Volume 4, Issue 8
Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum
Two-Stepping With Evil at Bobby Mackey’s Music World The Real-Life Entity Case: Part 1 Inside the Indian Paranormal Society
Also Inside: • • • •
Working With Clients: The Human Factor Tales From the Haunted Heathman Hotel Gone Today, Here Tomorrow: A True Story August 2011 TV Watch: Haven
Inside This Issue
FEATURES ISSUE SNAPSHOT INVESTIGATOR SPOTLIGHT Indian Paranormal Society Breaks Through Countrywide Barriers
SPECIAL REPORT Working With Clients: The Human Factor
CASE FILES OF THE UNKNOWN Haunted Sites Two-Stepping With Evil at Bobby Mackey’s Music World
Haunted History The Real-Life Entity Case: Part 1
PERSONAL EXPERIENCES Ghost Hunter Case Files: Play With Me: Investigating the Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum Gone Today, Here Tomorrow: A True Story Tales From the Haunted Heathman Hotel
32 38 42
FICTION: FEATURED AUTHOR “Without End, Amen” by Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy
DEPARTMENTS Contributors Ghost Hunter Comic Publisher’s Letter Calendar of Events TV Watch: Haven
4 5 6 7 8 August 2011
Contributors Heidi Ann Heidi Ann has been a paranormal enthusiast since childhood when she had her own paranormal encounter. Her personal experience led her to question the world around her. Heidi is a mother of three sons, works as a special education paraprofessional in a middle school, and loves watching television shows and reading books on the paranormal.
Jenny Brown Jenny lives in a small town about 60 miles north of Seattle. She’s always been fascinated with the unknown and paranormal activity. After becoming more interested in the paranormal through television shows, her skepticism grew. After joining www.paranormalunderground.net and meeting fellow paranormal enthusiasts, Jenny investigated a reportedly haunted location. She has had a few experiences in her life that she’s not been able to explain or debunk. However, after investigate herself, Jenny said she learned just how easy it is to manufacture paranormal evidence or misconstrue experiences as being paranormal.
Robb Demarest Robb, a native of Albany, New York, joined the Ghost Hunters International team after three years with Florida Ghost Team, an affiliate of The Atlantic Paranormal Society. Robb’s responsibilities on the team ranged from research, technology management, and client relations, to his current position as assistant director. The
evasive nature of paranormal investigation fueled Robb’s desire to become involved in the field at an early age. He found it fascinating, he says, because it “was like reading a mystery that had the last page cut out.” During his time as the lead investigator of the Ghost Hunters International team, Robb pushed the boundaries of current knowledge in the field and approached paranormal phenomena with open-minded skepticism.
and afterlife, he is most interested in what happens after mortal death. “Anything involving spirits and ghosts interests me, such as interactive hauntings or experiences, psychic impressions or environmental recordings at locations, what happens to us between lives, reincarnation, past-lives, EVPs, and visual recordings of apparitions.”
Terri J. Garofalo
Jack is a technical specialist and investigator for the paranormal team SPIRITS of New England in Winthrop, Massachusetts. He is also the case manager for the New England Center for the Advancement of Paranormal Science. Jack has had a strong interest in the paranormal since he was a child and has helped his SPIRITS team conduct numerous client investigations over the past two years, including an investigation for the U.S. Navy in 2010. Jack has been a technician and project leader for the Department of the Army for the last 26 years.
Terri is a paranormal investigator, as well as the artist and writer behind EntitiesR-Us, Ghost Hunter Comic. She’s a freelance artist, illustrator, and designer in Hyde Park, New York. You can find her work on www. entities-r-us.com, or contact Terri at email@example.com.
Rick E. Hale A native of Chicago, Rick investigates with the McHenry County Paranormal Research Group. A paranormal researcher since the age of eight, he is happily married and digs Jazz. Rick believes in the use of the scientific method in gathering evidence of paranormal claims. The first installment of Rick’s book series, The Geek’s Guide to the Strange and Unusual, will be released soon by Ghost Knight Media.
DJ Kemp Originally born in Yorkshire, England, DJ is both a skeptic and a believer in the paranormal. Regarding the paranormal
John “Jack” Kenna
Cheryl Knight Cheryl is editorin-chief of Paranormal Underground magazine, director of Publications & Editing Services for Ghost Knight Media, and producer of Paranormal Underground Radio. She has more than 20 years of experience as a professional writer and editor, and has published hundreds of articles on topics ranging from advanced technology to paranormal investigation. Cheryl’s previous magazine experience includes roles as senior and managing editor for several business publications.
Ghost Hunter Comic
Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy is a full-time writer based in Missouri. She is a member of both Missouri Writers Guild and the Ozark Writers League. Her fiction has appeared in many publications and in five anthologies.
Michelle M. Pillow Michelle is an award-winning author writing in many romance fiction genres, including futuristic and paranormal. A skeptical believer, she has a fascination with anything paranormal. She has a photography degree and is the co-owner of www.TheRavenBooks. com. Readers can contact Michelle at www.michellepillow.com.
Rob St.Helen Rob has been a paranormal investigator for more than five years. He had his first paranormal experience at the age of 11. Rob is a member of West Coast Ghost Hunters, based out of Portland Oregon, where he was born and raised. He currently works the graveyard shift at The Heathman Hotel. He has come to find that the hotel is haunted.
Barry Taff, Ph.D. Dr. Taff, who holds a doctorate in psychophysiology with a minor in biomedical engineering, is a world-renowned parapsychologist who worked out of UCLAâ€™s former parapsychology laboratory from 1969 through 1978 as a research associate. During his 43-year
career, Dr. Taff has investigated more than 4,500 cases of ghosts, hauntings, and poltergeists and conducted extensive studies in telepathy and precognition. For more information about Dr. Taff, visit http://barrytaff.net.
Chad Wilson A writer of articles and fiction, Chad is the publisher of Paranormal Underground magazine and a partner for Ghost Knight Media. He has parlayed his avid interest in the paranormal into a top-notch publication and Website â€” www.ParanormalUnderground.net. Chad has investigated with East Tennessee Paranormal Research Society and counts Waverly Hills, the Villisca Axe Murder House, the Queen Anne Hotel, the Queen Mary, and private residences among his investigations.
Publisher’s Letter Paranormal Underground® Volume 4, Issue 8
The Allure of Bobby Mackey’s Music World
Publisher Chad Wilson
Editor-in-Chief Cheryl Knight
Science Editor J.D. Harrison
Proofreader Heidi Ann
Contributors Jenny Brown Robb Demarest Terri J. Garofalo Rick E. Hale DJ Kemp Jack Kenna Cheryl Knight Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy Michelle M. Pillow Barry Taff, Ph.D. Rob St.Helen Chad Wilson
Send comments and letters to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Copyright © 2008-2011 — Paranormal Underground® is a registered trademark. All rights reserved. As such, Paranormal Underground and its contents are the property of its owners. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. This publication and all content within this publication may not be copied, quoted, distributed, modified, or reprinted without the express written consent of Paranormal Underground magazine. Paranormal Underground magazine is a publication of Ghost Knight Media, LLC.
Cheryl, had many deadlines to meet n this month’s issue of Paranorat that time — our haunted road trip mal Underground magazine, across America had to be cancelled. featured author Rick E. Hale I was still able to visit Waverly writes about the haunting of Bobby Hills and the Villisca Mackey’s Music World. Axe Murder House, two I first heard of other locations we were Bobby Mackey’s Musupposed to investigate. sic World when I was Through the years, planning my move out I have yearned to go to to California roughly Bobby Mackey’s Music three years ago. It is a World, that Mecca of little honky-tonk on the ghost hunting as Rick Kentucky side of the Hale calls it. I was even Kentucky/Ohio border within a few hours of it this in a town called Wilder. Chad Wilson, summer and was seriously Curious, I ordered Publisher considering going. Yet the book Hell’s Gate: again the trip was not meant to be, Terror at Bobby Mackey’s Music thanks to the bad storms in the area at World by Douglas Hensley from that time. Amazon.com. Maybe someday I will make it I was enthralled with this infato Bobby Mackey’s Music World. mously haunted site after reading the And once there, who knows what book. The place has an interesting, will happen. Maybe I will experience and frightening, history. If half of that paranormal encounter that is what they discuss in the book is true, undeniable, because while I “bethen the site seems to be one of the lieve,” I still haven’t had that in-yourmost haunted in America. face paranormal experience that says Let’s just say I was hooked and beyond a shadow of a doubt that wanted to investigate the location, or spirits visit us or stay behind here on at least visit, to see if I could someour plane of existence. how pick up on anything that might Maybe that experience awaits be going on there. me at Bobby Mackey’s Music At that time it was $400 to rent World in Wilder, Kentucky. I hope the place out overnight for an investo someday find out. tigation. You could bring 39 other people with you, and it would still See page 22 of this issue to read cost that same $400 dollars. It was Rick E. Hale’s article, called “Twoa real bargain in my book. UnforStepping With Evil at Bobby tunately, due to unforeseen circumMackey’s Music World.” stances, my investigation partner,
Calendar of Events August 26–28
Mid-South Paranormal Convention Fern Valley Hotel & Conference Center Louisville, Kentucky
Volume 4, Issue 8
Exploring the Extraordinary York, United Kingdom Holiday Inn http://etenetwork.weebly.com/
Paranormal League of America: The Conference Beaverton, Oregon www.paranormalleagueofamerica. org/conference.html
September 30–Oct. 2 G.H.O.S.T.S. Paranormal & Wellness Conference & Expo Club Heidelberg St. Catharines, Ontario www.ghostsconference.com
Central Texas Paranormal Conference Norris Conference Center Austin, Texas www.ctparacon.com
MonsterVisionTV Country Squire Paraconference Country Squire Inn & Restaurant in Warsaw, North Carolina www.stephenlancaster.com/countrysquireparaconference.html
Pensacola Paracon: A Paranormal, Horror, and Sci Fi Convention 2011 Pensacola Little Theater Pensacola, Florida http://www.pensacolaparacon.com
Art Director Chad Wilson
New Mexico Ghost & Folklore Expo Ramada Hotel Albuquerque, New Mexico www.theghostexpo.com
ASPE Paranormal Symposium and Film Festival Best Western Kachina Lodge Taos, New Mexico www.aspesymposium.com
Design and Layout Cheryl Knight
On the Cover Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum Photo by Michelle Pillow
ADVERTISING For Ad Rates:
The Canadian-American Horror Paranormal Conference The Old Sarnia Jail and Gallows Sarnia, Ontario, Canada www.canamparafest.com
Pythagoras Conference 2011 Louisville, Kentucky www.pythagorasconference.com
February 21–26, 2012
International UFO Congress Fort McDowell Resort & Casino Fountain Hills, Arizona http://ufocongress.com/ufo-conference/
August 3–5, 2012
Aughost Conference Gettysburg, Pennsylvania Eisenhower Conference Center http://www.museumofspirits.com/ conference
Call 1-714-646-4197 Interested in advertising in Paranormal Underground Magazine, on our Website, or during our Radio Show/Podcast? Call 1-714-646-4197 or e-mail: email@example.com
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“Haven” Revisted: A Syfy Original Series Review by Jenny Brown
hoever said small towns are quiet towns has never been to Haven, Maine. Based on the novel The Colorado Kid by Stephen King, Haven is a delightfully eerie show about the mysteries surrounding its inhabitants and one woman’s quest to discover her past. Since the show’s Syfy Network premier in summer 2010, Haven, now in its second season, has become a bona fide cult favorite. The premise is simple enough, but still fresh and entertaining. Several of the town’s inhabitants are “troubled,” and each week the local law enforcement sets out to solve the mysteries surrounding the odd goings-on, usually a murder.
Haven’s Key “Players” Led by visiting FBI Agent Audrey Parker, played by Emily Rose, the local cops are anything but “trouble-free” themselves. Lucas Bryant plays her partner (Nathan Wuornos), a member of the Haven Police Department whose got trouble of his own: He is afflicted with a rare condition called “idiopathic neuropathy.” Basically, he can’t feel anything. The pair frequently enlist the assistance of local smuggler and town bad boy, Duke Crocker,
The creative team behind Haven includes showrunner Scott Shepherd (Tru Calling, The Dead Zone) who is joined by E1 Entertainment’s John Morayniss (Hung, Copper) Noreen Halpern (Hung, Copper), Laszlo Barna (The Bridge), and Michael Rosenberg (Hung, The Riches), as well as his partners, Executive Producers Lloyd Segan and Shawn Piller (The Dead Zone, Wildfire, Greek).
played by Eric Balfour, in their efforts to keep the “troubled” citizens from causing more destruction to their quaint little town. But that’s not half the story. Each character has a secret, naturally, and just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, you really don’t. Audrey has discovered she bears a striking resemblance to a town legend, “The Colorado Kid,” also known as Lucy Ripley. She has spent a large part of the series trying to discover not only who this mystery woman is, but also why she bears an uncanny likeness to her. Is Lucy Audrey’s mother — or is Audrey actually Lucy? Nathan and Duke share a history, since they grew up together in Haven; but they also share an affinity for the leading lady and vie for her affection. That aside, Nathan has just inherited the role of Chief of Police
after the untimely death of his father. Nathan’s inability to feel has been a blessing and a curse for our hero, as he tackles all sorts of crazy cases. On the other end of the spectrum is Duke, who has his own connection to “The Colorado Kid” and is just scratching the surface of another family mystery. What does he remember exactly? Paying Homage to the King Each week, the writers of the series pay homage to its progenitor, Stephen King. From street names to colorful characters, a Stephen King fan would really appreciate the subtle and not-so-subtle references to his works of fiction. There’s a firestarter, a group of living machines driven by jealously (like Christine), a haunted hotel that takes people hostage as in The Shining, and a creepy clown from It. Even the name
Haven is derived from The Tommyknockers, and the town paper is located at 217 King Street. Haven is not without its guest stars either. This season we’ve seen WWE Superstars Edge, Vinessa Antoine (Being Erica), Cristian de la Fuente (In Plain Sight), and Jason Priestly. In addition to the quaint setting and kooky characters, the show gives you that twist at the end of each episode that keeps you coming back for more. It’s this style of writing that is bringing in the fans and lending to its acclaim. There are other underlying story arcs that are playing out more in this season, and I can’t wait to see how they finish and lead us into next season. So if you’re looking for something with a Supernatural or X-Files feel, tune into Syfy on Fridays at 10 p.m. EST and enjoy the ride.
