Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Lifestyles

February 8, 2010

Investigating the paranormal

Austin Weinstock may be a police officer in the Chicago area, but he’s investigating more than just crimes and corruption.

The Effingham native is part of a six-person team who, free of charge, investigates the paranormal and has begun its own television show on A&E.;

He is the son of Steve Weinstock, a private investigator in the Effingham area. Austin’s brother, Adam, is Mattoon’s Deputy Police Chief.

Austin Weinstock followed in the footsteps of his crime-fighting family and became a police officer in the Chicago area in 2005, after serving in the Air Force as a military police officer.

“From a young age, my father was instilling in me how to be a cop,” Weinstock said.

During his free time, Weinstock decided to take on a different angle in police work, and in 2006, he joined a group called Chicago Paranormal Detectives. The group consists of three other police officers and two civilian personnel.

The members look into strange happenings upon the request of others. The team doesn’t solicit work; instead, the group is asked to investigate claims of paranormal activity, Weinstock said.

Sometimes the group will work on two claims a week and other times it’s only two claims a month.

But the team does all its work free of charge, and although group members take an investigative approach to the claims, they do all of the work off-duty.

Weinstock said he investigates claims of paranormal activity just like he would a homicide investigation or other police investigations. The group tries to close in on every angle, follows up on leads and does research.

“We’re police,” Weinstock said. “We help people on the street and off the street, and we do it without charge.”

The group approaches every claim as if it’s a crime scene and seals off the area to make sure nothing interferes with the evidence. The group prefers to do investigations inside a building or a house, since it’s harder to keep elements away from an outdoor scene.

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