The Paranormal Mom Society (PMS) is a group of women who spend their free time participating in a strange hobby: investigating the paranormal. Christie Carpenter-Chaidez and her neighbors found a tiny electronic voice phenomenon (EVP) recorder on eBay and decided to buy it. They walked through the gates of Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery to test it out for the first time. The abandoned graveyard is located on the edge of a forest in Midlothian, Illinois and is known for its paranormal activity.
According to the story, back in the 1920s, the mob used the cemetery to dispose of dead bodies. Whether it’s a myth or a legend, the cemetery is no stranger to spooky sightings. People have seen pale ghostly figures, phantom cars whipping down the street, and orbs of lights floating around at night.
This is how a few moms became ghost hunters and created PMS, a team that investigates the paranormal.
After nightfall, the women strolled down the path into grounds, and the air felt heavy. Christie tried singing to lighten up the mood a little bit. The sound echoed through the graveyard, and, suddenly, she felt something scratch her leg. “I still have pictures of [the scratch] somewhere,” she revealed.
However, that little scare didn’t discourage her from investigating one of the most haunted cemeteries in America. After spending years fascinated with the paranormal, Christie’s first deliberate ghost-hunting endeavor was that day at Bachelor’s Grove. She was setting up the groundwork for what would soon become known as the Paranormal Moms Society.
Christie established the Paranormal Moms Society, aka PMS, with seven other women in Northlake, Illinois. The moms founded the group in 2007. All members have full-time jobs and families that they balance with their hobby of investigating the paranormal, which tends to be an all-night ordeal. They also spend weekends studying and analyzing hours and hours of footage, audio files, and EVP recordings.
All of this work and interest has led these women to become life-long friends while giving them a sense of purpose. Anytime they deal with a case that involves children or animals, they push it to the top of the pile. Christie Carpenter-Chaidez says, “It’s the mom in us.”
Neighborhood Moms’ Shared Interest
When Christie first moved to Northlake, it was a city made up of 12,000 people, a half-hour outside of Chicago. She didn’t really know anyone around there. She said, “I became a stay-at-home mom when my son was born, so then I was really isolated.”
It was while she was walking her son to school that she got in a conversation with another neighborhood mom, and they discovered that they had a common interest in paranormal investigations. Both moms were huge fans of Ghost Hunters and came up with the idea of purchasing some basic supplies to start their own paranormal searches, starting with the famed Bachelor’s Grove cemetery.
The Search for More Moms
When they first started their group, the moms didn’t use any fancy equipment and weren’t quite sure how one exactly becomes a ghost hunter. Her co-founder left the group shortly after it began, and Christie wanted something more. Something inside her sparked, and she started a search for other like-minded moms.
Christie explained that there must be other moms like her. “I wondered how many other moms who are like us are out there. [Moms] looking for something they could do to get away from the kids on a weekend and looking for something that they are really into.” I’m not a mom, but I would love to be part of this club.
Christie’s Childhood Ghost
Each of the women had a different reason for their fascination with the paranormal. For Christie, ever since she was a little girl in River Lake, Illinois, she was convinced that her house was haunted. Each night after her mom tucked her in, she would hold on to her covers and wait.
First, the closet door would slowly start opening up, and she would lay in bed, terrified, with only her blanket protecting her. Then, the old school lamp would begin its nightly routine: it cranked once, the bottom light turned on; it cranked twice, the top light turned on, and the third crank turned everything back off.
Controlling the Lights
She heard the middle light bulb flickering, and then both bulbs turned on, then back off, leaving her in the dark. That’s when things got really scary. In the pitch-black room, she saw a shadow appear behind the closet door. “I even remember my blankets being tugged off the bottom of the bed,” she recalled.
When Christie called for her skeptical mom to come, she would throw off her blanket and tell her to get out of bed. When she grew up, Christie finally moved out of that house, but that fear she experienced stuck with her. Now, her goal is to make sure no one else feels that way.
