Saturday, January 9, 2016

Haunted Taylor Hall, Part 2

The 114-year-old Taylor Hall on the campus of Western State Colorado University in Gunnison, Colo., has a multi-generational tradition of paranormal goings-on.

(If you missed Part 1 of this investigation, click here.)

Taylor Hall in 1937
But perhaps the most persistent accounts center around Taylor Auditorium, which occupies much of the space inside Central Hall -- the final center addition to the three-part Taylor complex, completed in the 1930s.

That Auditorium can house over 800 attendees and has a full stage with a thrust proscenium. and a warren of passageways and connected rooms.

Our collected interviews uncovered recurring reports of shadow figures and mischievous pranks both in the larger auditorium and backstage.

Looking into Auditorium's vaulted
spaces 50 feet up, near catwalk
We collected one story about a janitor who, in the early days of theater operation, had fallen to his death from the catwalk, housed some 50 or 60 feet above the main stage. So far, we haven't been able to confirm this story, but it may explain some of the activity staff and students related.

One alum shared with us an event from the early 2000s, when she and two other students were painting sets on stage after midnight. They saw a shadow figure pass across the light booth window (no one else was in the building) and then the lights flickered off. At the same time, they both felt a sudden drop in temperature as though someone had opened all the outside doors. They decided it was time to leave -- and watched as the main doors opened for them. When they darted out, the door slammed shut behind them.

Another account we collected was from a long-time theater prof who told us he was working late one night in his nearby office and heard a racket in the theater. Like the previous account, he was alone in the building at the time -- or so he thought. He found the main corridor theater doors locked but opened them anyway and went in to find all the lights inexplicably on. He checked the small light booth and found it empty, and then entered the main Auditorium again to call out if anyone was there. At that moment, all the lights went out (which could only be performed from the "empty" light booth.)

We couldn't wait to explore the Auditorium for ourselves.

Auditorium from center stage, light
& sound booth beyond seating
While Wraiths team members Kym and Chris explored the main stage and theater seating, taking EMF readings and a series of pics, the rest of the group headed backstage beneath the catwalk to conduct both audio-only and ghost box EVP sessions.

Chris captured on camera several orb-like anomalies near the north wall of the theater seating, and then the two joined the rest of the team for the EVP sessions. Although we recorded nothing through the digital recorder, we did manage to record what seemed like intelligent responses with our ghost box.

That recording yielded several Class A EVP (words and phrases clear to everyone) as well as Class B (not everyone agreed) and Class C (sounded like words but little agreement on interpretation):


EVP in the Auditorium by ghost box

When we asked for the names of those with us, early on we got "Pearl" and "Tom" (this latter name twice, once as a whisper). And both names also occurred later in the session. Listen for "Pearl" again during the Burst Mode.

Other seemingly intelligent responses came when Elizabyth asked if anyone had a message ("Best not"), when Kym asked for how many joined us ("Three" repeated twice in succession), and when Chris asked for the date ("May 10" -- which it wasn't for us but might have been significant for the voice that replied). Listen also for the response to Mark's question about why they remain there ("For help") and a Class A EVP from the Burst of "Don't be terrified." We weren't -- but then, the message might have been for another unseen presence.

We next moved to the costume shop below the main Auditorium, where cast and crew have reported tapping noises from an old electric typewriter stashed in the hallway next to the shop. (Before the investigation, Wraiths team member Doug had placed a sheet of paper in the typewriter even though the machine was unplugged and the ribbon didn't work.) We checked the machine during the investigation for elevated EMF -- and for typed words -- but no joy in either case.

We conducted an EVP session in the costume shop and captured EMF spikes as we recorded an exchange between two voices that seemed largely oblivious to our presence (except for one early mention of "Hey, Kym" -- EVP often acknowledge her!) That exchange was brief:
           MALE VOICE: What's up?
           FEMALE VOICE: Zach?
           MALE VOICE: Yes, ma'am. Zach.

When Mark later asked the names of spirits present, a different male voice clearly said, "Zach."

Our final stop was in the Taylor South Hall, where a faculty member had given us permission to investigate his office. The prof's room was situated in a suite of faculty offices, and on more than one occasion, he had heard commotion in two unoccupied empty offices directly across the hall when he worked after hours.

