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Group will discuss haunting, paranormal activity, even Bigfoot, at Saturday event

BEMIDJI — Do you shake off the spooky shiver and dismiss the spark in the dark as a scientific anomaly? Or do you believe in ghosts? Jerry Ayres does.

A Bemidji native, Ayres has returned to his hometown to investigate paranormal activity throughout the weekend. He will be hosting a spirited discussion on the supernatural on Saturday at Cantabria Coffee Co.

"There have been ghost sightings downtown Bemidji," Ayers said. "I’ve seen UFOs when I was a kid, you’d think it was a shooting star."

A believer from childhood, Ayres, formed Supernatural Investigators of Minnesota (SIM) after experiencing what he calls undeniable proof of the afterlife — an electronic voice phenomenon, a recording of a ghost’s voice that said "It’s over...Jerry."

Since that event, Ayres, his wife Stephanie (a ‘sensitive’), daughter Kacie and a group of five others, including an ordained minister and a skeptic, have been travelling the state researching reports of hauntings, Bigfoot and UFO sightings.

In addition to Bemidji, Ayres said, hauntings have been reported in Hackensack and Walker. When cleansing a home, or business, Ayres said it helps to have an ordained minister on board, he himself is part Native American and practices sage smudging for purification.

"Spirits come from all walks of life," Ayres said. "We think about the client. We never provoke."

One of SIM’s prospects this weekend is a rental property near Red Lake that can’t seem to keep tenants. Due to the government shutdown, SIM had to halt a different planned investigation in the Northland.

Farther north, reported sightings of Bigfoot have come from the remote town of Funkley, 30 miles northeast of Bemidji. Ayres said if the crew were to actually locate a sasquatch they would not reveal its exact location since there is a $2 million bounty for the being if captured alive; $1 million dead.

"I would never profit off that," Ayres said. "That’s a slaughter."

Addressing the wave of ghost hunting hysteria spurred by television shows such as "Ghost Hunters," Ayres advises people to be serious when pursuing supernatural research. He said too many teenagers are out trying to spook up activity. Ayres also noted one instance where a deliberate staging occurred, "There are things out there. You don’t need to fake it."

SIM is a non-profit organization that offers services free of charge. SIM’s website provides potential clients with the following investigation options: residual hauntings, poltergeist, demons, intelligent and interactive activity and shadow people or shadow creature activity.

Ayres, founder and lead investigator for SIM, will be hosting "A Supernatural Conversation" from 1 to 3 p.m. at Cantabria Coffee Co., 211 2nd Street NW in Bemidji. The event is free and open to the public.

For more information on SIM, visit their Facebook page or

Crystal Dey
Crystal Dey covers crime, courts, tribal relations and social issues for The Bemidji Pioneer in Bemidji, Minnesota. Originally from Minnesota’s Iron Range, Dey has worked for the Echo Press in Alexandria, Minnesota, The Forum in Fargo, North Dakota, The Tampa Tribune in Tampa, Florida, the Hartford Courant in Hartford and West Hartford News in West Hartford, Connecticut. Dey studied Mass Communications at Minnesota State University Moorhead with an emphasis in Online Journalism. Follow Crystal Dey on Twitter @Crystal_Dey.
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