On a warm night in the winemaking town of Sonoma, California, the slightly moldy smell of eucalyptus trees hangs heavy in the air. Amidst the rustic stone buildings and tidy gravel pathways of the historic Buena Vista Winery, five middle-aged paranormal investigators from the San Francisco Bay Area gather in matching black t-shirts. There have been reports of hauntings here. One of the tasting room employees saw a “guy in a white t-shirt” climb the stairs then vanish. Could it be the ghost of the original owner, an exiled Hungarian Count who was supposedly eaten by alligators? The group, whose name is The Amateur Ghost Hunters: R.I.P., is on the scene to find out.

On the top floor of the wine cellars, they turn the lights off, and wait for something to happen. “It’s ok for you to come out and speak with us,” says Ellen MacFarlane, a stay at home mom from Napa, California sitting cross-legged on the floor with her eyes closed. The other four glance at Julie Blankenship, sitting next to Ellen, or rather, they look at the KII meter she’s holding. It’s a little white box that lights up when it perceives spikes in EMF, or changes in the electromagnetic field. Most ghost hunters believe that spirits cause EMF spikes.

It’s not lighting up.

But – creak! What was that? It’s a loud noise from above. And then another. The group collectively gasps. There was no way
it was trees. They’d already checked it out, and no trees touched the building.

“Steps on the roof!” someone exclaims.

“Thank you,” says Ellen. “Did you die in this winery?”