NASA worker brings a scientific eye to his hobby: Talking to the dead

Medium and NASA Meteorologist Rob Gutro tries to communicate with a possible ghost beneath a bookstore in Baltimore.
By J. Freedom duLac
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, October 30, 2010; 2:48 AM

Rob Gutro was driving to the wake of a co-worker's stepfather when a ghost began to speak.

"I kept hearing the name Cindy Lou," Gutro recalled. "I had no idea what that meant." But he knew this: Once again, somebody who'd died had something to say.

By day, Gutro is a meteorologist who works as deputy news chief at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, communicating the nation's scientific work to the public.

By night (and whenever else the entities get in touch), he talks to the dead.

"I have an ability to communicate with and understand ghosts and spirits," Gutro said.

During his off-hours, away from NASA's advanced technology, Gutro actively seeks encounters of another kind by traveling to haunted houses and other historic sites where spirits might be found.

Sometimes, he said, entities seek him out. So it was, on the way to the wake this summer, that the disembodied voice in the car asked Gutro to deliver messages to his grieving friend and NASA colleague, Cynthia O'Carroll.

Gutro obliged, pulling her aside at the ceremony and saying he'd been hearing the name Cindy Lou. "I believe your dad has come to me," he told O'Carroll.

She cried.

"My dad used to call me Cindy Lou," O'Carroll said later. "But the thing that really touched me and made me cry was when Rob said, 'Your dad said thank you for taking care of your mom.' Just the way he said it sounded like the way Dad would have said it."

Gutro is quick to acknowledge that some NASA scientists - and plenty of non-scientists too - approach his work with considerable skepticism. "Some people do think that mediums are crazy," Gutro said. He shrugged.

There's no scientific consensus on ghosts and spirits; the word paranormal, after all, means something beyond scientific explanation. But Gutro, who used to work as a forecaster for the Weather Channel's radio division, insisted that the science behind his experiences with entities is sound.

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