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Paranormal Investigators Take Us Inside Some Of NC’s Spookiest Spots

How haunted is North Carolina? Around the state, teams of paranormal investigators are looking into some of the most historic — and most eerie — locations. These researchers collect data and conduct investigations at sites like Mordecai Historic Park in Raleigh and the USS North Carolina in Wilmington.

Nelson Nauss is among those investigators. He co-founded The Ghost Guild Inc. in the Triangle and is also the nonprofit group’s executive director. Nauss and his team go into locations and use various machines to measure things like sound, humidity, temperature and barometric pressure to try to debunk ghost stories. The group share their findings with the community to counter falsehoods spread by sensational ghost hunting TV shows.

Nauss joins host Anita Rao to talk about how these investigations are conducted and how data is collected. Nicolle Morock also joins the conversation to share her experience doing this kind of research as an empath. She says she is sensitive to feelings and sensations that others are often not aware of. She is the vice president of the National Society of Paranormal Investigation and Research and is the author of “Please don’t call me psychic. Stories from my paranormal life” (independently published/2019).

Both Nauss and Morock share stories from their experiences in some of the spookiest places in North Carolina. Morock will be at a book signing at Third Street Social in Wendell on Monday, Nov. 4 at 7 p.m.

Interview Highlights

Nauss describing an experience The Ghost Guild Inc. members had on the USS North Carolina in Wilmington:

In the sick bay area, we've had bed springs — you can hear the bed springs being hit, and they're bouncing back and forth. So there was a lot of force behind that, and that we haven't been able to explain ... We try to control as much as we can. We know where everyone is on that ship, and we know that there [were] only two people in that particular location at that time.

We still approach it with a healthy dose of skepticism, because if you're not using your critical thinking skills, you're doing a disservice to everybody involved. - Nicolle Morock

Morock on why people call her paranormal research team to investigate a private residence:

A lot of times it's fear. Sometimes it is just: I think my house is haunted. Could you come validate it for me? And sometimes they're disappointed, because we come in and we actually debunk everything and say: We don't really see any thing that tells us that this is haunted. But other times we go in, and we have our own personal experiences. And we capture Electronic Voice Phenomena. And we come out, and we may not say it's haunted, but we say: Here are the anomalies, and here are the experiences we had. You can put whatever label on this but there is something going on here.

Nauss on why places with a lot of history tend to have more reports of paranormal activity:

Back then, you used to have more of a connection to your home. You worked hard. You built it yourself, perhaps … It was a place you lived your entire life, unlike now — a home is just a commodity. You move from one to the other. You don't have as strong of an attachment to the location. So I do think that that's one of the reasons why — potentially — there's more reports of hauntings in historical locations.


Amanda Magnus grew up in Maryland and went to high school in Baltimore. She became interested in radio after an elective course in the NYU journalism department. She got her start at Sirius XM Satellite Radio, but she knew public radio was for her when she interned at WNYC. She later moved to Madison, where she worked at Wisconsin Public Radio for six years. In her time there, she helped create an afternoon drive news magazine show, called Central Time. She also produced several series, including one on Native American life in Wisconsin. She spends her free time running, hiking, and roller skating. She also loves scary movies.
Anita Rao is an award-winning journalist and the host and creator of "Embodied," a live, weekly radio show and seasonal podcast about sex, relationships & health. She's also the managing editor of WUNC's on-demand content.