Randy Liebeck, a research specialist, field investigator, and journalist covering the field of ghost and poltergeist phenomena, joined Ian Punnett (Twitter) to talk about his work investigating the paranormal. Liebeck suggested 'paranormal' may not be the best term to describe what is happening at supposed haunted locations as he is looking for detectable anomalies in the environment — things that are physically there and operating according to the laws of physics. "If there are real sounds, if there are real temperature anomalies, if there are real visual anomalies, if we can see them, if we can hear them... then we should be able to use instrumentation to photograph, record, and measure these things," he explained.
Liebeck shared a case from New York where a woman contacted him about a poltergeist in her home. Several houses on her block were haunted by the ghost of a little girl who wandered the neighborhood, he revealed, noting this ghost never bothered anyone. The woman had experienced harmless haunting phenomena which escalated to poltergeist activity, including moving dishes, exploding glassware, being shoved, and raising/lowering the side rail on her baby's crib, Liebeck reported. "Every time I started giving her advice on how to mitigate the events a horrible screeching static would come over the phone and drowned out the conversation," he recalled. On her end she heard a threatening male voice, Liebeck added. He described inexplicable car trouble whenever he attempted to drive to her house. "Something knew I was heading to her house and did not want me to go," he said.
During the latter half of the program, researcher Richard Estep discussed the infamous Villisca Axe Murder House, which was the site of the gruesome 1912 killing of eight people while they slept. Estep reported on possible connections between the Villisca murders and other axe murders in the Midwest. "The M.O. in all of those cases was incredibly similar," he said, noting the killer likely traveled by train, always chose a house with no dog, closed the curtains so no one could see into the residence, and used an axe found on the property. The house has a reputation for being haunted, and each year hundreds of fascinated people flock to the house seeking an encounter with the paranormal.
According to Estep, there are not many reliable accounts of the house being haunted until the 1990s, after a remodel by the current owners. Some earlier reports of paranormal activity exist, such as children feeling the sensation of being grabbed in the parlor, and an invisible force making a former resident stab himself with a knife he was holding, Estep continued. Caretaker Johnny Houser reported hearing ghostly footsteps walking upstairs to where he was working in one of the bedrooms. It spooked him enough to draw his gun but no one was there, he revealed. Estep also recalled the time he was sitting with two male colleagues in the home's parlor, prematurely stopped recording a video on his iPad, and played it back to hear the sound of a child giggling in the background.