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Indian Paranormal Society
Breaks Through Countrywide Barriers By Robb Demarest
his month’s Investigator Spotlight has gone international! Paranormal Underground is excited to profile paranormal investigator Gaurav Tiwari, founder and director of Indian Paranormal Society and lead investigator for Ghost Research & Investigators of Paranormal (G.R.I.P.). “We are a professional, nonprofit association of dedicated paranormal researchers, ufologists, parapsychologists, and enthusiasts,” Gaurav said. “We focus on researching and understanding the human condition through the scientific study of aerial, psychical, and anomalous phenomena, as well as its reality, reach, and impact on humanity.” Gaurav is also a certified leading paranormal investigator, certified paranormal investigator, and certified UFO field investigator for ParaNexus. In January 2009, Indian Paranormal Society formed G.R.I.P. — based in New Delhi — to investigate and research paranormal phenomena throughout India under the leadership of Gaurav. G.R.I.P. not only helps clients with paranormal encounters, but the team gained widespread popularity in India and abroad thanks to their popular TV series based on real paranormal investigations, called Girls Night Out on MTV.
For many years, paranormal investigator Gaurav Tiwari fought to break stereotypes about paranormal investigation within India. Today, his paranormal teams, Indian Paranormal Society and G.R.I.P., research locations across India and educate the public about the paranormal field.
The team wasn’t always popular or even respected. “G.R.I.P. was not being taken seriously by the majority of people in India, as paranormal research and investigation was something modern and new to this country,” Gaurav explained. But Indian Paranormal Society
continued to work in favor of paranormal research by educating the public and doing shows on paranormal investigation for Indian news channels. Gradually, paranormal investigation and research became more accepted in a society that was inundated by pre-conceived notions, according to Gaurav.
“Today, Indian Paranormal Society is expanding its wings all over India to educate and research,” Gaurav said. Continue reading to learn more about Gaurav, Indian Paranormal Society, and G.R.I.P.
who took interest in my field and dedicated a part of their lives to learning about the paranormal by accompanying me on investigations. We named this team of Indian Paranormal Society as Ghost Research & Investigators of Paranormal (G.R.I.P.), which is specifically meant for haunting and parapsychologyrelated investigations. Today, G.R.I.P. has a good reputation in India. We have around 14 investigators, which allows us to cover most of the states in India. Many others are joining us as members.
***** Q: Tell us about your background? You grew up in India but have spent time in the U.S. as well, correct? Gaurav: I grew up in a family of nonbelievers in India. I then moved to Florida to learn to fly commercially. I had some very good times in the United States for the 3.5 years that I spent there. Q: What drew your interest to the paranormal field? Gaurav: Because I grew up in a family of nonbelievers, I always thought that spirits and ghosts were nonexistent. But, on the other hand, I always had a curiosity to hear about them. Then life got busy with the general things, and I lost the idea about spirits and ghosts. But my interest in them returned when I faced some situations in my own house in Deland, Florida. There were five people living in the apartment, and we all witnessed different so-called paranormal experiences there. I then researched on the Internet and found out about paranormal research and paranormal investigators. I got myself enrolled with ParaNexus for my basic guidance in the paranormal field. Q: How did G.R.I.P. come about? Was it easy creating a team, and how does the team operate now? Gaurav: It all started in Florida when I joined ParaNexus (www.
Ghost Research & Investigators of Paranormal (G.R.I.P.) was formed out of Indian Paranormal Society to investigate hauntings and parapsychology-related investigations across India.
paranexus.org) in 2008. I am thankful to Doug Kelley for his guidance and the education he provided me in the field of paranormal research. It really changed my life ... a commercial pilot turned serious paranormal researcher! The idea of establishing Indian Paranormal Society was on my mind
“Eventually, there was a definite craze about paranormal research in India.” since then. I came back to India in mid-2009. It was not easy to convince my family members, who are still nonbelievers, but my Dad supported me. I am also thankful to my friends
Q: Was it hard to get a team started where there had been almost no teams before? What were some of the early challenges and triumphs? Gaurav: It was not as difficult to get the team started as it was to make the general people understand about what we were doing. When we started investigating in India, people thought we were Tantriks and exorcists. We then started educating people through news channel and print media about the paranormal and the logic behind it; and this manifested rationalists of India to debate with me on national television. I could logically stand strong against them. Eventually, there was a definite craze about paranormal research in India. This craze started right after our show on MTV called Girls Night Out, as I believe people were really bored reading and watching those typical Hollywood/Bollywood types of ghosts. Q: What has been the general reaction to your team, and what you are trying to accomplish? Gaurav: Most of the people appreciated our efforts. Mostly youngsters! But many made fun of us. They thought we are trying to fool people.
Paranormal Underground 11
While investigating a bungalow located near a beach in Mumbai, Gaurav found unexplainable scratches on his arm. The location was near a very old childrenâ€™s cemetery adjacent to the bungalow.
Some even said that I was a jobless pilot trying to fool people to earn some money. But time and hard work is slowly shutting many mouths and raising many hands in appreciation. Q: What are the overall goals of G.R.I.P., and what do you feel makes G.R.I.P. different from teams in both India and the rest of the world? Gaurav: I look at it more as a combined effort between teams to contribute something to paranormal research. I am happy that my team maintains professionalism in this field. Professionalism embraces various things, such as seriousness, knowledge, positive attitude, courtesy, good communication, etc. Every G.R.I.P. member has a sense of personal responsibility, are assertive and logical, respect clients and their property, are confident, and they have learned about them-
selves before they have tried to learn about the spirits. Q: Could you give us an overview of the Hindu belief system as it pertains to spirits and how that affects you as a Hindu paranormal investigator? Gaurav: Like every other religion, Hinduism is based on spirit communication and spirituality. In fact, all the religions have the same core
â€œLike every other religion, Hinduism is based on spirit communication and spirituality.â€? belief in spirits and demons. Old Hindu manuscripts, called the Vedas, are believed to be written by the God himself; they speak of different types of spirits: Aatma (any
spirit); Pret-Aatma (malevolent spirit); and ParamAatma (the supreme spirit, God). If we dig further in the Vedas, other categories of spirits and their nature have also been defined. So, undoubtedly, Hindu religion boasts of a great understanding in spiritualism and God. Hinduism has taught me to respect and love all the religions equally, which should be the first quality for any paranormal researcher. Q: India, to me, is one of the ultimate destinations for paranormal investigation. The belief system, the stories, and the absolutely jaw-dropping locations make this a dream to anyone looking to seek out spirits. Tell us about some of the incredible locations that you have investigated? What has been the best so far? Gaurav: India has been a land of kings and wars. Also, there were so many tragedies that happened dur-
ing the British Rule. India doesn’t only have great-looking Mahals and forts, but there are many sad stories hidden behind the walls of those great forts. There are so many great locations that we have visited for our investigations. One of them is Bhangarh. Another is “Kuldhara Ruins,” Rajasthan. This place has a deep history. Our experience there was a little disturbing. There are many other great locations, including haunted bungalows, towers, islands, hospitals, private farm houses, railway stations, etc. Q: Could you discuss the disturbing experience you mentioned? Gaurav: It is said that the residents of 84 neighboring villages in Rajasthan, including Kuldhara, vacated the villages overnight around 200 years ago! No one knows for sure where they migrated to, but they are believed to have migrated to a place somewhere near Jodhpur. The residents were Paliwal Brahmans — said to be very intelligent and residing there for about 500 years. So what made them do such an act? Stories say that the ruler of these villages pounded the Paliwals with heavy taxes and treated them very inhumanly; the ruler was unethical and forceful. They had no alternative but to vacate all the 84 villages overnight and just disappear from the vision and reach of the ruler. When the Paliwals left the villages, they left a curse that nobody could ever inhabit the villages again. Residents of Jaisalmer say that there have been attempts by some families to stay there, but they did not succeed. We have been to Kuldhara twice for investigations. And both the times we came back home with great experiences. During the investigations, you will find pockets
of unexplained EMF rising to 8 to 12 mG. We also recorded some strange EVPs and registered many EMF+temperature fluctuations at the same time. Some of our investigators also heard their names being whispered. During the shooting of MTV’s Girls Night Out in Kuldhara, one of our producers also got partially possessed. We had placed more than 30 IR dome cameras to record any activity. After the shooting, we watched the footage from many tapes. But when the tapes were sent to the editing lab, all the tapes were blank except for one. This happened again when we were there to re-investigate the place. Our working cameras started emitting weird sounds together, and our cameramen were astonished with problems in two cameras at the same time. But they were soon working fine again.
The entire night, the cameras had a tough time. And whenever the strange sound started coming out of the camera, our EMF meters registered a heavy spike. It looked like something was attacking the camera with EMF. The strangest part is that the cameramen swear that the strange problem never appeared in their cameras before or after that investigation. Q: Bhangarh has been a dream location for me, and you and I actually became friends by first talking about this place as you and your team were the first to do a full-scale investigation here. Could you tell us about this location … the history, the ghost stories, and your investigation? Gaurav: Bhangarh is a place between Jaipur and Alwar in Rajasthan,
The G.R.I.P.’s team currently uses equipment like the K-II meter, EMF detectors, EVP recorders, DVR, IR cameras, non-contact IR thermometers, night vision goggles, motion sensors, IR still cameras, and a laser grid during investigations.
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Prior to the establishment of Indian Paranormal Society and G.R.I.P., organized paranormal investigation was virtually nonexistent in India.
India. It is known for its ruins and is worth a visit; the place is beautiful and scenic. What remains, though, are ruins of a once beautiful and rich kingdom. It is said that the city of Bhangarh was cursed by the Guru Balu Nath, causing the town’s evacuation. Balu Nath sanctioned the establishment of the town but said: “The moment the shadows of your palaces touch me, the city shall be no more!” Ignorant of such foreboding, one ambitious descendant raised the palace to such a height that it shadowed Balu Nath’s forbidden retreat and thus the town was devastated as prophesied. The small Samadhi, where Balu Nath is said to lie buried, is still there. The other myth speaks about the charm of the princess of Bhangarh- Ratnavati, who was said to be very beautiful. In the same region, there lived a tantric — a sorcerer named ‘Singhia’ who was well-versed in the occult and was desperately in love with the princess, knowing that he would never be allowed to even see her or meet her alone. One day, he saw the princess’
maid in the market buying scented oil. Seeing this, he got an idea by which he could meet the princess. He used his black magic and put a spell on the oil, which would hypnotize the princess by her merely touching the oil, and she would surrender herself. The princess foiled this plan though. She had seen the tantrik enchanting the oil, and as she threw it away, it rolled over a stone. As
“We captured a Class A EVP of a spirit child replying to our questions.” soon as the oil touched the stone, it started rolling toward the wicked tantrik and crushed him. While dying, Singhia cursed the palace with the death of all who dwelt in it, without any rebirth in their destinies. The very next year there was a battle between Bhangarh and Ajabgarh, and Ratnavati died. G.R.I.P. investigated Bhangarh
twice and found many reasons why we think people believe Bhangarh is haunted, including: • No one really knows the real story behind destruction of Bhangarh; even the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is not sure. • The legend became myth, and people nearby started believing the place was really cursed. • Superstition is at an extreme in this area and nearby villages. That is why villagers themselves, being afraid of spirits, stopped outsiders from visiting Bhangarh ruins after dark. • Matrixing: Our brain has a tendency to form images from distorted shapes. Most of the pillars and bushes at Bhangarh are short in length and appear like humanoid figures in the dark. • Wild animals: Sariska Wild Life Reserve is adjacent to the boundaries of Bhangarh, and many wild animals, including panthers, tigers, monkeys, jackals, and wolves, visit Bhangarh ruins in search of water. • The overall environment at night in Bhangarh looks very spooky. Anyone going there alone can surely freak out due to the strange sounds and activities of wild animals and spooky scenery. Q: Now as much as I have always wanted to investigate in India, there must be some places around the world that you have on your list. Could you share these places with us? Gaurav: Waverly Hills Sanatorium, The Tower of London, Myrtles Plantation, Amityville … there are so many more on the wish list. Q: What is the best piece of evidence your team has captured to date? Gaurav: We captured a Class A EVP of a spirit child replying to our
questions. It was taken at a haunted house where the owner complained of child spirit activity. Q: Did you learn why there might be a child there? What were the questions and answers? Gaurav: The owner of the house complained that he heard a child crying every night. He also said that his wife was always pushed or pulled when she was alone at home. This is a bungalow located near a beach in Mumbai. There is also a very old children’s cemetery on the beach adjacent to this bungalow. When we investigated, I not only found a weird, unexplainable scratch on my hand, but also recorded a child saying, “Yes, throw, wait, now,” in Marathi. We did not capture anything else. We tried to reinvestigate the place, but the owner had moved to another city. Q: Now you were the lead investigator for MTV’s Girls Night Out. How was that experience for you? Did it change your impression of other paranormal shows that you have watched?
