Haunted New Harmony Evidence Review – 10-27-18 Ribeyre Gymnasium

Gym at night(Above) The Ribeyre Gymnasium at dusk. Photo by the author

Doing four public investigations in one month takes its toll on the person organizing it. Beyond the actual event, which is five hours long, there are numerous back-and-forth communications about tickets, marketing and organizing. After the event, there are hours upon hours of audio review and photo analysis. By the time my fourth event of the season rolled around, I was ready to crawl into my bed and not come out until December. All that changed though when I opened the doors to the Ribeyre Gymnasium and saw the faces of the people who had signed up. I knew every one of them from previous investigations and Ghost Walks!

Joining me on the investigation were Amy and Joe, who attended a Ghost Walk earlier in the year, Tina and Eddie who attended my first investigation of the season, and Ali, who attended my second investigation of the season. Traci Hoehn was also there to help me with the event and to take some pretty amazing photographs.

Instead of doing my normal presentation, we just sat in a circle in the gymnasium and talked about the haunting and history of the building for a little while.

45558011_1900986686653666_4162886425898909696_n(Above) The group doing an EVP session in the gymnasium. Photo by Traci Hoehn

The Ribeyre Gymnasium was only one year old when it was put to use for a very tragic purpose. An F-5 tornado swept through three states and killed 695 people, while injuring thousands. It was known as the Tri-State Tornado and is still on record as the deadliest tornado in history.

It nearly wiped the nearby town of Griffin, Indiana, off the map. Twenty-six souls lost their lives that day, including a bus filled with children. Many of the dead were brought to nearby New Harmony and stored in the basement of the brand new gymnasium. Reports of a haunting came soon afterwards.

As I often tell people, any old building with an immense depth of history is probably going to have a ghost or two, especially in a town like New Harmony where nearly every building is haunted. The tragedy only added to the layers of souls lingering here.

People often see children darting around the gymnasium late at night. I actually saw one myself during an investigation in February. As I sat with the group in the Annex Building, which is attached to the gymnasium, I watched as a head and shoulders popped out of the bathroom door. It happened again later in the night and an additional five people witnessed it.

After I shared my information, we did a quick EVP session in the gymnasium to see if anyone would talk to us. I’ve never had a tremendous amount of luck garnering communication in the gym itself. Usually most of our activity happens in the Annex, the basement and in the two small attics on either side of the stage, but I wanted to give it a shot anyway.

Although the group asked great questions, we didn’t get any EVPs, so I used my Spirit Box. A Spirit Box is basically a radio that has been modified to scan rapidly through the radio stations. The ghosts can use the white noise to communicate. We often get full sentences that answer our questions.

Ali asked if they go to any other buildings in town and a male voice said, “I do.” Shortly after that, a female voice chimed in and said, “I do,” as well.

Eddie asked a few questions and we heard a voice towards the front of the building, but couldn’t hear what he said.

Tina was next and asked if they could tell us their names. As I listen to the audio, the response is faint, but sounds like “Reverend Jack.”

We continued around the group, but didn’t get any further responses. We decided to head down to the basement.

45496788_267613303896823_815131986157895680_n(Above) Joe and Amy in the basement of the gymnasium. Photo by Traci Hoehn

We did our first session in the room at the base of the basement stairs, in the room I think used to be the coach’s office. I asked several questions without getting an answer, so I passed to Ali. She asked if they were male or female and a male voice with a Midwestern twang said, “Not a teacher.”

She followed up by asking if they preferred the darkness and a faint female voice with a distinct foreign accent said, “You came too?”

At that moment, we heard a loud bang come from upstairs. It’s possible it could have been the ice machine that makes frequent sounds, but I needed to check it out anyway. Traci went with me and we searched the entire upstairs but didn’t find any source for the sound. While we were gone, the group continued on with the session.

Joe asked if we were talking to a child. An adult female voice came through, saying, “Very slow.” We went around the room another turn and didn’t get anything we could understand, so we moved onto the dowsing rods.

We’ve had very good results with the dowsing rods. I started us off and then passed them around the group.

