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Hunting Ghosts in Brooklyn, While Drunk

By Nicole Levy | September 29, 2015 9:17am | Updated on September 29, 2015 6:47pm
 Taking inspiration from the Travel Channel's
Taking inspiration from the Travel Channel's "Ghost Adventures" and Comedy Central's "Drunk History," the Brooklyn Paranormal Society's founders invite New Yorkers to hunt ghosts while inebriated.
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Brooklyn Paranormal Society

It's like a drunk "Ghostbusters."

The all-female reboot of the cult movie, which wrapped up filming in TriBeCa earlier this month, hits movie theaters June 2016.

Until then, you can try your own hand at ghost hunting with the Brooklyn Paranormal Society.

Taking inspiration from the Travel Channel's "Ghost Adventures" and Comedy Central's "Drunk History," the Brooklyn Paranormal Society's founders invite New Yorkers to hunt ghosts while inebriated.

Their main credentials are enthusiasm and skepticism.

"We’re essentially inexperienced investigators," said Anthony Long, a group co-founder and its "chief ectoplasm officer," acccording to the group's Meetup page.

"We don’t have all the cool stuff that you see on TV." (On Amazon, a $133 starter kit for paranormal research includes an electromagnetic field detector, an infrared thermometer and an EVP recorder, to capture "electronic voice phenomena." Meetings of the Brooklyn Paranormal Society are free to attend.)

Long, 29, a Park Slope resident who works as a Python developer for the social media network Tsu, was day-drinking with a co-worker and two friends when they first conceived the idea of rallying boozy, wannabe ghost hunters.

"We were discussing things we were all into, and drinking obviously was one of them, and horror movies and the paranormal were another, so the idea came up to basically create a group to get drunk and find ghosts around Brooklyn," he said.

"We don’t ever want to take it very seriously." 

At the inaugural meeting of the Brooklyn Paranormal Society on Sept. 23, about 30 would-be investigators gathered at a bar in Fort Greene to explore supernatural activity at the nearby park, the site of a crypt holding remains of American patriots who died on British prison ships during the Revolutionary War.

On Oct. 6, the group will head to Prospect Park. There, society members say they will explore the scenes of four murders and — if they can get permission from the Friends Cemetery — an active Quaker burial ground where former Brooklyn borough president Raymond Ingersoll and actor Montgomery Clift are interred.

The Brooklyn Paranormal Society is hardly the first group to arrange ghost tours of New York City. You can follow the spectral trails of the dead with guidance from Ghosts, Murders and Mayhems Walking Tours, Boroughs of the Dead and Ghosts of New York

On top of that, "ghost doctors" Stew and Peter Kandel have been leading New Yorkers on ghost hunts for years now.  

But no officially licensed tour encourages public drinking the way the event description for the society's next meeting does: "Join us...while we drink wine from a bag and reach out to the spirits that inhabit Prospect Park," it reads on Meetup.com.

As for New York open container laws that prohibit drinking outdoors, Long said he'll be obeying them as the Society's acting historian and tour guide. 

Nonetheless, "we encourage people to bring flasks, or CamelBak" water bottles, he acknowledged. "Normally people bring a little hooch and pass it around."

Long envisions meetings of the Brooklyn Paranormal Society as a year-round activity. 

"Basically, we’re going to run events outdoors until it gets too chilly, and then, somehow, someway, I’m going to convince people to let us get drunk in their house and find ghosts," he said.

"I hope by then that it’ll be a little easier of a sell than it is right now."