LILBURN — Shannon and Dave Byers know it’s common to be skeptical when it comes to believing in ghosts and hauntings. They are, too, whenever they first approach a paranormal investigation.
But the husband-wife-duo behind Timeless Paranormal also know there are some things that are difficult to explain. That’s where they say their services come into play.
“We definitely believe in ghosts. We definitely believe in hauntings, but we don’t believe everything is haunted,” Shannon said, “and we’re going to do everything we can to find the normal before we start looking for the paranormal.”
The couple founded an unofficial research team in 2003, and over time it evolved into Timeless Paranormal. The Lilburn residents both have day jobs to pay the bills, dedicating their free time to paranormal investigation and historical research, traveling all over the Southeast pursuing paranormal mysteries.
They don’t charge for their services and say it’s is something they do because they are passionate about it and want to help people.
“The term ‘ghost hunter’ … that’s TV, ” Dave said. “We are paranormal investigators and researchers: we do it for the helping of people and spirits and for the science.”
And they don’t spend time worrying about nonbelievers.
“It’s not my job to make you believe. People like that are not going to believe until something happens to them that they can’t explain,” Shannon said. “If you call me because something’s going on in your house and it’s got you scared or it’s got you worried, my job is it to come in and help you figure out what that is.”
When approached with a case, one of the first things Shannon does is research the site extensively. She estimates that by the end of an investigation, she’ll put in weeks and sometimes even months of genealogical and historical research on the site and sometimes the city it’s located in to learn about any traumatic events that may have taken place.
“Some investigators like to go in, as they say, ‘cold.’ They don’t want to know any history; they just want to see what they can get,” Dave said. “We want to find out as much as we can.”
Having knowledge about the site helps the couple prepare questions for the spirits, decipher the responses, and familiarize themselves with the terminology used during different periods of history.
Dave works for a firm that specializes in shielding radio frequencies, so he serves as the tech guy. The two utilize an array of equipment during an investigation, including Sony video cameras, a voice recorder, a Nikon SLR 7000 camera, EVP recorder, infrared and ultraviolet lights, a laser grid and l-shaped dowsing rods, often used to locate ground water or buried metals. They also use a SB7 spirit box, which sweeps AM and FM radio frequencies at a high speed producing white noise that can be used to communicate.
They begin every investigation with an EMF meter to read the room’s electromagnetic fields because they said exposure to high-frequency fields can cause health problems like hallucinations or sleepwalking.
According to the Byers, there is no “witching hour;” paranormal activity can occur happen anytime of the day — also, don’t get excited by the strange orb floating in your photograph.
“Unless you see an orb with your naked eye, it’s something your camera caught that’s a particle that light reflected off of,” Dave said. “In the 12 years we’ve been doing this together, we’ve caught one piece of photographic evidence that we’ll claim to be paranormal, unexplainable.”
Both Shannon and Dave are Gwinnett natives, and as far as hauntings go on their home turf, they say folks can find spirits at the historic Wynn-Russell House in Lilburn.
The Byers are members of the Wynne-Russell Historic Preservation Committee and have conducted several investigations at the house, which was built in 1826, making it the second oldest structure in Gwinnett. Originally owned by Thomas Wynne, his son Robert married Mary Russell in 1847, and decendants of the Wynnes and Russells lived in the house until 1971.
According to the Byers, the house’s last occupant, the widow Mary Russell, who died in 1971, never left. Russell, along with the ghost of Civil War soldier James Wynne who died in the home from an unknown desease, still haunts the house to this day.
While none of their investigations have turned up any visual experiences, the Byers said they were able to communicate through the dowsing rods and were able to collect audio evidence using the EVP and SB7 spirit box, with most of the contact happening in the living room, which was part of the original structure.
The Byers’ complete findings can be found in a detailed report available for purchase from the Lilburn Community Partnership, a nonprofit working to maintain the house and make it available to the community. The proceeds go to benefit the house.
Shannon and Dave discourage any novice investigators from trespassing on the Wynne-Russell property, which is owned by the City of Lilburn and regularly patrolled by Lilburn Police.
Shannon and Dave also lead free historical tours of the house once a month, and on Saturday, they hosted a series of one-hour paranormal investigations that allowed participants to learn about the process and equipment, as well as join in the investigation. The event was a fundraiser with the proceeds going toward the maintaining of the house and surrounding grounds.