  • There was a male with us
  • He was there in the 1950’s
  • No response on his possible jobs (not a coach, student, teacher)
  • He lived in New Harmony
  • They don’t know where the Fauntleroy Home is

I thought I was seeing movement in the other room, so I set up my laser grid. The net of green lights allows us to see further into the room and notice if something crosses through. We continued on with the dowsing rod session. Suddenly, Eddie jumped, asking his wife if she just touched him.  Joe continued with the dowsing rods and then passed them on to Amy.

  • There was a female with us
  • She was below the age of ten

We stopped getting responses so we decided  to switch rooms and moved to the second room in the basement. There was a light on in another room that filtered into our room and the group decided they wanted to go completely dark. We then turned out all the lights and sat in complete darkness.

Total darkness is often good for paranormal investigations, but not usually for the reasons people think. Ghosts are prevalent all the time, regardless of the lighting. It does, however, often produce a bit of anxiety in the living, which tends to draw the dead in closer to us. Any heightened emotion provides them with energy and intrigue. They feel it and they come in closer.

We started the session and I realized I hadn’t put my flashlight out. We sometimes can communicate with them using a Mag light set between the on and off position. I always use a flashlight that hasn’t been used recently to prevent battery arcing. As I was looking for it in my equipment bag, someone said, “I’ve got one.” This was clear and made the group laugh. Apparently, we had a helpful ghost with us.

As we started the session, my Mel Meter climbed up to 2.8. A normal reading would be zero unless there is an electrical line running through the area. Because it started out at zero, it was interesting that it suddenly climbed upwards. A Mel Meter measures the EMF levels in a room. A massive fluctuation could indicate that a ghost is nearby. We’ve also seen them use a Mel Meter to communicate with us.

When Ali asked if they were female, we didn’t get a response on the Spirit Box, but the flashlight came on. It was interesting that we were getting male voices on the Spirit Box, but were getting female responses on the dowsing rods and flashlight. Was it possible there were several of them with us and they were using different devices? Traci and I were both feeling male energy with us, so it was hard to say. She asked why they liked it down there and a male voice said what sounds like, “we revoked it” or “we revolted.” She asked if they ever go to the events upstairs and the flashlight came on.

Eddie asked if the little girl from the other room was in the room with us. As he was asking the question, a voice responded, “In here.” I’m always intrigued how they know what we’re going to ask sometimes before we ask it.

45502925_357260121697539_2426285677583794176_n(Above) The group investigating the second room in the basement of the gymnasium. Photo by Traci Hoehn

When it was Tina’s turn, she asked if they knew what Halloween was and the flashlight came on. She started to ask another question and a voice came over the Spirit box and said, “Hey Joe.” Joe was next in line to ask questions. She asked if they liked to dress in costumes and the flashlight came on. Ali pointed out that the Mel Meter was at 2.6.

As we sat there, I saw a purple light flash in the doorway. We couldn’t find any explanation for it and it didn’t repeat itself.

When it was Traci’s turn, she asked if there were more than three of them with us. An older person’s voice (difficult to tell if it was male or female) said, “I’m with ya.”

Traci took several pictures of the doorway but didn’t capture anything paranormal. When it was Eddie’s turn, he asked if they’d ever had their picture taken and the flashlight came on. He then followed up with more questions. He asked if they had their picture taken in school here, but didn’t get a response, so he asked if they were too young to go to school here. The same older voice came through and said, “I was.”

They seemed to like Eddie. He said, “I’ve been married a loooong time.” The flashlight came on, which made everyone laugh. He asked if they were married and the light came on again. He asked if they were happily married and the light didn’t come on. He then asked if they had any grandchildren and a voice that sounded female said, “Thirteen.”

Tina’s turn came and she asked a few questions. The only one that got a response was when she asked if they ever coached a basketball team.  The flashlight came on. There were a few faint responses on the Spirit Box, but nothing we could make out. We decided to move into the big room in the basement where the bodies were stored after the tornado.

I spent a few moments talking about crossing over into the light. I feel it’s something I should do when I can. Some of them feel as though they’re trapped there and I want them to know they always have free will to move on. I’ve actually crossed over a few souls at investigations and will continue to do so as long as they’re willing to go. While I was talking, the Mel Meter went up to 3.0.

As we started talking, I could feel them drawing in closer. Several people started feeling physical symptoms. One person’s ear started feeling funny and I got a sudden stab of pain in my ankle, as though someone had poked me with a pin. A bit later, someone else felt a tug on their ankle.

