With a team that comes from North Fort Myers, Cape Coral and even Naples, a group of paranormal investigators recently took a member of The North Fort Myers Neighbor staff on an otherworldly hunt.
The site was, and is, the Pine Island/Bokeelia landmark restaurant Capt'n Con's Fish House, which has been reported for years as being haunted.
Known as Florida Paranormal Research Group Inc., that group is also a member of the White Noise Paranormal Network. Their high-tech Internet show is broadcast every Saturday night and you can be part of the show by viewing and participating in chat rooms.
Ian Hickin, Bob Kelly, Bobbi Bradshaw and Jeff Miller from Florida Paranormal Research Group Inc. on Pine Island.
Ian Hickin from North Fort Myers is the organizer of the group. "I started Florida Paranormal Research Group Inc. in 2005. A few years later we realized we needed to get more people together, to bring more teams together. I thought, wouldn't it be cool to have a network of teams?"
A retired fire chief, he said he used the principle of Mutual Aid, used by firefighters that came together from may different areas to help fight one fire. "We started the White Noise Paranormal Network, and that network now has 23 teams."
They have science teams, what they call advantage teams, spiritualist teams, Haunting Resolutionists and more, all part of the same network.
To join the teams, they broadcast investigations live on five screens over the Internet to a worldwide audience. "There is no one out there doing what we're doing - multi-screen. We do it every Saturday night. We're up to Episode 168 and haven't missed a Saturday in over three years."
Other members of his team include Bobbi Bradshaw, a "sensitive" originally from New Jersey now living in the area; Jeff Miller, an investigator from Naples and Cape resident Bob Kelly, the public information officer, show coordinator and more.
Bradshaw is an investigator and basically used as a sensitive. "She's sensitive to a greater point," said Hickin.
"They don't give me any information when I go to a site," she said. "Anyone who has the ability is more open than the average person, can walk in and feel what is there - male, female entities. I sense the energies."
Bob Kelly is a three-year retired firefighter who wears four hats for the group - public information officer, show coordinator, case manager and assistant lead investigators. He's originally from Massachusetts, and said he has had several unexplained experiences in his past.
"Two weeks after my dad passed away, I saw a shadow in my room. The room was cold, all doors were locked, windows locked. Then 12 years ago, after I just moved into a new apartment, I looked to my left and saw a full apparition. It was a little lady about four feet tall dressed in red."
Red was the favorite color of the past tenant named Rachel who had lived there 17 years and had recently passed away.
Jeff Miller is new investigator, only with the group six months. "I've always been interested," he said. "I had an experience once with a smell that smelled like my grandmother. I was a teenager. It piqued my interest, I believe in it and I want to communicate with them (spirits). I want some scientific proof it is there."
The group chose Cap't Con's as a place to investigate, to show what they do on a typical investigation.
An array of equipment, from laptop to cameras, to meters and even blue lights that are supposed to attract spirits were used.
Employees noted experiences they have had with the restaurant. Jan, a server, said, "I've been locked in the employee bathroom for no reason and an older man said he was locked in the men's room one night. He was yelling and screaming, and I just pushed it (the door) open, and it opened right away."
"Your ghost or ghosts here has a propensity for locks," Hickin said.
The owner has seen things fly off the table, others a tray table flip and more.
"The Captain's Room" seems to be a hot spot for activity. In previously incarnations in the past it has served as a post office, and a "pretty rough shrimper's bar," several have said.
An antique statue of The Captain has drawn activity, and bad vibes from many, many said.
The atmosphere of the restaurant can play with the imagination. Very dark, and on the far point of Pine Island, it has that very old feel, stillness after dark, and even has a staircase that has been blocked off many call the "Stairway To Nowhere."
A wooden cross was found in that stairway, which no one will claim to have put there. Employees said it just appeared one day.
A "K-2 Meter" - which is designed to pick up unusual electromagnetic energy, did register the night of the ghost hunt. Also, two people heard a distinct knocking in a store room where investigators tried to communicate with entities.
One odd thing that undeniably did happen was that a cell phone used by one of the participants was working just minutes before entering Cap't Con's. An hour later, when looked at to check the time, the phone's screen was gone, replaced by a new screen with a milky white background, with small circles across the bottom.
Others in paranormal circles have said those are called "orbs" - manifestations of spiritual energy.
Technicians have looked at the phone, and said they have no clue what happened.
Coincidence or more?
To contact Hickin, email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or tune into Saturdays on the Internet at ghostshow.net.
Of the show, Hickin said, "We get a lot of great feedback."
Of the fact they run into negative spirit often, he said, "I have yet to run into a demonic element. The experiences have been positive.
Our motto for the show is, "Where you become part of the investigation," Hickin said.