Matthew Herran describes his fascination with the paranormal as a personal quest to find out if there is life after death.
The Aurora resident goes on "hunts" for EVPs, or electronic voice phenomena, which is the communication by spirits through radios, tape recorders, or other electronic audio devices.
"I honestly don't know what happens to someone after they have passed," says Herran. "I would like to find proof that there is life after death."
Herran's girlfriend introduced him to EVP and the folks at Kindred Spirits in Oswego more than 18 months ago. Since then Herran has joined their paranormal investigation team.
They take part in one or two hunts every month, usually in the Midwest, listening and looking for evidence of the afterlife in cemeteries and even private homes.
The equipment for EVP hunting is relativity simple.
"All you need is a digital recorder, headphones, and audio editing software," he says.
Herran also uses a heat-detection device and a small video camera that he carries in a briefcase, which are used to verify the presence of a spirit visually or by heat signature. When hunting, he simply asks a question of the spirit and waits for a response. However, responses can only be detected by the digital device at the time of recording because the human ear cannot hear them without being digitized or magnetically recorded. Herran doesn't hear the responses until he processes the audio files on his computer.
Herran describes these hunts as exhilarating. He and his fellow hunters often find themselves experiencing cold spots, tingling of the arms, and hair standing up when a paranormal presence is near.
Herran also admits to being scared at times. While monitoring a live session with his headphones on, Herran heard the words "Get out!" After hearing the rare, audible warning, the team quickly left the premises.
Herran says his family was worried that his work dealing with paranormal activity would open him up to some kind of demonic or evil energy. He believes there are both positive and negative energies and this is all a necessary part of finding the answers he needs.
"I'm a very open-minded person," he says.
After all of Herran's experiences with the paranormal and EVPs, he says he is still looking for answers.
"I'm not going to say I'm not afraid of death, but I'm more welcome to the fact of life after death," he says.