We began doing a dowsing rod session:

  • It’s always quiet down there
  • They like the quiet down there

We weren’t getting any further responses, so we moved to Spirit Box. Traci asked a question that finally got them going. “Are you Republican or Democrat?” she asked. We all laughed afterwards because the question was asked the night before at the Opera House and generated some conversations, between the living and the dead. The dead had something to say this time too. “Very particular!” he said.

She decided to expand on the conversation and asked a few more political questions with no responses. It wasn’t until she said, “I’ll stop talking politics. It probably isn’t polite,” that a voice said, “I want it.” It sounded like a child’s voice, so perhaps she didn’t fully understand what we were talking about.

The conversation moved onto the construction that’s being done in the basement. Ali asked if the noise bothered them and didn’t get an answer. “Are the workers really loud?” she asked and this was followed by a clear child’s voice that said, “Did you get that?” I feel like the answer wasn’t in response to the question. I think he was trying to break through the veil to talk to us and wanted to know if we heard him. None of us caught it at the time.

Traci felt like someone was sitting beside her, so I told her to take a photo of me and I’d take a picture of her. My picture was too dark and the one she took of me was normal. It was getting close to break time, so I suggested we go around the room and ask one question each. As I was explaining this, a male voice chimed in, “Say something!” he said.

We started going around the room asking questions, the Mel Meter jumped up to 3.0. This was kind of interesting to me because it usually doesn’t register anything in the basement. Traci asked them if they’ve been afraid to talk to us and a male voice said, “Am still.”

45463614_1039841202891190_3729290077000433664_n(Above) Ali holding the Mel Meter as the numbers climbed in the basement of the gymnasium. Photo by Traci Hoehn

This got me wondering. Do they realize they’re dead? Is this a bit like the movie “The Others” where the ghosts think the living are ghosts? We’ve often asked qualifying questions to see if they can see us. Sometimes they’ll give a correct answer, but most of the time they don’t. Another thing they seldom do is give their names or the year they were there. It’s completely possible that some of them have been down there for so long without having anyone use their names that they’ve forgotten altogether. A hundred years is a long time, even to the dead.

44932371_10219157735393658_5606950238649581568_n(Above) Traci Hoehn in the basement of the gymnasium. Photo by the author

I turned the Spirit Box off and we just sat for a few minutes and watched the room. It wasn’t long before we started seeing things moving around in the darkness. Nothing was clear to us. It was just fluid movement, like watching fish swim past from the bottom of a lake. As we sat there, my digital recorder caught a faint EVP. A woman said, “That’s too easy.” I don’t know what she was referring to, but it was fascinating to hear.

After a quick break, we resumed the investigation in the Annex building. We started off with dowsing rods.

We asked them about the Multi-cultural Festival that was held there earlier in the day.

  • They really didn’t like the music
  • I asked them if the food smelled good and didn’t get a response, so I asked if they can smell and the dowsing rods indicated no.
  • I asked a few follow up questions about whether they can feel hot and cold but didn’t get a response.
  • Eddie asked if they could see him holding the rods and got a no response, which made us all laugh. How could they answer him without seeing him?
  • They don’t always stay in the Annex.
  • They like to play tricks on people
  • They like to play with the clock on the wall

45541140_115792869334605_3528976268353601536_n(Above) Our group investigating the Annex. Photo by Traci Hoehn

Traci asked if he was the one I saw peeking out of the bathroom. The dowsing rods crossed to yes and we captured an EVP at the same moment that said, “yes.” The only problem with the EVP is that the voice doesn’t sound like a child, which is what I saw.

She stopped getting responses on the dowsing rods, but did get the chair to tick. We’ve had this happen in the Annex many times before. One time, we asked for it to tick once for yes and twice for no and held a long conversation. The chair only ticked the one time this time. She asked if they could point the dowsing rods into the direction where he was standing and it pointed towards the bathrooms.

At that time, Traci took two people up to the first attic to investigate. I turned on the Spirit Box for the rest of the group, but didn’t get a single response.  We decided to move into the gymnasium again and see if we could find the ghosts.

