Some normal Bell County folks say they are dead serious about investigating the paranormal. These mothers, students and working people known as Central Texas Ghost Hunters are adamant they are nothing like the TV shows, or movies, or those repetitive song lyrics, “Who you gonna call?” Their mission: build a ghost database akin to what police do with criminals and their fingerprints. “This is paranormal research. This is not thrill seekers. This is not like a ghost hunting tour, like you go and people take you out to cemeteries. We don’t do anything like that,” said Brandy Runyan, 30, founder and team leader. “We are legitimate. We are legal. We don’t trespass. We’re registered with the state of Texas. We’re an unincorporated non-profit.” Founded in January by Ms. Runyan, a mom and freelance writer, Central Texas Ghost Hunters now has about 15 members. The group notifies local police before they set up shop at a suspected haunted building. They work in pairs to ensure the integrity of their research. And their staff includes trained medical and security members. The Central Texas group has bitten off a question that has bedeviled man throughout history: Do ghosts exist? And if so, what are they? At least one scientist remains convinced there is no proof of ghosts. Benjamin Radford, a scientific paranormal investigator and managing editor for Skeptical Inquirer magazine, wrote in 2008 that ghost hunting is “about having fun with friends, telling ghost stories, and the enjoyment of pretending you are searching the edge of the unknown.” Radford wrote, “Virtually all ghost hunter groups claim to be scientific, and most give that appearance because they use high-tech scientific equipment such as Geiger counters, electromagnetic field (EMF) detectors, ion detectors, and infrared cameras. Yet the equipment is only as scientific as the person using it; you may own the world’s most sophisticated thermometer, but if you are using it as a barometer, your measurements are worthless. Just as using a calculator doesn’t make you a mathematician, using a scientific instrument doesn’t make you a scientist.” Here in Temple, the Rev. Tom Chamberlain, pastor at Our Lady of Guadalupe parish, said Catholic belief that souls either go to heaven, hell or purgatory hasn’t changed. However, he said there are some unexplained “things” out there and he has no problem with scientific research. But Chamberlain does not condone such things as seances and trying to interact with the dead. The Central Texas Ghost Hunters say they are building their body of evidence on audio and video recordings. When they investigate a house or other building they sometimes ask questions to see what’s out there. Playing back the audio through special software that takes out background noises, Ms. Runyan and project manager Veronica Perez say they’ve heard some funny and spooky stuff that can’t be heard with the naked human ear. Stuff such as voices that have insulted team members, asked them for help and giggled. What’s the scariest? Probably the organ music recorded at a chapel inside Yorktown Memorial Hospital. “I got goose bumps when I heard it,” said Ms. Perez, a 34-year-old stay-at-home mom. The hospital, which is about 70 miles southeast of San Antonio, has attracted lots of attention. Closed for about 20 years, at one time it was a drug rehab center. The property owner courts, and charges for, overnight guests looking for ghosts. Caretaker Mike Hanson said the Central Texas Ghost Hunters stood out. “They were a pretty private group. They were real professional,” Hanson said. “They had a team clear the building. They were probably more prepared than any group I’ve ever seen.” Hanson said that absolutely the 50-year-old hospital is haunted. “I know for a fact there is a lot of ghosts here,” Hanson said. “I’ve seen just black objects, like the size of a German shepherd. I’ve seen a guy standing in front of the chapel. I’ve seen red eyes twice. There’s a door at the front that goes up to a stairwell that we hear rapping on the glass nightly. You can turn off the lights, stand by the nurse’s station … and you’ll see people walking around.” After Central Texas Ghost Hunters finishes reviewing its overnight stay in Yorktown, it plans to post the results on the Web. Looking ahead, Central Texas Ghost Hunters has teamed with Horny Toad Harley Davidson in Temple for a motorcycle ride on Sept. 12. The group wants to erase the stigma haunting ghost hunters by chalking up some positive exposure. Team members also plan to build a Habitat for Humanity home. Ms. Runyan said the group hopes to maintain a “high degree of professionalism upholding best practices and the release of evidence only after exhaustive review to eliminate logical and natural causes.” On the Web at: www.ctgh.org