OU adviser hunts ghosts on Animal Planet
Students in the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication know Chris Borthick as an academic adviser, but he also works an an occult specialist for an organization whose exploits will be featured today on cable television.
Oklahoma Paranormal Research and Investigations will be featured in an episode of the Animal Planet paranormal anthology series, “The Haunted,” 9 p.m. Friday.
“We’re not really supposed to talk about (the episode) before it airs,” Borthick said. But he was allowed to reveal the show will deal with an investigation of a house in southeastern Oklahoma where the family’s animals were having problems with odd incidents.
The organization investigated the house previously and were called back again for the episode, Borthick said.
Borthick said he could not be any more specific about the episode because of stipulations in his contract but called the incident “probably the most intense (paranormal) experience I’ve ever had.”
The experience was not like images familiar from horror movies, Borthick said, but more like riding a virtual roller coaster. “You know how your stomach goes up and down the whole time? It was pretty crazy.”
Despite the Oklahoma investigation unit’s recent media exposure, Borthick said its intentions are primarily altruistic.
“There are a lot of reasons people do this,” he said. “Some investigators are out for fame and glory. But I know that this group in particular is about helping people. When people call us out it’s because they’re distressed or curious, and we try to get them answers and possibly strategies to deal with what’s happening.”
Borthick said his contribution to the group is to provide information on spiritual beliefs, in case the team encounters anything related to religions, such as Wicca or traditional American Indian beliefs.
Borthick is relatively new to the organization, having officially joined the 10-year-old unit in December. Founder and psychic Christine Clark said Oklahoma Paranormal Research and Investigations has 10 members, including one historian, one theologian and two tech managers.
The technology managers are necessary to operate the armory of equipment the team uses: several cameras, audio recorders, temperature probes, electromagnetic field meters, infrared sensors and motion detectors.
In contrast to all of this high technology, the foundations of the group began with Clark’s simple unexplained experiences. She said she remembered an encounter she had during her mid-teens with a “shadow person,” an event her sister also witnessed. “Shadow people” are paranormal phenomena of shadowy figures with somewhat humanoid shapes that lack apparent cause, Clark said. The group has since gathered together slowly over the years from individuals with similar interests, becoming more formal as it developed.
And apparently there has been a demand for their services.
“It’s been very active,” Clark said. “We’ve been pretty busy. One weekend we did two investigations in one night. It’s pretty unusual to do that many that fast. It didn’t used to be that busy.”