We ended up sitting on the stairs leading up to the balcony to do an evp session. It was quiet up there but we did enjoy startling Traci’s first group as they came down from the attic and couldn’t find us in the Annex. Two others went to join Traci and the others came to join us on the stairs. We were in for a surprise when the bell chimed the hour. We all nearly jumped out of our skin. We weren’t feeling anything, so we moved to the stage.

It was almost as though all the ghosts had gone to bed. It just became incredibly quiet. Crystal Folz had joined us for part of a session, but had to leave due to an issue at home. We wondered if the ghosts went home with her.

Several of us were feeling something with us on the stage. We switched out Traci’s group in the attic. Eddie and Tina rejoined us while Amy and Joe went up to the attic. We turned on the Spirit Box. I asked if there was anything they’d miss and a male voice said, “tobacco.” There were a few other responses that weren’t clear until a male voice came through and said, “They broke it.”

Traci’s last group came back downstairs so we decided to check out the second attic as a group. It was a tight squeeze and there was nowhere to sit, so we only lasted about fifteen minutes. We turned on the Spirit Box and began asking questions.

A voice immediately said something that vaguely sounded like hello. I recognized the voice from earlier sessions and asked if he’s been following us. A male voice came through and said, “I’m Bobby,” and then another voice said, “Tony Goldwyn.” I wasn’t sure what to make of this.

I asked if anyone was there with us and got several responses that we couldn’t make out what they were saying. At one point, it sounded like a female voice said, “Are you going?” and an older person answered them, saying, “I’m sleeping.”

Traci then asked, “How many fingers am I holding up?” A deep male voice said, “Eight dozens.” At least the ghosts have a sense of humor.

Ali asked if they could tell us their age and a female said, “The brown head group.”

So much of what we were getting was garbled and difficult to interpret. When Eddie asked if there was anything buried in the dirt in the basement, we got several strange responses. A female voice said, “mangle” which was followed by something I can’t make out. Then, a different male voice said, “dream sickle.”

Joe asked if he was a Harmonist. A male voice said, “maybe.”

I asked if they knew what town we were in and a gruff male voice said, “New Harmony.” Normally, I would jump for joy for a response like this, however, this one wasn’t very clear. I can hear it with headphones on, but others might not be able to make it out.

We were getting tired and the voices coming through the Spirit Box were difficult at best to make out, so we ended the session.

Traci’s Attic Investigations

Traci took small groups of people up to the attic to the left of the stage. The room is filled with Christmas decorations and boxes of old photos from New Harmony’s School. First up was Ali. They did a dowsing rod session:

  • There was someone up there with them
  • No response on if they hide up there – they probably wouldn’t admit it
  • Ali didn’t scare them when she suddenly stood up
  • It bothers them that the attic is filled with boxes
  • His/her picture isn’t up there in the boxes
  • She is a female
  • My group downstairs was being too noisy (they heard my group scream when the bell rang)
  • She taught at the school

45428207_2486272911399118_3877020016926785536_n(Above) Ali using the dowsing rods in the attic. Photo by Traci Hoehn

Next up were Eddie and Tina. They spent some time talking with Traci and then moved to using the dowsing rods.

  • They lived in New Harmony
  • They had a child
  • Their child went to New Harmony high school
  • Their child played basketball
  • Their child is in one of the photos in the attic
  • Their child that played basketball was a girl

They picked up one of the pictures from the top of the pile.

  • Their daughter was in the photo
  • Their daughter was in the back row and was blond
  • She didn’t have glasses

They began trying to narrow it down by asking which row the child was in and then pointed the flashlight at each person until the rods indicated one specific person. Unfortunately, the ghosts were playing pranks on them though. When I came up to check on them, I actually knew the girl they were referring to and both of her parents and grandparents are still alive.

Amy and Joe came upstairs for their turn. They also spent time exploring the attic. Everyone was curious about the boxes of pictures up there. No EVPs were captured during any of the attic investigations, but everyone had fun exploring.

We ended the investigation shortly afterwards. It was a fun night, overall. We not only got to explore an intriguing New Harmony landmark and chat with the ghosts, but we also had a lot of laughs. It was a great mix of people and I probably enjoyed it more than any of the other investigations we did this season.

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(Above) Joni, Traci and Crystal. Photo by the author

Thanks to everyone who attended and to Traci Hoehn for assisting me once again and taking some amazing photos. Appreciation goes to Crystal Folz for running my Ghost Walk and stopping by to sit in on a session with us. Thanks also to Chris Laughbaum for providing the space for us to investigate, despite the low turnout.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Haunted New Harmony Investigation Review 10-26-18

45459888_1895146023867797_5105632279946854400_n(Above) Our investigation on the stage of Thralls Opera House. Photo courtesy of Traci Hoehn.

 

Every paranormal investigation is different, even if you explore the same haunted buildings. As we’ve found in New Harmony, Indiana, we can count on the souls from the town’s past to make an appearance, but we’re often visited by others we’ve never met before.

This has been the case in a number of our investigations. Several times, we’ve wondered if someone brought their own ghost to the ghost hunt. Other times, we just have to scratch our heads and wonder, with no easy explanation available.

For our third investigation of the season, we switched up our line-up. Instead of investigating Community House #2 and then moving onto the Fauntleroy Home, we investigated Thralls Opera House for our second half of the night.

We had a small group of eight people, with Traci Hoehn and Rick Schlegelmilch assisting me with the investigation. Due to illness, State Museum Sites Collections Manager, Amanda Bryden was unable to attend. It seemed very strange not to have Amanda there, but we made due.

45402877_247946039207728_9128978181926158336_n(Above) Our investigation on the first floor of Community House #2. Photo courtesy of Traci Hoehn.

 

We settled in on the first floor of Community House #2 and did a quick evp session before moving onto the Spirit Box. Several people asked questions without getting any responses until a woman named Nina asked a question that inspired a response. She asked if they were Democrats or Republicans. Several of us giggled after she asked it, knowing it was a hot topic among the living. Apparently, it was a provocative question for the dead as well. A male voice said, “You call?” Throughout the night, Nina would continue to ask great questions, ones I will be remembering for my next investigations.

We stopped getting responses so I decided to lighten up the mood. Instead of pelting them with one question after another, which might sound like an interrogation to them, we decided to go around the group and share our favorite meals. There wasn’t a response until it was Rick’s turn. “I’d like some blueberry pancakes,” he said. A female voice came across the Spirit Box and said, “Me too!”

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(Above) Our investigation on the second floor of Community House #2. Photo courtesy of Traci Hoehn.

 

The discussion on foods continued. When someone asked if they liked cornbread with their ham and beans, an older raspy female voice said, “potatoes.” Someone else asked if they liked ice cream and a different female voice said, “Blueberry.”

After a few more questions, we moved onto the second floor.

I decided to use the Spirit Box right away to see what we would get. As soon as I turned it on, a female voice asked, “Are you here?” and a male voice answered, “No.” It gave us all a laugh.

Traci shared some interesting information with us. Before we started the investigation, she walked around and took several photos, including ones of the room we were currently in. When our group came upstairs, we found the door to that room locked. Traci said it had been unlocked when she came upstairs earlier.

We began asking questions. Traci asked if there were any children there and the same raspy older woman’s voice came through again and said something that sounded like, “Can I hurt her?” We didn’t catch that at the time, so no one responded.

Someone asked if they were born in New Harmony and a male voice said, “Kind of missed me.” After a few minutes of no responses, I turned the Spirit Box off and we moved to dowsing rods.

During the session, I was putting two people out in the hallway at a time to see if they could see any shadows move, which happens frequently there. The first group saw nothing but the second group heard footsteps behind them.

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(Above) The second floor of Community House #2. Photo courtesy of Traci Hoehn.

 

Dowsing Rod session responses:

  • There were more than three women with us.
  • They were having a women’s meeting.
  • They told the men they couldn’t come in there – this was interesting because men and women were separated during the Harmonist period. Women would have been on one side of the hallway and men on the other. Other sessions have produced the same responses with different people in attendance. We’ve always communicated with women in the room, never men.
  • Rick asked if he was going to be in trouble being on the women’s side of the hallway and the rods went to yes.
  • They haven’t been in the house all day
  • They aren’t dressing up for Halloween
  • They haven’t had dinner tonight
  • They were married (flashlight came on)
  • Christmas is their favorite holiday
  • There was a child with us. It was the same child that was responded to her in Key West on a recent vacation.
  • The child never lived there.
  • There was more than one child there.
  • They know someone there.
  • She asked for the rods to point to the person they knew and they pointed straight ahead to one of the men in our group.
  • They stay there all the time
  • A male came into the room
  • There are often disagreements in the house

As we’ve discovered over time, some people have better responses with the dowsing rods than others. Some people tend to be better vessels than others. Several people in the group didn’t have any luck with the rods, while others were really good with them.