Only three days before our current investigation, he had been working at his desk and noticed his analog watch's minute hand had began to spin around the face. Almost immediately, a book firmly lying on the desk toppled off the edge to the floor. These events occurred later on the same afternoon Wraiths team members Mark and Doug had conducted a preliminary sweep of the building, taking readings and announcing to any unseen presences that we'd return in a few days.

In that prof's office, we conducted an EVP session via ghost box and captured a response of "Five" to the number of spirits present and, once again, the announcement that "Em" was there. (See our previous account of the session in the Taylor Hall main corridor, where "Em" spoke to us several times.)

To Mark's query of why they were there, we recorded responses of "Ask, we can help." When Kym asked if the spirits present were okay with that particular prof sharing their space, the answer was immediate: "We shall see." We all remarked on the grammatically correct modal verb of "shall" for first person rather than the more common "will" these days. A response from an earlier, more proper era? Perhaps just a spirit mindful of the halls of higher learning.

[We'll soon insert a portion of that EVP session in the office, once we've had the opportunity to refine the raw audio file. Check back!]

When we'd first entered the office for the investigation, we noticed an antique wooden cabinet that was once an electroshock unit. The device sat adjacent to the toppled book event reported above, and we wondered if it might be related to possible poltergeist activity in that and the nearby offices.

We couldn't help but muse that perhaps not just the walls but even the furnishings *do* sometimes "talk."

The Taylor Hall investigation was a success, in our opinion, and we plan to revisit to see what further evidence we can gather at a future date.

* * *
Our next posting will recount our recent adventure in an isolated rural 1880s ranch house, which current owners had asked us to investigate. Seemed that unhappy spirits had driven off previous tenants and the new owners wanted to make peace with the long-term "caretakers." We were joined by a psychic, and boy, was that place ever haunted!

* * *
We're still having as much fun documenting current and ongoing investigations as we did conducting the investigations over the past year and a half for our book, WILD WEST GHOSTS.

There are puzzling experiences and encounters aplenty out there, and you just may want to pick up a copy of that book for either armchair musings or else as a guide for your own expeditions into the fascinating world of the paranormal.

You can buy the book as either an e-read or a trade paperback. Visit our Website for links.

In the meantime, happy hunting!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Haunted Taylor Hall, Part I

Old buildings seem ripe for paranormal investigation, and several of the structures on the campus of Western State Colorado University in Gunnison have legends and stories to support that hunch. Some structures even have recurring sightings and unexplained activity that sustain the ghostly traditions of this 114-year-old institution right up to the present.

Taylor Hall in 1911
Take the original Taylor Hall, built in 1911 as a preparatory college for teachers, a so-called Normal School.

But the goings-on in this facility can be anything but normal, to talk to alums, current students, faculty, and facilities staff.


Savage Library's West Wing
Western State has recurring reports of hauntings in at least four campus buildings. Generations of students continue to report sightings on the third floor of Roubidoux Hall of the ghost of a man who died of smoke inhalation in the 1970s. Some students say they’ve seen his apparition at their bedside at night.

Nearby Ute Hall harbors accounts of a shadow figure in the basement known to pass through the wall of an off-limits storage and boiler room, harmless if a bit unnerving to those who’ve witnessed the apparition.

Staff and students have reported additional paranormal activity in Savage Library inside the oldest and original building, now called the West Wing, designed by Denver architect Temple Buell as a WPA project during the Depression Era.

Taylor's North, Central, & South Halls in 1937
By the time the original Taylor Hall had become North Hall (so delineated because of the chronological additions of South Hall and the connecting Central Hall), campus residents had noted  accumulating paranormal happenings aplenty -- full-bodied apparitions on the second floor of North Hall, ghostly voices and moving objects in South Hall, and shadow people playing havoc with the lighting inside the auditorium in Central Hall.

We had to find out for ourselves what all the paranormal fuss was about.

With so much ground to cover for even a preliminary investigation, we called in the full complement of our six-member team, consisting of the two of us (Kym-n-Mark), plus Chris, Elizabyth, Douglas, and Doug. Hey, it gave us more more boots on the ground -- not to mention more eyes to cover everyone's back.

