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On a chilly Saturday in York City, residents gathered at The York Emporium used bookstore to experience all things horror — from authors and character movie actors to paranormal investigations and scream contests.

"Theoretically, you could win with a silent scream," said co-owner Jim Lewin, who said it's as much about presentation — a good clutch of the throat and look of shock — as volume.

Horrible Saturday is a York Emporium tradition that has brought in talents such as Conrad Brooks, one of horror director Ed Wood's actors. On Saturday, Nov. 2, the event featured Matt Blazi, who wrote a book on "The Blair Witch Project"; and actor William Sanderson, who's starred in shows including "Deadwood" and "True Blood."

A small group listened intently as the Dover Paranormal Research Team delivered its insights from a recent two-part investigation of the bookstore, which they discovered is indeed "haunted."

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"Just out of curiosity, is there anybody behind me right now?" Lewin joked.

On two different occasions, the team came to the bookstore with special equipment, including a K-2, which detects electromagnetic fields; a motion sensor; cameras and audio recorders — and picked up on two spirits.

One was a young man who could be heard saying "help" on a recording from a "spirit box," which switches between AM radio stations. Many paranormal investigators use it, Donna Golob said, because it's said to cycle through channels quickly enough to not pick up any interference from the stations themselves.

"I basically asked him how he died, and he said 'fire'," said investigator Jessi Unger, noting that though there were no reports of deaths in a fire at the bookstore, the man — who she said died in the 1900s — could have been a visitor from next door.

Customers have also mentioned seeing a "lady in white" who is always seen reaching for a book, and that lady was the second spirit detected by the team on Saturday.

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The team, which includes Golob — the primary spiritual investigator — Unger, Tina Neal and case manager Tom Miles, formed about nine years ago and investigates at no charge, with the idea of helping people.

Golob said she's had "the gift" since she was about 3, and it's stronger because it was nurtured by her parents.

"Everyone has some abilities — we're born with it," she said, noting that many children see spirits, but those talents are not always encouraged.

There is no hard scientific evidence of paranormal phenomena, based on too many explanations for certain sights and sounds and inconsistent criteria for what constitutes a "ghost," but some scientists are becoming more open to the idea as science evolves.

"I frankly don't believe," Lewin said of paranormal activity, but he's had several investigations done by different groups — and Saturday marks the second time investigators detected a little girl in the store.

The girl was not considered a resident spirit, so it was not included as one of the two dwelling spirits, Golob said.

"People aren't always going to believe you," Golob said, noting that she has seen her share of skeptics but is always respectful of their opinions.

Wendy Mummert, of Dover, said she always comes to Horrible Saturday because "I'm a big horror freak," and though it was her first time meeting a paranormal team, she's no stranger to ghostly activity.

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"I have stuff at my house all the time," she said, adding that she's had a spirit of some kind throw things while she's cleaning and curse at her, as well as a ghost cat that others have seen as well. She said she would consider hiring the Dover team.

Golob presented The York Emporium with a certificate of its haunting — which she said she's only done on two other occasions, to John Wright Restaurant, in Wrightsville, and now-shuttered Prudhommes' Lost Cajun Kitchen, in Lancaster.

"That's kind of neat," Lewin said of the honor, adding that he'll have it framed. 

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