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By Heather Tews

Ross Allison sounds surprisingly normal for someone who hunts ghosts in his spare time. Allison is the president and founder of A.G.H.O.S.T., Amateur Ghost Hunters of Seattle Tacoma, an organization whose mission is to prove there is life after death by exploring the existence of ghosts. A.G.H.O.S.T. is slated to be the largest ghost hunting organization in the Pacific Northwest with a sister chapter recently founded in Spokane, and another forming over the Canadian border. Speaking with Allison it's easy to see why people would be attracted to his brand of ghost hunting. A.G.H.O.S.T. does not portend to be an exorcising or ghost-busting group, in fact they explicitly say as much on their extensive Web site.

Allison, and, by extension, the members of this growing organization, seem devoted to exploring the possibility of ghosts, rather than touting every little shadowy photo as proof of the supernatural. Still, it is a spooky hobby, going off to supposedly haunted spots in search of the very thing most people would rather avoid. A.G.H.O.S.T. identifies most of the places it hunts for ghosts through people contacting the organization believing their house or property is haunted. These hunts usually result in no findings, according to Allison; perhaps one in ten exhibits supernatural phenomena. Also, it often takes multiple visits to a prospective haunted area to determine the residence of a ghost or not. The evidence of this one in ten haunting is displayed on the A.G.H.O.S.T. Web site and although this evidence is prodigious, it's honestly not very impressive. Most photos show glowing orbs of light or a misty wisp of fog, which don't offer much to a hopeful skeptic or a Web surfer seeking to get a little creeped out on a dark night.

What's perhaps more impressive is the access A.G.H.O.S.T. has been given to such rumored haunted places as the Kalakala, the Bush House and Manresa Castle. Perhaps this is because A.G.H.O.S.T. takes its mission statement very seriously, and that certainly brings an air of respect to their work. They offer Ghostology classes, Sunday evenings from 8-9:30pm, charging five dollars for non-A.G.H.O.S.T. members. A.G.H.O.S.T. is an open group, encouraging interested persons to join their organization. Their ghost hunting services are available to the general public.

Currently they are working on a project called the "A.G.H.O.ST. Challenge" in which they look for three self-proclaimed ghost skeptics to spend a weekend trip in a haunted place. Any lucky (unlucky) takers, monitored by A.G.H.O.S.T. and provided training and ghost hunting equipment, spend this weekend alone. The idea is that ghosts tend to show themselves more readily to the nonbeliever than a wily ghost hunter. While this sounds like the beginning to countless horror movies, any adventurous skeptics should contact A.G.H.O.S.T at For the rest of us too chicken shit to spend two nights alone in some haunted house, A.G.H.O.S.T. is throwing its one-year anniversary this Halloween at the Timberline in Seattle from 7pm to midnight, and the evening will culminate with a sance.

Now That's Some Spooky Shit!