West Wing Interior
First stop, Savage Library's West Wing. We visited during the building's rare closed hours, assisted by a longtime librarian who pointed us to alleged hot spots. With his help, we debunked a  number of reports, determining reported tapping sounds were caused by the expansion and contraction of heat flow in the building's vast array of ventilation shafts, which produced sounds that sounded like wall rapping at intermittent intervals. We also determined unexpected toilet bowl flushes in the bathrooms were triggered by quirky motion sensors.

Undaunted, we recorded EMF readings. (For readers who haven't followed our earlier accounts, EMF stands for Electromagnetic Field, and ghosts are said to draw on this energy to manifest their presence.)  Not surprisingly, we recorded EMF spikes near all the mechanicals and electrical hardware equipping even this oldest portion of the library, but natural causes explained all our readings.

Our audio-only digital recordings produced no EVP. (EVP stands for Electronic Voice Phenomena, or disembodied voices captured by electronic means). Nor did our flashlight and ghost box sessions produce results in the building. Despite staff reports to the contrary, we found nothing amiss or remotely paranormal during our investigation.

Then again, sometimes ghosts just don't come out to play!

A late-night tech saw a full-bodied
apparition at the end of this hall.
We moved our investigation to Taylor Hall during closed hours for that building as well. We decided to start on the second-floor where a late-night-working tech saw a full-bodied apparition standing in the North Hall main corridor, a figure that had disappeared moments later. (During an earlier interview, she confessed she's refused to work in the building alone late at night ever since.)

We set up our equipment, started recording baseline EMF readings, and conducted both audio-only and ghost box sessions, including an invitation to communicate with us using our flashlight. (Click here if you're unfamiliar with ghost box tech and want to learn more.)

Although we captured no audio-only EVP during this session, we had much better luck with the ghost box and, concurrent with the EVP, recorded corresponding spikes in EMF readings at this location.

Ghost Box EVP captured in the North Hall corridor

Many investigators classify hauntings as either residual and intelligent. Residual hauntings play out scenes or verbal exchanges that seem oblivious to the presence of witnesses. Intelligent hauntings include communication that recognizes and interacts with the presence of others. The excerpt from our investigation included above falls into the second category.

We expected a male voice from the ghost box because most apparition-sighting witnesses report seeing a male ghost, but the ghost box first captured two women's voices followed by a man's. The immediate greetings we captured during the session let us know we were welcome, nonetheless. And all electronically vocal entities seemed talkative and receptive to our efforts to communicate with them. 

We've yet to track down any meaningful correlations to the names "Em" (Emily?), "Coffey" (a last name?), and "Anne," but we were pleased to confirm recognition of two of our attending team members, a confirmation that our unseen hosts were aware of the team's presence at that time.

One response was a plea for help, which dismays us a bit. Often we don't fully understand all the responses we captured. Maybe we can do more during a subsequent follow-up investigation.

But the current investigation wasn't over. We had hot spots to check out in the Central Hall auditorium and one South Hall office, where a faculty member had experienced possible poltergeist activity only a few days earlier.

The subject of our next account.

* * *
We're still having as much fun documenting current and ongoing investigations as we did conducting the investigations over the past year and a half for our book, WILD WEST GHOSTS.

There are puzzling experiences and encounters aplenty out there, and you just may want to pick up a copy of that book for either armchair musings or else as a guide for your own expeditions into the fascinating world of the paranormal.

You can buy the book as either an e-read or a trade paperback. Visit our Website for links.

In the meantime, happy hunting!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Midnight investigation at Boot Hill cemetery, Va City, MT

Generally, we prefer daytime investigations -- too easy for the imagination to get away from us at night! But somehow a midnight session seemed the best approach when we decided to investigate Boot Hill cemetery overlooking the very haunted frontier mining town of Virginia City, MT.

(This is the final account in a three-part series on our investigations at Virginia City in July 2015. If you missed part one, where we encounter the "little girl ghost" in the Opera House costume shop, click here. If you missed part two, where we capture a combination of intelligent and residual hauntings on the Opera House stage, click here.)

