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Tools and techniques used in ghost hunting: local paranormal investigators talk about spirits


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POCATELLO — There is no shortage of difficult-to-explain phenomena in southeast Idaho.

In Pocatello alone there is what some believe to be evidence of a spirit that inhabits the band room at Pocatello High School.

There are rumors about shadows roaming the Tough Guy Lanes bowling alley.

And the Yellowstone Hotel, which has stood in Old Town Pocatello for more than 100 years, has recurring stories of people appearing in an instant and vanishing just as quickly.

The Pocatello Paranormal Research team is out to investigate all of these stories, and unexplained happenings.

For more than two decades, Colleen O’Hara and her team have used unique tools and techniques, both modern and otherwise, to try and prove that those who see these unexplained events are not just seeing things.

It’s a difficult task, O’Hara admits, because so many are skeptical.

Because of that fact, O’Hara and her team are quick to dismiss evidence if there is any question of its validity.

“The key with all of (the gear), you can manipulate all of it. So, if you’re an honest investigator and you don’t know if one of you (created the evidence), you throw that evidence out — or you show it to the homeowner and say, ‘I think we did this.’ You have to be honest in this field, because there’s a lot of charlatans.”

Pocatello Paranormal Research has conducted investigations throughout southeast Idaho, the state and the country, uncovering some very intriguing paranormal research.

An orb floats down stairs
An orb floats down stairs at the Tough Guy Lanes bowling alley in Pocatello. | Courtesy Pocatello Paranormal Research

Recently, the team conducted an investigation at The Yellowstone, a former hotel that is now a restaurant, whiskey bar and taproom. They allowed to tag along.

That investigation produced a great deal of information. O’Hara says more than 30 spirits inhabit the building; that one, named Ezekiel, is responsible for some of the practical joke-type activity reported; and that a man named “Thomas,” one of the original investors in the building, still roams its halls.

Perhaps the most intriguing part of the investigation was a conversation O’Hara says she had with the spirit of a young girl, who goes by the nickname Emma.

That conversation forced current owners Rory and Jennifer Erchul to leave the investigation for a break. Upon his return, Rory told the paranormal investigators that in previous interactions with the young female apparition he somehow knew her name to start with the letter “E.”

But not all the spirits in the old building are as light as Emma. In fact, Jennifer says on occasions interactions with spirits have resulted in scratches on her arm and neck, and a handprint on her face from a slap.

You can watch’s entire adventure with the paranormal investigators on Saturday on

Yellowstone paranorma;
Scratches and a black mist appear in a photo taken by The Yellowstone Restaurant co-owner Jennifer Erchul. | Courtesy Rory Erchul