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Miller, Mark James

“Don’t fear the unknown,” is the motto of the Central Coast Paranormal Investigators. But to the investigators it is more than a motto, these are the words they live by.

The investigators’ mission is to delve into what frightens human beings the most — the unexplained, unknown, things that go bump in the night. Whereas most people would prefer to keep a distance from anything that seemingly can’t be explained rationally — and paranormal is defined as “not within the range of normal experience or scientifically explainable phenomena” — the investigators confront it head-on in every investigation they undertake.

Mitch Flores founded the group in 2007 with the goal of “helping people experiencing paranormal activity to reestablish their peace of mind.” His interest in the unexplained was triggered when he witnessed some paranormal activity at a place where he was employed. Lights turning on and off by themselves, the hands of clocks moving backwards, finding doors unlocked after he had locked them.

Realizing there was no one on the Central Coast who investigated these matters, he decided to begin doing it himself. Over the years he and his cohorts have investigated Central Coast locations such as the Santa Maria Inn, La Purisma Mission, Far Western Tavern in Guadalupe, and the Halcyon Cemetery.

Recently Mitch and another investigator, Micah Watkins, sat down with me to talk about their work. After only a few minutes of conversation it becomes clear they take what they do very seriously. When summoned to investigate a report of paranormal activity, they follow a rigorous, methodical, six-step process that includes initial contact, pre-investigation, investigation, evidence reveal and follow-up.

“We’re here to help people,” said Micah, an assertion that is supported by the fact that in the early phases of an investigation he and his associates begin by looking for any and all rational explanations for whatever it is their client is experiencing. Only when all these have been eliminated do they go on to the actual search for the paranormal itself.

“Ninety percent of the time,” said Mitch, “there is a rational reason that accounts for what is going on. But the other 10 percent is what gives us a heck of a ride.”

Once the investigators determine that actual paranormal activity is taking place, they frequently stay all night in the home or building, and turn off all lights. Using an array or sophisticated equipment, they attempt to discover what exactly is there.

They approach an investigation armed with the latest paranormal research equipment, including an electromagnetic field meter, digital voice recorder that can pick up sounds and voices below human frequencies, as well as various cameras and microphones.

But Mitch and Micah both agree their most important tool is their five senses.

“What we see, hear and feel are our most convincing evidence of genuine paranormal activity,” Mitch said.

While the Paranormal Investigators focus their work primarily on the Central Coast, they have gone as far away as Kentucky and Iowa in their pursuit of knowledge of the unexplained. In Kentucky they have twice visited the notorious Waverly Hills Sanitorium, claimed by many to be the most haunted spot in the world. They have also gone to the Villisca Axe Murder House in Villisca, Iowa, where a family of eight was slaughtered in 1912. The case remains unsolved.

The paranormal investigators charge nothing for their work, but will accept donations. You can visit their website at:

What they find may be scary, but their goal is to help you understand what it is you are afraid of.

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Mark James Miller is an associate English instructor at Allan Hancock College. He can be reached at: