A new course in "parageneology," the study of paranormal phenomena and their locations and historical contexts, is being offered at Grand Island's Central Community College, and it's raising both spirits and interest.
Instructor Kim Alex explained: "Parageneology, it's identifying your ghosts. It basically takes people who...have a house that is haunted that they're currently located in, they know somebody who has a haunted house, or they grew up in one."
And it's a lot more than just ghost stories.
Kim Alex: "We do the history of Grand Island, of the land, who lived there beforehand, what was built on there; was it actually a house the whole time, or did someone else live there?"
The course will cover a range of Grand Island locations said to be haunted, like downtown's G.A.R. Building, and the Old Jail.
People on "ghost alley" (Third Street) don't need to be convinced of paranormal phenomena in Grand Island. They say it's real.
The Grand Theater is one of the locations said to be haunted, and many theater volunteers attest that they have seen or felt something unusual.
Volunteer Jay Evans recalled one occasion in the theater's basement with a group of volunteers: "Right behind Jim appeared a white, human figure, and it's the only ghost I've ever seen in my life. I don't even believe in them but once you see them, you kind of have to believe in it."
Likewise, the Chicken Coop restaurant is said to have more than one type of "spirits" on hand. Longtime kitchen manager Deven Weekley says some of them hang out in the basement. But he figures that, after eight years on duty, the spirits know him, and leave him alone.
"I think they've gotten used to me so they don't bother me as much anymore."
That seems to fit well with parageneology instructor Kim Alex's theory.
Kim Alex: "The more you know, the less you fear."