I was curious about the male that came into the room because we’ve never felt males in that room before, so I turned on the Spirit Box to see if he’d talk to us. I asked him if he was supposed to be on that side or if he was from a different time period when it was okay for women and men to be on either side. A male voice that we’ve heard before said, “It hasn’t been a problem,” which clarified the situation for us. Had we been talking to Harmonists, they would have told us differently.

 

I tried to pin down the time period he was there by asking relevant questions, but didn’t get any further responses. I asked him if he had anything he wanted to ask us and the same voice said, “What are you up for?” We didn’t get any further responses and moved onto the third floor.

The third floor has always provided us with the most reactions, especially on the Spirit Box. We turned it on and asked a few questions before finally getting an answer. Someone asked if they went to school there and a raspy male voice said, “My girlfriend.”

The third floor was used primarily for dormitory housing but was also the site of New Harmony’s print shop for their newspaper. We’ve communicated with three of the printers who worked there, two of whom fought in the Civil War.

Sometimes the responses aren’t clear. We will think we hear a specific answer but upon review later, it’s clearly not what we thought it was. And sometimes the responses make no sense. Someone asked if they had pets and a male voice said, “That lady.” Someone else asked if they liked the pinwheel and the same male voice said, “A way to go.” Rick Schlegelmilch, who is a New Harmony resident, asked if they see him walk past with his dog, Clutch, but didn’t get a response. Traci asked if they liked to play tricks on Amanda, who works there, and a different male voice said, “Have a smoke.” I have to wonder if they have issues hearing us clearly just like we often have problems hearing them.

After a few more rounds with no responses, we moved into the print shop.

45583896_168905954061797_5957838698681729024_n(Above) Our investigation in Community House #2. Photo courtesy of Traci Hoehn.

The print shop is a small room on the third floor that is filled with the old printing presses from the 1800’s. We’ve always gotten a lot of evps in that room, even though we have to pack ourselves in there, sitting shoulder to shoulder. As soon as we turned the Spirit Box on, we began getting responses. Some asked if they liked music and someone said something we couldn’t understand so she asked what kind of music they liked. “That’s a little rough,” was the answer. Too many to pick from, perhaps?

Nina continued to ask great questions, like “Did you carry a gun?” and “Did you ever kill anyone?” but didn’t collect any responses. Finally, someone asked a question that got an answer. She asked if they were alive when Lincoln was president. Shortly after, a young female voice said, “I miss you,” which was followed by an older woman saying, “He had a bow tie.”

Someone else commented that the flashlight came on and a male voice said, “Walking it.” We went around the group again and got a few responses that we couldn’t make out. I was feeling a very strong male in the room but weren’t getting any clear answers. I asked if anyone in the group was feeling anything different and they were. Several people said they felt sudden headaches come on in the last few minutes. Several days after the investigation, Rick Schlegelmilch reported finding strange scratches on his hip. He had to wonder if something followed him home.

I explained to the group that the ghosts aren’t always who we expect. Sometimes people come to the events with something attached to them and essentially bring their own ghost to the ghost hunt. We will hear different voices that we’ve never heard before and then don’t hear again in consecutive investigations. While we always expect to communicate with known people who lived or worked in the buildings we investigate, it’s often not the case. Ghosts come and go and don’t have to die in the building in order to haunt it.

We wound up the session and took a break before venturing down the street to investigate Thrall’s Opera House. My friend, Crystal Folz, who is a psychic medium, joined us for the second part of our evening.

DSCN6217(Above) Thralls Opera House. Photo by the author.

Thrall’s Opera House has an interesting history. Built in 1824, it was originally intended to be used as a dormitory building. After it was built, it looked very similar to Community House #2, but was transformed over the years. After the Harmonists left the town and sold it to Robert Owen, the building was used as a theater for plays and musicals. In 1888, it was turned into an opera house and was given the name Thralls Opera house after one of the main benefactors of the program. It continued on this way until the early 1900’s when it was sold and turned into a gas station and garage. Sixty-four years later, the state purchased the building and turned it back into an Opera House.