The most prominent graves at the site are those of five road agents lynched by the Montana Vigilantes in 1864, marking the end of a lawless spree of road heists and some one hundred murders in the area during the Montana Gold Rush.

We began the investigation earlier in the evening by taking the local ghost walk, which led us down the main and dark side streets to see numerous homes and buildings said to house the restless spirits of many former residents.

Along the way, the tour guide took us inside the Hanging Building, where a heavy beam still shows the marks of ropes used to lynch desperadoes who had terrorized the region, notably by nearby Bannack sheriff Henry Plummer's gang. The town of Bannack had hired Plummer to enforce law in the mining towns, little realizing Plummer was the brains behind a string of stage-coach hold-ups and multiple murders along the routes among the territory's communities.

On January 14, 1864, the Vigilance Committee arrested five road agents living in Virginia City -- Frank Parish, Boone Helm, Hayes Lyons, Jack Gallagher, and George "Clubfoot" Lane -- and summarily hanged them. (We had earlier visited the historical museum in the first floor of the local library, where a jar contains George Lane's severed clubfoot.) Their remains -- minus the foot! -- were interred on Boot Hill, but their spirits are said to still haunt the graveyard.

Grave of "Clubfoot" George,
hung during vigilante justice
We wanted to find out.

Boot Hill overlooks the town in the narrow river valley below, and we waited until the local main street saloon -- okay, the local bar -- quietened down. Then we set up our equipment in front of the graves of the five vigilante-hung road agents.

The Wraiths team that night consisted of three members: Kym ran the camcorder while Fonda took a sequence of still photos at five-second intervals during the investigation; meanwhile, Mark conducted both audio-only digital recordings followed by a session using the ghost box.

We were not disappointed by the results.

When Mark asked if anyone was trapped at the cemetery, a series of Class A EVP responded, "He's trapped ... I am ... desperate." But that was only part of the remarkable responses we captured:

 Class A EVP at Boot Hill

On the above video, you can hear a number of additional responses to our questions that we don't draw attention to in this clip. Listen for a man's voice that tells us to "Leave" as well as the word "Dead" repeated multiple times by different voices. What struck us most strongly, however, was how many of the EVP seemed clear answers to questions we asked, leading us to believe we captured not only residual but also intelligent hauntings.

At the end of the video, we include two of the many intriguing still photos captured during the investigation. Although we are always skeptical about the source of orbs, we nonetheless find it hard to dismiss them all in this instance since Fonda took photos at consistent and methodical five-second intervals. The orbs she captured appear intermittently on the stills, sometimes as many as thirty or more in a single frame followed by a frame absent of any. If these were reflections caused by dust or insects, we would expect a gradual lessening of the orbs rather than a sudden absence altogether between frames.

The cemetery inquiry was a satisfying end to our two-day investigation at Virginia City, and we're still examining our evidence. The very kind and helpful locals invited us to return anytime we liked.

We have a feeling we'll be back.

* * *
We're still having as much fun analyzing the results of our ongoing investigations as we did conducting the investigations over the past year for our book, WILD WEST GHOSTS.

There are puzzling experiences and encounters aplenty out there, and you just may want to pick up a copy of the book for either your own armchair musings or else as a guide for some of your own expeditions into the fascinating world of the paranormal.

You can buy the book as either an e-read or a trade paperback. Visit our Website for the links.

In the meantime, happy hunting!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Countdown for Halloween - our upcoming para talks in October

Halloween must be coming. We've had nine requests in October to bring our slideshow about the paranormal research we did for WILD WEST GHOSTS.

Of course, we're delighted. And we've prepared a combination of audio and video clips that document our various investigations, including EVP captures (EVP stands for Electronic Voice Phenomena, a theory that ghosts can manipulate electronic instruments to produce verbal communications), flashlight interactions, swirling angry orbs, and a whole slew of other experiences.Who knew Colorado was so haunted!

Some of the venue requests are special-interest or private-party events, but plenty are free and open to the public. If you're in the vicinity and free, we'd love to see you there!