mosity? Events? Books on the paranormal? Gaurav: Indians have mixed mentalities ... most of them are believers and few of them are nonbelievers. I have met many Indians who have a great knowledge in the field of the paranormal. But there was no organized group for this kind of research until we got established. I have met a lot of old people who have been researching in this field since 1955. They used their homemade custom EMF meters and other gadgets too. There are many in India who will laugh at your face if you speak to them about the paranormal, but the modern school of thoughts in Indians is changing. Most of the youngsters now are educated and have open minds to understand and accept the possibilities. Indian Paranormal Society receives thousands of applications every month from people wanting to be paranormal investigators. There are many other teams emerging in India, but most don’t
have any idea what they are really trying to do. I recently found a video of a group trying to find spirits with a fake iPhone application. I was later informed that this group is charging their clients fees up to $400 to get a ghost (which they found using their iPhone) out of the house. Another group was running a Website using Indian Paranormal Society’s name, and they were trying to make money using our name. They are in legal trouble now. I am planning to launch a book on the Indian Belief Systems and their affect on people’s life. I have stated all kinds of belief systems practiced within India and also how the general belief system affects the society. We have planned many future events that are in the pipeline, such as the first-ever ghost tours in Indian Territory. Q: If an investigator comes to India, what do you think their biggest culture shock would be? Gaurav: India is definitely a rich
Gaurav: MTV Girls Night Out helped me a lot in becoming more responsible as a paranormal investigator. The experience was great. I have seen and learned so many new things during those investigations. I could also learn from my mistakes and refine my investigation techniques. It has made me learn that it really takes a great effort to make a great paranormal show. I now have higher regards for other good paranormal shows for their hard work. Q: How is the paranormal scene in India? Is there cooperation among teams? Ani-
According to Gaurav, India is a dream location for many paranormal researchers as a result of the society’s rich spirituality and historical locations. “People here are very cooperative, especially with visitors to India,” Gaurav said.
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Investigator Spotlight Q: What are some of the popular misconceptions about India, and could you clear them up?
The most popular misconception in India, according to Gaurav, centers on spirits being negative in nature, resulting in most Indians being terrorized by the mere suggestion of ghosts.
location when it comes to spirituality. This is indeed a dream location for many paranormal researchers. People here are very cooperative, especially with visitors to India. But the only problem an investigator would face is that people are not very open to talk about spirits and ghosts. People do not want to speak about their experiences to an outsider due to shame, fear of spirits, or fear of being laughed at. Even though the young generation in India is slowly getting onto Western track about this, many families still have conservative lifestyles. India is a developing country. There are mixed standards of places in every state. Some are very advanced, and some are a little slow. Many haunted locations are so remote that it takes two to three days to get there. Not every place has an airport or local transport facilities. At some of the places, roads are so narrow and broken that you cannot take a vehicle. Food, on the other hand, is something that every outsider will love. India is known for different flavors of food.
Q: I know we have discussed the difficulty in getting new technology in India. What equipment do want to add to the G.R.I.P. arsenal, and what equipment do you never leave home when you go on an investigation? Gaurav: We are waiting for a lot of equipment, like full-spectrum cameras, EVP boosters, thermal imagers, TriField Natural EM, geophones, etc. We currently use equipment like the K-II meter, EMF detectors, EVP recorders, DVR, IR cameras, non-contact IR thermometers, night vision goggles, motion sensors, IR still cameras, laser grid, etc. Most of the equipment is made in the U.S., UK, and China. India doesnâ€™t have any store or lab that makes such equipment. You might find EMF meters, IR thermometers, and digital recorders in the market, but they are also highly overpriced to have been imported from the U.S. or China. If one gets equipment from other countries, he needs to pay a heavy custom duty. The overall pain and effort to bring such equipment to the country is a little tough.
Gaurav: The most popular misconception in India about the spirits is that all the spirits are negative and that is why most of the Indians are terrorized by just the mere name of ghosts. But Indian Paranormal Society is gradually finding success in educating people about the thin line between the belief and the reality. Another misconception is that all the spirits want to possess human beings. We have helped to show that this is a misconception by visiting places that are said to have possession activities. Q: You have investigated in both the U.S. and India. Are there any differences you have found? Gaurav: Yes, there are many differences when you speak of the belief systems in both countries. Also, Indian haunted locations are full of dust, and you will not find electricity at most of the locations, which sometimes is a big problem if you are not carrying a generator system. Also, most of the people in India do not know what a paranormal investigator does, so you will need time to make them understand about what you are trying to do. Otherwise, they will consider you as a Tantrik, which is a person who practices Black/ White Magic or sorceries. Most of them use Black Magic to harm others. They are also found to practice cannibalism, as well as other such practices. *****
For more information about G.R.I.P., Indian Paranormal Society, and Gaurav Tiwari, visit www.gripteam.org, www.facebook.com/gripindia, and www.youtube.com/gripindia.
Paranormal Underground Radio Thursdays @ 9-11 p.m. ET
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With Hosts Rick Hale & Karen Frazier August 2011
Paranormal Underground 17
Working With Clients: The Human Factor By John “Jack” Kenna, SPIRITS and New England Center for the Advancement of Paranormal Science
t some point, most paranormal teams advance themselves from investigating public places to conducting client investigations. Most of the time, this transition is done by the team with very little to no training or experience on how to work with clients. It is this lack of knowledge of dealing with clients that often ends up breaking a team, or at least causing major headaches and problems, even sometimes legal ones. They also often end up with a bad reputation of being unorganized and unprofessional. Although not necessarily the first thing you should know or learn when you decide to transition your team from public investigations to client investigations, I believe that “The Human Factor” is the most important factor to consider. What am I referring to? What do I mean by “The Human Factor”? The human factor takes into account the personalities, mental condition, physical condition, and communication skills of the client(s), as well as the members of the team, and their abilities/capabilities to successfully interact with each other. These are the things we deal with everyday when dealing with family, coworkers, and strangers.
The human factor takes into account the personalities, mental condition, physical condition, and communication skills of the client(s), as well as the members of the team, and their abilities/capabilities to successfully interact with each other.
Who we are and our abilities to successfully communicate and interact with each other have a direct impact on the outcome of any situation we may find ourselves in. Defining the Client Clients, like paranormal investigators, come in all shapes, sizes, cultural backgrounds, ethnicities,
education levels, and financial status. They turn to paranormal teams for a unique type of help that they just can’t find anyplace else. The type of problems these clients believe they have can’t be solved by just a plumber, electrician, engineer, psychologist, doctor, or handyman, and yet it can take all of these talents to truly solve the problems that
these clients are dealing with. As a paranormal investigator, it is extremely important to remember that even though your client is not paying you for the help you provide, they have high expectations of you to help them solve their problem. Once you agree to take their case, you have a professional obligation to do the best job you can for them. Your team must give a 100% effort, even to the point of admitting to the client that their case may be beyond your team’s abilities, and to refer them to a team or other type of professional that can help them. Being honest and open with your clients is very important to helping your client and to building a good reputation for your team. Although it’s important for you to be honest and open with your clients, they may not always be honest and open with you. People have motives for everything they do. As an investigator, your motives for being a paranormal investigator and working with clients may be anything from just wanting to gain more knowledge and experiences with the paranormal to helping people. A client’s motives for requesting that you investigate their home can include just wanting to meet a “Ghost Hunter,” or even something a bit more selfish and darker, such as trying to obtain some type of financial gain and attention. Some clients even think that they can capture a bit of fame if you say their house is haunted. This is because they think they can end up getting on television. The point to remember here is that not every client’s motives are pure. It’s very important to gather as much pre-investigation information from a client as possible to verify their reasons for requesting your help, as well as to try and provide the best assistance you can. After gathering this information, you may even decide/determine that
you do not want to take the client’s case, or the potential client may not even fill out or return the requested information form at all. On the teams I belong to, we make it very clear to any potential client that if you don’t fill out our forms, then we can’t help them. I can’t tell you how many times I never hear back from a potential client after sending them the client information form, which tells me that they most likely don’t need our help.
allowing you into their home and to establish a sense of trust with them. You want your clients to trust you so that when you finish your investigation and provide them with your findings, they will at least take your findings seriously and accept any recommendations you may make even if what you reveal to them is not what they expected or wanted to hear. This brings up another important thing to remember when work-
Gaining the trust and confidence of your client is key to working with them successfully. I will cover more about the forms I’m talking about in a future article, but let’s just say for now that the client information forms are about seven to 10 pages long. The forms require such personal information as current medications, physical and mental health, drug abuse, etc. Let’s say the client has answered all of your questions and seems to be honest with their answers, and you decide to take their case. What should you do next? If you haven’t already, call the client and go over the information they provided. You are sure to have a few questions for them, and they will definitely have questions for you. Making the phone call will also give both of you the opportunity to get a better feeling for the type of person, and personality, you are dealing with. Is this person easygoing, under a lot of stress, or truly scared or upset by what they are experiencing? Also, do they seem sincere? These are things that you will only be able to get a feel for by talking with them. This is true when dealing with anyone, but it’s especially important when working with a client. It is very important to build a professional and friendly rapport with them in order to make them feel at ease with
ing with a client. For the most part, by the time a client has finally contacted your team, they have typically already made up their mind that their home is haunted and may even provide you with the names and descriptions of the spirits that are there. So you come in and do an investigation and perhaps find no evidence of paranormal activity at all. What you discover is that their experiences are being caused by their medications, pipes banging, chemical fumes, high EMF, etc. Your client’s reaction to these findings could possibly be very negative unless you have gained their confidence in advance. If you have, they may not totally agree with your findings, but they will at least listen to you and may be accepting of some of what you have found, especially those things that may be a hazard within their home, such as high levels of EMF or carbon monoxide. Gaining Your Client’s Trust Gaining the trust and confidence of your client is key to working with them successfully, but be careful how you do this. As I mentioned earlier, everyone has their own motivations for doing things, and again most clients have already made up
Paranormal Underground 19
Make sure that your team does not make any decisions or proclamations about a site until after you have investigated and reviewed the data collected. This establishes your team’s credibility with the client that you will do a thorough investigation and provide them with actual findings.
their minds that their home or business is haunted. What they are really looking for you to do is just validate what they believe is going on. When you make that first phone call to your client or respond to that first e-mail from them, be very careful to not agree with or validate that what they are telling you is what is actually happening in their home. If a client tells you that they had a coffee cup fly off their kitchen table, see shadow people walking in their hallways, have been touched by something they can’t see, are hearing voices talking upstairs when no one else is home, and that they know it has to be a ghost, DO NOT say to them, “Yep, it sure seems like you might have something paranormal going on.” If you do, you may have just gained their trust in you, but you also just backed yourself into a corner, because what they just heard you say was, “Yep, your home is haunted.”
You just validated their belief for them, and if you investigate and find nothing, then they are going to be confused and upset, and to them, you and your team don’t know what you’re doing. A good approach when working with a client who believes their home is haunted is to listen to them. Let them tell you what they think is going on. Ask them why they think they have a spirit in their home, and ask them for the specifics of an experience they have had. You may find them pushing you a bit to tell them they have a ghost or are experiencing paranormal activity, but don’t. Clients typically will tell me an experience they had, such as they had their coffee cup move across their kitchen table, and then say to me, “I know that’s what spirits can do right?” I will respond to this question/statement by discussing with the client some of the theories that exist in the paranormal community as to
the possible normal and paranormal causes of this type of activity. I usually also take this opportunity to tell the client that although I understand that they may believe they are experiencing something paranormal, I know nothing about their home, have not been there, and most importantly have not investigated it yet, so I cannot tell them if they are experiencing anything paranormal or not. I will then tell them that it is also “possible” that there are more “normal” causes for what they are experiencing. At this point, I usually get a disappointed sounding, ”Oh” from the client, followed by some resistance to my statement, more discussion about their experiences, and questions to me about other investigations our team has done and what we found. By taking this approach with the client, you accomplish several things: 1. You have let them know that your team does not make any decisions until after you have investigated and reviewed the data collected. This establishes your teams’ credibility with the client that you will do a thorough investigation and provide them with actual findings. 2. It has opened the door for active discussions with the client about your team’s experience, as well as allowing you to provide the client with some educational information on real paranormal theories and natural causes for what they believe are paranormal experiences. Remember, what almost all clients know about the paranormal is from what they have seen on TV. 3. By opening up this dialogue, you have begun to gain their trust by letting them know that your team will be honest with them, do all that you can to help them identify the actual causes of their experiences, and help them resolve them.
