FOREST CITY | The research of the paranormal and parapsychology can be found on the campus of Waldorf University.
The university’s Paranormal Society began in 2014, and since then the society has researched and investigated many locations rumored to have paranormal activity, such as the Villisca Axe Murder House, an apartment complex formerly a hospital in Algona, and even Pilot Knob State Park.
Waldorf University’s paranormal society is not just for students. Anyone 18 or older, with an interest in the paranormal, is able to join. Members who do not attend Waldorf have to pay their own way to the locations visited.
The group meets every Wednesday night at 7 p.m. in Gatsby’s, which is located in the basement of Waldorf’s campus center. Society members are currently working on planning other trips, including Malvern Manor, a schoolhouse in Manila and a local location that is being kept a secret.
Every year, the society hosts a haunted hike as a fundraiser, but due to weather, it was unable to do so this year. So, members are looking to add a new event to the community, possibly an escape room.
“The significance of traveling to these locations comes from not only the thrill received when visiting," said society leader Justin Benjegerdes, “but the historical information and research that is done both before and during the investigations.”
The group researches all of the theories and history behind a location before visiting, and Benjegerdes encourages his members to come up with their own theories and try to back them up with their research.
The Paranormal Society is not only about ghost hunting though. Members also research cryptozoology, which is the study of creatures not officially discovered, such as big foot, and they researched parapsychology which is the study of the effects of electromagnetic fields on the human mind.
“There is a lot of work involved, but it's a lot of fun too,” said Benjegerdes. “There is a connection between the students and community members.”