordings.
Pace's endgame is to one day gather enough evidence that a real scientist from an accredited university will take a look at it. He's been in touch with colleges throughout the state, some flirting more seriously than others with the idea. Nothing definitive thus far, though.
He's aware of the skepticism about the existence of ghosts, and he isn't in the business of telling people what to think. He's in the business of helping people and gathering evidence.
"We just throw it out to the world and say, ‘You tell me.'"
His website is soonerparanormalofok.org, and contains the findings from previous investigations.
Because the work of reviewing and analyzing all the data from an investigation is grueling and tedious, often taking 50 hours or more per week, the power plant investigation hasn't been fully documented. Early indications suggest several spirits present, and they are seemingly benevolent, Pace said.
For Alexander, who spends most of his time working in soon-to-be brewery, a few friendly spirits aren't a problem.
"If the ghosts want to hang out and drink a beer, that's fine with me," Alexander said.