The Case Manager Now that you have established a good relationship with your client, it is important to maintain that relationship. To do this, I strongly recommend maintaining one formal point of contact on the team for the client. This should be the team member who made the first phone contact with the client, your case manager. This will foster a stronger bond between your team and the client, as it will make the client feel more at ease and comfortable having dealings with the same person, at least up until the first face-to-face meeting between your team and the client. So how do you decide which member of your team is best suited to have first contact with any potential clients? Who should be the team’s case manager? This falls back to individual team member personalities, the “human factor.” Since the person you choose to be your case manager will be dealing directly with the clients and will be the key person that represents your team to your clients, you want to choose someone who has people skills and is friendly, outgoing, confident, and has a good working knowledge of your team, its members, the paranormal, and debunking. The last three skills can be learned, but it is important that the team member you choose possesses the first three personality traits to ensure the best chance of successful first contact and continued positive interaction with your clients. In essence, your case manager is your public relations officer between your team and your clients. They can make or break your team. Regardless of how good or great your case manager is, there is always the chance that you can run into a client that has some serious mental health issues. This is the reason that you need to be very careful what
contact information you provide to a client. Never post personal addresses or phone numbers of your team members on your Website, and never provide this information to a client no matter how comfortable or friendly you may feel with them. Use a P.O. box for any mail communication, or even better in today’s world is to use an e-mail address that is specifically setup for your team with your team’s name. For phone contact, provide a cell phone number or an 800 number for your clients to be able to contact you through. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER invite a client to your home or place of work! If you do happen to run into a client that has some serious issues, you could endanger yourself and your family by doing so. Always meet the client at their home,
the paranormal field is a fascinating, complicated, sometimes dangerous, and almost always rewarding endeavor, but it’s not for everyone or even every team. Before making this decision for your team, sit down with all of your members and discuss it. Here again, personalities of your team members will come into play. Some will be all for it, others may want more information before they decide, still others may want nothing to do with working with clients. It is very important to get everyone’s input and make your decision as a team. Those members who do not want to work with clients may decide to leave the team, but you could also keep two aspects to your team: those who will work with clients and those who will only be involved with public investigations. Also, those members
A good approach when working with a client who believes their home is haunted is to listen to them.” and never go to their home alone. Always have at least one other team member with you when you go to meet with a client. If something doesn’t seem right when you do meet with them, and you feel that you shouldn’t take the case, then politely excuse yourselves, leave the client’s home, and do not go back. If you feel you need to, you can send them a follow-up e-mail stating that you are unable to take their case for personal reasons or due to other obligations. What Is the “Right Way” for Your Team? Everything I have discussed so far includes some of the human factors you need to consider before deciding to work with clients. Working and dealing with clients in
who don’t want to work directly with the clients can also take care of all the background research that will need to be done on the history of the home, medications, etc. This type of work may also better suit their personality, and you may find that they are the best person on the team for this work. Here, again, it’s all about matching the right people to the right jobs. Not everyone is comfortable or good at talking to people, not everyone is comfortable or good at doing research, and not everyone is good with the technical stuff. Talk with your team members. Find out who enjoys doing what. Get to know them and their personalities. Remember, you will not be successful working and dealing with clients if you can’t work together successfully as a team.
Paranormal Underground 21
Case Files of the Unknown: Haunted Sites
Two-Stepping With Evil at Bobby Mackey’s Music World By Rick E. Hale, McHenry County Paranormal Research Group
n the town of Wilder, Kentucky, there is a place that is said to house true evil. In fact, many visitors to Bobby Mackey’s Music World claim that the spirits of once-evil humans are at large. Bobby Mackey’s is reportedly is the home of two evil spirits, a lovelorn young woman, and a well in the basement that has come to be known as the “Hell’s Gate.” Bobby Mackey had become a wildly popular country music performer in his native state of Kentucky, and he actually turned down a lucrative recording contract in Nashville to attain his simple dream: open a club that played good, oldfashioned country music. In 1978, Bobby and his late-wife, Janet, realized that dream. From the second he walked through the door of what would eventually become Bobby Mackey’s Music World, he felt that he had come home, and this would definitely be the site to realize his dream. The old building had once been known as a dance hall, as well as a slaughterhouse in the 1890s. Unfortunately, as time moved on, the building turned out to be more of a nightmare than a dream. A Foul Murder Why would a seemingly normal building, by all appearances, turn out to be a place known as a home of evil spirits? Before we continue, it
Bobby Mackey’s Music World is said to be haunted by the spirits of two murderers. The building’s maintenance man was also supposedly possessed by one very nasty spirit.
is always a good thing to take a look into a haunted location and do a little bit of research to find out why a place has such a reputation. In the late-1800s, the building that sits on the foundation of an old slaughterhouse was the site of some unsavory practices, including a murder that would shock the little farming community. The body of Pearl Bryan was found floating down a nearby river without her head. The trail of evidence in the crime led investigators back to the old slaughterhouse and a well in the basement. Inside the well, they discovered a chilling find ... Pearl Bryan’s head.
After many hours of investigation, authorities discovered that the basement of the slaughterhouse was used as a temple to worship Satan and sacrifice animals in his unholy name. They also soon discovered that Pearl’s boyfriend, Scott Jackson, and his buddy, Alonzo Walling, were leaders of this little cult of the damned. Police had found the perpetrators. It would seem that Pearl was used as their first attempt at a human sacrifice; however, whatever riches or glory was promised to them by Satan turned to dirt and rocks when the two were hanged for their crime. Before the hangman ushered
the two evil men into eternity, Scott Jackson warned that he and his cohort would return from the dead and forever haunt the location where Pearl’s head was found — the future site of Bobby Mackey’s dream. Things That Go Bump in the Night Carl Lawson, a young man that Bobby had hired to perform general maintenance on the building and serve as a part-time bartender, was the first to notice that something strange was afoot at the Music World. Carl, who lived in a one-room apartment above the club, would be woken up in the middle of the night by the sound of the jukebox turning on and belting out the traditional country dance song, “The Anniversary Waltz.” When Carl went down to the club to investigate, he would oftentimes find every window and door unsecured and open as the jukebox belted out this rather sad-sounding ditty. After closing up all the doors and windows and re-securing them, Carl turned his attention to the jukebox and realized the song that was playing was nowhere to be found on the jukebox. What was far more startling was that the jukebox was unplugged. Carl did not know what to make of this strange phenomenon, but knew that something was not right with the building. Carl was not the only person to have strange experiences in the building. Bobby Mackey’s late-wife, Janet, witnessed a few odd occurrences as well. Disembodied voices that seemed to come from everywhere, but from nowhere, would oftentimes be heard by her when no one else was around. Traveling cold spots the size of a man could be felt in various areas of the club, and loud-clomping footsteps were heard during the day and night. Although both Carl and Janet went to Bobby and told him that it
The haunting of Bobby Mackey’s Music World caught the attention of talk-show hosts Geraldo Rivera and Jerry Springer, who both featured the haunting on their respective shows in the early 1990s. Pictured above: Bobby Mackey.
was their belief the building was haunted, Bobby remained skeptical, believing that there must be a logical explanation behind the strange phenomenon the two were experiencing. Even if the place was haunted, whatever or whoever was there did not appear to mean anyone harm. Perhaps it was a friendly spirit who would enjoy the fine country music when the club opened. As with most hauntings, two chilling discoveries would be made by Carl that would turn the haunting up a notch and make the club a must-visit for every ghost geek across the United States and beyond. The night the club opened, it was a rousing success. It seemed that
everyone from Campbell County, Kentucky, had heard of the new club and loved the idea of kicking up their cowboy boots, throwing back a few beers, and cutting a rug at a nightspot with live music that catered to their love of good, old-fashioned country jams. However, a few nights after the club had opened and everything was locked up for the night, Carl found himself unable to sleep and decided to look around to see if maybe there was some logical explanation to what he thought was a haunting. Carl found himself in the old basement that was left over from the days when the building was a slaughterhouse. While snooping around, Carl
Paranormal Underground 23
Case Files of the Unknown: Haunted Sites
One patron visiting Bobby Mackey’s Music World claimed that he witnessed paranormal activity in the establishment’s restroom.
discovered an old diary in an unused room. He cracked it open for a little late-night reading. A Diary and A Possession The diary belonged to a dancing girl named Johanna, who had danced at the building when it was a dancehall in the 1930s. Carl discovered that Johanna was in love with a crooner that frequented the hall and desired that they be together for all time. Johanna’s father disapproved of his daughter’s lifestyle and certainly disapproved of her taste in men. Allegedly, dear old dad had the crooner killed. Johanna went into a deep depression. If her crooner could not live, neither would she. Johanna hung herself in the attic of the building. Carl was shocked by what he read. He believed that perhaps it was the spirit of this lovelorn young woman that walked about the club at night. After putting the diary down, Carl heard what sounded like trickling water coming from under the floor boards. He decided to pull up the floor to see what the noise was. After a few moments of work, he discovered a black hole in the
ground that seemed to lead to nowhere. Carl realized that this was a draining well for the blood of the slaughtered animals. The one thing he did not realize was that this was the very well where Jackson and Walling had disposed of the head of Pearl Bryan in the previous century. One thing Carl was sure of — this well gave off a sensation of evil, and Carl would soon come to regret his snooping around. A few days after the chilling discovery, Bobby’s wife, who was pregnant at the time, was doing some work on a staircase. She claimed that as she was walking down the stairs, an invisible person forcefully pushed her. As she lay at the bottom of the stairs, she could hear what sounded like diabolical laughing coming from a point at the top of the stairs. Carl was also targeted by these discarnate spirits. He claimed that he could hear voices yelling at him in the middle of the night, telling him to do unthinkable things. Carl could feel his will becoming weak, and one night as he slept fitfully, the evil spirit of Alonzo Walling entered his body and took possession of the young man.
Bobby watched in terror when Carl, the formerly dutiful worker, seemed to take on a new persona. He became sullen and angry, easily snapping at anyone who crossed his path. It was not until a pastor friend of Bobby’s, who knew Carl well and knew of the hauntings at the Music World, realized that the formerly nice young man may be possessed by something evil. After six grueling hours undergoing the protestant version of an exorcism, Carl was free of the evil spirit of Alonzo Walling. While the exorcism appeared to rid Bobby Mackey’s of evil, the long-sought peace was short-lived. To this day, patrons still report strange occurrences at the club. A Haunted Reputation Although the club was a stirring success, patrons began reporting that something strange was going on in the building. One patron would have the shock of his life while he was in the restroom. He claimed that when he turned around and watched as the trash can violently struck the wall and the sneering form of a man appeared to him saying over and over, “Die game.” The patron attempted to sue the club owner, but the court threw the case out. A Ghost Hunting Mecca Despite the reputation the club has gained over the years, Bobby Mackey’s Music World is still open for all of those who want nothing more than to hear great country music and have a good time. However, the club has also become a must-visit for all ghost geeks. Despite all that has been reported to him over the past 30 years, Bobby Mackey still remains skeptical, but his mind is a bit more open these days than in the past.
Paranormal Underground’s 4th Annual Short Story Contest
aranormal Underground magazine is holding its 4th Annual Short Story Contest. If you are a writer of fiction, love to write about the paranormal, and would like to see your story published in one of our upcoming issues, then this contest is for you! The contest is open to members AND nonmembers of www.paranormalunderground.net. Fiction themes may include paranormal, sci-fi, horror, fantasy, and spiritual. Contest rules include: • Stories due by October 1, 2011. • Stories must be a minimum of 1,000 words and a maximum of 3,000 words (submissions under 1,000 words and over 3,000 words will not be considered eligible for the contest). • All submitted works must not have been previously published. • If you are submitting artwork and/or photos to accompany your fiction, please site the source of the artwork/photos. • Submit to email@example.com. The first-place winner will be published in our October issue. We will be awarding prizes for 1st through 3rd place as follows: • First Place: Publication in Paranormal Underground Magazine; a Sony ICD-UX512 digital voice recorder; and the option to take part in an upcoming “Paranormal Underground Radio” Web broadcast. • Second Place: Choice of shirt from Paranormal Underground’s Gear Store and possible publication in Paranormal Underground magazine. • Third Place: Any book listed in Paranormal Underground’s Bookstore (valued at $25 or less) and possible publication in Paranormal Underground magazine. We will have three to five judges, who will be announced in a future issue. Judging criteria includes the following categories: • Story originality • Paranormal theme creativity • Text fluidity Submissions will be compiled and sent to the judges by the editor-in-chief, and all judges will not know who wrote each submission until after judging is completed and scores are tabulated by the editor-in-chief. Winners will be announced based on a ranking system, which will be compiled from first to last place. When e-mailing your submission to the editor, also include your name, story title, e-mail address, word count, and illustrations/photos, if any. Please spellcheck your entries and ensure that they are print-ready. We reserve the right to edit all fiction published in the magazine, but will obtain each author’s approval prior to publication. If you have any questions regarding the contest, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Last year we had a great response, and we hope to see even more writers join us in our 4th Annual Short Story Contest. Happy writing!
