In 2008, Armando Nunez and a friend decided on a whim to try their hand at ghost-hunting by taking pictures in a local cemetery. His wife Joanna and friend Tom Kuntz soon joined in and together they founded the Paranormal Research Organization of Fayetteville, or PROOF.
Ghost-hunting is something of a hobby for Joanna and Armando. In the past eight years, they have conducted more than two dozen paranormal investigations, including several in the Fayetteville and Fort Bragg areas.
“We’re a scientific group, so what we look for is anything manmade,” said Armando Nunez. “We try to rule that out first.”
They have investigated military housing, including an instance where a soldier said she felt she was being watched. She often caught glimpses of a figure on the stairway or awakened to see an apparition that vanished.
“We’ve been told by many people that there’s things on Fort Bragg in the housing,” said Joanna. “And that makes sense, given the high turnover in the housing, given the turbulence, the family dynamics, the arguments, the deployments.”
The PROOF team did not find conclusive evidence of paranormal activity in that case, but they say there’s reason to consider it given the history of Fort Bragg. One of their most memorable investigations was a late-night visit to Monroe’s Crossroads, a civil war battlefield that’s now an active artillery range.
“We’ve got a lot of activity out there, but you have to think, that’s where people died in war,” said Joanna.
“We still try to debunk,” said Armando. “There is that level of skepticism, but I’m leaning towards the idea that there is something else going on.”
In her day job, Joanna is a therapist who works with soldiers and their families. She shared her story of coming to terms with her father's PTSD at a live storytelling event recorded at the Airborne and Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville.
Ft. Bragg Stories is a collaboration between the Fayetteville Observer and WUNC's American Homefront Project to commemorate a century of history at Fort Bragg through personal narratives. You can hear other stories in the series here. If you'd like to share your Fort Bragg story, you can send it here, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.