The television show Paranormal State chronicled the paranormal investigations of the Paranormal Research Society of Penn State (PRS). These investigations most often covered hauntings or poltergeist activity. Ryan Buell founded PRS in 2001 when he was only 19. The show is no longer making new content.
Ryan Buell, Founder of Paranormal Research Society
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 stated its main mission was to "Scientifically and spiritually explore" the supernatural. This balance of science and faith is where PRS stood 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 solidified Buell's effort to bring balance of faith and science into all of PRS' investigations.
Paranormal State Cast
While the Paranormal Research Society of Penn State has many 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. After Paranormal State went off the air, Buell struggled with illness, legal difficulties, and drug abuse. As of 2019, Buell was in recovery with more than a year sober under his belt.
- Katrina Weidman: Katrina joined PRS in 2006 and served as an interviewer. She later went on to appear in the television show Paranormal Lockdown with Ghost Adventures' Nick Groff. In 2019, Weidman appeared as a regular on the television show Portals to Hell with Jack Osbourne.
- Heather Taddy: Heather used her experience with film and media to serve as the team documentarian of paranormal phenomenon. After Paranormal State, she continued working in the television and film industry.
- Sergey Poberezhny: Sergey, a native of Sevastopol, Ukraine, offered his technical skills to the PRS team as the team's tech specialist. Since Paranormal State, Poberezhny has been out of the public eye.
- 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 did. The PRS team actually consisted 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.
Paranormal State Off the Air
Paranormal State ran for six seasons on A&E, going off the air in 2011. PRS, however, appears to still be in business with an active social media presence.
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 technical tools and protocols, 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.