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Roger Stephens may be a San Antonio solo, but he’s never alone in his office. It’s haunted �- or so it seems. In 1998, Stephens bought the building that serves as his home and office. When he purchased the two-story structure, which sits in the historic Lavaca neighborhood south of downtown, it needed work, so he enlisted the San Antonio Conservation Society to help with the renovations. And that’s when it all began. “The first [ghostlike] thing was really, really strange,” Stephens says. One day more than a year ago, his friend came over to help with the renovation. They worked until almost midnight before calling it quits. Stephens’ friend went upstairs to turn the lights off and then started to run downstairs. All of a sudden, Stephens says, the man “felt something grab the back of his collar and pull him back.” But the scary stories don’t end there. Before heading out to run some errands one day, Stephens’ put his dog in an upstairs bedroom. The windows where shut, and Stephens locked the door from the outside. (Because it was used as a boarding house from the 1960s until he bought it, there are exterior locks on some doors.) When Shepherd returned and unlocked the door, his dog was gone. He later located his dog two blocks away. “That was really creepy,” Stephens says. Although he tried to think of rational explanations for the phenomena, he found none. After talking with friends, he called Erika Vetter, a local psychic with 30 years’ experience. Vetter then held several s�ances to determine the exact nature of Stephens’ problem. She concluded that the house “definitely has something in it besides a lawyer.” “There definitely is some kind of residue of people who have lived there. I hate to say ghosts because people have a preconceived idea of what a ghost is,” Vetter says. Vetter cautions against assuming that a ghost is a visible apparition like a hazy human figure or a flying sheet. A real ghost, says Vetter, is sensed, not seen. To Vetter, a ghost is “a person’s spirit that’s left, especially if that person’s attached to a place or met a tragic end.” When that happens, she says, “the spirit can’t quite make the transition [to the afterworld].” Vetter says during one s�ance, she contacted a couple who had evidently lived in the house when it was first built in the late 1800s. The husband had died in the home, and Vetter says she got the impression he had met his demise with some help from his wife. “You got the feeling she had done him in because he was very mean,” Vetter says. Another spirit contacted during a s�ance had died from an overdose in the home in the 1960s. Yet another summoned spirit had something in common with Stephens. “There’s the ghost of a lawyer there,” Vetter says. “After the s�ance, we teased Roger that the ghost was going to want a referral fee.” After contacting these spirits, Vetter was able to conclude that “the lawyer was very happy to have a lawyer there in the house, but the couple didn’t want him there.” But Stephens didn’t just take Vetter’s word for it — he sought a second opinion, calling in San Antonio paranormal activity investigator Ken Runner. The verdict turned out to be the same. Runner works as a contractor for Brooks Air Force Base, but in his spare time operates a ghost-hunting service, SAGE (Scientific Analysis of Ghost Energy). At Stephens’ law office, Runner says they recorded orbs on infrared tape. Orbs are balls of light that some people believe are proof of paranormal energy. “We captured not just one, but several [orbs],” Runner says. “Those are the things we see whenever we go some place and there’s paranormal activity. That’s a pretty high concentration. Normally we don’t see that many.” With two experts affirming the presence of paranormal activity, Stephens figured his next step was to decide what to do about it. “I’ve talked to different people about what to do,” Stephens says — including a few clients. He says he’s only been working in the house for two months, adding, “I haven’t had anyone run away.” Stephens says some of his friends “say to just live with it, and others say to try to find a way to get rid of the spirits … . I think we can co-exist,” Stephens says. Stephens says that, although he’s still not sure what ghosts are and if a few inhabit his home or what he’ll end up doing about it, there’s one thing he does know: “I do believe there’s a lot of stuff we don’t see and understand, but I hadn’t had any personal experience until I bought this place.” Lisette Coly, executive director of the New York City-based Parapsychology Foundation, has talked to a lot of people like Stephens who are seeking explanations for seemingly unexplainable occurrences. Many, though, don’t talk as openly about them as Stephens. Several “ghost-buster type” organizations report having investigated reports of haunted courthouses, law offices and lawyers’ homes. But those people would not go on the record with their stories. “Paranormal activity elicits a very strong response, negative and positive,” Coly says. For example, she says many are afraid that others will think they’re silly for believing in paranormal activity. For the past 50 years, the foundation has provided a worldwide forum to support scientific exploration of psychic phenomena, and even its experts �- including biologists, psychologists, mathematicians, etc. �- don’t completely understand the paranormal world. “It’s one tough riddle to crack,” Coly says.

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