Having great groups truly makes a difference in public investigations. People who are eager and open-minded often have better overall experiences than people who come in with an air of skepticism. Over the course of our Haunted New Harmony investigations, we’ve had both kinds of groups and can easily say that the ghosts prefer the eager types more than the skeptics too.
After a presentation on the paranormal and history of the buildings and town, we divided into two groups, led by Amanda Bryden and Meagan Patterson, who both work for the State of Indiana Museum Division and oversee the buildings we investigated. Helping us were Paula Bundy, who stayed with Amanda’s group and Shannon DeLap, who remained with Meagan.
Billy Miller, who is the founder of Southern Indiana Paranormal Investigations, was in charge of Community House #2, while I stayed at the Fauntleroy Home.
Community House #2
Meagan’s group started out at Community House #2. They began their investigation on the first floor with a standard EVP session. The group asked some very compelling questions but didn’t get any responses, so Billy moved to the Spirit Box.
The Spirit Box is a paranormal tool that scans rapidly through the radio stations, allowing the ghosts to use the white noise to communicate. The Spirit Box was quiet as well so they moved onto dowsing rods.
We’ve found that many of the nineteenth-century ghosts in the building are apprehensive of our electronic devices. They are more comfortable with low tech items, such as dowsing rods and pinwheels. After a thirty minute session on the first floor with very little communication, they decided to move to the second floor.
Meagan commanded the dowsing rods for the first go around. They asked if the souls were happy there and got an immediate “yes” response from the dowsing rods. When they asked if he was a printer, the response was “no.” He said he was a Harmonist. She passed off the dowsing rods to another member to try them.
They asked if the ghost was a male and there was no response, but when they asked if the ghost was a female, they got a positive response.
During that session, Billy had a smaller group out in the hallway to watch for shadows and heard the sound of footsteps in the hallway. He came into the room and asked them if anyone had been walking, but no one had.
Through their questioning, they learned that they were speaking to a female who wasn’t married, which made sense if she was a Harmonist. The group practiced celibacy and lived as brothers and sisters. She didn’t enjoy swimming. She couldn’t leave the building.
Perhaps the most profound experience this group experienced came from an experience Billy had while he was in the bathroom. He began hearing the sound of a child crying. It was so loud, he looked around, fully expecting to see a child in the corner crying, but the room was empty.
When he relayed this information to the group during the break, he learned from Amanda that the building was used as a school for young children. During the Owen Community period, children would be removed from their parent’s home at the age of two to begin schooling. They would live in the Community House with their teachers. Parents would only see their children during special occasions. The thought was that parents “ruined” their children. If they stayed with their teachers day and night, they would have consistent schooling. Was the sound of a child crying coming from one of those children? It’s hard to say, but it was an interesting experience.
According to legend, a Frenchman named George Gerard committed suicide on the second floor back in the mid-1800’s. When someone asked if he regretted taking his own life,respondednsed with a very clear, “Yes.”
During another session, they asked if they were speaking to a Harmonist, the first Utopian group who lived in New Harmony. The response was, “No.”
It was growing apparent that the ghosts were getting tired of us. Towards the end of the last group’s session, they received to clear requests for us to leave.
When someone asked them if they liked to have fun or cause trouble, they said, “Go Home.”
When someone else asked if they got to watch their kids grow up, it was a similar message. “Go home” Thankfully, this was towards the end of the session, so we were nearly on our way already.
I always station myself at the Fauntleroy Home during the investigation. The energy there has a tendency to be fairly strong and negative and many people with abilities feel it.
Amanda’s group started out at the Fauntleroy Home with me. Three of my friends from New England traveled to Indiana for the event and were in her group. Also joining them was my mother and her husband, Steve. I was thrilled to have my mother join us. After years of listening to me talk about my experiences, she was eager to investigate with me.
It was quiet in the beginning. We went around the room and asked questions, but didn’t record any ghost voices. I decided to move three people into a smaller room alone to see if they could get the pinwheel to move. As I was moving them, my Mel Meter suddenly started registering.
A Mel Meter measures the electromagnetic energy in the area. During every other investigation we’ve had at the Fauntleroy Home, the meter has remained stubbornly at zero milligauss. As I watched in awe, it climbed all the way up to 2.8 and continued to fluctuate between 2.4 to 2.8. They began using it to ask questions.
“Are you a male?” someone asked. The meter climbed back up to 2.8 again.
It moved back down to 2.5 and stayed there for a while.
“Are you on the staircase?” The meter rose up again to 2.8.
It continued to fluctuate between 2.4 and 2.8, but stopped responding directly to questions, so we moved onto another tool. One member of our group had an Ovilus, so we attempted to give it a try, but didn’t receive any responses. It appeared as though the Fauntleroy Home was going to be quiet.
As soon as that thought ran through my mind, the alarm began sounding.
Amanda and I laughed. “There’s Mary Emily,” I said as she went to the back of the house to disable the alarm.
Every time we investigate the Fauntleroy Home, the alarm is set off. This isn’t something anyone can explain, not even the alarm company technicians. I always wonder if this is Mary Emily telling us that she’d like us to leave.
Soon after that, we moved to the upstairs of the house.
I moved several people into a smaller room to see if they experienced anything in a smaller group. Sometimes smaller groups have more experiences. The ghosts in the building might retreat away from larger groups and attempt to communicate with the smaller group. We’ve seen shadows move across the wall in the smaller room too.
