It was a dark night. The cemetery looked quiet, but looks can be deceiving.

“I was walking around towards the back part of the cemetery,” said Memphis Slim, member of the Valley Paranormal team. “I’ve been in the Paranormal research field for 40 years and have been in some bad poltergeists incidents but I had never seen a solid ghost.

“There was a railroad track there and I thought, ‘Where are the train riders?’ I turned to look where the other team members were. When I turned back there’s this guy standing there. I looked into his eyes and decided he was a human being. I struck up a conversation.

‘Oh, hi!,’ I said. ‘What’s your name? What can I do for you?’ After looking me in the eye, he turned sideways and … winked out. I thought it was a person, I’ve never seen a ghost so solid, but — it wasn’t. The next day I talked to my cardiac specialist,” he said, now laughing at the harrowing experience.

And so it goes in the life of Valley Paranormal, a group formed four years ago by Rolando Marroquin and his friend, John Cage.

Tow truck driver when not hunting ghosts, Marroquin was introduced to the paranormal as a kid at home.

“My house has been crazy,” he said. “At the time nobody knew what it was. We didn’t expect anything to happen, but there was activity everyday. We were trying to figure out what it was and how to get rid of it. We contacted TAPS (the Atlantic Paranormal Society) and others but we never got a response from anybody.”

Using only flyers and tips to get cases, soon their phone was ringing. However, there’s a bit of a twist to Valley Paranormal.

“I want to make it clear that we don’t charge for our services,” said Marroquin. “We do it to help out people, not for the money.”

The night Memphis came on board they had four cases to work.

Memphis first got involved while living in a little farm community 10 miles from Memphis — Marked Tree, Ark.

“My first wife and I lived in a haunted house and I’d never experienced that before. Our house was on an Indian burial ground and we didn’t know it. There was a well that was dug down into the burial ground to the house. One night the spirits decided to let us know we were in the wrong place. We woke up one morning and the heater (middle of winter) had done something odd — soot was over everything in the house. It should have killed us but it didn’t bother us. There were drawings of skulls all over the house.

“We decided it was time to leave and went to get in the station wagon and the station wagon was full of snow. The windows were closed.”

Hence began his life-long quest for the paranormal.

“I investigated a lot of things in my family, so they used to say, ‘Watch out, here comes Memphis Slim. He’s looking for ghosts,’” he said, laughing. Turns out these investigators laugh a lot, perhaps to let go of the other emotions stirred up by chasing ghosts.

However, even through the laughter, “We take this very serious,” said Marroquin. They know it can be life changing for people.

Ghosts, it seems, will release magnetic fields and are attracted to electricity. So the investigators arm themselves.

“This is a K2 meter which registers electro magnetic frequencies,” said Memphis. Between Marroquin and Memphis they can pick up a car going down the road, a street light across the street or anything else with electric vibrations and no physical electrical origins in sight. In other words — ghosts, entities and poltergeists.

“We’ll go out to the site, set up special cameras, motion detectors, DVRs, wireless microphones and record overnight,” said Marroquin. “We’ll review the results and whatever we find we go back and show it to the clients. When we find what it is and if it’s not causing harm to anybody, we just leave it alone. If it’s causing harm, we call people to come in and help us out.”

After various movies about the paranormal brought events to light, the next question seemed to be a natural.

Is there such a thing as exorcism?

“Yes. Once you’re sure that it’s an actual infestation and that it’s within a person or dwelling, you remove it,” said Memphis, who also happens to be a Messianic Rabbi.

Unlike the movies, the team said it takes no time to rid someone or someplace of an unwanted guest.

“A lot of people think it’ll take 18 hours to do,” said Memphis Slim. “If it takes 18 hours, the people want it there.”

Recently they visited an empty room of a house no one would go into. During the investigation, Marroquin and another team member were attempting to open the door to the outside and it wouldn’t open.

“We would push the door and “they” [whoever “they” were] would slam it back on us,” said Rolando. “We would push it again and “they” would slam it back.” Nothing was seen.

Memphis, on the outside investigating with seven witnesses, heard nothing and saw nothing. When he reached over and opened the door, Marroquin was standing there.

“Hi,” said Memphis.

“Hello,” said a calm Marroquin. Looking past Marroquin, Memphis saw the other investigator as white as a sheet. Though he claimed experience in working cases, it was obvious he was terrified.

“We heard a voice on the tape during the EVP (electronic voice phenomena). We thought it was the ghost because it was saying in a rough voice, ‘Out. Out. I want out.’ But it was the other investigator,” said Rolando, chuckling. “He was so panicked!”

And no wonder. Memphis tells of being thrown across a room or knocked over by some unseen force.

On their cameras they have unexplainable pictures — a fairy perhaps, maybe an angel, a cowboy, hat and all, a little girl in a dated white dress sitting on the tombstone of a young girl, a ghost hiding in the bushes, a skull, mist rising from a grave, brilliant unexplained light and orbs — lots of orbs.

“One thing that is unique about us is that we know when there’s something there,” said Memphis. “It’s instinctual for me and it’s been instinctual for Rolando all his life. Paranormal is specialized. You examine everything outside of the norm. You find reasons for the phenomena, then you go out and make sure you’re right or wrong. It’s a science.

“Bella Lugosi was a Hungarian immigrant and an actor. He landed a part in a movie called Dracula. Dracula was about vampires. One of the lines in the movie was, ‘The strength of a vampire is that no one believes they exist.’ The strength of the paranormal is that no one really believes it exists but it’s out there.”

Hoping to form an organization with specialists in crytozoology, UFO’s [Rolando saw one over the Shrine], and various other sciences, Valley Paranormal would like regulations and training in place for those interested in things unknown and wanting to help other people - living and dead.

“You press the recorder and say, ‘Is there anyone here who wants to speak to me? We want to know what you need from us to help you,’” said Mike.

Then be quiet and let them answer.

For more information visit myspace.com/valleyparanormal7 or call 475-6267.