Cory Miller and Scott Roschen, paranormal investigators, arrived at the in Fridley last Tuesday afternoon armed with nearly $3,000 worth of gear—a noise-cancelling microphone, an EMF detector, cameras (both still and video) and a device known as an sv-7 spirit box, which scans the radio spectrum’s white noise in search of the speech of the dead.
Miller, the founder of Twin Cities Paranormal Research and Investigation, believes his equipment can detect spirits, “orbs,” “electronic voice phenomenon” and other signs of the occult.
Miller and Roschen came to Banfill-Locke at the request of Marion Robison and other arts center volunteers who believe the 165-year-old East River Road building to be haunted. (Lia Rivamonte, the center’s director, is not convinced that there is anything supernatural at play.)
“I have experienced some uncommon things,” Robison said. “Noises, things falling off the shelf, a vase that made a quarter turn and was gone the next day, a doorbell that rings without wind.”
On Tuesday, Robison consulted with Miller and Roschen before they began the day’s investigation.
“Is there anything I need to do or not do while you’re here?” she asked Miller.
“Don’t make any noises,” Miller said. “Be sure not to whisper.”
Miller, a Blaine resident, served four years in Iraq as an Army auto mechanic, returning to the States in 2007 to live in Texas.
He said he’s always been interested in the paranormal, but became more serious after he returned from Iraq, buying expensive equipment and starting an investigative organization once he moved back to Minnesota in 2009.
Miller doesn’t take money for his investigations. Though he accepts donations on his website, it's more of a no-profit than a non-profit.
The Banfill-Locke investigation is expected to wrap up early in August, he said, with plans already made for an exploration of Prohibition-era tunnels under the building and a night-time sound check of the upstairs offices.
“I’ve been interested in this building since I was a little kid; I grew up in New Brighton and would bike by,” he said. “My fiance recently brought it up to me. ‘That place looks creepy,’ she said. ‘Why don’t you investigate?’”
Both the Banfill-Locke volunteers and the paranormal investigators spoke about the doubters and skeptics of the pataphysical.
“People are going to say I’m totally insane,” Robison, the Banfill-Locke volunteer, said.
“We’ll prove whether that’s true, but we don’t think you’re crazy,” Miller replied, a faint furrow of remorse creasing his forehead, “People might think we’re crazy.”