PHOENIX - Fear Farm is Arizona's largest haunted attraction, but some say the fear at this spooky spot isn't necessarily staged.
"I don't really know how to explain something like this. But, I do know, it did happen," Jay Yates records on a cell phone camera after he experiences the impossible.
There's a reason Yates knows it's possible to be haunted by the other side.
"Last time we were here, we kept seeing shadows passing back and forth," says Roy Weedmark, the technical manager with Crossing Over Paranormal Society, or The COPS Crew.
It's called Fear Farm for a reason, with 26 acres, a corn maze and five haunted houses, it draws thousands of visitors every Halloween.
"It's pretty creepy, it's really creepy," explains Kris Sanders, who lives in one of the homes at Fear Farm year-round.
But, Kris says the difference with this Phoenix haunted attraction is that it's really haunted.
"I don't believe it is. I know it is."
Armed with pretty much every gadget, gizmo and gimmick, these ghost hunters are on a mission to find the fear at the farm.
They've got a DVR unit, as well as cameras and infrareds placed throughout Fear Farm. Husband and wife professional ghost hunters, Jay and Marie Yates, head up their diverse crew of 10 investigators.
"We have skeptics, we have believers," admits Jay.
And, he says they don't take any chances, "Everyone is tagged and we have a buddy system."
After hours of set up, it's time to go "lights out!"
"You're going to be in for one hell of a night," Jay tells our ABC15 crew.
And the investigation begins.
"Is there anybody in here with us?" Marie asks out loud, surrounded by darkness, holding an EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) recorder.
"I just saw something moving, oh my god," says one of the investigators.
Suddenly, the crew experiences the unexplainable when a brand new flashlight with a new battery won't stop turning off.
"Jay, it's not working. That doesn't make any sense," Marie says.
Then, the crew realizes what should never happen, "Why are the cameras off? I just noticed the cameras are off. They were on." The DVR set up in the trailer on Fear Farm has been shut down, for no known reason.
For a total of six hours, the team braved the eerie elements, working through the night, in pitch black, in hopes of capturing even the slightest proof the paranormal exist. It's a lot of effort and often with very little reward. But, for Jay and Marie, every second of what they capture is a chance to better understand what they desperately want to learn.
"I have an autistic child," Marie tells us. "He's gone through a lot of tortured nights with things being moved in his room and voices."
"It's almost like they're a beacon or a vortex to this type of energy," Jay adds. "We wanted to help out other families who were struggling with the paranormal, especially children."
It's the reason their crew investigates all over Arizona for free, from private family homes to rumored haunted locations.
Three weeks later, we meet back up with the Yates to see the evidence they captured.
"This is the best piece of paranormal evidence I've ever captured," Jay shows us.
There are two photographs, taken one second apart.
"In the other photograph, there's nothing here whatsoever. Second picture, boom, this appears!"
It's a light, see-through object in the middle of the frame, which Jay says appears to be a man hunched over in costume.
"Without a shadow of a doubt, that's paranormal," he says.
In another video, the back door at the house where Kris lives suddenly opens, unexplained.
"Absolutely, this is good evidence," Jay says.
They COPS Crew also captured clear audio evidence, which Jay says is further proof of paranormal activity at Fear Farm.
"We caught a yes response to a question," Jay says.
Jay admits, the evidence isn't the holy grail of ghost sightings, "99.9 percent of the time, it is a mild haunting."
But, that other tenth of a percent does happen, when the Yates go inside their own home.
"We have crosses everywhere and prayers and open bibles," he says.
Amidst those items, framed family photographs, dozens of them, a reminder of why Jay and Marie devote so many days, so many hours, searching for the seemingly impossible: an answer for their son with autism.
"I can't find a cure for it, so in one half of this, I can help him in another way, hopefully help him peacefully sleep," Marie says. "He knows we're out there trying to prove, hey, I'm not crazy."
And, suddenly, you realize, hunting for ghosts isn't just a fun weekend adventure. It's a search for answers, to truly understand the unknown that's haunting the ones they love.
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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