The television show, Paranormal State, chronicled the paranormal investigations of the Paranormal Research Society of Penn State (PRS). These investigations most often cover hauntings or poltergeist activity. Ryan Buell founded PRS in 2001 when he was only 19. The show is no longer making new content.
Founder: Ryan Buell
You can only understand the methods and mission of what Paranormal State attempted to do when you understand Ryan Buell's background and his reasons for founding PRS. The PRS states that its main mission is to "Scientifically and spiritually explore" the supernatural. This balance of science and faith is where PRS stands apart from other paranormal research organizations. In 2007, Ryan separated the Paranormal Research Society into two parts, the Field Investigation & Research (FIR) branch, and Parapsychology & Laboratory Research (PLR). This effort solidifies Ryan's effort to bring perfect balance of faith and science into all of PRS' investigations.
While the Paranormal Research Society of Penn State has a large number of members, the show's cast actually consisted of five major personalities.
- Ryan Buell: Served as the Director of PRS. Producer Betsy Schechter began filming for the show in 2005 for A&E, and subsequently made Ryan Buell a producer for the show.
- Katrina Weidman: Katrina joined PRS in 2006 and served as an interviewer.
- Heather Taddy: Heather used her experience with film and media to serve as the team documentarian of paranormal phenomenon.
- Sergey Poberezhny: Sergey, a native of Sevastopol, Ukraine, offered his technical skills to the PRS team as the team's tech specialist.
- Eilfie Music: Eilfie's past experience regarding various faiths and the occult allowed her to serve the PRS as the team's occult specialist.
The Paranormal Research Society
The A&E series only offered the public a very small portion of what the PRS of Penn State does. The PRS team actually consists of a large group of members and investigators.
Ryan Buell structured the organization of PRS to encourage serious study and investigation of the phenomenon. As previously stated, the two major methods he used to do this were to branch the organization into two departments: the Field Investigation & Research (FIR), and the Parapsychology & Laboratory Research (PLR).
Finally, PLR requires potential student members to shadow field investigators on at least three investigations, and complete a full research paper. This technique shows that Ryan Buell takes a more serious and academic approach to the topic of the paranormal.
Watching Paranormal State
Paranormal State was somewhat similar to the popular show Ghost Hunters on the SyFy Channel. However, it was also very unique in that the show employed a wider range of methods and tools that the investigators of Ghost Hunters don't use. The PRS approach encompasses many of the same scientific tools and protocol, but under Ryan's direction, investigations tend to embrace many spiritual and occult techniques as well. Whether this approach brings more balance or more confusion to the investigation is currently a very hot debate in the world of paranormal research.