Paranormal Underground 25
Case Files of the Unknown: Haunted History
The Real-Life Entity Case: Part 1 By Barry E. Taff, Ph.D.
fter 20th Century Fox released the movie The Entity in February 1983, there was considerable speculation, conjecture, rumor, and misinformation regarding what factually transpired during the investigation of the real-life case as compared to the novel and motion picture. As dramatic license was exercised in both the book and the feature film, the result was a significantly fictionalized account of the actual events. Making matters even worse is the fact that the original articles published on “The Entity” case were in scientific journals or periodicals that were not generally available to the public. Desiring to set matters straight on what really occurred 34 years ago in a Los Angeles suburb, I am reprinting the original article with only minor upgrades and adjustments to compensate for three decades of time and acquired knowledge regarding this type of research. This article will be published in parts within Paranormal Underground magazine over the next few months. *****
The arc of light displayed in this photograph was not observed by any of the investigators or witnesses. What was seen by all present were large, three-dimensional balls of light (which we’ve referred to as corpuscular masses) traveling at high rates of speed. There’s a high probability that these arcs are, in fact, time exposures (due to the camera’s low shutter speed) of the fast-moving luminous spheres, which, therefore produced arcs in much the same way stars produce tracks in stationary cameras. It is significant to note that the subject of the haunting/poltergeist (Doris Bither) is literally framed by the arc. More importantly is the fact that the arc is not bent in accordance with the walls behind it, which meet at a 90-degree angle. A secondary, inverted arc can be seen at the left of the frame in front of one of the photographer’s heads. These facts lead to the conclusion that these lights are moving in free space and are not projections against the wall. These images were captured with a 35 mm SLR camera at 1/60th of second, employing a deep red filtered flash utilizing Kodak Tri-X film pushed to 6400 ASA in development.
vided a successful method or Beginning on August 22, 1974 (not 1976, as indicated in technique of physical documenthe scroll at the end of The Entation that has been able to subtity movie) a 10-week investigastantiate the presence of these tion of a reportedly haunted phenomena to the satisfaction house located in Culver City, of the scientific community. California, demonstrated eviNevertheless, considerable dence that it was infested with research has been done in the and frequented by occurrences collection of data over many of poltergeist activity in the years, and certain longitudiform of object movements, colnal patterns of trends have lectively observed apparitions, emerged regarding specific and cold and stench spots. phenomena, especially in the The two arcs shown in this photo appear to be at right Investigative visits resulted in case of poltergeists. There angles to each other. It is very important to note that six consecutive encounters these free-floating spatial images are not bent in confor- have been numerous theories between the author/investigamance to the walls behind them. The same balls of light put forth to account for the tors, numerous assistants, and as described in the photo caption on the previous page abundance of both physical various forms of phenomena and non-physical phenomena were observed when this photograph was taken. reported here. related to such occurrences, Additionally, this particular Detailed examination and analysis of these negatives by but as yet, no one hypothesis Adrian Vance, the former West Coast Editor of Popular case displayed a stereotypic, has proven viable. Photography , resulted in his conclusion that these images anxiety-ridden emotional enviAs numerous academic were not the result of artifacts within the camera or film investigators have pointed out, ronment generally associated and that such inverted arcs are a physical impossibility with poltergeist incidents â€” it is unlikely that these phewith the optical glass in SLR cameras circa 1974. These teeming with pubescent and images were captured with a 35 mm SLR camera at 1/60th nomena have changed in their adolescent children with overt nature throughout the centuof a second, employing a deep red filtered flash utilizing animosities existing between all ries simply as a product of our Kodak Tri-X film pushed to 6400 ASA in development. family members. investigations and formative The house demonstrated beliefs about them. However, a heretofore unknown, or at it is highly probable that our is an almost total unknown, which least unreported, manifestation attitude toward these phenomcannot even vaguely be operationally in the form of dynamic three-dimenena has been considerably altered or functionally defined and theresional lights that behaved unpredictfrom its original status â€” the belief fore remains as it always has been: a ably in that they were not consisthat they stem from a discarnate phenomenon. tently photogenic in nature although source. appearing to the unaided eye as visAs hardened physical scientists, ***** ible light for lengthy periods. With it is almost inconceivable to conIt becomes dismayingly clear the limited resources, space, and sider, let alone accept, the possibilupon comprehensive review and extime available in this investigation, ity of a non-corporeal intelligence amination of both research and anecthe subjective conclusion reached influencing and directing the actions dotal literature within parapsychology, was that the observed phenomena of physical matter and energy. These specifically in the area of poltergeists, were of a multiple and differential were the concepts of and early sushauntings, apparitions, and ghosts, source origin and cannot as yet be picions of our ancestors in psychical that it is one enigma of nature that explained by any coherent theory research, for what they suspected does not easily, if at all, lend itself to involving recurrent spontaneous the poltergeist of being was a misempirical evaluation due to its seempsychokinesis (RSPK) or discarnate chievous, prank-playing ghost that ing randomness, scarcity, and general intelligence. derived some form of pleasure from lack of consistently and predictability The enigmatic and inconsistent tormenting individuals. (or in some cases, believability). behavior of employed instrumentaModern, academic parapsycholAdditionally, it is quite obvious tion further reinforces the fact that ogists, however, strongly influenced that no one has developed or prothe causal element in this situation by the success of our physically
Paranormal Underground 27
Case Files of the Unknown: Haunted History oriented, technological world, the hallway. have conveniently provided a Neither Doris nor her new theory (and only a theory) eldest son would accept the for poltergeist activity, which possibility that the apparitions suggests that living human might have been imagined or simply prowlers or intruders agents are providing the energy who forcibly entered the house. responsible for the phenomena Doris believed most occurring during poltergeist outbreaks. adamantly that these “Asian beThis easier-to-accept ings” were evil and indeed was quite emotionally distraught theory, for many, intimates at the prospect of her family’s that this “energy” given off by possible imminent danger. certain particular individuals is This photograph, of what appears to be a large ball of directly related to and possibly Considering what Doris was light with a comet-like tale, was the only such example a product of the psychodynamabout to tell us, this belief on captured during the course of The Entity investigation. her part was well within the ic atmosphere and environIt is also the only representation of what was visually boundaries of rational thinking. ment of the afflicted residence observed by the principal investigators and numerous Undoubtedly, the most exor that of a single individual. other witnesses during the course of this case. These Admittedly, the majority of images were captured with a 35 mm SLR camera at 1/60th traordinary occurrence, which work done in this area, at least of a second, employing a deep red filtered flash utilizing Doris related to us, was that she had been sexually assaulted superficially, appears to supKodak Tri-X film pushed to 6400 ASA in development. by three semi-visible beings. port and reinforce the belief Two of the smaller beings or of RSPK from human beings. apparitions literally held her However, whatever “energy” down by the wrists and ankles, is responsible for these parapertaining to the alleged phenomena while the remaining form assaulted normal phenomena, it cannot, at that had been occurring over the her. According to Doris’ testimony, present, be detected, measured, or past few months. The family conthis event took place on several quantified, which leaves us essensisted of Doris, a petite, mid-to-late separate occasions, each time leaving tially where we began. 30-year-old woman; her six-year-old behind large and distinct black and daughter; and three sons (aged 10, ***** blue wounds, especially around the 13, and 16). We questioned all ankles, wrists, breasts, and groin area members of the family with the exThe investigation of Doris of the inner thighs. ception of the six year-old daughters, Bither’s (not Carlotta Moran — that Even more dramatic was Doris’ whom we never saw. was the character’s name in the book claim that during one particular Their accounts were fairly and movie) house came about as attack, her eldest son overheard the uniform in reference to a particular a result of her overhearing Kerry scuffle and entered the bedroom. apparition whom they called “Mr. Gaynor’s (my associate at the time) According to Doris, he witnessed Whose-it.” The alleged apparition conversation with a friend about her being tossed around like a rag would appear in semi-solid form haunted houses while at the former doll by the entities. She alleged that and was well over six feet in height, Hunters Book store in Westwood when her son came to her aid, an according to their testimony. Both Village. Doris approached Gaynor invisible force picked him up and Doris and her eldest son claimed in a somewhat hesitant manner and threw him backward into the wall. to have seen two dark, solid figures informed him that her house was The son corroborated his mother’s with Asian features appear from out haunted. After a brief discussion with story, speaking of the sheer terror he of nowhere within Doris’ bedroom. Doris, Gaynor informed her that he experienced during that struggle. The two figures appeared, at times, would contact his associate and get Unfortunately, Doris’ claim of to be struggling with each other. back to her as soon as possible. “spectral rape” could not be substanThis particular event occurred On our first visit to Doris’ tiny tiated due to her failing to report the several times, with one episode Culver City, California, house on incident to medical or other authoriwhere Doris claimed to have physiAugust 22, 1974, we spent the eveties. The fact that these alleged incally bumped into the apparition in ning securing detailed information
stances of paranormal rape occurred several weeks prior to our initial arrival, prevented us from observing her already healed bruises. Understandably, the resulting household environment was one of extreme anxiety and Doris’ relationship with her four children was anything but cordial; in fact, it was downright belligerent. I will refrain from going into all the bizarre stories that were related to us, because we cannot substantiate them. Needless to say, after hearing Doris’ incredible story, Gaynor and I looked at each other and collectively rolled our eyes back while shaking our heads. Our initial impression was to totally discount Doris’ claims and simply refer her to one of the psychiatrists at the NPI. However, as we ourselves would have been somewhat embarrassed to even reiterate her totally incredulous account to a medical professional back at UCLA, we decided to think about it for a while rather than act on it. In retrospect, this hesitation turned out to be a wise decision. A few days hence, Doris called to inform us that five individuals outside her family had now seen the alleged apparitions. We immediately decided to return to the house armed with cameras and a tape recorder. Preceding this return, an investigation into the background of the house revealed two male deaths from natural causes since its construction, neither of which, in our opinion, was relevant to the study of the phenomena occurring within the residence. ***** Upon our second visit to this house, we became increasingly aware of the broken-down, shabby nature of the wooden dwelling that had been twice condemned by the city. Nevertheless, the second visit to the house marked the beginning of what
“Upon first entering Doris’ bedroom, there was a strong smell of rotting, decomposing flesh.” was to become our most extraordinary investigation to date. An intriguing factor, which in our opinion is highly significant, was that from the very first occasion we entered Doris’ bedroom, we both immediately noticed that the temperature was unusually low in comparison to the rest of the house, even though it was a hot August
In his book, Aliens Above, Ghosts Below: Explorations of the Unknown, parapsychologist Dr. Barry E. Taff describes a bold new world where the paranormal becomes “normal.” Dr. Taff goes into depth on how parapsychology will lead the way into mankind’s future. From ghosts and poltergeists to aliens and spacecraft, Dr. Taff covers it all.
night and all the bedroom’s windows were closed. This peculiar and penetrating cold varied in intensity as we moved throughout the bedroom, again reminiscent of “cold spots” experienced in other investigations. Also noticed upon first entering Doris’ bedroom was a strong olfactory sensation (smell) of rotting, decomposing flesh, such as might be experienced in a physiology lab or a morgue. Both the stench and cold spots faded in and out irregularly, sometimes completely disappearing. A thorough examination of the house and its immediate surround offered no explanation for these anomalistic effects. Another particularly noteworthy physical sensation within the bedroom was a strong sense of overpressure; that is, the feeling within the inner ear of being at the bottom of a very deep pool. Interestingly, this particular effect is perhaps one of the most common subjectively experienced sensations in suspected haunted/poltergeist environments. Who knows what it represents. The two cameras we arrived with on our second visit were a Polaroid SX-70 and a Honeywell Pentax 35 mm SLR-loaded with high-speed infrared film. The first of many to come, seemingly inexplicable happenings, occurred while Gaynor was talking to the elder son in the kitchen. Gaynor was standing approximately one foot away from the lower cabinets when the cabinet door suddenly swung open. A frying pan flew out of the cabinet, following a curved path to the floor over 2.5 feet away, hitting with quite a thud. Now, of course, the immediate thing to surmise is that the pan was leaning against the cabinet door and finally pushed it open as it fell out. But we cannot accept this explanation for the trajectory of the pan, because as it came out of the cabinet it was ellip-
Paranormal Underground 29
Case Files of the Unknown: Haunted History tical. It was seemingly propelled out of the cabinet by a substantial force. After carefully examining the kitchen cabinet from which the pan was propelled, we proceeded to Doris’ bedroom. There were four of us in the bedroom, which appeared to be the focal point of the phenomena, according to Doris. Her friend, Candy, who had joined us on this evening, and whom we were told was psychic, concurred. We took a preliminary shot of the bedroom with the Polaroid SX-70 that came out perfectly. After about 15 minutes, Candy shouted out that there was something in the corner of the bedroom. After hearing Candy’s shouts, I rapidly ran back into the bedroom from the kitchen where I had been examining the developed first photograph. Upon arriving in the bedroom, I immediately aimed and fired the Polaroid camera. The resulting photograph was completely bleached white, as though exposed to some powerful magnetic field and/or ionizing radiation, which if present, might have had strong adverse effects on our bodies, perhaps even to the degree of causing burns and extensively damaging cells. About 15 minutes later, Candy again screamed out that there was something in the corner (not that she could see, but sense), and, accordingly, I fired off the Polaroid. Once again, the picture was badly bleached, although not as severely as the first one. Inasmuch as we were both aware of my rather dubious distinction of being a “film fogger,” we decided it best to trade off taking pictures with each camera. However, at no time did either of us see anything in this corner of the bedroom. ***** A few minutes later, I took another picture, but this time it was
in another room of the house, and oddly enough, the photograph came out near-perfect except for lack of proper focusing adjustments. Following this, Gaynor used the Polaroid, as I did again, both within the bedroom, resulting in two perfectly normal photographs. It’s interesting to note that on both of these last shots, Candy did not sense the presence within the room, as she had earlier. The next picture I took facing the door to the bedroom. The motivation for shooting at that particular
During his more than four-decade career, Dr. Taff has investigated more than 4,500 cases of ghosts, hauntings, and poltergeists and conducted extensive studies in telepathy and precognition.
time and in that direction was the sudden onset of a cold current of air accompanied by a pervasive stench flowing in from the direction of the closed bedroom door. Curiously, this picture turned out to be the most interesting one of the night. On the floor, just inches from the door, was a small ball of light about one foot in diameter. The baffling thing was that none of us saw it, but the camera certainly recorded something.
