Name: Melinda

What is your role with SSPR? I am currently a member in training or probationary member, which basically translates to SSPR test-driving me for about six months.

How long have you been with the team? How long have you researched the paranormal? I've been with the team for about three months. SSPR is my first paranormal research group, although my husband, John, and I have participated in paranormal research privately a few times in the past year.

What is your profession? Currently, I am serving as the Intern Pastor at the local Lutheran church with the intention of being an ordained minister.

What are your hobbies? I have several hobbies. On the one hand, I enjoy cross-stitching, scrapbooking, and baking. On the other hand, I enjoy camping, 4-wheeling, and shooting.

Why the paranormal? I have experienced the paranormal since I was a young child including shadows and apparitions. As I grew older, the experiences continued but I attempted to deny they were paranormal in nature.

When I was home visiting from my graduate program, my mother had begun to watch a couple different paranormal investigation shows. While watching these shows, I started to consider exploring the paranormal for several reasons. (1) to either support or debunk the personal experiences; (2) to explore the relationship of the paranormal and religious ideologies; (3) to consider whether I may or may not be sensitive to the paranormal.

What is your most profound, scary, or funny paranormal experience? John and my first paranormal investigation together was a bridge in the middle of nowhere, Texas. During the investigation, John said, "If you want us to leave, just let us know." At that moment, we heard extremely loud and fast footsteps heading towards us from the brush. We turned our flashlights in the direction of the steps and asked who was there but received no response. Since we weren't sure if it was human, animal, or paranormal, we quickly left. That was probably my most scary paranormal experience.

The most humorous experience was also in Texas. One night, I was driving John back to our apartment after a night out. John had been drinking, but I hadn't. There was a police car on the side of the road ahead of us, when a full-bodied female apparition appeared. However, I was unable to determine if it was an apparition or a living, breathing woman. Therefore, I slammed on my brakes. My husband I laughed about how I would explain to the police officer I slammed on the brakes to avoid a spirit, but the police officer didn't pull me over.

I have had several profound experiences with the paranormal, because it is a spiritual encounter with one who has transitioned from our world to the spiritual world. One is when I discovered the male apparition I see at my house is my husband's grandfather and was able to hear his voice on the ghost box.

What would people be surprised to learn about you? I am an open book, which makes answering this question challenging. I have found most religious people are surprised to learn of my interest in the paranormal. However, those who engage me in the paranormal or "everyday" life are generally surprised to learn that I am a religion nerd and am studying for the ordained ministry.

What scares you? Although I usually attempt to deny all fears, there are three core fears I have.

The first fear is rather common. I'm afraid of spiders.

The second fear is usually described as the fear of heights; however, it is more the prospective of the sudden (and deadly) stop that accompanies a fall from high above.

The third fear is more abnormal, but becoming more common in my experience: mirrors. There is one theory in the paranormal that mirrors are a portal between the world of the living and the spiritual realm. Perhaps I witnessed a paranormal event involving a mirror that scared me as a small child, but I have no memory or explanation for this fear.