  • Saturday, Oct. 10, 2 p.m. - Audio/Video para talk about WILD WEST GHOSTS at the New Castle Branch Library. 402 W Main St, New Castle, CO 81647 (This is the "New Castle" on the I-70 corridor near Glenwood Springs). For more information, call (970) 984-2346.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 13, 6 p.m. - Audio/Video para talk about WILD WEST GHOSTS at The Book Haven. 135 F St, Salida, CO 81201. Open to the public, but RSVP required in advance since they provide food and entertainment for attendees. For more information, call (719) 539-9629.
  • Monday, Oct. 26, 7 p.m. - "Ghost Hunting 101" at the Old Rock Community Library. 504 Maroon Ave, Crested Butte, CO 81224. For more information, call (970) 349-6535.
  • Thursday, Oct. 29, 7 p.m. - Audio/Video para talk about WILD WEST GHOSTS in the West Wing of Savage Library, Western State Colorado University Campus. 600 N. Adams, Gunnison, CO 81230. For more information, call (970) 943-2103
  • Saturday, Oct. 31, 2 p.m. - A Halloween Audio/Video para talk about WILD WEST GHOSTS at the Delta County Public Library. 211 @ 6th St. Delta, CO 81416. For more information, call (970) 874-8605. And yes, this one takes place on Halloween!
The Halloween countdown is on!

(And watch for the forthcoming article about our investigation on Oct. 3 at the Old Rock Community Library.)

* * *
We're still having as much fun analyzing the results of our ongoing investigations as we did conducting the investigations over the past year for our book, WILD WEST GHOSTS.

There are puzzling experiences and encounters aplenty out there, and you just may want to pick up a copy of the book for either your own armchair musings or else as a guide for some of your own expeditions into the fascinating world of the paranormal.

You can buy the book as either an e-read or a trade paperback. Visit our Website for the links.

In the meantime, happy hunting!

Friday, September 25, 2015

The very haunted Va City, MT, Opera House

Most ghost hunters (so the locals claim) overlook one of the most paranormally active locales in this frontier western mining town -- the Opera House.

Va City Opera House
(This is part two of a three-part series on our investigations in Virginia City in July 2015. If you missed part one, where we encounter the "little girl ghost" in the costume shop, click here.)

The Opera House gives vaudeville and melodrama performances for visiting tourists throughout the summer, and the residents have preserved or restored the building to its former glory. But some of the best shows take place backstage: the paranormal ones, that is.

Laura Long, who manages the costume shop and also participates on stage as a player, invited us to continue our investigation of the premises inside the Opera House itself. What a great space! The theater holds wonderful Old West charm and must look much the same as it did during Virginia City's rowdier late 1800s heyday.

The Opera House cremona, said to have
hundreds of orbs surround it when it was
returned after renovations.
Nestled at the front of the stage and next to the seating rests a renovated cremona in the orchestra pit. (A cremona is a kind of organ attached to various drums and flutes and once used in the Opera House to accompany silent movies back in the early 1900s.) In fact, other players had told us on the previous night that the organ had been shipped to specialists several years ago to make it functional again. Upon return to the theater, a flood of visible orbs crowded around the cremona, as though the cherished organ needed their protection and oversight.

The stage inside
the Opera House
We decided to start our investigation, however, backstage behind the curtains between the men's and women's dressing rooms. This is the site of the appearance of *another* little girl ghost on the premises. The one reported in the costume shop (named "Hannah," as our investigation revealed) has been described as having blond hair. But accounts of the separate apparition often seen backstage in the Opera House seems to have black hair.

We were eager to see if we'd have as much luck in contacting this second little girl. We set up the camcorder and conducted a session with flashlight, digital recorder, and spirit box. We captured no audio-only EVP with our digital recorder. (EVP stands for Electronic Voice Phenomena, a theory that ghosts can manipulate electronic instruments to produce verbal communications.) Nor did we have a response to our request to dim or turn off the flashlight.

But we did have success with our EchoVox spirit box, which produced an interactive conversation during that session. Among the multiple EVP we captured in the following video clip, listen in particular for the response just past the one-minute time stamp. Mark asks about the little girl and receives an almost immediate reply in a man's voice saying, "Yes, she's little," followed by a young girl's voice that might be saying, "I am."