Standing there in amazement for several minutes discussing this phenomenal picture, I happened to glance over toward the bedroom’s eastern window and suddenly observed several rapidly moving, electric-blue balls of light. Immediately raising the Polaroid, aiming and firing in the direction of the curtains over the window, I produced a picture that was once again blurred and badly bleached in nature. It should be stated here that the only light within the bedroom during all the aforementioned shots was a single candle’s illumination and the flashcubes of the camera. The attempted photographs of the rapidly moving, glowing blue starbursts did not reveal the actual display that I observed. But within a short period of time, Candy told us that there was something standing directly in front of her. Once again, I fired the Polaroid and the resulting picture was most bizarre. Her face was completely bleached out, yet her dress, the surrounding background of curtains, and various objects within the bedroom were quite clear and distinct. The bleaching closely resembled that which was on the majority of pictures taken until that point. A short while later, Candy again informed us that there was something right in front of her. This time, Gaynor took the picture with the Polaroid, developing similar to the previous one. Beautiful detail was picked up in the curtains in the background, her dress was clear to the point of recognizing detail on its buttons, yet her face was completely obliterated by the same type of bleaching or fogging that afflicted the earlier photographs. It is important to emphasize that without moving his position so much as a hair, Gaynor took another picture of Candy with the
Polaroid as a control approximately two minutes later. Before Gaynor fired the shot, Candy said the presence was gone, and the resulting photograph came out perfect, completely absent of any fogging or light diffusion. Gaynor took another control photograph of the bedroom, and it too turned out quite normal, without any aberrations on the emulsion. It is important to note that when Candy said there was something (whatever it was) in front of her, the
end of our second visit to this most unusual house. ***** On the third night we visited the residence, which was approximately one week later, a young female photographer accompanied us from a Brentwood camera shop. Almost immediately upon entering Doris’ bedroom, the young woman remarked quite emphatically that the horrible stench was making her nauseous.
“All of us present in the bedroom, simultaneously observed what appeared to be small, pulsing flashes of light.” picture was severely bleached, while minutes later when she said it was gone, the ensuing picture taken by Gaynor demonstrated high resolution and clarity; that is, no fogging. At this point, Gaynor passed the Polaroid over to me. I was about to place it on the dresser across the room after checking the camera to determine how many pictures remained. After examining the camera’s number window while walking toward the bureau, the Polaroid suddenly and inexplicably took the last photograph by itself. I was fully aware at all times that my hands were nowhere near the button that activates the camera. My reaction was one of absolute amazement in conjunction with a little fear, as I was positive that I did not cause the camera to fire. The resulting photograph, somehow occurring without the expected flash, showed utter blackness with nothing whatsoever discernible within it. The infrared film in the 35mm camera on this evening was inadvertently exposed due to our own carelessness. This marked the
Our third visit to Doris’ house was most notable in that it was the first occasion where we both collectively witnessed identical visual phenomena. On more than 20 separate occasions, all of us present in the bedroom, including Doris and the female photographer, simultaneously observed what appeared to be small, pulsing flashes of light. It was at this point that we decided to further darken the candle-lit room and hang several heavy quilts and bedspreads over the windows and curtains. Our attempt partially succeeded in that we significantly attenuated the outside light. The change in light intensity within the bedroom did not affect our most unusual luminous “friend” that now appeared even more brilliant against the darkened surround. It should be noted that we both alternately watched the various window areas in the hope of determining if the source of light was originating from outside the house, perhaps from a passing vehicle or neighbor’s flashlight.
After several such attempts, we were satisfied that whatever these moving, pulsing lights were, they were not originating from outside the house as the thick quilts draped over the window curtains would have easily told us of such an photonic intrusion. The sudden and rapid appearance and disappearance of the lights on this night made it virtually impossible to obtain any photographs, regardless of the fact that it appeared over 10 times on the front of the bar area alone. Overall, the third session at Doris’ house netted us very little in the way of objective photographic evidence similar to that of the second encounter. Not one of the photographs taken by either the Polaroid SX-70 camera or the 35 mm loaded with infrared film showed anything of interest. Similarly, our attempt to record the luminous anomalies (radiation?) visually observed with X-ray dental tabs placed on the walls around the room and a sheet of 8” x 10” film sandwiched between radiation intensifying plates proved equally fruitless. Although the lights were photographically elusive, they nevertheless visually appeared both circular and triangular in their displays to all of us. We learned the next day that our female photographer, after being dropped off by us at her apartment, became so overpoweringly ill from the effects of the bedroom’s malodorous environment that she regurgitated heavily before retiring. ***** Stay tuned for the Part 2 of this article in the next issue of Paranormal Underground magazine.
This article is an excerpt from the book “Aliens Above, Ghosts Below: Explorations of the Unknown” (published in July 2010) by Dr. Barry Taff.
Paranormal Underground 31
Personal Experiences: Ghost Hunter Case Files
Play With Me:
Investigating the Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum By Michelle M. Pillow, www.michellepillow.com
istory is one of my greatest passions. When that passion can combine with my other loves — photography, writing, and the paranormal — I’m one happy woman. That’s exactly what happened May 14, 2011, in Wichita, Kansas, when I was invited to investigate with Wichita Paranormal Research Society (WPRS) at the Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum. Not only was I up close and personal with historical artifacts, I was able to take pictures to my heart’s content, write an article about the experience, and investigate the paranormal on one of the most active hunts I’ve ever been on. A Conduit of Paranormal Activity? Located in downtown Wichita, the museum is housed in the old City Hall building. According to the museum’s Website, “The building continues as a beacon of historic preservation in downtown Wichita and serves as the museum’s premier artifact.” Built in 1892, the large stone structure is quite impressive, sporting four floors and a clock tower with working 1,000-pound bell. The building itself is made from
Built in 1892, the large stone structure that houses the Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum is quite impressive, sporting four floors and a clock tower with working 1,000-pound bell. (Pictures © 2011 Michelle Pillow, unless otherwise noted)
Cambridge limestone quarried in Butler County, Kansas. There are several beliefs in paranormal circles in regards to limestone acting as a conductor of sorts. WPRS senior investigator Sherrie Curry explained, “There is a theory that buildings and homes made from limestone are conducive to holding energy. Many of these types of structures will have paranormal activity of some
type — either residual, like a memory playing over and over, or intelligent, something that tries to communicate with people or items in the location.” If that’s true, this building is one giant conduit for paranormal activity. The clock tower addition was completed in 1917. For safety reasons, the public is not allowed into the tower. Sturdy wooden stairs lead the way up, each step taking the trav-
Pictured above at left: WPRS investigators Jerry Harrison and Bob Gilmer feel a cold spot in the museum’s children’s display. Above at right: Michelle Pillow investigates the 1910 drug store. (Picture above at right © 2011 Bob Gilmer)
eler past progressively older looking bricks until you can see the original limestone masonry. The architecture has not been updated, leaving it a real treasure of the past and a testament to our forefather’s building skills. The tower itself opens up to narrow stone balconies that give a beautiful view of the city. Today, those lucky enough to be allowed into the tower can sign their name on the historic bell, becoming a part of the history. In 1919, Mrs. George Whitney founded the Sedgwick County Pioneer Society, which preserved and housed artifacts relating to the development of Wichita. Soon, the need for a historical museum became apparent. The Wichita Public Museum was established in 1939. In the 1960s, the city decided to construct a new City Hall. Plans were made to move the museum into the old 1892 City Building. After a complete structural renovation, the museum opened its doors at the current location on May 3, 1981. There is a theory that spirits can attach themselves not only to locations and people, but to objects. This is a theory that may be supported by further investigation of Wichita’s Historical Museum. Today, there are nearly 70,000 artifacts in the museum
collection. These artifacts include fashion, photographs, furniture, appliances, business records, guns, toys, a gravestone, a 1916 Jones Six automobile, Native American objects, and just about anything else you would expect to find. So Much History, So Little Time ... Until recently, when asked, the museum’s official answer was that there were no hauntings on the property and thus no records were kept of reported incidences. That was until last October when reports
There are nearly 70,000 artifacts in the museum collection. of phantom footsteps began to come in. Museum curator Jami Tracy said she believed the sudden influx of reports comes from the staff having a new sense of awareness in their surroundings. Jami, herself, had a paranormal encounter in the museum 20 years ago and is glad to finally have the incident supported by WPRS’ investigations.
I asked Jami to share her experience with me. “The incident 20 years ago involved baby clothes. I was doing an inventory on the fifth floor, which at that time was storage for our costume collection. On a shelf was a small trunk of baby clothes that also contained an index-sized card with a woman’s name and address. I removed the card to do further research — I was trying to determine if this was a part of the Museum’s Permanent Collection and if it had an accession number, when it had been donated, significance, etc. “I placed the card on an empty table at the back of the room and continued to work. An hour or so later, I went to retrieve the card, and it was gone. I checked under the table, under shelves, my pockets, the trunk … I looked everywhere, but it was gone. After several minutes, I gave up and decided to leave and come back later with fresh eyes. “When I returned later in the day, the card was on the center of the table at the back of the room. I checked with the staff, and no one had been in that room in months. Later I learned the family had purchased the clothes prior to the birth of a baby, and that baby died. I wondered at the time if the activity was related to that particu-
Paranormal Underground 33
Personal Experiences: Ghost Hunter Case Files lar trunk of clothes. Our Museum Educator had a similar event in that room a few months ago. She placed a Sharpie pen on the table; it disappeared from the table, and she found it later, stuck vertically in the underside of a cardboard box on a shelf across the room. Now I wonder if my experience was based on the room and not the clothes.” Jami has worked at the Museum since December 1990. Her primary responsibility is to manage and preserve the Museum’s collection — accessioning, cataloging, conducting inventories, performing preventative care, and ensuring proper environmental conditions. She also develops and creates exhibitions, represents the Museum on the Wichita Photo Archives (www.wichitaphotos.org), and responds to public inquiries. Over the past year, she’s gotten staff reports of unexplained events, including the sound of footsteps when no one was in the area and seeing shadow figures. They do not feel threatened by the events.
“My husband works at Wichita’s Old Cowtown Museum, and he encouraged me to speak with Sherrie Curry of WPRS, as he thought they would be willing to investigate the Historical Museum. Mike had worked with WPRS many times during their Cowtown investigations,
“The WPRS investigations have been exciting and interesting.” and he highly recommended them,” Jami said. “The WPRS investigations have been quite exciting and interesting. Because we had never worked with paranormal investigators, we were cautious about asking a group to examine the building and our claims. WPRS surpassed all our expectations — I don’t think we could have worked with a better team. We were extremely impressed with the professionalism of this
dynamic group. They approached each investigation with intelligence, adroitness, and respect, and they understood our concerns and took great care to ensure the safety of our collections and exhibits. “They were very generous and allowed me to join them on the investigations, all the while explaining their methods and equipment, and sharing their philosophy and theories. The experience was thrilling and more fun than I can say. After the investigations, Sherrie presented the staff with evidence, and we were surprised at the amount of activity in the building the team was able to document. We particularly found the number and content of the EVPs to be quite compelling.” To date, the museum has not given permission to any other groups to do investigations. Because of the delicate nature of the artifacts involved, they are very selective. But, that doesn’t mean visitors can’t go in hopes of finding a little extra thrill while touring the impressive building.
Pictured above are shots of the museum’s cottage display. Over the past year, Museum Curator Jami Tracy has received staff reports of unexplained events, including the sound of footsteps when no one was in the area and seeing shadow figures.
Pictured above at left: Investigators focus on the statue of four-year-old “Hattie” and her dog. Museum workers report hearing footsteps coming from Hattie’s storage room. Pictured above at right: Old spinning wheels in the attic area.
