Jacob ‘Jake’ Rice is a founding member of Ghostly Activities. He’s the researcher and equipment tech on the team. By day, he works in analytics for a big technology company: At night, he’s on the trail of ghosts, mysteries and (occasionally) a cryptid. You can read more about that at MonstersOnTheWeb.com.
Before he became a ghost hunter and tech head, Jake was a codebreaker in the US Army. He’s also an avid traveller; having visited all 7 continents.
Let’s get to know him better.
What’s your hometown?
I’m from suburban Seattle, but Chicago is my second hometown. I went to college there and then stayed for 18 years.
How long have you been interested in the paranormal?
I think I was 5-years old when I became fascinated with ghosts and monsters. My family liked to tell ghost stories and watch scary movies. I grew up with spooky stuff.
When did you have your first ghostly encounter?
I was almost 30 when it happened. I got stuck in an elevator in my apartment building and…some thing…began to manifest. Once I yelled at it to go away, it disappeared and the elevator began to move again.
What’s the one ghost hunt you liked the best?
I’ve had a few memorable ones over the years, but The Congress Plaza Hotel, in downtown Chicago, is one I always mention. The ghosts are very active and very willing to communicate.
What’s the one ghost hunt you wish you could do over?
Manteno State Mental Hospital. I rushed through the research and the investigation turned into legend tripping (a photo-taking tour of a haunted site). I didn’t get a chance to interview the locals because they didn’t want me snooping around the old cottages.
What do you think about using psychics on investigations?
I think each ghost hunting group needs to set its own agenda. We’ve had very good evidence collection with psychics and mediums. I generally ask them to find a spot where a spirit is, and then set up an experiment to capture evidence. We only use very trusted sources and we don’t provide any information about the location for the psychic: They go in ‘cold’ on the haunt.
For other teams, it depends on your charter. If they want to be only scientific, that’s fine. If they want to be a psychical research group, that’s fine, too. Ghostly Activities tends to blend science and psychical research. The equipment gives us the hard data (empirical data points) and the psychic feedback gives us the soft data (qualitative data points). I find the two approaches can complement each other, but I use the hard data when I make conclusions and write the ghost hunt report.
What advice can you give new ghost hunters?
Do your research. Don’t be afraid to go the library and learn about the suspected haunt. Believe me, librarians have had stranger requests. Also, learn how to use the equipment. You don’t want to be on site and fumbling through the digital camera instructions. You’ll lose precious investigation time. I would recommend practicing in a cemetery during the day. Cemeteries are great training grounds for new ghost hunters.