In the meantime, the group in the master bedroom began doing a Spirit Box Session. We went around the room and asked questions. We seemed to get several responses, but couldn’t make out what they were saying. It was frustrating to me because I could clearly feel them with us. It was as though they were lingering in the doorways, but they wouldn’t come close and engage with us.
I decided to switch the groups. When I came back into the room, I smelled the strong aroma of bread baking. I asked the group what they smelled without telling them what I smelled and they confirmed it. “Bread baking,” they told me. Eager to have this validated by more people, I ushered them back into the room with the rest of the group and brought in four more people, including my mother.
“What do you smell?” I asked them.
“It smells like a pastry shop,” one person said.
“Bread baking,” my mother said.
This was interesting to me because this isn’t a smell that might be caught in the wind and carried into the building. There aren’t any private homes within at least 500 feet of the building and the windows were all firmly closed. The smell was so strong, it was as though someone was baking bread right in the room with us.
I ran into the other room and asked Amanda to come in so she could smell it too. As soon as she walked into the room, the smell instantly evaporated. We didn’t smell it again the rest of the night.
Phantom scents are frequent in the paranormal realm but are often dismissed because it’s easy to find a reason for them. The smell of cigar or cigarette smoke can be blamed on the street outside and perfume can often be attributed to a member of the group, but bread baking? We could find no logical reason for the scent.
We ended our investigation at Fauntleroy Home by walking around the Harmonist Cemetery for a few minutes. The energy there is very serene and calming, something we all needed after the somewhat intense emotions we felt at the Fauntleroy Home.
My second group at the Fauntleroy Home had more experiences. Almost immediately, Shannon DeLap began feeling someone touching her hand. Her hand was resting on her thigh and the sensation was strong. She told us about it and then shortly afterward, the sensation abated.
We then decided to do a Spirit Box session. I was worried that we would have another quiet session, but we began getting responses right away. I asked the ghosts what I smelled during the first session. If I got the response of “baking bread” or even just “bread,” it would be amazing proof that they were paying attention to us. I did get a response, but it wasn’t what I was expecting. “I did,” a male voice said very clearly.
Someone else asked if we were welcome there. A male voice said, “no,” which didn’t surprise me.
I separated the group again but moved this group into the former kitchen area to see what they would experience in that room. While I was moving them, someone smelled something sweet drift into the room. It evaporated quickly. When I returned, they asked me if that was what I smelled (I hadn’t told them what I smelled at this point). They said it almost smelled like floral perfume. While it wasn’t what I smelled, many other people have caught the drift of perfume in the Fauntleroy Home.
When I returned to the room, I used the dowsing rods to see if I could get any responses. I asked if Mary Emily was there and got a lukewarm response. The dowsing rods began to open but stopped. I then asked if Oliver Evans Junior was still there and the rods crossed quickly, giving me a “no” response.
This wasn’t surprising to me. I haven’t felt his overwhelmingly hostile energy in a while. The past two investigations the room upstairs where we normally feel him has been unusually quiet. Was it possible that he heeded my advice to cross over into the light? I’m beginning to believe he did. We continued asking questions, learning thing like the fact that they liked the new upholstery on the chairs in the parlor, but didn’t like the carpeting. All questions regarding who is turning on the alarm went unanswered. During our last investigation there, we received a response of “Marsha” but we have no idea who this might be. There isn’t a Marsha in the documented history of the house.
The group who had been in the former kitchen area reported seeing ripples move across the green laser grid that I had set up in the room for them to watch. We weren’t sure what it was or what it meant, but it was interesting.
We then moved to the second floor. I moved a group of four into the smaller room to see what they experienced. In the master bedroom, I began playing old music to see if it would trigger any activity. What happened was interesting. I only have two old songs loaded onto my iTunes. After the second song played, another song that I didn’t have on my phone began playing. The song was “It’s a Grand Old Name.” Here are some of the lyrics.
For it is Mary, Mary
Plain as any name can be
But with propriety, society will say Marie
But it was Mary, Mary
Long before the fashions came
And there is something there that sounds so square
It’s a grand old name
This was interesting to me because we had been talking to Mary Emily all evening. Was she using my phone to convey a message?
I didn’t have long to pursue the thought because at that moment the alarm was triggered again. This time it began blaring loudly. Normally, it beeps at a lower volume until finally escalating to the louder alarm tone. It appeared to have skipped right to the blaring volume without bothering with the lower beeps first. When Meagan called the alarm company, they said they were two seconds away from dispatching the police. Thankfully, we caught them in time.
We played around with the dowsing rods again, giving everyone a chance to use them before we moved to the Spirit Box again. I asked if they liked the music we played, a voice said, “no,” which made me laugh.
When I asked if they liked someone who comes into the house, the response was “Meagan.” This didn’t surprise me because Meagan is a genuinely nice person.
After that response, the Spirit Box grew quiet. I asked them if they were upset that we were there. While they weren’t as forthcoming as they were at Community House #2, the message was clear. They were finished with us.
I do worry that we are aggravating the souls that linger at these two buildings. While some of them seem to enjoy the interaction, others aren’t happy with our presence there. Thankfully, we only have one more event left for the season. After that, they can have some peace and quiet.
Thank you to everyone who came to the Haunted New Harmony event, including guests and the people who made it happen!