With a history as storied as Detroit’s, the passion for the paranormal abounds in our hometowns. Whether it’s simply the curiosity that strikes this time of year or an ongoing fascination with the unexplained, the draw to it is magnetic.
We sat down with Ken Suminski and Jenn Main both Founders and Lead Investigators of Portal Paranormal Society a Michigan-based, real world otherworldly-hunting team, a real paranormal investigative team. Active since 2009, Portal is called by those who feel they are experiencing some unusual activity in their homes or businesses. Portal has investigated some of the region’s most famed destinations including: Historic Fort Wayne, Detroit Masonic Temple, Detroit Public Library and others more then we dare count.
Detroitisit: How did Portal Paranormal Society begin?
Ken Suminski: I spent years studying the occult and paranormal phenomena in an effort to seek answers to things I experienced during a near death experience as a child. My curiosity about out-of-body experience led me down a path that had me reading about everything from witchcraft, to ghosts, to cryptids to aliens. I spent several years on a local paranormal investigation team and, when I felt like I was ready, we launched Portal Paranormal Society. Our mission was to help those feeling helpless and scared in their own homes and workplaces.
DII: What is your core philosophical approach on paranormal investigation?
Jenn Main: First of all, the word paranormal often gets misinterpreted. It does not mean ghost or spirit, it is a word used to describe something that is not scientifically explained and could encompass a number of theories. Our approach is that not everything is paranormal and there is probably a logical explanation for what is going on. We must try and debunk all scenarios, but only when we cannot debunk, when there is no other scientific or logical explanation, and we’ve exhausted all efforts, is that when we can call it paranormal.
DII: How do you determine where and what you investigate?
JM: We have many different avenues. We take on private cases with clients, people who need our help, and those investigations come first. We were founded on helping people. Anything above and beyond that we discuss with our group to come up with ideas and gain majority agreement on what locations we would like to investigate for the upcoming year. We have “bucket list” locations we want to check out.
DII: Any particular hunts or experiences that stand out that you feel would be of interest to readers?
KS: Many. In addition to the Historic Howell Theatre, where we do our annual public hunts. There are three that stand out in particular. One case in Garden City, Michigan which lead to us to being featured on the TV show Paranormal Survivor. One in Alpena and the other in Mid-Michigan that ended up connected in a very odd way.
JM: My very first investigation was an amazing experience. We were able to deliver a beautiful message 40 years in the waiting to someone who really needed it. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room. It was not a typical investigation, as you don’t often get to do something so beautiful and positive like this for someone!
DII: Why do you feel there is such a fascination with the spirit world?
KS: Simple. It’s the unknown. What happens to us when we are set free from our earthly vessels? Where do we go? What do we get to know? Are we given back a sense of health and vitality? Are we forced to go to Heaven or Hell? Do those places exist? Can we go back to a time we were happiest? Are we reincarnated? Can we still be close to our loved ones?
As of now there are no concrete answers; only belief and faith. Is that enough? Sure. Is it complete in explanation? I lean towards no. And to me, THAT is why people are fascinated by it. The thought that you can talk to those you lost and potentially find things out about the afterlife is mindboggling and a bit addictive. It might even be a bit therapeutic.
DII: Are there any particular places within the city that stand out as somewhere you’d like to hunt or place you’ve investigated?
KS: We have several locations, some iconic, in and around Detroit that we are currently negotiating getting into. For obvious reasons I can’t name them here, but I can mention a few that we have investigated and had incredible experiences in.
Several years ago, we were honored to have been a part of what was likely the largest combined team investigation for the public in the Mid-West. perhaps even the country at Fort Wayne. Portal was assigned to the Spanish American Jail on the Fort Wayne campus outside the Fort proper. We had incredible experiences in that building including EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomena), AVPs (audible voice phenomena) where you can hear an unseen entity speak/moan or even whistle, knocking by unseen knuckles and even the ghostly whinny of a horse that was not there physically, (we actually checked with the Fort and the Detroit police to see if any equestrian groups or mounted officers were in the area – they were not). We also experience quite a bit of shadow activity.
DII: Do you release your findings/evidence to the public?
KS: It depends. In the case of a residential or private investigation, with permission, we’ll I.D. the investigation with the city name, or neighboring city name sometimes. This is done to assure privacy. Of course, if a client requests us not to make evidence public we respect their wishes and post nothing.
DII: How do people know you are legitimate in your approach?
KS: The public can be assured that we are legit because we do everything we can to debunk first. Even if we can’t debunk, we don’t always claim something is paranormal in nature. We do our best to incorporate as much of the scientific method as we can; the field isn’t exact like a science, but we do our best to approach it with logic, deduction and solid, thoughtful reason. We collaborate with other teams when we need an outside opinion and have a very good reputation in the field.
For more information on the Howell Theater Public Hunts click here.