On a dark November night, students in Timothy Landry’s Anthropology of Religion course joined the Connecticut Paranormal Research Team (CTPRT) in Raether Library and Information Technology Center’s Level C periodical section to see if the area was haunted. The CTPRT set up a variety of scientific equipment that they say can help determine the presence of spirits. The students used devices that detected and responded to stimuli like movement, light, temperature, and electromagnetic fields.

2Web450The periodical section of Level C has long been rumored to be haunted; students alone in the stacks at night have reported hearing voices and seeing mysterious movement. Members of Landry’s class and the CTPRT tried to communicate with any spirits in the area using different devices on the evening of Thursday, November 5.

Landry, an assistant professor of anthropology and religion, invited these paranormal investigators to illustrate how religion and science construct different ideas of knowledge and truth. The students in the course have been studying how religion constructs knowledge and how it influences how we understand the world.

1Web450Landry said, “The paranormal investigators are ideal candidates for looking at these issues because they are looking for what we may think of as religious entities, like spirits and ghosts, and in this team’s case, demons. They are using science to find evidence for what we would normally think of as religious beings.”

The CTPRT’s efforts blur the boundary between religion and science, and their paranormal investigation perfectly encapsulates what Landry’s students are studying. Seth Bird ’16 said of his experience, “We explored the depths of Level C, the spookiest of environments, hunting for a paranormal presence. Did I become a believer? Probably not. However, I was fascinated by the commitment and optimism expressed by the CTPRT team.”

Written by Eleanor Worsley ’17

Photos courtesy of Timothy Landry