WSU students Ashley Fisher, Laryssa Smit and McKenna Hitchcock came for answers
from John Ziffis’s talk on the paranormal: Is their dormitory floor really haunted?
PULLMAN, Wash. – A ghost roams the fifth floor of WSU’s Goldsworthy Hall.
Or does it?
Three students who live there – Ashley Fisher, Laryssa Smit and McKenna Hitchcock – sat front-row-center to hear paranormal investigator John Zaffis speak Thursday night in the CUB auditorium. Hall residents sometimes hear odd, unexplainable noises, the young women said before Zaffis’s presentation.
“Maybe he can shed some light on what’s been going on there,” said Hitchcock.
During the talk, organized by ASWSU’s Student Entertainment Board, light was in short supply. Zaffis, 56, who hosts SyFy channel’s “Haunted Collector,” addressed the mostly student crowd concealed in darkness. The only illumination came from PowerPoint slides of ghosts, haunted houses and castles that beamed behind him on the stage. One could imagine a fog rolling in or creepy organ music being cued.
Spirits lurk among us and hauntings shouldn’t be discounted as the stuff of over-active minds, Zaffis told the audience.
“How to explain ghosts? It’s what the heck happens to the soul or to the physical spirit after it leaves the body. It’s the soul, the energy, whatever you want to call it,” he said.
Ghosts make noises and move items to get our attention, he said.
“Can ghosts hurt you? No. They’re just trying to communicate. They want us to notice them.”
To get our attention, often the first thing they’ll do is make a room turn cold, he said.
“That’s because our energy gets pulled from us. Spirits need that energy to communicate.”
Once these spirits get enough energy, some will howl, he said. Others laugh. Many appear as apparitions. Some speak.
Ghosts that shake, rattle or roll objects inside people’s homes often become the subject of his television series. In “Haunted Collector,” Zaffis and his team ferret out supposedly possessed items that give their owners the creeps.
Pictures he displayed to the audience included everything from voodoo dolls and animal skulls to a white stuffed teddy bear and a Winnie the Pooh doll inside a glass case. After Zaffis concludes through research that an object is possessed, he stores “all my crazy haunted items” in a private museum behind his house in Connecticut, hence bringing peace of mind to the former owners, he said.
There are ghosts and there are demons, said Zaffis. The latter terrorized a Southington, Conn., family in the late 1980s and later inspired the film, “A Haunting in Connecticut,” released in 2009. In the real-life version, Zaffis helped rid the house of evil. What happened there was so frightening that he almost left paranormal work for good, he told the audience.
Hogwash, say some who did investigations of their own. Several reporters and scientists have insisted the story is fictional. They claim the family invented the demon tale to make money off a book and movie deal, as did the couple from Amityville, N.Y., who profited off the hit movie “The Amityville Horror.”
Even if demons do exist, the three young women from Goldsworthy Hall said they aren’t frightened. After all, the spirit that lurks mostly in the women’s shower room behaves more like Casper the Friendly Ghost.
“We even named him,” said Fisher, as her dorm mates giggled beside her.

“We call him Karl.”