An EVP conversation backstage at the Opera House

It's not uncommon for EVP to occur at a more rapid rate than normal speech. So notice how clipped many of the names sound after we asked those unseen presences to identify themselves. Our spirit box can also produce what's called a "Mode Burst" -- a concentrated blast of random sounds that allows spirits to create not only words but sometimes sentences. Among the many we later slowed down and parsed from the Mode Burst were two included in the above video clip -- one that sounds to us like "No big [two unclear syllables] anyway" in a woman's voice and then "We're doing okay" in a deep drawling man's voice.

We found ourselves at first skeptical about someone using the expression "Okay" back in the 1880s, but a little research uncovered that the word actually reached national prominence as early as the 1840s. So maybe it fits after all. Of course, we didn't have a chance to parse and isolate this EVP until weeks afterwards, so we didn't have the opportunity at the time of the investigation to ask the speaker when he lived. Maybe next time we visit the Opera House.

We moved to the front of the stage, next to the cremona, and conducted a second EVP session with the spirit box since the invisible "locals" seemed so chatty.

 Multiple EVP, intelligent & residual

Notice in the above video how the first part includes a recognition of our presence, and even answers some of our questions about the cremona -- are they, indeed, guarding it; and who is doing so? We get one answer of "Gustaf" (or Gustave). Lots of frontier mining towns filled with German and Slavic immigrants,and Virginia City had its share. Gustaf is a plausible response.

The second part of this video includes the raw footage from another "Burst Mode" with our spirit box. Although, as mentioned, the device generates only random sounds (no words), this time we captured EVP of not only words but also phrases and even sentences.

After presenting the raw footage, we isolate and extract a number of EVP that are either Class A (clear to understand) or Class B (most listeners -- but not all -- agree on what's said). We captured more than those we include from this Burst, but we considered several of these to be Class C (something's going on, but we can't definitively determine what is said). We suspect all of these EVP are residual. Yes, there are recurring themes (notice the same woman's voice repeatedly reassuring others that some unnamed event is "for the best" in various ways). We also included EVP saying, "Desperate," "Hide," and "Upset." We wish we knew what traumatic event this was all about!

The final capture we included was of a man's voice saying, "Walk this way." This EVP occurred at the very edge of the stage next to the theater seating and sounds to us like someone is stuck repeating the duties of an usher. We take this as a likely example of a residual haunting.

All in all, the time spent in the Opera House left us with the conclusion the locals are right: This building is one very haunted location.

Next time, we conclude the three-part series of our investigation in Virginia City, this time recounting our midnight investigation at the community's Boot Hill cemetery, site of the graves of five men lynched by 1860s vigilantes. The spirits are still not quiet.

* * *
We're still having as much fun analyzing the results of our ongoing investigations as we did conducting the investigations over the past year for our book, WILD WEST GHOSTS.

There are puzzling experiences and encounters aplenty out there, and you just may want to pick up a copy of the book for either your own armchair musings or else as a guide for some of your own expeditions into the fascinating world of the paranormal.

You can buy the book as either an e-read or a trade paperback. Visit our Website for the links.

In the meantime, happy hunting!

Friday, September 11, 2015

An encore investigation in notoriously haunted Va City, MT

During our summer book tour for WILD WEST GHOSTS, we were invited to give a paranormal talk at the Thompson-Hickman County Library in the notoriously haunted town of Virginia City, MT. (Click here to see our summer 2014 investigations in this frontier mining town during .)

Thompson-Hickman County Library
It was a standing-room-only crowd filled with locals and, to our delight, many shared their own ghostly stories and encounters. After the event, several folks told us about the many celeb ghost hunters who'd come to town, but the townies said all these groups had overlooked what locals considered the most haunted location in town -- the Opera House. And they invited us to conduct our own investigation at this hot spot while we were in the vicinity.

Luckily, we brought our gear -- hey, you never know!

Turned out, we conducted three investigations over the next 24 hours: the Opera House costume shop (in a separate building), the Opera House stage, and nearby Boot Hill cemetery, the burial site for vigilante hangings in the 1864. We were not disappointed, capturing not only residual haunting EVP but also intelligent responses on both our digital recorder and our EchoVox spirit box. Read on.

