Joseph Kasko & Rebekah Davis

(Rock Hill, S.C.) — The Charlotte Area Paranormal Society (CAPS) has been investigating unexplained activity across the Carolinas since 2005.

The non-profit group’s goal, according to its website, is to document and prove the validity of haunted places through research and investigations.

In the spirit of Halloween, the Palmetto Report spoke with Tina McSwain, founder and executive director of CAPS, about hauntings, some the group’s investigations and her favorite ghost stories.

“I wanted a more scientific approach to the study of paranormal activity, so I formed CAPS,” said McSwain.

The group uses digital voice recorders, thermal imaging cameras and electromagnetic field detectors to document and search for evidence of the paranormal.

“We believe ghosts are actually energy, so if you’re looking for energy, then you would see that,” she said, of the thermal images the cameras can produce.

McSwain said CAPS investigates roughly 50 cases a year, free of charge.

She said the U.S.S. North Carolina in Wilmington, the Rosedale Plantation in Charlotte and Brattonsville in York County, S.C. are some of the “most haunted” places the group has investigated in the Carolinas.

She also said she is very interested in some of the well-known ghost stories associated with the Winthrop University campus, including Tillman Hall.

“I would actually like to get into Winthrop and investigate some of these (stories),” she said. “I’ve actually seen a picture that somebody took in your (Little) Chapel and it’s a very interesting picture.

“Perhaps there is something going on in your chapel,” said McSwain.

The group has also investigated the famous Brown Mountain Lights near Linville Gorge in Burke County, N.C.

“For whatever reason, we seem to be very lucky; every time we go, for the most part, we can see the lights. We tend to go up and go to Wiseman’s View, which is actually across the valley from Brown Mountain,” she said.

“We’ve been able to see the lights, anywhere from 10 p.m. until about 1 a.m. and they look like huge spotlights. They come up, seem to rise up, out of the lower part of the valley and go straight up against the rock face of Table Rock.”

The phenomena has been investigated by the U.S. government at least three times and the lights have often been featured in media, including an episode of the television show the X-Files.

“They’ve been catalogued all the way back into the 1700s. There was a German explorer-surveyor who was up into the North Carolina-Tennessee mountains,” she said. “Even he, as far back as 1792…wrote about these lights in his journal.”

She said CAPS is planning another investigation of the area later this year.

“I think it’s just a natural curiosity. (People) want to know, perhaps, what happens to us after we die. Is there somewhere we go? What is that process like?”

McSwain said she will continue to search for answers.