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One booth offers bridge between two worlds

If there’s somethin’ strange in your neighborhood, who ya gonna call?
If that neighborhood happens to be East Tennessee, you could call Washington County Paranormal Investigations.
Members of the WCPI team will be set up Saturday in downtown Elizabethton from 3 to 6 p.m. as part of the Covered Bridge Celebration and the downtown car show. The team will have a booth set up outside The Peddler’s Cart store on East Elk Avenue to meet and greet visitors and explain a little about the team and what sort of work it does.
The team will also talk a bit about Ernie, the resident ghost at The Peddler’s Cart.
“From what we gathered so far, previous businesses have called him Ernie down through the years. He’s been known to pull women’s hair, move things around, and at certain times you can hear footsteps on the second floor when standing on the first floor,” said Dustin Mullins, one of the owners and founders of WCPI. “Jane Mullins, owner of The Peddler’s Cart, has contacted WCPI to do two investigations for her. The first investigation we caught a shadow figure on video and several EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomenon). The second investigation, Jane allowed us to film as our first show, which you can purchase at The Peddler’s Cart.
“WCPI was asked to come back to do future investigations at the store,” he said, “where there is still activity going on daily. Research is still ongoing into the building’s history. If you ever visit The Peddler’s Cart and feel like someone is watching, uneasy, or get your hair pulled, it may just be Ernie.”
WCPI was formed in early 2007 by Dustin and Keith Mullins, who are brothers. The team is based in Gray.
“Myself and Keith were always fascinated about the paranormal, so we decided to buy some equipment of our own and started investigating,” said Dustin Mullins. “Our first investigation was in Kingsport at our cousin’s trailer. We got several audio clips from there. Ever since then, our equipment has advanced and our team has grown, now up to nine members, and we’re receiving more investigations as we continue to grow.”
Investigating the paranormal continues to be a passion for the team, no matter how large the group grows. The team offers its services free of charge to anyone who wants it to come and complete an investigation.
Mullins said when someone contacts the team to do an investigation, team members set up a pre-interview to talk with the client and gather information about the sort of paranormal activity that goes on at the location.
“We also ask about some of the history about the place and property; for example, have there been any tragic events or deaths at the location?” he said. “We just try and gather as much information about the location and people before we investigate.”
The team also has two field researchers who gather any additional information the team may need to complete the investigation.
Once an investigation is scheduled, the team arrives at the location, sets up equipment and records audio and video for about 8 hours in order to try to catch as much paranormal activity as possible, according to Mullins. He said his team always arrives dressed and presenting themselves in a professional manner. Once the work at the location is completed, the team reviews the evidence collected.
“After the investigation we will get back with the client within two weeks and let them know what we found, and a copy of our findings is given to them,” Mullins said.
That professionalism is one of the things that sets the team apart from other paranormal investigation teams, Mullins said.
“We try to re-enact and debunk as many things as we can, but some things can not be explained, which then we will consider being paranormal,” Mullins said.
The WCPI website — www.wcpi.us — offers this insight about its approach: “We base all of our evidence on scientific equipment that we use. WCPI does not use feelings as evidence or does not practice any satanic rituals also we do not use psychics.”