FAIRBANKS -- Jessie Desmond has been drawn to ghost stories since she was a child growing up in nearby North Pole. But even back then, as she read "Scary Stories To Tell In the Dark" by Alvin Schwartz, it wasn't just the creepy words and pictures that hooked her. Instead, the author's notations about the stories' origins piqued her curiosity.

"You realize those stories are based on local folklore," she said. "Those books were a big deal to me."

That interest didn't wane as she entered adulthood. Back in 2001, as she worked toward a history degree at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, she posted fliers around campus looking for people who shared her interest in the paranormal.

Living in Fairbanks today, Desmond, 31, makes coffee at a downtown shop and looks for opportunities to investigate ghosts, elves, aliens and Bigfoot. And she wants to share what she's learned.

Read more: Paranormal prober Jessie Desmond on making contact with the other side