PIRO investigates possibly paranormal activity on campus


Photo courtesy of Charger Bulletin/Charlotte Bassett.

Members of PIRO during their meeting, West Haven, Oct. 26, 2022.

The University of New Haven is home to a number of unique, student-led organizations that offer opportunities that students may not have otherwise. One of these clubs is the Paranormal Investigation Research Organization (PIRO), which was established in 2014 and has quickly developed into one of the most popular recognized student organizations (RSO) at the university.

PIRO President Myles Allan, a junior English major, said that their meetings routinely pack the Peterson Auditorium and average about 70 participants.

“I think our club is inherently unique because our purpose is to talk about the unusual,” he said. “From ghosts and cryptids, to occult beliefs and odd conspiracy theories, we cover just about everything that doesn’t fit into what we expect from everyday life.”

In the weeks just before and after Halloween, there is a heightened interest in the supernatural things around us. As such, the club has a variety of events to give students the full experience during the annual celebration. Last Friday, they welcomed professional ghost investigator Brian J. Cano, known for roles in a number of paranormal investigation shows, for a guest lecture. Over the weekend, the club also hosted a few Halloween parties for their members.

PIRO also has a special Divination Fair planned for Thursday, where students and members will be able to receive readings from tarot cards and other similar tools.

The club also monitors strange occurrences happening on and around campus. With the university’s known past of paranormal activity, especially in the converted orphanage Maxcy Hall which Allan said was the most haunted building on campus, the club has the opportunity to investigate real instances of possible paranormal activity on campus. Because of this, the club also takes an educational approach for their members.

“[We] are currently in the process of training our new investigators about our equipment, techniques, and theories of the paranormal,” Allan said.

New evidence of possible activity is constantly becoming available. Allan said that students have recently begun noticing some interesting occurrences in the fourth floor of the Westside dorm building, including scratching in the walls and abnormal doorknob rattling.

For Allan, it doesn’t necessarily mean that ghosts are there, but instead gives the chance for more investigation.

“Despite being the President, I’m pretty skeptical of ghosts, but that’s what makes being a part of this RSO so fun,” Allan said. “If the paranormal is real, I get the opportunity to find out first-hand.”

This curiosity is something that has driven the club so far, helping them garner such popularity on campus. It not only serves as an outlet to get answers on the unknown, but it also allows members to experience things that may only be seen on television.

Allan said that prospective students interested in joining the club and learning more about PIRO can attend one of their weekly meetings on Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m. in the Bergami Center room 307.

“I think staying aware and curious about these sorts of things just makes life more fun,” Allan said. “What makes ghosts any weirder than atoms or gravity, which we also can’t see? There’s a lot of enjoyment to be found in the strange and supernatural.”