The Opera House Costume Shop Investigation
The Opera House gives vaudeville and melodrama performances for visiting tourists throughout the summer, and the locals have preserved or restored the building to its former glory. But behind the Opera House, a separate little pioneer shack serves as clothing storage and workshop station for costumes and props.

The Opera House costume shop, where the
"Little Girl" ghost appears

Costume Shop manager Laura Long gave us the tour of the building the day after our book talk. The facility consists of multiple rooms clearly added on each time more space was needed. We invited Laura to participate in our investigation. Good thing, since she's the one who's had the most interaction with the "Little Girl," the most active ghost on the premises.

Other Opera House players have also encountered the "Little Girl," sometimes as a full-bodied apparition. Several have experienced her mischievous antics.

She's known to abscond with key bits of stage costuming or props just before a performance. But she always returns them just in the nick of time (to the exasperation and chagrin of the cast), often placing these items on Laura's workshop bench.

Laura Long before the workshop
bench favored by the ghost
Our team established EMF baseline readings throughout the building at the start of our investigation. (EMF stands for Electromagnetic Field, and ghosts are said to draw on this energy to manifest their presence.) Then we set up camcorder sessions with flashlight, digital recorder, and spirit box for the locations most reported for the "Little Girl."

After an hour and a half without results, we decided to clear the building and let just Kym and Laura have a go at contacting the "Little Girl." (We'd heard from several local interview sources the previous evening that the ghost preferred women and was more likely to manifest to a feminine audience.)

Kym and Laura used a camcorder, a flashlight, and a digital recorder during the session. Wraiths in the Thick team member Fonda Porterfield provided an antique child's doll named Mandy to use as a trigger object.  This configuration turned out to be a good hunch in approaching the "Little Girl." Here's the evidence we captured:

EVP capturing the ghost's name, "Hannah"

Only during later analysis, when we amplified the recording, did we detect that Kym and Laura had actually gotten a response. The capture of the little ghost's name, "Hannah," is so clear it falls under the category known as a Class A EVP, where all listeners agree on what's said. (Class B EVP are those where most hear the same thing, and Class C EVP are those where there are differing interpretations of what's said.)

During a follow-up session, we also captured on spirit box the name "Mandy." Guess the doll was a hit after all.

 EVP using doll as trigger object

When we shared the EVP of the "Little Girl" ghost's name with Laura, she in turn shared it with the summer Opera House theater players. They all agreed the recording did indeed say "Hannah." The cast members may have agreed, but it also so spooked (pun intended) the players that they were reluctant to visit the costume shop afterwards. By contrast, the EVP capture thrilled Laura, who now addresses her little friend by her name.

We packed up our gear and headed across the back parking lot to conduct our second investigation on the stage of the Opera House, and the subject of the next article.

* * *
We're still having as much fun analyzing the results of our ongoing investigations as we did conducting the investigations over the past year for our book, WILD WEST GHOSTS.

There are puzzling experiences and encounters aplenty out there, and you just may want to pick up a copy of the book for either your own armchair musings or else as a guide for some of your own expeditions into the fascinating world of the paranormal.

You can buy the book as either an e-read or a trade paperback. Visit our Website for the links.

In the meantime, happy hunting!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Messages from the "Other Side" - but who are we talking to?

The past year of paranormal investigations has become a paradigm-shifter for us, but we didn't realize the Other Side would start initiating contact with us!


(This is the final article in a three-part series on "When the Other Side contacts YOU!" If you missed part one, click here. If you missed part two, click here.)

Last week, we shared a strange photo that showed up on Mark's camera after an investigation at the Twin Lakes Inn in Twin Lakes, Colo. -- but he didn't take this photo. The images intrigued us because closer examination revealed several faces, particularly animal heads. We set the anomalous photo aside and continued our analyses of the many other findings we had accumulated for our book Wild West Ghosts.

Whoever -- or whatever -- had sent us that photo wouldn't be ignored.

The next conversation?
This past spring the photo reappeared, this time showing up on Kym's camera. But that wasn't the strangest part.

To the left, you see the photo from Mark's camera. To the right, you see the version that later appeared on Kym's.