The Spirit of Teresa’s Mom
Theresa Ban, on the other hand, didn’t have any paranormal experiences as a child. She didn’t start believing in the spiritual realm until well into adulthood. Theresa explained, “It was after the passing of my mom, I started watching all the ghost shows.” In 2011, she became the director of PMS: “It was curiosity, ya know, wondering about life after death – what happens?”
She went on to say, “It was my mom passed, every time my grandson would come over, I would videotape [him]. I would always catch an orb in the video. I thought that’s great-grandma right there because she never got to meet her great-grandson.”
While Theresa was unemployed and grieving the loss of her mother, she noticed a post by the Paranormal Moms Society. They were looking for more members, and Theresa immediately responded. She met up with Christie for coffee, and the two hit it off right away. “It’s been seven years, and we’ve become really good friends – best friends,” she said.
Theresa had experience working as a fugitive recovery agent, so she already had a background in investigation. They invested in new equipment, created forms for their clients, and got T-shirts made. Despite the cost of funding the whole operation themselves, the group conducts all of its investigations for free. “A lot of people don’t have the money. They don’t know where to go. Things can get expensive, so we are just here to help,” she mentioned.
Bringing in Liz
The group was looking to expand so Theresa recruited her childhood friend, Liz Mason, for her expertise in historical research. The girls grew up next to each other but grew apart as adults when Liz began working as a secretary for a local historical preservation site. Theresa admitted, “As you get older, you grow a family, you lose your friends. And then [PMS] brought us back together again.”
Liz’s family had immigrated to the US from Mexico, and she had been raised in a culture that didn’t shy away from ghosts or spirits: “If you see them, you pretend you don’t, and you just keep moving on with your life.” However, she hadn’t seen one herself until her mom asked her to go down to the basement and look for a tamale pot during Christmas season.
Liz Saw a Ghost
As soon as she opened the door, she noticed a shadow that was not her own. Liz said, “The only thing I can describe is that it looked like an outline of Dick Tracy.” That experience was enough to make young Liz a believer. After observing his mother’s paranormal investigations since the age of six, Christie’s son Luke joined the team as a tech manager. The club now includes a case manager, an investigator, a tech assistant, and a client services specialist.
With Liz’s experience in historical research, Theresa’s background in analyzing evidence, and Christie’s impeccable leadership skills, PMS investigators have become a professional operation. They are completely committed to discovering the paranormal world.
Ever since PMS was featured on a segment on WGN, a local news station, the team has received numerous client requests, as well as applications for new members. Christie clarified that “not all of them are real.” After getting past the fake applicants, they start figuring out who is serious.
Their hiring process is not something they take lightly. The group wants people who are just as committed as they are. The job includes traveling, late-night shifts, and time away from their young children. They make sure the applicants know that it’s no easy feat. You have to be the type of person who is ready for adventure and encountering ghosts at any moment.
When they get a new case, PMS has a methodical process: First, Liz takes a deep dive into the history of the location and surrounding area. She stated, “It takes a lot of digging. I mean, I can go through 500 pieces of paper at the library and not find anything.” She searches for anything that might explain the paranormal occurrences, such as deaths in a home, accidents nearby, or strange historical events in the town.
She was able to uncover mining accidents that took place in Cherry Grove, Illinois and stories about the Maywood Home for Soldiers, Widows and Orphans. She said that the events give the group a better idea of what they are walking into. “She’ll go way back to the beginning of Earth if she has to,” Teresa says.
The next step is making sure all their equipment is fully charged, pets and people are off the property, and the release forms are sound. Now the women just have to wait for nightfall to start the investigation. They usually don’t leave until the sun rises the next morning. Trina and Neil Wagner were past clients of the group who reached out to PMS in a critical time in their lives.
Trina has experienced paranormal attacks at her home throughout the 12 years that she was living there. She claims to have been scratched, punched, and even had her hair pulled. She saw all different kinds of ghosts, but the most prominent one was a little blonde girl in pigtails (literally out of a horror movie) who loved to play with the dog toys.
Not a Friendly Ghost
Another notable spirit was a tall, skinny man wearing work boots; Trina and Neil named him Barney. He wasn’t the friendliest ghost. After the Wagners’ crawl space flooded, they needed to do some renovation on the house, and that’s when the aggression spiked.
