GROTON -- If the subject is to be taken at all seriously, perhaps Halloween is not the best time to debut a new Groton Channel television show called "Paranormal Encounters," but that is the intention of local ghost hunter Drew Berlin, producer of the program.
"I decided to start my own show because I have been interested in the paranormal now for a couple of years," said Berlin, a Charles Road resident and 2008 graduate of Groton-Dunstable Regional High School. "The question 'is there life after death' always entered my mind. Also, I watched a lot of paranormal shows, such as SyFy's 'Ghost Hunters' and the Travel Channel's 'Ghost Adventures.' I questioned these shows sometimes because I wondered if some of the evidence was real or faked, so I wanted to see for myself. After ghost hunting for the past year, I want to show people what I have seen and to show real evidence of life after death."
Having been involved with the Groton Channel while a student at Groton-Dunstable, where he produced another show called 'The Crusader Sports Report,' it was easy for Berlin to begin thinking about and planning for a new show covering the paranormal.
"There is so much history in Groton, including all the Native-American attacks," said Berlin of using his hometown as a starting point for his new show. "I've heard rumors of footsteps in Prescott and Florence Roche, activity happening in old houses on Hollis Street, and there was the Old Groton Inn with a few different rumors. There is so much history in Groton which could lead to some paranormal activity. Also, spirits can attach themselves to certain objects in the house that were vital in their lives. For example, if you have any old farming equipment or old dolls, these are objects that were very keen to farmers and children. Any house can possess these items."
But Berlin's interest in the paranormal is not idle curiosity. He has had some close encounters with the phenomenon himself.
"While I attended UMass Dartmouth, I was with a newly founded paranormal group," explained Berlin. "We did a couple investigations in Dartmouth, Westport, Fall River and in Tiverton, R.I.
"In this one house in Dartmouth, it was said that you could hear fairly loud footsteps upstairs," said Berlin. "While we were investigating, I felt my shoulder get grabbed. Two seconds later, this girl in the group felt a stinging sensation. I took a look at her and there were three scratches on her back and the back of her neck.
"In an apartment in Fall River, a young man had committed suicide a couple years back," continued Berlin. "I grabbed one of his nerf balls and placed it on the ground. There was no breeze and I walked around it to make sure no movements by us would move the ball. After a couple still moments, I asked John (the young man who killed himself) to move the ball. Five seconds later, my flashlight turns on and the ball rolled straight at me!"
A slow economy has prevented Berlin from putting his degree in marketing to use, so with time on his hands, he had the idea of doing "Paranormal Encounters."
"I had trouble naming the show," confessed Berlin. "So many different names popped up in my head. I didn't want to sound like I was copying the names of the shows on TV. Then I realized that when I ghost hunt, I encounter the paranormal. So 'Paranormal Encounters' kind of stuck."
Set to premiere on Halloween, "Paranormal Encounters" will concentrate on ghosts and hauntings for a start, with Berlin adding immediacy to the show by contributing bits of his own experiences.
"The format of the show will start off as an interview show, just trying to get some facts about the location and history of a subject," said Berlin. "Then we will jump into the investigation. The format will closely follow a mix between most ghost hunting shows you see on TV."
Although Berlin said his new show has not settled on a regular schedule as yet, its frequency will be determined by the number of local incidents he can find to investigate.
"So if anyone is interested in being on the show, we are in need of locations, so contact me as soon as possible," urged Berlin. "Also, I'm not focusing just in Groton. If anyone has any family members having any paranormal problems around the area, contact me."
For information on the new show or to request an investigation by the "Paranormal Encounters" team, contact Berlin directly at email@example.com.
Under no illusion that convincing the general public to take the paranormal seriously will be an easy task, Berlin has taken a realistic approach to the subject.
"I know people think ghost hunting is weird or that there is no such thing as ghosts," concluded Berlin. "This is just a hobby of mine that I find very interesting and exciting at the same time. Keep your minds open to anything and just know that whatever you see on 'Paranormal Encounters' will be 100 percent real."