At nightfall, when most people are readying for sleep, members of the Midnight Shadows Paranormal Society (M.S.P.S.) are hard at work, chasing spirits who are still very much alive. Based in West Milton, the group investigates all things supernatural both thoroughly and professionally.

The M.S.P.S, led by John Dershem, was first formed in 2008. Its core members, including Lori Dershem, C.J Altman, Heather Hill and Heather Lewis, have been connected with other paranormal groups for up to five years. They all share the same passion for poltergeists, which has consumed Dershem since he was six years old and experienced a ghostly encounter.

“I don’t fear the afterlife, I fear the living because I know what they are capable of,” said Dershem.

Along with legends of the past, today’s businesses and homes are investigated by the M.S.P.S in a spiritual yet scientific manner. Anyone suspecting the presence of something supernatural can have their questions answered by the group’s findings. On average it takes about six weeks for all the footage to be examined, but some new techniques have been cutting the time in half.

On every investigation some sort of discovery is made, as everything from flashes of light, the sound of voices, and apparitions of humans have been witnessed. Dershem and the rest of the crew manage to stay calm, claiming most spirits are friendly.

“The spirits are afraid to cross over and some of them don’t know that they are dead,” Dershem said.

For those who doubt the validity of paranormal activity, Dershem guarantees that a look at his findings will change their minds. He has convinced people who previously didn’t believe, but were left with no other options after seeing the evidence.

For most investigations an initial interview of the client takes place, making certain there is probable reason to continue with a walk through of the property. Next, a DVR system is put in place, for visual and sound recording, as well as a wide collection of other devices. The tools used include no contact thermometers, K2 meters, hygrometers, and EMP level readers.

“It takes about 10 minutes to unload the truck. People are always surprised by the amount of stuff that’s used,” said Dershem.

There is no charge for an investigation, all expenses are covered by the M.S.P.S.

A regular spot of investigations is Browse Awhile Books in downtown Tipp City. Here the M.S.P.S always finds a high amount of activity. A number of different spirits, at least six, have claimed to have been seen and communicated within the bookstore.

“Spirits are basically like cockroaches, or humans; where there is one, others will soon follow,” Dershem said.

Amanda Carl, a fellow member of the M.S.P.S and employee of Browse Awhile Books, claims that news of the store having ghosts has caused a rise in business.

A significant amount of activity can also be found at the Spitfire Bar in Vandalia.

A favorite spot for the group is the Bissman Building in Mansfield. Built in 1886, it is five stories high and over 50,000 square feet. A video of M.S.P.S communicating with a spirit in the Bissman Building can be found on You Tube by searching ‘Bissman 3.’

Locally, Dershem would love to investigate the West Milton Inn and the Pearson House.

Every investigation is met with enthusiasm by Dershem. “Whether it’s your first or 500th time, I still get excited to find a new spirit,” he said.

More about the M.S.P.S can be found on their website, and they are on My Space, Facebook and Twitter.