Hiking with Ghosts

Paranormal investigator Alain Camiling wants you to take a walk on the wild side…


Alain Camiling is a husband, father, former research administrator for the University of Southern California and later Caltech — and a paranormal investigator focused on ghosts, apparitions and hauntings.


He’s the founder of the thirty-year-old group the Paranormal Activity Research Team (P.A.R.Team), and co-founder of the new tour company, Haunted Hiking, located in Southern California. Last year he told us all about the travel habits of those on the other side


Look for Alain on E! News this Halloween season as one of their paranormal experts. He’ll be on several segments, addressing all things ghostly. We can’t wait to see what spooky stuff he uncovers.


Now, with his haunted hikes, he’s inviting us to go along (and even providing a special offer, below). Read on, and even join him — if you dare!



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For a moment, it looks like Alain, investigating a haunted home, has spotted an unearthly baby… Photo provided by Wonderlust

Why Haunted Hikes?


The most significant ghostly experience I’ve ever had was on a makeshift hike to the Hollywood sign before I ever even considered ghost hunting. I was unprepared to witness it, much less record it. I was with friends and we validated each other’s experience.


Together with my ghost hunting partner, Jose Prendes, we wanted to give the public the chance to possibly encounter something similar and at the same time learn how to conduct a paranormal investigation while enjoying a beautifully scenic hike amidst some scary trails known to be haunted. If a ghost appears, this time we will all be ready.



Where do you go?


Right now we are focused on a few trails in the Southern California/Los Angeles area. There are many trails that are rich in documented history of haunted lore. This Halloween season we have the Cobb Estate trail in Altadena, the Brand Family home and cemetery (one of the very few times I think a cemetery is worth investigating) and a few other places that promise to be exciting and fun.



Any chance you’ll expand this concept to other areas?


Definitely one of our goals. We really want to bring the ghost hunting experience to as many people that wish to have it. There are so many places around the country, and the globe really, that have incredibly spooky and mysterious stories. It would be a fantastic way to be able to investigate them.



How long is the hike?


The hikes and investigations themselves are about 90 minutes long. We do have a 30 minute check-in period prior to the start of the hike when we distribute flashlights, ghost hunting equipment, give instructions and go over the history and lore of the location, and give our safety tips.



Moments later they were gone! (Just kidding!) Photo provided by Wonderlust

How do you choose your locations?


Jose and I do our best to seek out the most fun and mysterious locations. We take into consideration whether or not our guests would be safe, if the location and parking are readily accessible and, of course, if we believe the place is actually haunted or not.



What scary stuff have you seen or heard so far?


Jose and a guest have heard footsteps behind our group where there wasn’t anyone. They turned and flashed the light onto a figure in white walking toward them and it disappeared.


We’ve had a lot of success with spirit box sessions where the entire group heard it say my name (Alain) at least 3 different times when I walked away from the main group for a moment. One of our hikers even caught multiple faces on one of our other guests via thermal camera, who said they felt like they were being followed and touched! K2 EMF meter (Electro Magnetic Field) spikes are a great indication of possible paranormal activity, and the tours have provided that in many different spots with several people’s meters syncing up. When these results coincide with the locations of where certain stories are said to have taken place, it has been very satisfying and validating for our guests. 


On our most recent tours, we have thermal video captured of a ghostly figure watching our hikers from deep within the brush off of the trail. We also have had a lot of success with Spirit Box sessions, giving us verbal sentences that answered our new ghost hunters questions. 



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Thermal imaging from a screen capture of a guest that felt followed and touched. The image on the left appears to have multiple faces Photo provided by Wonderlust



Tell us about your show, and any upcoming projects.


Aside from Haunted Hiking, the P.A.R.Team is still out there serving the public with private investigations. Within the last year, we’ve nearly tripled in service call numbers. I will be traveling a lot this second half of the year to New Orleans, Louisiana, Las Vegas, Nevada and Orlando, Florida.



Brand family cemetery in Glendale. The pyramid is the family headstone. They were asking for it Photo provided by Wonderlust

You’ve confessed you’re afraid of scary movies… how do you do this?


It’s true — I’m a huge chicken when it comes to scary movies and shows! I have a hard time watching them because of the atmosphere created through music, camera angles and jump scares.


In reality, investigating is a lot like fishing. It’s a lot of silence and one little hit or experience makes the entire trip. It’s all about mindset. I approach ghost hunting like I would when I fix or repair something in my house. Nothing is [considered] a ghost until I can’t explain it anymore. Or until a full-bodied apparition reveals itself to me — haha! Real world solutions need to be ruled out before I call it paranormal.


If I went into a ghost hunt with those horror movie images and anticipation in my mind, I would never be able to set foot into a haunted building, room or trail. So, I do my best to avoid those movies. They cloud my mind and make my imagination run wild. Plus, it isn’t good for a person with heart issues like me!


The ironic thing about Haunted Hiking is that my business partner, Jose, is an independent horror film maker in addition to being a ghost hunter.


We’ve begun filming most of our investigations and hope to compile them into a documentary, highlighting our mission to help those people whose lives have been disturbed by the unexplained events. We’ve captured some great evidence and want to share it through that film.



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Alain (left, facing us) and Jose being interviewed by social media bloggers Photo provided by Wonderlust

What kind of people sign up for the hikes? Are they all locals?


We have everyone from first time investigators to seasoned ghost hunters join us. We have gone the extra mile to make sure our tours are both family friendly and entertaining to adults. We’ve had children as young as 3 come along. Depending who attends each night, we adjust which of the many stories we share. Some may be too spooky or graphic. People have driven out from 2 to 3 hours away to take our tours and we appreciate that. Our goal is to provide a great experience and value for everyone who comes along. It’s a great date night for couples, family night for kids as well as spooky enough for those with more adventurous tastes.



How can people sign up and how much will it set them back?


For anyone that wants to go on a hunt and a hike with us, just go to hauntedhiking.com Ticket prices start at $25 and vary by location.


And WONDERLUST readers can get $5 off of each ticket with the code SCREAMHIKE!



(EDITOR’S NOTE:  Here at WONDERLUST we’re very touched by this, because it’s actually the first offer we’ve put before our readers! And we didn’t ask for it! And Liza is so going…)