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Feb-10-2010 00:45printcomments

Home Buyers Have New Option: Paranormal Inspections

“From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties and things that go bump in the night, good Lord, deliver us!” -- A Scottish prayer

OPHIR paranormal group
OPHIR members from left to right, Mike Navarro, Thomas Westbrook, Bernard Powell and Bret Edmisten

Photos by Dexter Phoenix,

(SALEM, Ore.) - Cold spots. Apparitions. Things that go bump in the night.

Some of these things can be explained by creaky floorboards, cracked walls or frisky weather. But what if they can't?

Before buying a home, inspections usually mean checking the foundation, roof and pipes. But, sometimes there is another area of concern, things that are a bit more intangible. When there are questions regarding...the unknown... future homebuyers will be especially glad to know that there is someone to turn to.

Investigators with OPHIR (Occult & Paranormal House of Investigational Research) in Salem, Oregon, want to make it easier for homebuyers to make sure all the creaks and bumps are, shall we say, Of This World.

Bernard Powell, OPHIR's founder, along with OPHIR’s team of experienced investigators help buyers learn what may be happening -- and perhaps what went on before -- on a particular piece of property.

You don't have to believe in ghosts. The value of a home that was the location of a murder, suicide or has been used as a drug lab can be starkly diminished. Real estate professionals call such properties "stigmatized".

OPHIR's staff say that tortured pasts go beyond the crime log of the local newspaper; that homes can be stigmatized by ghosts -- real or rumored.

Powell says OPHIR offers "a full investigation into the history of the property -- from past owners to newsworthy occurrences that may have taken place on said premises."

Investigators and Research personnel pore through public records and interview current and former residents if necessary. An investigation may also include a series of three on-premise paranormal probes.

"We use everything from the most modern equipment available to us to the inclusion of psychics, clairvoyants and/or clergy members custom-tailored to the clients' preferences, and spiritual orientation," Powell says.

"We do not charge for the paranormal investigation itself. We do that out of our passion for the field."

However, a fee is charged to investigate the past of the property. "The cost is based on research, fuel costs and man hours spent at various locations," Powell says.

This specialized inspection service isn't just for buyers, though. Sellers, beware! You too may have some explaining to do, should you not follow your inclination to see that your property is void of unwanted guests. "You don't want buyers coming back and saying you never warned them about the house's past," Powell said.

"Protect yourself and make a wise future investment," Powell says. "There is a good chance that homes with a reputation or negative history may be harder to sell down the road, so you could get stuck with one."

"You want to know as much about your potential investment as you possibly can. This way, you can make as informed a decision as possible."

Want more information or need a property investigated? Contact OPHIR at or call 971-239-5992.

OPHIR is a nonprofit group that includes researchers in religion, physics, paranormal and public records. Members include both believers and skeptics.

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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Rachel Harris June 20, 2011 1:20 pm (Pacific time)

Very interesting. It is kind of like the modern day Ghostbusters! I think it is a fantastic idea--and depends on how much they are charging. I think it is cool that they can have such a passion for what they do. It is a good idea to get one of these--especially where you think people would ask you about the history of the house. A home inspector seems like a good idea.

Becca March 17, 2010 3:48 pm (Pacific time)

I am a paranormal investigator in Tucson, AZ. I believe there are things that go bump in the night that are not of this world. I think the service you are providing to new and existing home owners is a great idea. Buying a home is an enormous expense, why wouldn't anyone want to know the history of a property before they may get stuck with a home they can't live in or in good conscience sell to another unsupecting person.

Thomas March 4, 2010 6:07 am (Pacific time)

Editor, very good for you that you've been on these "investigations", however believing something doesn't make it true. To this date, there has been no scientific proof of the existence of paranormal activity. Show me hard evidence, and you'll change minds. Some blob on some thermal scanner isn't hard evidence. Also, it isn't hard to believe the earth isn't flat. Eratosthenes figured that one out over 2000 years ago, basically using sticks and a bit of geometry--a fairly accurate job (within 1%), too.

John March 1, 2010 8:09 am (Pacific time)

Hey David! Where do you base that ridiculous comment? I have seen things that would make you wet yourself! Try going on an actual investigation! Skepticism us one thing but you should really do your homework and see what scientists are ACTUALLY saying about paranormal investigation before you open your mouth.

Jim February 13, 2010 7:03 am (Pacific time)

I guess you are right that people believe what they will. As a home inspector, that inspects for issues that can be confirmed through conventional means, I am curious about this group and the value of their service. I use a thermal camera and have often been asked if I ever see "ghosts," and I must say that I never have. I wonder what their "errors and omissions," insurance is like......seeing ghosts has got to be very subjective and there has got to be quite a bit of room for interpretation, unlike the leak in the drain line under the kitchen sink....

David February 11, 2010 6:22 am (Pacific time)

This is utterly ridiculous. Educated people in the modern world don't believe in "ghosts" or "spirits", nor would waste their money on these clowns.

Editor: Wow David, you guys with your keyboard bravery never fail to amaze me.  I have personally attended dozens of paranormal investigations, you my friend must be very scared of this sort of thing, but it is fascinating and people believe what they believe.  If these guys can enter a home and determine that all is well, then everyone goes home happy.  If there is something there, and there can be, then they can help on that side of things too.  Oh yeah, and I also wanted to be sure you know the earth isn't flat, as hard as it is to believe. 

Natalie February 10, 2010 1:30 am (Pacific time)

I guess ghosts get spooked and disappear after being visited by such a friendly-looking gang. LOL

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