The hair stands on the back of your neck. You feel as though you are being watched. You begin to hear small whispers. Then come face-to-face with something startling. These are some of the many experiences a ghost hunter like Heather Sanya faces in her line or work.
She first begin her journey as a ghost hunter at the age of four. Her grandmother, whom she was very connected to, had just passed away.
“A week after my grandmother passed, I heard my name called out and thought it was my mother calling me from my grandmother’s room,” said Sanya. “I called out to my mother to see if she called me but she was in the attic cleaning. Then I heard my name called again. This time more defined. I was in my room playing and turned to the doorway and saw my grandmother standing before me.”
Sanya is a former student of Salt Lake Community College, a paranormal investigator, filmmaker and the head of Twisted Minds Productions.
As an accomplished person whose career as a ghost hunter has brought forth many interesting tales to tell, Sanya put together a group of people in Utah that look into the paranormal, Paranormal Ops.
“Members, they come and go. They move away and some of them are still here. But every now and then we like to get together. Put together investigations in certain areas around here,” Sanya explained. “We go places where nobody goes.”
Sanya and her family moved into the Kirk Hotel in Tooele, Utah, the same location in which she is filming a movie for the Sundance Film Festival.
This hotel was built back in 1927 and has changed hands many times.
“We found out that when the military took it over they took certain bodies to the basement. They burned 15 bodies of people who died from being sick to keep diseases from spreading,” said Sanya.
The Kirk Hotel has been featured on several different blogs over the past 30 years that talk about cabinets opening and closing by themselves. Keys, cell phones, items misplaced and furniture moved around the hotel are also said to occur at the hotel.
The first couple of days after moving into the Kirk Hotel, a chain of events sparked off the current investigations, when Sanya’s two daughters, ages eight and nine, witnessed a shadowy figure watching them.
“My nine year old kept saying ‘Mom, there is a shadow watching us from the top of the stairs.’ We were moving into the second floor of this place and the shadow was seen at the top of the stairs,” Sanya said.
Later that same night, Sanya’s keys were misplaced. The next day one of her neighbors, a 17-year-old girl, asked if she has seen the shadow man on the third floor. This confirmation brings more fluidity to Sanya’s investigation of the hotel.
“It’s been about almost 10 years ghost hunting, officially. I started out with regular cameras 15 and 20 years ago. Then 10 years ago I got into night vision cameras,” she said.
Ghost hunters have different techniques for hunting the paranormal. To actually live where you are going to investigate is one of them.
She believes that one of the biggest mistakes ghost hunters makes is knowing too much history of the place they are going to.
“You really don’t want to dive too much in to the history before you start the investigation. I think that kind of sets you up to where, if you know too much of the history, you can be in a situation when you are doing an EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) session and you trick yourself into thinking a voice is being heard. That is because it is suggested to you. You expect it,” Sanya said. “There is this one room that they refuse and will not rent out.”
The room in question is Room 312. This room has no running water, the electricity has been turned off, and management is turning it into a playroom.
“This is the only room that has not been touched since the twenties,” said Sanya. “Spirits are around you whether you realize them or not.”
A lot of times people mistake angry spirits for evil spirits, according to Sanya.
“Angry spirits, they like to trip you, they like to scratch you and like to throw things at you. Evil spirits are like a lot of random people coming into your space. They are in your home disrespecting you, disrespecting your home and trying to get a rise out of you,” she said. “Spirits are like people. We are all different. They are all different. There is not one thing that explains all these spirits.”