Lightning flashes, shadows dance, an old door creaks open to reveal the cobweb-infested hall of a decrepit old mansion. Kids fear it, neighbors avoid it, and buyers beware: this house just ain’t no home, at least not for the living.

Restless spirits pace in empty bedrooms, dolls faded from years of neglect sit crooked on the corner of a child’s bed, and voices call out to no one in particular, echoing through the cavernous dining room a call of eerie calamity. Most people would run at the very thought of Vincent Price strolling out of a home like this, a sinister cackle in tow, but most people aren’t Matt Lande and Kristina Timm, ghost hunters extraordinaire, for whom hearing voices is just a part of the job.

Matt and Kristina met more than a year ago in a far less spooky situation: a concert. Matt’s band, Heaven is Where, performed in a venue that Kristina promoted. Once they began talking, they found many a common interest in the paranormal, and it wasn’t long afterward that they started Last Sunset Paranormal Investigators, a moniker for their ghostly explorations.

“It was our dream to investigate together, so we came up with this idea and asked, ‘What if we were a ghost-hunting couple?’ ” said Kristina, who brightened up next to Matt, her boyfriend since the group’s inception.

Matt and Kristina specialize in electronic voice phenomena (EVP), a method that purportedly captures the voices of ghosts, spirits or demons on frequencies unheard with our own mortal ears. Using high-tech, state-of-the-art equipment (a tape recorder), the duo has captured many voices varying in gender, age and ethnicity.

“We get it so often,” said Matt, whose laid-back demeanor fits his rock star personality better than that of a spooky ghost-hunter hobbyist. “We theorize that the place is haunted, so we go there and do an investigation. If it’s truly haunted, we will get EVPs there. Together as a couple we’re really good at getting them.”

As with their living counterparts, ghosts exhibit unique personality traits, from kind and forgiving on the better days, to annoyed, angry or even violent on the worst.

“I’ve been called an asshole,” said Matt.

“A couple of times,” added Kristina.

“We were at the Hollywood Forever cemetery doing a little investigation. There was a piano there and we’d asked for them [a ghost] to play it, and they did,” Matt said. “We went back months later and picked up on the recorder, ‘They’re back again.’ It was there that I heard, ‘Can you hear me now, asshole?’ amongst the kids’ graves.”

In between finding the nooks and crannies where the creepy imprints of former lives dwell, Matt and Kristina are also budding reality television stars. A show based on their exploits is currently in the works, and Kristina has been approached to star in a separate paranormal investigation program.

Ghosts have seen a bit of a rise in popularity over the last decade, the main attraction in several “reality” adventure series (Ghost Hunters, Scariest Places on Earth, Ghost Adventures), branching out even further into niche territory by specifying the participants (The Girly Ghosthunters, Celebrity Paranormal Project). The challenge for Matt and Kristina is separating themselves from the crowd.

“I think people really want to see a paranormal couple together,” said Kristina, “to see the real-life effects that hunting ghosts take on a relationship.”

After spending many a late night researching the haunted homes, hotels and graveyards they choose to explore, Matt and Kristina hope for a better understanding of the dearly departed that may or may not be talkative enough to be captured on their instruments.

“That’s half of what I love about it,” said Matt. “If there’s a murder, we love to know why or how it happened. We always do our research about the location; it helps when we’re asking questions that we know what we’re talking about.”

Matt and Kristina are the first to admit that the lack of evidence regarding the reality of the paranormal is a large factor in why EVPs and the like aren’t accepted as science, but their personal experiences provide them with enough evidence to know that at any given time, we are not alone.

“I’m not saying that everything we hear is a ghost. It’s unexplainable,” Matt said as he shared a knowing look with Kristina. “You can choose to believe it or not, but I guess it takes a personal experience to really feel it.”

“I always tell my friends (who don’t think I’m crazy), to get a recorder and come with me,” added Kristina. “They usually change their minds.”   

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