There have even been a couple of reported incidences of patrons leaving due to feeling uneasy in certain areas. The first, an older woman, abruptly left because of a realistic third-floor cottage display she claimed was haunted. She refused to finish her tour. The cottage is a permanent fixture built into the museum. A second came in the form of a five-year-old boy, whose grandfather claimed he was sensitive to spirits. The child demanded to leave because he felt too uncomfortable on the second floor, which houses a children-themed display. They are not alone. Others have reportedly felt the uncomfortable feelings near both areas. Electromagnetic Field (EMF) readings of these areas did not show abnormally high EMF occurring in the location. EMF has been shown to affect people, creating a physical reaction, often fear, within a sensitive individual. It is one of the first things professional investigators look for as a possible cause when uneasy feelings are reported. EMF is also gener-
ally accepted as useful in detecting the presence of a spirit. All the history and cool architecture in the world does not a haunting make, but I will have to say, when it comes to sporting a bit of everything, the Historical Museum did not disappoint. Part One — The Third Floor “A Wichita Cottage” A respect for history is shared by most investigators I’ve talked to. It is, after all, one of the major themes we deal with when investigating spirits. The WPRS investigation started at 9 p.m. and was divided into four segments, approximately an hour each, ending at 2 a.m. Twelve members split into teams of two to three investigators. My first investigation for the night was of the third floor. I was paired with investigators Lori DeWinkler and Darin Peterson. Kept in a locked room near the offices is the life-size carved limestone statue of “Hattie” with her dog, who had been her constant companion. When four-year-old Hattie Waller died from typhoid
fever in 1889, her grieving parents had two identical statues commissioned — one stored at the museum and a reproduction on public display at Wichita’s Maple Grove Cemetery. Workers report hearing footsteps coming from Hattie’s storage room. The statue itself gives off high EMF readings on the K-II meter, but any paranormal cause has been debunked due to its limestone construction. In the office itself, Darin reported numerous K-II hits, as well as having seen a red, floating light on a previous investigation. The light hovered in the air and then made its way under a chair before disappearing altogether. This night we did get a few K-II readings, which only seemed to go off when Darin was holding the meter. The moment a female touched it, the readings stopped. Perhaps the ghost doesn’t like women? The “A Wichita Cottage” display on this floor is a faithful representation of a middle class family’s home in the 1890s. A home built within the large museum building,
Paranormal Underground 35
Personal Experiences: Ghost Hunter Case Files it showcases a completely furnished first floor. Though we did not get any activity during our investigation, this location is worth noting because numerous museum guests comment about suspicious activity while touring this cottage. Part Two Heaven — I’m in Heaven ... Not only did we investigate the museum building, but also the museum storage building across the street. As a photographer and budding historian, at times it was very hard for me to focus on the task at hand while surrounded by the overwhelming amount of artifacts. This place is a history nerd’s Heaven. The storage building holds 90% of the artifacts not on display. The majority of the museum’s exhibits are permanent, but all four floors have gallery space dedicated to temporary exhibits that are changed approximately every six months. During the second part of the investigation, I was with my good friend, investigator Sherrie Curry. Jami’s husband, Mike Tracy, a history interpreter for Cowtown Museum, was our guide into this artifact dreamland. Over the last century, wellto-do women of Wichita have donated their designer clothing. The garments now hang on racks awaiting the day they’ll reemerge to the public’s scrutiny. Paintings, portraits, photographs, doll houses, weapons … the building is an endless treasure trove of discovery. I could spend the entire article just listing a portion of the 60,000plus items here. While on the second story, looking down over the metal balcony, Sherrie and I both detected movement within the lower racks. What
was impressive about the occurrence is we both saw separate movements but in the same area. Upon going to investigate, we discovered it looked to be coming from a long hallway of portraits and paintings, at the end of which was a collection of antique mirrors. The problem with trying to narrow down the search within such a place is that it’s nearly impossible to tell what an
Pictured above: A peek inside the building’s clocktower.
entity might have attached itself to, if anything at all. Upon reviewing the evidence, Sherrie had a couple EVPs from our time there. One said a very faint “hello” in response to a similar greeting. The other is more impressive. Sherrie asks, “Are you hiding in here?” Seconds later, the battery in her camera is drained and we
captured a loud EVP whisper that said, “No.” Part Three — Play With Me My third investigation was hands down the most exciting I’ve ever been on. I was paired with friend and techie, Bob Gilmer, and investigator Jerry “The Amazing” Harrison. Since it was an exciting segment to the night, I let Jerry crown himself with the title. There are several noteworthy displays on the third floor, including a 1910 Drug Store complete with an old fashioned soda counter. However, none compared to the “A Child’s World” exhibit when it came to paranormal activity. Being in an exhibit surrounded by children-themed displays, it was natural to speak to any potential haunters like they were a child, inviting them to talk and play with us. It didn’t take long before we were engaged in what appeared to be the innocence of childlike curiosity. It started when I was taking pictures of various objects with my camera phone to upload for the entertainment of my social network buddies. Usually, I shoot with my Canon. As I wandered through the display, Jerry asked me to retrace my steps because he was getting strange shadow play. The display area is set up like a circular hall with open rooms meant to lead patrons through in an orderly manner. I did as requested, stopping out of his view. I continued snapping pictures with my phone. Suddenly, just as Jerry was saying he saw a shadow person — no taller than a young child — dart through, I clicked a shot. My Blackberry froze on a white screen and would not respond, as if stuck during a flash. It has never done that before. I slipped the
phone into my pocket to search for a place to set down my equipment in order to examine it closer. Less than a minute later, when I pulled the phone back out, it was back on the home screen but with no picture recorded. When the phone continued to glitch, I finally resorted to pulling the battery out to get it working correctly. It’s been fine ever since. What then ensued was what could only be described as a child (or children) playing. It started with cold spots, the kind of electrically charged, temperature-dropping, isolated pockets that cause the hairs on your arm to stand up straight. All three of us felt them several times. They seemed to move either with us, or away from us, and were only about three feet tall. We even managed to get a K-II hit next to my hand as I felt one. Next came the shadow games. A small shadow person seemed to be running back and forth through the room. Jerry and Bob saw it creep up behind me. I was sitting by a display wall, and it looked as if it peeked out from around the corner. When I moved to get a better vantage point to see for myself, the shadow could be seen running back and forth on the far end of the room, behind the center column of the circular walkway. Eventually, it seemed to get brave enough to come closer before ducking away. This activity lasted almost the entire hour we were there, with no more than a minute or two between sightings. After analyzing the evidence, Bob found an EVP that was not only clear but a little humorous, considering we were in the children’s area. While investigating the cold spots and having seen the first of the shadows, he was able to capture the breathy sigh Jerry had heard on several occasions followed by a voice swearing, “Fucker.”
WPRS investigators Lori DeWinkler and Darin Peterson investigate EMF fluctuations in the storage room holding a statue of “Hattie” and her dog.
Part Four — Kicking and Singing The last part of the investigation ended with Sherrie Curry and Donna Chaffin on the fourth floor, which included the two fifth floor attics and clock tower. In perhaps one of the creepiest parts of the evening, Sherrie decided to delight our investigative senses with her rendition of the hymn sang by the demonic preacher from the movie Poltergeist II. I’m saving that little recording for later blackmail should I ever need something from Sherrie. Oh, and Donna kicked me in the dark. (I’m teasing her.) The two large attics are filled with dust and floor insulation. Brick walls and old mortar can play tricks on the senses, especially if examining digital photos instantly on the camera viewing screen. The constant hum of the air conditioning unit is prevalent in the silence. Still, it’s not obtrusive enough to severely compromise EVP sessions. During this time we captured a few strange noises, one that could be a grumbling, indiscernible answer to a question I asked.
An Exciting Investigation Ends When asked about the museum and her team, Sherrie said, “I am very honored to be able to work and investigate with such great people, and to be a part of this team. I enjoy the benefits of getting to see the behind-the-scene workings of such great locations with an awesome history!” Whether you’re in the mood for some historical sightseeing, want to try your luck paying a social call to those residing within the cottage, or if you want to see if you can induce the shadow children into a game of hiden-seek, the Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum has it all. I cannot recommend this museum enough.
The Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum welcomes visitors year round. Please visit the museum Website for more information at www.WichitaHistory.org. To learn more about WPRS and to check out evidence, visit www.WichitaParanormal.com. To read more about Michelle’s adventures, visit www. MichellePillow.com.
Paranormal Underground 37
Gone Today, Here Tomorrow A True Story By DJ Kemp
n early 2003, I had set up a company that allowed me to leave my job of several years and spend much of my time either working from home or out visiting my clients. My home was situated between two tiny villages in a very rural part of the country several miles from the nearest town. One morning, with the weather dull and overcast, as seems often to be the case in England, I had some chores to run and also had some business with Al at his place of work, (not his real name). I then needed to drop my car off at a local service center for some routine maintenance. Al lived just a few houses down from me with his long-term partner, who Iâ€™ll call Victoria. She was also one of my clients, and they both worked no more than a couple of miles away. However, on this morning, as I started driving down my street to visit him at his workplace, I saw him exiting his car and returning home. I pulled over and wound down my window to talk to him, expressing an apology for running late and that I hadnâ€™t yet visited him at his workplace at the time I originally intended. We then proceeded to make small talk for a few minutes before I drove off to take my car to the service center and start my trek home on foot.
A Hasty Encounter About half-way into my milelong walk home down the remote, tree-lined country lane, surrounded by farmland on both sides, I was passed by two cars traveling at a speed far in excess of the 60 mph speed limit. I turned as I heard the cars approaching and recognized the people in the cars as family of Al who lived in the next village. I was intrigued as to their haste, and as I knew all the occupants, to be honest, I was a little peeved that neither car stopped to give me a ride. I would soon find out why they were in such a hurry. As I passed by the sharp turn in the road, I could then see the estate I lived on and saw a commotion
rapidly unfolding. An air-ambulance was flying into the grassland behind the houses, and as I continued to walk closer, various emergency services vehicles arrived on the scene. I walked past the seemingly chaotic scene, returned home, and made myself some coffee. Soon after, I sat in my living room on the sofa drinking coffee and planning the rest of my day. The room was quite small, and I had a sofa on the back wall adjacent to the large window. I hadnâ€™t opened the curtains that day in my hurry to leave the house, and the room was artificially lit by two lamps. The curtains were especially thick and contained double black-out lining that would totally darken the room without electric lighting.
Things Get Strange Suddenly, in front of me, above me and to my left I caught a movement. I swiftly turned my head to follow it in my line of sight. A shadowy “mass” had appeared to travel through the wall into my home and continued to move across the room in front of the curtained window and the wall above. It then passed through the wall opposite to that which it entered and disappeared from my view. The mass was blacker than black and of a very strange nature. I’ve been thinking how to describe it for several days after deciding to write about my experience, and the best way I can describe the main body of mass is to ask the reader to imagine the immediate instance as thick black ink dissipates when a few drops are added to a container of water. The elongated black mass seemed to absorb the light in the room rather than reflect it; it was about three feet in length, with dozens of tendrils of blackness reaching out in every direction. It moved at a constant walking pace speed, entering through the wall in front of me on the left side and exiting through the wall opposite directly to my left that I sat with my back at. I sat stunned for a moment, trying to rationalize what I had just seen. I failed. My lamps were shaded and wouldn’t have given me a brief “retina-burn” had I looked at them before turning. Plus, I had caught the movement in my peripheral vision to begin with, not in my direct vision as would be the case had it been a retina imprint from a bright electric light. There was nothing that could have caused a shadow — the only window was totally covered, and all other doors to the room were closed. Even if I wasn’t resolutely positive that the mass was inside the room, nothing outside could’ve caused such a silhouette through the
curtains. The window faced onto an enclosed, private field of short grass. As mentioned earlier, the curtains had a thick lining so even the brightest sunlight was unable to infiltrate the room — not that the sun was visible through the grey sky of that day. The mass wasn’t solely in front of the
a crucial time in which she could have been resuscitated. (I later found out that she had been dead close to two hours before Al had returned home, so my delaying him had only served to put off the inevitable. Had I seen the soul or essence of
“A shadowy mass appeared to travel through the wall into my house and continued to move across the room ...” curtains anyway. It stretched across the wall above the window too and was solid, defined, and three-dimensional. After gathering myself, I proceeded to the window and opened the curtains to check outside anyway. I could see to my right further down the row of houses to Al and Victoria’s house. I watched for several minutes until a person strapped on a stretcher was carried out and into the same helicopter I had seen landing on the grass as I was returning home. Shortly afterward, the helicopter took off and left with its additional passenger. I walked to the road facing the side of my house and stood in my front yard looking down the street. The ambulances left, leaving only the police cars. Several neighbors were also standing in the street watching the unfolding drama, and I spoke with one to find out what had occurred. Disturbing News I was told that Victoria had committed suicide in her home by hanging herself. I was shocked and saddened as I had got to know her quite well, especially since she had become a client of mine. I also felt guilt — wondering if my time spent talking to her partner Al before he entered his home to discover her body had been
Victoria leaving the area? I honestly don’t know. If she had been dead for over an hour, why would I have seen it when I did? Had she lingered to witness the reactions of those who cared about her that had passed me on my walk home before she left? Was her “soul” tied to her mortal body for some period of time after death before it could leave? Why would it travel through my house to leave instead of taking a less congested route into the open; was this her way of saying goodbye to me? Was it some kind of shadow spirit that had come to witness a death; or was this Death himself, come to take the soul of the recently deceased? Okay, I’ve ventured well into the realm of fantasy here with my ruminations, but witnessing what seems truly fantastical leads one to fantastical ponderings, whether we then choose to take them seriously or not. I’m only trying to illustrate the multitude of thoughts that went through my head trying to explain to myself what I saw in the minutes and hours after my experience. I had a lot of questions, but the only one I can answer for sure is that I definitely do not believe I imagined what I saw. Whether it was Victoria or not I cannot say, but whatever I saw was there, and it was real.