It wasn’t often that the PMS group encountered aggressive ghosts. Most of the spirits are nonviolent and just startled by human presence. In this specific case, there was no reason to believe that the spirits wanted to harm the people living in the house. The PMS members all said there was unexplainable hostility throughout the night. There was a lot of tension and fights broke out. Christie said, “People seemed off, not themselves.”
We Have a Visitor
Christie explained that when she picks up on a spike, she holds the energy detector at that location: “When we get a sudden spike in levels, we usually check for an energy source that might be causing it.” The closer she got to the light switch, the levels started to drop. “We might actually have a visitor right now.”
It’s not often that PMS members get scared. They casually walk into haunted orphanages and old, creepy attics without blinking an eye. But this particular investigation was intense. Even Theresa (the calm one) needed to take a deep breath because of the presence she felt in the house. Christie watched Theresa pace back and forth, completely dazed and barely responsive… until something hit the back of the couch.
Blonde Girl with Pigtails
“It was so hard that the footrest part came flying out and propelled me backward,” Christie said. “We all got up to check and there was nothing there, but the force of the hit was heard by the rest in the room.” The EVPs picked up the voice of the little girl in the hallway. But the eeriest sound was a man’s voice in the crawlspace uttering, “I never did anything.”
Part of their work is recording EVPs, which they do by using equipment that essentially picked up responses and voices that can be found only in playback. They also measure fluctuations in the electromagnetic field. Theoretically, if it gets higher, it means a spirit is close by. They record responses from the rods, 2 L-shaped metal sticks that are carried around, which cross and uncross depending on how the ghosts and spirits respond to the questions.
Boo-Bear for Ghost Children
For cases that deal with the ghosts and spirits of children, the group brings in Boo-Bear, a stuffed animal with a glowing green tummy that asks prerecorded questions to the spirit children. Usually Boo-Bear asks the ghost kids to count or to say their ABCs to get them to reveal answers that the investigators may not have necessarily been able to get out of them.
Boo-Bear is programmed with responses to temperature changes. She will say things like, “Brrr, its cold in here.” The bear includes an EVP monitor inside, so all the investigators need to do is set up a recording device next to it and listen to the spirit’s responses on playback.
Love What They Do
PMS has never performed exorcisms or other forms of spirit removals. However, they will always connect clients to helpful resources, whether religious or spiritual. Some of the moms have families who don’t support or understand their paranormal hobbies. In fact, Liz’s mom was totally against it because of religious reasons. Thankfully, she has become more accepting throughout the years; these days, she even watches live feeds of their investigations.
Theresa’s sons were also skeptical, but after showing them evidence and explaining what she does, they understood. “Both of my boys are supportive; they don’t make fun of it or anything,” she explained. “They know this is mom’s hobby, and I like to do this.”
More than a Hobby
This hobby is more than just a pastime for these moms; it’s a responsibility. What they learned from their own paranormal experiences is that no one should ever feel scared, alone or hopeless. They remain committed, no matter what. Christie says, “I have shown up to cases with a cane, I have a team member that has arthritis, and even when she can barely move, she will still come on a case.”
She went on to say, “My case manager Crissy showed up at this site, and she didn’t look great to me… well, it turns out she had been having a heart attack and stayed, so that is who is on my team.” Wow! That is real dedication.
Ghosts Are Real!
The women of PMS are not hunting ghosts to gain fame or recognition. The team is genuinely passionate about what they are doing and look at it as an opportunity to help others. “It’s all worth it to me,” Liz expressed. “Especially when we help people, when we validate [their] claims, and they go, ‘See I wasn’t crazy!’”
“In the beginning, I was trying to find answers for myself,” Christie exclaimed. “I wanted to know what was after me when I was a child. But over the years, it has become about finding these answers for other people, so they don’t have to have that fear that I did.”
There are a lot of interesting people out there with unique hobbies, but what happens when you meet someone who basically lived the same life as you. That’s exactly what happened to the Jim twins, despite being separated at birth and living separate lives.