When Donna Golob, a Wiccan spiritualist from Dover Township, walks into a home to investigate paranormal activity, she knows nothing about the place's history.
She prefers going in "cold." That way, Golob said, nothing from the outside can influence her findings.
During an investigation with the Dover Paranormal Research Team in January 2013 at a home in Elkton, Md., Golob made a discovery. Jacob, a boy who had befriended the 2-year-old daughter of the couple living at the home, was not a child at all, she said. He was actually the spirit of an older man — and did not want anyone there.
The team's investigation will be featured in the coming months on an episode of the Destination America show "A Haunting."
The show mixes re-enactments of cases involving paranormal activity and interviews with the people affected by them. This season of "A Haunting" starts on Nov. 22, though there's no date set yet for when the episode will run.
"I still can't believe that one of our investigations is going to be on TV," she said. "It just blows my mind."
Golob, 51, who's one of the founders of the Dover Paranormal Research Team, said it's an honor for the group to be featured. She hopes that the episode will show that there are paranormal investigators out there willing to help people — often for free — if they have a problem.
The team started in 2011, said Tom Miles, one of the founders, who also serves as an investigator and its case manager. To date, he said, the group has done more than 80 investigations.
Miles, 57, of the Weigelstown area of the township, said the group took on the investigation in Elkton from a different paranormal team. The mother of the little girl called and told him that something had grabbed and choked her daughter, leaving behind red marks.
Once Miles heard a child was involved, he said, they were going.
At the home, team members asked the girl's parents whether they felt what happened could have been child abuse. But investigators quickly ruled that out.
They later found an electronic voice phenomenon — or EVP — on one of their recorders, which said something along the lines of, "I want the girl." So with sage and holy water, Golob, the Wiccan spiritualist, then performed a blessing of the house.
"And it took care of everything," Miles said. "When she was done, you could almost feel a weight lifted off of the house."
The production company for the show contacted him "out of the blue" earlier this year, he said. Miles said he and Golob were then interviewed a few months later.
Olivia Barbour, 37, who lived at the home with her husband, Jesse, said that they started to experience unusual activity before the ghost started to harm their daughter, Sarah. That happened not long after they moved there in 2010.
Barbour said, for example, that she'd put items down and then would find them later in places such as the top of the refrigerator or in a cabinet. Another time, their entire Christmas tree started to shake.
The family has since moved to the nearby town of North East, Md., because of the experience, which they wanted to talk about it in the hopes of helping other people. Since the Dover Paranormal Research Team cleansed their home, nothing else has happened to them.
"I can't thank them enough for them helping my baby," Barbour said.
Contact Dylan Segelbaum at 771-2102.
Charlotte Bigford, a publicist for Discovery Communications, which owns Destination America, provided this description of the episode. Some of the names and dates have been changed:
"In 2012, Olivia and Jesse Barbour move into their dream home with five-year-old daughter Marie. Soon after, Marie makes her first friend in the neighborhood, a boy named Jackson. Her mother is thrilled until she realizes Jackson is really an imaginary friend.
"Marie's father believes she's just going through a creative stage. At first it's all fun and games, until Marie grows fearful of sleeping in her bedroom. From that moment on, the worrisome events begin to escalate.
"Olivia finds mysterious bruises on Marie; and her daughter says that Jackson wants her to follow him into heaven. With no explanation, Olivia begins to suspect their house is haunted. When Marie tells her parents that Jackson choked her and they find red marks around her neck, the family calls for help.
"A paranormal investigator and a psychic uncover that their home was once occupied by a bitter old man who disguises himself as a young boy to torture Marie."