Paranormal Underground 39
Personal Experiences Victoria Makes Contact A couple of months later, I invited my then partner to move into my home with me. I’ll call her Liz for the purpose of this story. Liz considered herself a medium who could give readings “from spirit” with little or no information from her clients. She provided many readings to people via e-mail and also face to face with often nothing other than a first name to identify people. She had been doing this for much of her life, since her teens, and was also an accredited Reiki practitioner and member of several Spiritualist churches. I mean no disrespect, but I couldn’t help being skeptical of her claimed ability, although I tried not to judge and remained impassive. I knew she wasn’t an intentional fraud, as she clearly believed in her ability, but I often silently wondered if she was deluding herself as well as others. Still, people believed they were able to directly relate to the very detailed readings she gave, and she was very much respected by the people who dealt with her, so I didn’t see much harm in it. Tracey worked in a shop just a short drive away from my house. Liz used to shop there fairly often, and despite being a somewhat shy person around strangers, they had struck up a friendship. During a chat one day, after they’d known each other several weeks, Liz mentioned in passing to Tracey that she was a medium. Tracey later asked for Liz to give her a reading one evening. Liz duly obliged and went over to Tracey’s home a few nights later to give the reading. I was home that night when Liz returned. I asked Liz how it went, more just being polite than any serious interest, and while she didn’t tell me many details due to her selfimposed confidentiality with her cli-
ents, she did tell me something that I found quite revealing and somewhat shook my skepticism. Liz stated that Victoria had made herself known during the session. Now, Liz had no prior information of what had happened to Victoria prior to the reading. To be honest, her death was quite a taboo subject around the whole area after the first few days of shock and sadness had died down among the neighbors — and that was several months prior to Liz moving to this part of the country to live with me. I had no idea why Victoria had sought to end her life; she had always appeared bubbly and full of confidence when I had spoken with her, and she had big plans for the
future. So, I couldn’t have passed any information to Liz without intending to. I honestly can’t see Tracey having mentioned this to someone she was only just becoming friendly with either, but that being said, I can’t confirm whether she did or not. It’s perhaps not pertinent anyway due to what Liz said next. During the reading, Victoria told Liz to tell Tracey that she was sorry, that she had been severely depressed and that she had wanted a ring desperately. Apparently, Victoria had wanted to marry her partner, and it had become an obsession for her. I don’t know what Al’s feelings regarding this were, but I would guess he wasn’t quite so keen.
This revelation was a big shock to Tracey. She had already known that Victoria was desperate to get married and very depressed because she wanted Al to propose, but he allegedly wouldn’t. Apparently, Victoria had sought consolation and emotional support with Tracey in the months and weeks before her death because of what had become an obsessive desire to get married. Tracey had never told a soul about this! Tracey took this as confirmation that the spirit of Victoria was present during the reading. My intrinsic skepticism took a blow at this news too. Questions Still Remain Some years later, I still don’t know what to believe. Ordinarily, I can attribute rational explanations to most things, and the times I can’t, I assume a rational explanation exists but just hasn’t occurred to me. However, the thing I saw seemed very, very real. Of course, I could have imagined it or experienced a hallucination, however unlikely that seems to me. But that would be out of character, and nothing like that has happened in the years since. As for the reading Liz gave Tracey, unless she was a very good “cold reader” and somehow managed to extract this information from Tracey without either of them being consciously aware, the only other explanations would be that Liz either made a very good guess or that her information was genuinely acquired “from spirit” or the “Universal Knowledge,” which is something some people assert certain people can tap into. When all is said and done, events such as these, when experienced firsthand, certainly helps keep the door to an open mind well and truly open.
Paranormal Underground 41
Tales From the Haunted Heathman Hotel By Rob St.Helen, West Coast Ghost Hunters
ello all! I hope all is well these days! Here at the Heathman Hotel, a lot of activity has been taking place in the restaurant as of late. The shadow man has made his presence known more than once in the past few weeks. Besides the “normal” shadows upon the wall and in front of the restaurant’s front doors, one of the hostess said that she was standing around when all of a sudden she got really cold (it was 97 degrees here that day). But the cold spot was just in one location. She was able to step aside and feel a normal temperature, but when she would stand in that one spot again, she would get “ice cold” — as she called it. The phenomenon only lasted for about 30 seconds, according to my coworker. I have not had time to do any EVP or camera work in that area yet, but when it slows down, I will do some investigation in that location. A Commotion Is Heard Another incident happened a few nights ago while I was working. It was roughly 1 a.m. when we heard
One of the hotel’s restaurant hostesses felt a strange cold spot one evening. And even though it was 97 degrees outside that day, the “ice cold” spot lasted about 30 seconds.
tons of shuffling in the back office area. To be clear, there are only two of us on duty during the night shift, and we were both standing still at the desk when we heard all this. We ran back and nothing was there. The shuffling continued into the lobby area, where we could hear someone or something shuffling their feet across the lobby floor. The sound was clear as day. Again, we both got up and walked around thinking someone had walked in … no one was there. The same night we heard someone walking up to the restaurant doors. There are a few loose tiles
in that area, and when you walk on them they make a different sound then the others. We heard that sound, but didn’t hear the doors open at all. It had been quiet, guest wise, for some time, so again we both got up and went our separate ways, meeting in the middle. Neither of us saw anything. As a sidenote, one night during the time these incidents happened, we had an (almost) a full moon, and the next night was the full moon. I wonder if this has anything or everything to do with the activity we witnesses?
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Featured Author: Fiction
Without End, Amen By Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy
stand at the foot of the stone steps that lead up onto the front lawn, one foot poised to step up and stare at the house. It looks the same; a Victorian brick mammoth perched above the other houses, bigger and taller because it was here first. Once these little yards with their swing sets, barbecue grills, patio umbrellas, and basketball hoops belonged to the house. Most of the tiger lilies, the peonies, and the roses that bloom in stray corners were part of the gardens, long vanished into memory. As I look up at the blank windows, the big porches, and the slate tiled roof, I feel the same â€” small and afraid. I grew up here, where the paranormal was the everyday norm. Like that little boy in that movie I can never recall the name of, I saw dead people. They walked the halls, stood over my bed, tromped the stairs, and appeared, without warning, at will. Even when I could not see them, I felt them, knew the piercing stares of the damned and the lost. Sometimes their faces reflected back at mine in the mirrors. Sometimes, when we took snapshots, they appeared as energy, white pulsing bars or balls of light. Their voices echoed through the oversize rooms, words indistinct and hard to understand, but audible. In the dark of night, their shadows shifted and moved, sometimes with form
and substance. Once, rising as a child for a midnight trip to the bathroom, I saw a creature with fur and hooves cross before me. It moved without sound from the dining room into the front parlor. That was so far out of the ordinary range of experience that I shrieked until my mother came, but she saw nothing. ***** There were more than one; multiple presences came and went. Some were playful, cheerful spirits that made the stereo play when no one was in the room or turned on a small appliance when the kitchen was empty. These playful things might put our toys into a ring on the floor of the playroom, a little disturbing, but not scary. Something else locked us in closets, touched us with cold hands as we slept, and dragged something heavy down the upstairs hall. We never knew what, but it sometimes marred the floor and made splinters from the hard wood. This dark man — he felt very masculine — was what stared at us on winter evenings, unseen but felt. His presence made the silence vibrate with an electrical charge ... that feeling just before a storm strikes. Once, while playing at pirate treasure, we found bones buried in the basement, human bones beneath the dirt. My father made us put them back, but we did not forget, nor did we believe that they came from a cow or pig. We studied biology in school; our lab had a skeleton on display so that when we saw phalanges, we knew them for what they were, finger bones. If family or friends came to stay, strange things happened as if what was there wanted us all to itself. The furnace failed, but another time it stuck on so that the heat blistered the wallpapers and created a very
real danger of fire. Most would spend a night, but in the morning avoid looking us in the eye and say they would never stay again. Once, I called the house from my aunt’s when no one was home, and a woman answered. She had a melodious voice, sweet and very clear, a soprano that an angel could covet. She told me she was one of the ghosts and that she floated around while we were away. I did not want to go home that time, but we did, of course. Moreover, we
We try not to look or to listen, to not hear or see the strange things that happen here because, once away, we understood how haunted this place is, how abnormal we had lived. Moreover, finally, we decided to stay at a relative’s home, not at the house. ***** This evening past we came, because when the weather is fine, fat earthworms wallow out from the soil and out from the thick grass to lie on the sidewalks. They are easy to
She told me she was one of the ghosts and that she floated around while we were away. sugar coated it, pretended it was my fantasy, imagination overgrown and gone wild. ***** Until today, perhaps the worst was the Halloween that we came home, masks still on our faces, treat bags in our hands, and met a group of children running away from our house. Faces pale beneath the dime store make-up, they were in a frenzy and warned us not to go up there, that something evil lived there and had frightened them. We went home, afraid, especially after we blew out our jack-o-lantern and the flame revived, not once, but 10 times or more. We do not live there any longer; we moved away to another city in another state, but we kept the house. This is where we stay when we come back to visit four generations of family. Back to the ancestral manse, the original hearth of the great extended family. We sleep in the antique beds and look into the old-fashioned mirrors with that old glass that makes our reflections swim.
capture, and they are good bait. We planned a fishing trip in the morning, in the early morning that is now almost here, but my mother wanted to go inside to wait, so we did. It was dark in the great parlor, and the shapes of the outdated furniture loomed tall and strange, so my mom asked me to light a candle. Better, is it not, to light a single candle than to sit and curse the dark, or so we thought. We could have turned on a lamp, let a nice, calm electric glow illuminate the room, but she asked for candle, and I obliged. She looked at me, across the flame, in the wavering light and the odd shadows, and suggested we go upstairs. I looked into her eyes, and they were not hers. Something frenetic and strange possessed her, one of the entities from this house perhaps. Once again she persuaded me, against my will, to follow her upstairs. Her voice was thicker, deeper, and with an unfamiliar cadence, but, like the children of Hamlin following the piper, I followed as we went up into the full darkness. I knew ter-
Paranormal Underground 45
Featured Author: Fiction
ror, a full and filling fear that I have never known before, not even here. I closed my eyes and would not look as we passed each room, but I knew if I looked within, I would see past horrors, things that had happened and made this place haunted. I might see the owner of those finger bones and learn how they came to be in the basement, earth shrouded. The whisper of a thousand voices sang around us, terrible, awful tales, and yet seductive too. I remember little as we made our way down the long upstairs passage until we stood at the brink of the back stairs and my mother came to herself, made a little cry, and suggested we exit. As she ran down the stairs, taking two or three at a time, I followed, knowing better than to look back. And as I reached the bottom, I heard a laugh in the darkness. It was a laugh that cooled the blood, chilled the skin, and turned my heart from a living, beating organ to a blob of ice. In addition, I understood, for the first time, that this was the heart of the house, the essence of
the being who reigned here. The others were as captive as I was, held sway by this thing, whatever it might be. ***** We took our worms; we left and retired for the night, eager to be up with the dawn to see if the fish may bite. I believe a fish fry is planned for later in the day, but I do not know if I will make it. When the others in my family slept, I crept away and came back to do what must be done to end this cycle. I carry a five gallon can of gasoline and a box of kitchen matches, enough I think to burn the place to the ground, to kill whatever lurks here. And so, with my key in hand, I enter the silent rooms, trailing fuel behind me, upstairs, downstairs, in the hallways and the rooms, everywhere. At the back door, I light a single match; I touch it to my cigarette and then toss it, flame intact, to the floor where it ignites the trail of gasoline. With caution, I step outside, far into the side lawn where I watch
with glee, watch flames flare up in each window, see the walls burn, crumble, and the roof, in the end, collapse. I stand there, in the cold, dark early morning hours and watch the fire department struggle to contain it and fail. I should be jubilant; it is over. The ghost, or whatever he might have been, has no home, and so he must be gone, far into some nether region of the ether. I wipe my hands on the dewy grass and walk away, stepping over the fire hoses, greeting everyone I see with a broad smile. I am halfway down those front stone stairs when I realize the truth. It is not gone; it is I. Whatever lurked within is now without, dwelling in my soul. It did not die nor will it; it is now a rider on my soul, growing stronger with my flesh, feeding on my emotions. The house is gone and it is not haunted, no more. But I am haunted. And shall ever be, world without end, amen.
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