Over the years, tour guides and visitors have reported hearing strange sounds in areas that are known to be vacant. Two tour guides once left a note near the door, asking for a sign of their presence. They returned the next day only to discover the note wadded into a ball. The checked the alarm records, only to discover that no one had been in the building after they left the previous evening.

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(Above) Our investigation on the stage of Thralls Opera House. Photo #2: Crystal Folz with the other investigators. Photos courtesy of Traci Hoehn.

We started our first session on the stage. It was decisively spooky as we sat there in the shadows. We could feel them swarming around us. We started with an evp session and quickly began hearing a strange tapping sound at the edge of the stage. It almost sounded like someone tapping a cane against a metal pole.

Crystal Folz, who is a psychic medium, joined us for our Thralls portion of the investigation and began feeling a choking sensation in her throat. She wondered if someone there had suffered throat issues. It got so bad, she needed to leave the building for a moment. The sensation abated instantly as soon as she walked outside, but continued again when she walked back in the door. During the session, several other people also began feeling a burning sensation.

We moved onto a dowsing rod session:

  • There was someone there who wanted to talk to us
  • Someone there was a member of the Golden Family who performed there for years
  • Francis Golden was there with us (she was the youngest of the family)
  • They don’t always enjoy the performances
  • She sometimes visits the Civic Theater in Evansville (Francis founded it and it’s insanely haunted)
  • She likes that they still have plays at the Civic Theater

At that moment, I heard the sound of men talking in the front of the building. Several other people caught it too and it was recorded on my digital recorder. We couldn’t’ make out what they said, but the voices were spoken in a conversational tone.

We continued on with the dowsing rod session:

  • There was someone up front
  • They like the people up front (rods moved slowly to yes)
  • They wished they would go away
  • They liked us being there

Several members of the group reported seeing shadows moving on the balcony.

  • Something was wrong with her throat (KII meter flashed and dowsing rods moved)
  • Some of the outfits in the display cases were hers

We stopped getting responses on the dowsing rods, so we moved onto the Spirit Box. I asked if Francis was with us and got a response that I couldn’t make out. I began asking questions about the afterlife. I asked if they’ve ever seen Heaven and didn’t get a response, so I asked if they see a white light when they die and a faint voice said, “I haven’t.”

Someone asked if she liked it there and a female voice said, “We’re meant to be.”

We went around the room for a while. Any responses we got were faint and difficult to hear. I asked if they considered themselves Yankees and a voice said, “Kind of.”

Suddenly, several people began smelling a woman’s perfume. It came on very strong. At the same time, Rick felt someone nudge him. The smell wafted around the stage area and several people smelled it before it abruptly disappeared.

I asked the group what they were feeling and almost everyone had the sensation of being watched. While the vibe at the opera house is usually light, it had a decisively edgy aura about it. We felt as though a group of people were watching us from the balcony.

We decided to move to the balcony. As soon as we sat down, we began hearing the same tapping sound we heard on the stage. It sounded like it was to the right of us, near the stairs. Crystal mentioned that it was interesting because it wasn’t repetitive. It would happen a few times and then stop, only to tap again a few minutes later.

We turned on the spirit box and immediately heard a young girl say, “Evil!” Then, without warning, we began smelling the woman’s perfume again. I jumped up from my seat and ran over to see if I could smell it too. I caught it for several seconds before it disappeared again. It was strong and floral, reminding me of old-fashioned perfume.

Rick asked if anyone could talk to us, that we came up to the cheap seats to see them. A male voice said “You’re a mere presence.” It was spoken quickly and none of us caught it at the time. Even on audio review, I had to listen to it several times to make it out.

Someone asked if we could come back to visit and a voice said, “Evil!” again. It was apparent they didn’t understand why we were there. Perhaps if they were from an earlier time period and weren’t comfortable with our electronic equipment. Or, maybe they were talking about something else. Not long afterwards, someone asked if they were of German descent and a voice said, “I’m evil.”

