A local man who said he had a traumatic experience with spirits as a child is using his fear of ghosts to help people living with paranormal spirits.
Paranormal investigator Karlo Zuzic of Fremont said he came into contact with a negative spirit in a house his mom and dad bought when he was growing up in Cleveland.
"I felt very uncomfortable there, but unfortunately they bought the house," Zuzic said. "It started off when I was lying in bed and had a little TV at the end of my bed, and I would see the silhouette of a man, darker than dark with no facial features, that would come in and watch me."
Zuzic said he was scared to death, but tried to avoid making contact with the figure. He said when he was walking through a hallway one time a spirit pushed him into an oven.
"I didn't have anyone to talk to about it. I wasn't going to tell my friends, they would have thought I was cuckoo. I do this because I hear about people talking about this and I want to help them," Zuzic said.
Years later, a friend told Zuzic a man had hanged himself in the basement of Zuzic's former home.
No charge for services
His experiences with spirits led Zuzic to become a paranormal investigator.
All investigations conducted by Zuzic and his team, ORBS (Ohio Researchers of Banded Spirits) are free of charge, with the primary goal of validating someone's claim of living with a spirit.
"We may be told a spirit is kicking them or their cat. We are going to set up our equipment and try to capture that. We are going to try and cleanse that spirit and move it on, but some don't want that, they just want validation," Zuzic said.
Now, Zuzic will begin a new set of investigations to air on Japanese TV next year, as the ORBS crew investigates spirits in Mansfield at the Bissman Building and in a home in Michigan.
Zuzic and ORBS have had national TV exposure in the United States already by performing investigations on "Haunted Case Files," which airs on the Destination America cable channel.
"We just filmed an episode for 'Paranormal Survivor' a couple weeks ago in Fremont," Zuzic said. "Over Thanksgiving weekend, we are going have a Japanese film crew follow us around. We are going to the Bissman Building in Mansfield. We were going to do the dungeon (beneath the Sandusky County Courthouse), but because of the court renovation we can't."
With movies, ghost hunting shows and 300 paranormal teams in Ohio, Zuzic said paranormal investigations have become a billion dollar business, although ORBS always offers its services free of charge.
Nerves of steel
Zuzic has conducted more than 400 investigations into the supernatural, and says each investigation requires nerves of steel when attempting to connect with spirits.
"Anytime you go to an investigation, you have to watch yourself," Zuzic said. "You could be up against an evil spirit, or demonic. Just by talking to clients who have been scratched, or pushed, or held down … you are a little scared. It puts a little fear in you."
In more than 30 years of investigating, Zuzic said he has seen only one full body spirit during an investigation.
"There's only one time I saw a full body apparition, and that is in the 1980s in Olmsted Falls at a cemetery," Zuzic said. "There were five of us, and we heard the gravel being kicked around. We thought it was the caretaker, so we got out of there and ran to the car. We pull forward towards this mausoleum and there was a nun kneeling down holding the rosary and you could see every wrinkle in her clothing, but you could see the trees right through her. The hair on my arm still stands when I tell the story."
Using more than $20,000 worth of equipment, Zuzic and the ORBS team of Chris Page and Amy Cobb attempt to connect with spirits from the Sandusky County Historical Society building to all corners of Ohio.
Zuzic said he can even conduct investigations in his own home because a female who was shot to death there still lingers in the house.
"She was murdered here in 1972," Zuzic said. "We are actually filming a documentary on that."
While some spiritual encounters can be dangerous, according to Zuzic, most paranormal encounters are positive.
"There are good ghosts and bad ghosts," he said. "Our motto is, you are in life what you are going to be in death. If you're a jerk in life, that energy when you pass away goes with you."
Zuzic said most emails and calls he receives are about demons, but in most cases he said the chances someone has a demon spirit are about 5 percent.
There are three types of hauntings people come into contact with, according to Zuzic.
The first is a residual spirit, which Zuzic said is a spirit someone cannot get rid of because it is an imprint in time.
"Say every day you used to walk through this door to go to work. That energy is going to be implanted into that area," he said.
The second spirit haunting is called intelligent, Zuzic said.
"The intelligent you can get rid of. You can communicate with them and move them forward," he said.
The final haunting is a demonic spirit, which can move with you wherever you go, and can affect those you come in contact with.
"A demonic can go wherever it wants. Say I call you and I have a demonic in my house, just you talking to me means that demonic can come to my house," Zuzic said.
Equipment is key to connecting with spirits, Zuzic said, and his team uses digital recording devices, cameras and sound equipment to pick up spirit communication with white noise.
Zuzic said the most important piece of equipment he uses is a digital voice recorder, which he will use to ask spirits questions.
Spirits heard on recording
Answers are not always heard while asking the spirit questions, Zuzic said, but the responses from spirits are often heard when playing back the recording.
Another key piece of technology used by Zuzic is a thermal image scanner, which allows Zuzic to physically see spirits in the same room as him.
"The thermal scan can prove that something is in the room. With a medium, they can say there is a man in the room, but they can't prove it. With thermal, you can," he said.
The team of paranormal investigators has traveled across the state searching for spirits, and have conducted investigations in seven other states.
"One of the best things I've ever captured was at the old Eagles building in Lorain where Chris (Page) and I were alone in this building, and no one had been in it for eight years. We were locked into this building and I turn a corner and with my thermal imaging I see this human-looking thing form, and walk across the screen," Zuzic said.
He said he played back the video and saw a spirit walking across the doorway, and through a brick wall.
"If you go into an investigation with an open mind, you can talk to a spirit," Zuzic said. "That is why a lot of children hear spirits, because they are open-minded. Adults are more close-minded. As we mature, we close up."
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