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Richel Stratton was 8 years old when she had her first encounter with a ghost.
“I woke up in the middle of the night and someone was standing at the foot of my bed,” Stratton recalled. “I told my mother about it and she didn’t believe me. The next night, my sister woke up with the same person standing at the foot of her bed.
Since then, the Godfrey, Illinois resident has had a passion for exploring paranormal activity.
“I wanted to know more. I wanted to understand what it was about,” Stratton said. “I am looking for answers – always. … I believe there are ghosts. I believe there is paranormal activity – things we can’t or can’t explain yet. So I’m trying to figure out how to explain them or what causes them.
To do this, the dental hygienist joined Riverbend Paranormala paranormal investigation group based in Alton, Illinois. Band co-founder Brian Murray let Stratton’s sister join but wasn’t sure he wanted Stratton too.
“At first he was like, ‘We have enough team members. We don’t need another one. But my sister was persistent about it, and then she brought me with her,’ Stratton recalled, “I eventually joined and have been investigating ever since.”
Stratton and Murray have since become best friends, taking their ghost hunts across the country through their work on A&E’s “Ghost Hunters.” The two neighbors traveled from Alaska to Florida to uncover the truth behind the stories.
Their latest investigation focused on the Rhode Island farm that inspired “The Conjuring.” There Stratton and Murray worked with fellow paranormal investigators Kendall and Vera Whelpton to understand and document his paranormal activity.
In the new documentary, ‘The Sleepless Unrest’, the four friends spent two weeks sleeping in the infamous house – something others don’t normally do.
Richel Stratton shares his ghost stories
“I think almost every night of our investigation and our stay at ‘The Conjuring’ house, we all looked at each other and thought, ‘Should we do this? What are we doing right now? Said Stratton.
She added: “We immersed ourselves in it. We really wanted to know what the owners are going through. Because as investigators, you can go and investigate for a night or a few hours here and there. But it’s very different to follow in someone’s footsteps.
Stratton said the house barely let them sleep. But she said she tries to remember there’s a story behind every spirit. She said she wasn’t worried about them following her home, instead firmly telling them to stay put.
“I like to believe that these ghosts and spirits [and] entities [are] people who just died,” she said. “So if you respect them, they will respect you.”
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