By Josh Shepherd, News writer
The Rohs Opera House invites about 40 or so people to share in a personal Ebenezer Scrooge experience with their favorite holiday spirits – literally!
Helping to get people in touch with the other side on Friday, Dec. 13, is one of the youngest faces on the popular paranormal investigations circuit: Cassidy Rae.
She will be joined by local ghost hunter Wes Forsythe and the BLUE Paranormal investigating team led by Jason Wilkerson.
At age 15, Rae is one of the youngest mediums leading ghost hunting excursions in this region of the country. She has been at it for just over two years, she said, and it has been an interesting experience walking the path between two worlds.
She has been invited to employ her developing skills as a spiritual medium with numerous paranormal investigations at allegedly haunted locations in Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee and Kentucky. One of her more frequent visits is to the Poasttown Elementary School in Middletown, Ohio.
Rae said that she discovered a personal sensitivity to the spirit realm quite suddenly.
It happened, she said, on a Halloween night two years ago, Rae was a participant in a paranormal investigation hosted by another team of professional ghost hunters and spiritual mediums.
In a moment of heightened emotional activity, Rae said that her spiritual gift hit her “like a door opening. It was overwhelming at first.” She described strange lights moving about the rooms and seeing people that others could not see.
“There were these people at the other end of the hotel hall that police were arresting for being drunk and disorderly. With them I saw an older man who was pointing and laughing. When I asked my mom why that man was laughing, she didn’t know who I was talking about,” Rae said. “She said I was seeing people that weren’t there.”
Though also an avid fan of ghost hunting shows, Rae’s mother, Rhonda Bingham, said she doubted her daughter’s claim at first.
“Because of her young age and enthusiasm, I figured that the power of suggestion might be playing a role in tall this. I figured things would calm down after a while,” Bingham said.
It was only after Rae persisted in her claims that her parents tried to verify them. They would take her to different places without identifying what the places were or anything about the history.
“She would visit these places and tell accurate stories about the people who owned the places, tell about its history, explain things that she could not have just known,” Bingham said.
Coming around to believing Cassidy, Bingham got advice on how to develop her daughter’s skills from Patti Star, a local celebrity in the field of ghost hunting whose own organization, Ghost Hunters International, has conducted an investigation or two at Rohs Opera House in recent years.
In the subsequent two years since discovering her talent, Rae has acted as a connection for spirits at several places purported to be haunted.
Rae said that, in addition to sometimes seeing or sensing the presence of residual or intelligent spirits in a given area, she is also adept at Psychometry, in which a location or object produces in her mind images of that object being used in the past or its place in an emotionally charged event.
“I call them spiritual movies, because I see the event playing out as though I am experiencing it personally — as if it is happening to me,” Rae said. “It’s called empathy and the experience can be emotionally draining.”
Since identifying this skill, she has learned to control the information that comes to her, even to the point of ignoring it or turning it off. But every once in a while, she has encounters that even gives her a supernatural chill.
When it comes to the ghost hunts in which Rae and her family host, she warns participants that a typical hunt is not at all like what is depicted on television shows.
“Ghost hunting is a lot more like deer hunting. One day, you can go out in an area and not much happens. Other times, it can be bustling with activity,” Rae said.
But the process involves a lot of sitting in the dark, asking questions, reading electro-magnetic sensors and listening carefully to sound recordings, she said.
The advice she gives to those who participate is, surprisingly, not to have too much of an open mind. A dose of skepticism is healthy, she said.
“This whole activity is not a science. People who expect too much can be distracted by any sound. If people see or hear things, the first job is to find a real world explanation for it. Is it the heat kicking on? Is someone walking around outside? Is it another group waving a flashlight?” Rae said.
But it is also important to take the ghost hunt seriously. Even though there is an entertainment element to these investigations, it is not a license to be rude or obnoxious. Not only can it affect the success of the hunt and potentially offend malicious spirits, it also gets on the nerves of other participants.
In addition to her activities as a spirit medium, Rae is a student at East Jessamine High School in Nicholasville and an aspiring independent film actress.
Her most famous roles to date is the lead in the very low budget holiday horror comedy, “Santa Claus vs. The Zombies,” directed by George Bonilla for ZP International.
Rae is also a featured member of the cast in the music video for Shooter Jenning’s “The Real Me.”
There are a limited number of tickets available for this event. The first 20 tickets sold will get a personal reading from Rae. Call 859-707-3852 for tickets and more information.