It's clearly the same composition, but the newer version is, well, even stranger, and for a number of reasons we've explored in recent months. The most obvious anomaly is that it seems to have captured the reflection of a flash. But Kym didn't take it; neither of us did. It simply showed up this way. Okaaaaay.

Set that observation aside for a moment. We'll come back to it.

Next, we showed the new version to a friend who has much more experience with "spirit photography." She played with the contrast and reversed the photo to see what she could come up with. (She doesn't use fancy photo editing software, by the way, just simple freeware designed to clean up photos minimally.)

Her tinkering revealed this image:

The large semicircle on the left side is the reverse of the semicircular iron backboard grate of the bed just above the flash. If you take a few moments to scan and inspect this close-up, you should be able to see a number of faces. Start with the profile of the bearded man's head looking to your left in the upper right corner.

Then find the face looking pretty much straight on in the very center of the picture.

Next, try to ignore the centered face and re-see the "cut off" top of his head as part of the larger figure of a woman. The tip of the man's nose is her chin, the darkened cut-off are eyes looking to the right, with her cheekbone defined on the right just below the cut-off. The man's eye becomes her mouth and his eyebrow becomes the tip of her nose. The bottom of his jaw becomes a necklace or collar, with her shoulder extending along the black space descending to the lower right in the photo.

These kinds of superimposed images are similar to the green boxer shown in the previous article that also has a cat forming the right side of the dog image (by re-seeing the dog's right eye as the cat's left eye.)

Could all of this be mere pareidolia (the mind perceiving images where none exists)? Of course, and we continue to ask ourselves that question.

But that solution isn't compelling to us because of the unexplained origins of the two original photos. Someone -- or something -- sent them to us, presumably with intent.

If another investigator had shown us these images, we'd feel dubious. No offense if we've already broken your willing suspension of disbelief. All we can do is assure you these photos are genuine, playing only with  contrast and color values to highlight what seems to be there already.

Okay, we're working our way back to the flash but with one more important observation along the way.

Look again at the flash picture earlier in this article, and this time notice the smeared lines running left from the green swatch toward the flash. Over the green swatch there appears to be a backwards capital "S" -- in fact, we think that's what it is.

To the right is a close-up of that portion of the photo, reversed and false-color-altered to enhance the "scrawl." The capped "S" might be the word "Send." And other words, or at least letters, appear above and to the left of that "S." We're open to suggestions.

We're still considering what the next step should be, and we're considering the idea of writing our own scrawl on the photo and taking a picture to see if it comes back altered again.

In any event, this latest series of photo-ITC encounters has led us to a number of tentative observations:
  1. The faces and images embedded in these photos suggest a sophisticated level of optical manipulation, let alone the ability to generate and implant photos on our cameras. This ability seems consistent with the history of others' reported ITC phenomena as well as our own successes in capturing audio and video recordings.
  2. Both the flash and the scrawl seem to have been generated from the perspective of the Other Side -- remember we had to reverse the image to see writing, which suggests it was written *from* the Other Side and sent directly to us.
  3. We may have to rethink what constitutes the "Other Side." Or at least we may be oversimplifying what constitutes the Other Side. Perhaps paranormal encounters produce results from more than one origin. Certainly, the photos we received suggest some sort of technology beyond the means of our assumption that we're only dealing with etheric, disembodies entities (i.e., ghosts or spirits).
Clearly, we got attention of someone or something, and they decided to contact us after our initial investigations. But who or what is the source of these communications?

Many of our audio-only digital recordings as well as the ghost box EVP we captured seem contextually consistent with our intended "ghost hunt" findings. However, we also seem to have established some sort of conversation that reaches outside the paradigm we assumed we were investigating.

We invite your comments and observations. We don't have answers to explain all the evidence our journey has uncovered.

Reality is undoubtedly much more complex and fantastic than we can even imagine.


* * *
We're still having as much fun analyzing the results of our investigations over the past year as we did conducting those investigations for our book, WILD WEST GHOSTS.

There are puzzling experiences and encounters aplenty out there, and you just may want to pick up a copy of the book for either your own armchair musings or else as a guide for some of your own expeditions into the fascinating world of the paranormal.

You can pick up the book as either an e-read or a trade paperback. Visit our Website for the links.

In the meantime, happy hunting!