Ghosthunting Bulldogs seek the supernatural


An eerie presence appeared in a photograph taken by Observer writers on Game Preserve Lane in Gaithersburg.

By By Sushen Thiyagarajan, Online Features Editor


My friend and I were skeptics. Ghosts were not supposed to be real, and as we expected, nothing appeared, moved, or caught our attention—until we went back and looked at the pictures. What we saw was something we would never forget. We went to a narrow, wooded road with an old 19th century railroad bridge on Game Preserve Lane in Gaithersburg that we had heard rumors about.


Although ghost hunting may not be a common pastime at CHS, many kids claim to have been exposed to the supernatural from a very young age. This increasingly popular activity is something people of all ages can participate in.


Junior Alex, who asked that his real name not be used, remembers when he first heard a rumor three years ago about apparitions, which are ghosts or ghostlike images of people in a burned down, abandoned houses.


“At first, I didn’t believe it and thought it was a joke,” Alex said. “But one night me and a friend decided to investigate the house. This experience changed my view on ghosts forever.”


After Alex and his friend went inside the house, they heard moaning noises coming from upstairs. They were welcomed by something they had not expected.


“The room was all messed up and burnt down,” Alex said. “We looked around the room and found nothing so we left. As soon as we left the room, we heard a little girl inside the room. We opened up the door and then found a doll in the middle of the room. The doll was not there the first time we looked. We decided not to touch it and left the room.”


However, their journey did not end with that.


“By this point, we were pretty scared because it was our first time ghost hunting,” Alex said. “We then started looking around the basement of the house. All of a sudden the door leading to the basement closed shut and we heard a little girl laughing. As we ran up the stairs we found the same doll at the top of the stairs.”


According to Alex, there are numerous other spots nearby that he and his friends have visited including the Madison House in Brookeville, MD and the remains of a closed gold mine off MacArthur Boulevard and Falls Road in Potomac.


However, for Michael Nokes, an avid professional ghost hunter, going to places like California, Michigan and Ohio is nothing out of the ordinary. He has also been to over 300 sites in the D.C. area alone.


Nokes created the East Ghost Community, which is situated in Potomac, MD, after a routine drag racing competition through Route 214 in 2004 with his brother Chris Nokes and 50 other curious individuals. The website, features pictures, lists of haunts and meeting places for people interested in ghost hunting. The group both hosts and promotes ghost hunting activities all throughout the nation and holds weekly meetings. Nokes has expanded his website and though his team is still small, he hopes it will grow bigger in the coming years.


“While it’s at this moment not nearly where I want it to be on the outside, on the inside the core has tremendously improved,” Nokes said. It uses lots of cutting edge technologies.”


Nokes feels that everyone has a natural instinct to find ghosts.


“Ghost hunters are you and me and everyone else,” said Nokes.” It’s just a question of how much they open their minds and pursue their curiosity.”


Unlike Nokes, sophomore David, who also asked that his real name not be used, had an early start with knowledge about the paranormal. His mother had multiple experiences as a teenager, and her stories sparked his interest.


“My mom lived in a haunted house while growing up,” David said. “She still tells me some really spooky stories that happened to her and her sister at the house, including a man sticking his hand through the mail slot to try to break in and a lightening flash cutting off the power to the house right as she blew out the candles on her thirteenth birthday party.”


According to David, his mother would also see apparitions of an old man who was a mad scientist and tortured animals when he had lived in the same house.


“At first I didn’t believe it and thought it was a joke. But one night me and a friend decided to investigate the house,” Alex said. “This experience changed my view on ghosts forever.”


Experiences like these may have simple explanations, however the thrill that comes with it seems worth it.


“A lot of people consider us crazy,” David said. “Ghosts may not really exist, but it is entertaining to search for spooky and supernatural things nonetheless.”


However, they may not necessarily be crazy.


“There are hundreds documented, thousands around the area, and probably millions of stories, right in everyone’s backyard,” Nokes said. “The ‘paranormal’ aspect touches on everything about this country—every place, every ‘conspiracy’, every endeavor, practically every relationship.  The occult and esoterica are everywhere.”




*Production Manager John Ishikawa contributed to this story.