A bump in the night.
Shadows that cannot be explained.
Moving objects that should remain still.
Voices that go unaccounted for.
Most people might brush off any of these incidents off as nonsense. Nothing more than a chance happening that must have a logical explanation.
But others believe it could be a sign we are not alone. That something, or someone, is among us.
At Liberty Tattoo in Antioch, unexplained occurrences have led owners Eric and Mandi to believe that there could be a presence at their tattoo parlor that did not come for body art.
"You get that kind of creepy feeling that you're being watched," Eric Lynn said. "I've seen stuff walking through. I've heard people talking and there's nobody there."
Explaining the unexplained
The Antioch tattoo parlor is just one among thousands of locations that have been investigated by Bob Jensen.
The Gurnee resident is the lead investigator with GhostLand Society of Lake County. To the surprise of some, the society is not comprised of people who believe ghosts lurk behind every dark corner, Jensen said.
The society actually exists to provide a service to residents or business owners who believe they may be living or working among spirits and haunts, he said.
"We go in and try to give them a logical explanation as to what is truly happening," Jensen said.
When investigating a supposedly haunted location, Jensen and his team use everything from a slew of thermal cameras to digital voice recorders in an attempt to capture evidence of paranormal activity.
Often times, the sounds someone thought was the voice of spirit ends up being howling wind in an old house, or the voices of children at a nearby park, Jensen said. Other logical explanations have explained the presence of mysterious shadows.
So far this year, Jensen has been involved in more than 1,000 separate investigations. About 95 percent of calls about possible paranormal activity end up being debunked, he said.
But that does leave 5 percent where activity of some kind cannot be explained. Those are the cases where a paranormal entity could be present, Jensen said.
"You can't be ignorant and think we're the only things on this earth and believe that once we leave, we're nothing," he said. "The body is comprised of energy, so the energy has to go somewhere."
It has been almost two decades since Jensen first started paranormal investigations. In that time, he has had only a handful of experiences where he personally felt or saw a spirit. He claims he has seen furniture moving without explanation, been thrown down a flight of stairs and seen people receive unexplained gashes in their legs during investigations.
Despite these occurrences and others, Jensen still said he is a skeptic.
"I want the proof," he said. "I've witnessed things over the years that I can't explain. In some weird, twisted way, I don't want to accept that what I saw is legit."
Haunts from a past life
Spirits or ghosts are often the presence of someone who died a traumatic death, Jensen said, or has unfinished business he or she has come back to complete.
Other times, a spirit is attached to a specific item.
"There has been cases where people have picked something up at antique stores, and brought it home and had these problems," Jensen said. "We take the item out of the home and the problems stop."
At Liberty Tattoo, there is at least one male, and one female presence, Lynn said.
The basement at the tattoo parlor has witnessed the most activity, he said, and he has also seen racks on the wall moving without explanation.
"I've seen stuff walking through. I've heard people talking and there's nobody there," Lynn said. "Is something going on? I think so."
Previous owners of the building experienced similar incidents, Lynn said, so he knows he and his wife are not the only ones to be mystified.
Despite the possibility of working among ghosts, Lynn said he has no concerns about his safety.
"No one has ever been harmed," he said.
For Jensen, it's just another day on the hunt.
"There's a lot of activity up this way," he said. "It's fantastic when you capture it.
A bump in the night.