Teens Explore the Paranormal at Gulfport Library

Bonnie Korniak, founder and lead investigator for AURA, talks about a piece of spirit-detection equipment at the Gulfport Library last Wednesday. The program titled “Teen Paranormal Ghost Hunting Tricks and Tips” drew a crowd of about 16 people.

Bonnie Korniak, founder and lead investigator AURA (Alliance for Unveiling and Researching Anomalies) Paranormal Investigations, discussed all things spooky at the Gulfport Public Library last week. On Wednesday, June 20, Korniak spoke to teens and a few adults about her experiences investigating the paranormal, as well as tips and tricks to conduct paranormal investigations of their own. 

Korniak’s been studying spirits for the last 17 years. 

“It all started when I moved into a haunted house,” she said. Alongside her team at AURA, Korniak has been investigating “spirits and hauntings” since 2008, pro-bono. “I won’t accept payment” she said. There is one exception to her rule. “Snacks, I’ll accept,” she said. “If they’ve got snacks, I’m down.”

In addition to her investigations through AURA, plus researching the spirits in her own home, Korniak presents her findings and educates groups on her knowledge throughout Florida. She’s spoke to teen groups at the Gulfport Public Library in the past and says it’s something she loves. 

“Younger people are usually more open minded,” she said. 

Aside from Gulfport’s library, most recently she presented at the Clearwater Public Library. She referenced Clearwater’s library in her presentation as place filled with spirits.

A portion of Korniak’s presentation focused on educating the group about EVPs or Electronic Voice Phenomena. EVPs are electronically captured spirit voices. In the paranormal investigations industry, EVPs are considered to be a very compelling piece of evidence that supports life after death. In addition to EVPs, spirits can be detected in a space by using EMF detectors, electromagnetic field detectors. Changes in the electromagnetic field that aren’t caused by human or animal disruption are another indicator of spirit presence, according to the presentation. 

To detect spirits, the presentation emphasized a few key things. Keep the cameras and voice recorders rolling at all times and review that footage later. Double- and triple- checking investigations can lead to discoveries. Next, ghost hunters should be aware that camera shakes, lens flares and airborne particles can look like spirits, but are just technical errors. In addition, spirit seekers should set up some equipment to detect changes in the environment, like an EMF detector, laser grids, thermal cameras or a simple compass. 

Despite Korniak’s impressive tool kit of spirit-seeking gadgets and technology, she advised the group to experience and find out what works for them. 

“Experimenting will prove life after death,” she said. 

A little ghost history made its way into the program too, leading to questions from one teen. 

Referring to a 1991 black-and-white photo projected onto a screen that showed a woman-like figure at Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery in Bremen, Illinois, she asked, “How do you really know that wasn’t a person? But how do you really know?”  

Following ghost history, attendees got to learn a little about local hauntings. On the list: Haslam’s Bookstore in St. Pete, the Belleview Inn and Royalty Theater in Clearwater, Safety Harbor Resort and Spa, and St. Pete Beach’s Don Cesar Hotel. 

Prior to a question and answer session that wrapped up the event, Korniak set up a voice recorder in the middle of the table. Teens gathered around, as Korniak spoke into the air, asking if there were any spirits wanting to make their presence known. 

“Are you always here?” she asked, trying to pick up a voice for her recording. 

Although the experiment brought no results, the teen’s question from that day lingers: “But how do you really know?” 

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