2007_06_dom_villella.jpgForget Slimer, the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, and Dr. Peter Venkman, here come the real paranormal investigators! Lead by Certified Paranormal Investigator Dom Villella, Paranormal Investigation of NYC has been looking for ghosts since 2003. Gothamist sat down to chat with the leader of these real life ghost hunters.

What are a few of the places in NYC that are haunted or rumored to be haunted that people can visit on their own?
Trinity Church in lower Manhattan. It has a small cemetery outside that seems to be the cause of the haunting. McCarren Park Pool in Greenpoint Brooklyn is also rumored to be haunted. It's been reported that the spirit of a young girl walks around the pool at night. Supposedly, she died there many years ago. Although it's been reported that images have been seen at both places, no one has any solid proof so I'd tell anyone who visits a claimed haunted place to never expect to see any activity.

What have been some of your most memorable investigations?
We had an investigation in late 2004 in Upstate NY where we witnessed items falling out of the ceiling and caught on video an image of a white shape walking past me, then into a room, and then disappearing into a wall. This was witnessed by several people and documented on video. On another investigation in Neuberg, NY, myself and another investigator heard the voice of a woman who spoke directly to us. At the time only one woman was in the house and she was in the basement, 3 floors down from where we were. Most of the activity we investigate turns out not to be paranormal. Most activity is caused by natural explanations, such as electrical problems, plumbing problems, or active imagination.

How does one become a ghost and why do they haunt things?
The media tends to make ghosts out to be scary or evil, but I've never come across anything like that. I believe that Ghosts retain the personality they had in life, so if they were angry in life then they remain angry in death. It's believed that spirits may linger in a place that they are comfortable in. They may have a hard time letting go of possessions and family or they don't realize they are dead. A spirit cannot be removed unless they are ready to leave. The most that can be done is trying to make the spirit aware that he has died and needs to move on.

Are the Orbs on your site ghosts?
All Orbs are dust, reflection or energy. Some people believe that the energy Orbs are spirits. I feel energy Orbs are mostly static and other natural phenomena. The Orbs on our site are just some ideas of different Orbs and what they look like.

What has been the team's experience with Electronic Voice Phenomenon?
We have several EVP's that appear to be spirit voice. The first was the voice of a child crying in a sound proof Studio, at 3 am. The second is a voice from Eastern State Penn: We recorded a male voice saying "my house, my home". The recorder was in a prison cell and no one showed up on the video surveillance.

Please share your strangest "only in New York" story.
Once when working in Manhattan I was eating a sandwich for lunch and began to choke. I tried to get others attention but no one even would look at me. After several moments when I knew no one was going to help me, I rammed my stomach into a concrete slab to eject whatever I was choking on. I looked around when I was finished and noticed that people where rolling their eyes at me as if I were insane.

Which New Yorker do you most admire?
Donald Trump, for investing tons of his own money back into NY.

Given the opportunity, how would you change New York?
I like New York the way it is, but I'd lower crime if possible.

Under what circumstance have you thought about leaving New York?
Only once have I ever thought about leaving NY and, like others, it was after 9/11. I could never leave NY.

What's your idea of a perfect day of recreation in New York?
Going to Coney Island and the Aquarium or the Bronx Zoo with my wife and kids.