COLUMBIA — Some people play tennis. Some collect stamps. Ex-Navy cryptologist and one-time private investigator Holly McGee chases ghosts.
It's all part of her regular repertoire as director of Columbia Paranormal, a nonprofit investigation outfit that inspects the property of clientele who think they could be in the presence of uninvited guests that may or may not go bump in the night.
"It's just funny because I was a Navy spook, then I was a private spook and now I chase spooks," McGee said.
Brandishing a briefcase burgeoning with infrared cameras, motion detectors, EMF readers, home-modified audio-gathering devices and many other tools, McGee and company never want for footage after an average hunt.
After the investigators examine an area suspected to be a playground for the paranormal and gather gigabytes of material, the next arduous task is to review the harvested footage for anything that may indicate an otherworldly entity.
It's not all work for McGee, who is often shoulder-to-shoulder on investigations with her two adult children, both of whom are steady members of Columbia Paranormal's not-so-steady roster.
When they aren't taking jobs via phone calls or Facebook, the group visits sites they've declared to be haunted hotspots not only in Boone County, but all over Missouri. Their latest count tallied 41 cities visited statewide — all for the sake of documentation and exploration, McGee said.
Aside from the camaraderie built by chasing spirits with family and close friends, McGee says her experiences fortify her relationships with person and ghost alike.
“Either in this realm or the other realm, there’s still friends to make,” McGee said.
“When I leave this plane of existence, I’m gonna be bouncing all over this country leaving people hot cups of coffee. I already told 'em I’d do that.”