When there’s something strange in the neighborhood, give PRISM a call.
The Paranormal Research & Investigation Society of Martin has been investigating things that go bump in the night since 2006, when it was first founded by Casey McCasland and Kristin Moore.
Since then, the organization has grown from a student group at UTM to become members of the Ghost Adventurers Crew, Paranormal Clergy and the Martin Business Association.
Known as the UTM Paranormal Society at its inception, the group also gained the support of Parapsychology experts Dr. Charles Tart and Dr. Linda Salvin while seeking club status with the university.
Tart has been involved in the fields of hypnosis, psychology, transpersonal psychology, parapsychology, consciousness and mindfulness since 1963 and is considered a founder of transpersonal psychology. His books, Altered States of Consciousness and Transpersonal Psychologies are considered components of modern psychology. After trying unsuccessfully to begin a paranormal investigation club of his own in college, he agreed to sponsor PRISM.
Salvin is located in Los Angeles, California. She claims to have psychic abilities after surviving multiple near-death experiences, and does psychic readings in private practice, on television and on her radio show.
Both sent letters of recommendation for the organization, and do occasional webinars for the group.
On campus, the club is sponsored by Tommy McGlown, coordinator of Conditional Admissions Program Mandatory Placement Success and Mandatory Placement Success counselor.
“I am glad to help them by being their advisor,” said McGlown.
As time passed, PRISM gained popularity and transitioned from a recreational to a community service program.
McCasland described the group’s goal as “to understand the experiences that people have,” through research and collecting evidence and data.
“It never gets old,” said McCasland. “You’re always surprised, always learning something new.”
Their services are offered for free to anyone within a 60-mile radius of Martin. With the use of the latest technology, they assist and investigate claims of paranormal phenomena such as UFOs and hauntings.
Interested parties can send PRISM a message through their website, prismparanormal.net, or call their hotline at (731) 313-7699. After these are reviewed by McCasland, the information is passed along to case manager Melissa Branson, who conducts a phone interview with the client.
“I let them talk and tell me what’s going on,” said Branson, a recent member who claims to have had the ability to see spirits since she was 12 years old.
Branson conducts a thorough interview, asking personal questions, including use of prescription medications, and if the case still seems legitimate, a site interview is conducted for security purposes.
After this step, a team of no more than six people investigate the site, and depending on what is found, recommendations are made. These can include cleansing and blessing the location through what is a called a smudging ceremony, or blessings from clergy.
Investigators are trained by PRISM through an online course or in person. Participants are given a training manual and are taught about paranormal investigation, parapsychology, paranormal research and demonology. They are also instructed on conducting interviews and how to work with clients, research, and operate equipment.
As the final step in the training process, trainees must be able to apply what they have learned in a supervised field exercise. If this goes well, they become eligible to work on cases by voluntary basis as cases present themselves.
Participation in the organization is open to community members and students alike.
“I’ve really enjoyed it,” said Kaylie Millspaugh, president of the campus group and freshman veterinary science major. “[I like] being around people that understand situations like this and learning about what could be when everyone passes. It’s a new experience.”
McCasland explained that the philosophy behind why they club does what it does aligns with what was said by X Files television show character Fox Mulder: “I want to believe that the dead are not lost to us. That they speak to us as part of something greater than us – greater than any alien force. And if you and I are powerless, I want to believe that if we listen to what’s speaking, it can give us the power to save ourselves.”
To learn more about the nonprofit team, visit prismparanormal.net or tune into their radio station, Boneyard Radio.