Sunday, March 30, 2008

Iowa County Board OKs Ghost Hunters -
Associated Press

March 28, 2008

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) -- County officials have given their informal OK for ghost hunters to check out a one-time insane asylum to see if any spirits are lurking about.

The Johnson County Board of Supervisors took the initial action on the request from the Johnson County Historical Society, which gives tours of the 153-year-old building.

Brandon Cochran, museum operations assistant for the historical society, said there have never been reports of ghosts or bizarre happenings at the building and that bringing in a paranormal team is "kind of taking the pre-emptive approach.

He wants an Iowa-based paranormal investigative team to come in for one night. Cochran said he hopes they don't find any paranormal activity and the investigation can put to rest any speculation.

A four-person Carroll Area Paranormal Team will use thermal imaging equipment and voice recording systems, Cochran said.

A date for an investigation wasn't set and an agreement will have to be drafted releasing the county of any liability before the supervisors formally approve the request, Cochran said.

The remaining wing was built in 1855 and housed mentally ill patients who were deemed insane. It was a self-sufficient 160-acre site with residents growing corn, potatoes, wheat, hay and tobacco.

The building is now called Chatham Oaks, and houses people with physical and mental disabilities. Chatham Oaks officials said there wouldn't be a problem with the paranormal team coming in as long as it didn't disturb residents, said county facilities director Dave Kempf.