The sun has fallen and a thick blanket of darkness swallows the sky, but for David Last and Val Frasier, their night is just beginning. As they open briefcases full of electronic equipment, they switch on their walkie talkies. Suddenly, a bone-chilling voice, that of a little girl, crackles through.
“I like you, I like you!” the voice says between giggles.
The distant, muddled voices of grown men can also be heard coming through the walkie talkie.
While this might seem like something straight out of a nightmare for some, this is just another night on the job for Last and Frasier.
If there’s something strange in your neighborhood, who are you gonna call? Not Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Harold Ramis. Instead, you’ll call (541) 852-1778. That will connect you to Last, a founding member of Afterlife Ghost Investigators. Located in Creswell, Oregon, they’re real life Ghostbusters.
Last has been involved with investigating the paranormal ever since he had his first other-wordly experience when he was only nine years old and living in the Philippines. Because his father was in the military, his family was always on the move, and one of those moves changed Last’s life for good.
“We moved into a haunted house,” Last recalled. “I was constantly hearing voices and footsteps. One time, I was even levitated. I wanted to tell my parents, but they would have thought I was crazy.”
Since then, Last has been a part of several different ghost hunting groups before forming Afterlife in 2012, when he came into contact with Val Frasier through Facebook. The two quickly bonded over their mutual supernatural experiences. Much like Last, Frasier has also been an active member in the ghost hunting community for many years.
She’s a spirit medium, for lack of a better term.
“I hate the labels,” Frasier says. “I don’t consider myself a medium or a psychic. I just consider myself open. Spirits come to me in dreams and in visions. They tell me thoughts and feelings, often seeking help.”
Frasier has had this ability for as long as she can remember. One of her earliest experiences with the paranormal happened when she was 11 years old. Her grandmother wanted to exorcise her house, so she asked Frasier to bless it for seven nights, which she did.
“After those seven nights, it was as if a light was turned on in her home again,” Frasier says. “That’s when I started having paranormal experiences – voices, knocking, what have you. It was then that I knew what I could do.”
With their combined experience, Last and Frasier created the Afterlife Ghost Investigators. Together, they’ll help anyone in need who is struggling with a supernatural presence in their homes within Oregon and Washington. On top of that, they won’t charge you a dime. Everything, from the gas it takes to commute to a job, to hotel expenses, to their own equipment, comes out of their pockets.
Money isn’t the only expense when it comes to ghost hunting, however. Their job takes an unworldly amount of time — that’s why they only take on about two cases per month. When the group gets a call, they arrive at their client’s house two hours early just to set up equipment. And they have plenty of it, including walkie talkies, motion sensors, video cameras, laptops, laser grids, speakers, infrared and ultraviolet sensors, night-vision cameras, and batteries — lots and lots of batteries.
“The batteries aren’t just to power all of our equipment, but to communicate with the spirits, as well,” says Charlene Quinlan, who joined Afterlife in 2013. “Spirits can use the energy that the batteries give off in order to talk to us.”
They also carry tools that you don’t see every day, one of the most important of which is the Ovilus III, a device the size of a remote control, which they say allows spirits to use the electronic signal it puts out to speak. The Ovilus III will then translate their messages for the members of Afterlife to hear.
After all of their equipment it set up and ready to go, the investigation begins, lasting four to five hours on average.
“When you walk into a haunted house, you feel claustrophobic. There’s a weight. Your heart races,” Frasier says. “We try to lighten the load.”
After leaving, the group will then sit down and sift through their newly-compiled material – videos, audio, images, and EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomenon).
“We do everything we can to debunk our material before we can actually call it evidence,” Quinlan says.
Since its inception in 2012, Afterlife is currently 11 members strong. Members have come and gone over the years, as paranormal investigation is a physically, emotionally, and spiritually-taxing job. The investigators have been touched, grabbed, pushed, scratched, taunted, and choked.
“We get to meet frightened people, people who are considering moving out of their homes, or even tearing them down. People who are at their last straw,” Frasier says. “We help them get a handle on things. To be able to give them their lives back is what makes our job worthwhile.”
Oftentimes, Afterlife isn’t there to assist the living exclusively.
“The whole purpose of our job is to not only help the living, but the dead,” Quinlan says. “If you can help them go to the light, then that’s what you do.”
With Afterlife’s third birthday just around the corner, Last, Frasier, Quinlan, and the rest of the team hope to see their business continue to succeed for many years to come. As their clientele grows, so does their fascination with the spiritual world.
“Eugene is a positive space for spirits. However, people think anything that goes bump in the night is demonic,” says Frasier. “We give them a sense of understanding and empowerment. They’re not crazy. This is not unusual.”