The vibe on the balcony was so intense; it was almost difficult to remain up there for long. It felt as though we weren’t welcomed and were being surrounded by angry eyes. Everyone in the group felt it and commented on it from time to time during the session. In hindsight, I had to wonder if the intensity had something to do with Amanda’s absence. Were they worried that we weren’t allowed to be there since Amanda wasn’t with us? Also, we were in the balcony area, which is normally off-limits to visitors.

Nina asked if they could make the pinwheel spin and a male answered, “Pretty blond.” There were several pretty blonds in our group so we aren’t certain who he was referring to, but we all laughed when we heard it. Considering the vibe though, it was an uneasy laugh. No one wanted to be the target of his interests.

I often like to lighten up the session by having “the pie conversation.” I go around the room and have everyone tell us their favorite kind of pie. Sometimes this will generate a response from the other side, but not this time. There was one quick “You’re a stick” in the middle of our conversation, which didn’t make much sense. This seemed to be the trend of the night. It was as though we weren’t clearly communicating with one another.

We moved onto dowsing rods, but didn’t get anything after several rounds. Rick suggested we try an experiment and give them a standing ovation. We certainly raised the vibration and the dowsing rods finally moved to a “yes” response when we asked if they enjoyed it.

We decided to move to the basement of the building where the orchestra pit used to reside.

45367128_603003543431300_7705693592752226304_n 45427224_2266330980322745_1560070840760926208_n

(Above) Our investigation at Thralls Opera House. Photo #2: Nina. Photo #2: Rick Schlegelmilch. Photos courtesy of Traci Hoehn.

As  we sat down and I began talking into my recorder to document the location, the flashlight came on. They apparently knew we were down there. We went completely lights out for this session and sat in perfect darkness.

The only light we could see came from the cracks in the floorboards above us on the stage. I asked them if they could walk across the stage above us and block out some of the lights, which caused a protest in the group. “Or not!” someone said, which resulted in a group laugh.

Crystal asked if they could make the same tapping noise we had been hearing before. After a few minutes, we began hearing them in the basement too. I felt someone very strong drift into the room and used the opportunity to ask the group what they felt. Most people felt a male, but several people felt a female. It was possible there were both, but I was feeling a female directly behind us.

I decided to try the Spirit Box to see if they would talk to us. Someone asked if they like the way the Opera House looks today and a voice came through and said, “I like it.” Unfortunately, the response came in the middle of her next question so it’s difficult to hear and not sharable.  While we were listening for answers, we heard footsteps directly above us. I turned off the Spirit Box and we just sat and listened for a while, hoping to hear it again. We sat for about ten minutes but didn’t hear it again so I turned the Spirit Box back on.

I was curious if someone from the group brought a ghost with them, so I asked if someone could ask a few questions about it. As soon as I said that, a male voice asked, “Can you hear us?” This really drove home the nagging feeling I’d had all night. We were having communication issues. We couldn’t always hear them and they couldn’t hear us either.

We got a few responses that we couldn’t make out so we turned the box off and just sat and chatted. Someone in the group felt that whoever we were talking to was from the building and hadn’t followed up. She said when I was asking if someone followed us, she could hear “here, here, here” in her ear.

We ended the night soon afterwards, feeling as though we’d truly experienced something amazing. Our communication with the souls residing in the two buildings was sometimes clear and other times confusing, but always intriguing.

Thank you to everyone who came out. Thanks to Rick Schlegelmilch, Traci Hoehn and Crystal Folz for helping me with this investigation.

 

 

 

Haunted New Harmony Investigation Review 10-19-18

 

DSCN6203(Above) Community House #2. Photo by Joni Mayhan

 

We returned to Community House #2 for the second time this month, hoping to connect with the souls who still linger there. We know there are many of them because we’ve communicated with them on previous investigations. We just didn’t know if they would be willing to talk to us or not.

During our first investigation of the season, we were treated to the sound of footsteps above us, but it wasn’t to be the case for this investigation. As we settled in for an EVP session on the first floor, the second floor hallways were quiet.

Amanda Bryden, who is in charge of the state buildings and is a well-versed historian, began telling the group about the supposed demise of Frenchman George Gerard. During the early 1800’s Mr. Gerard moved to town, but was having money issues. Money that was promised to him hadn’t arrived yet and his financial situation was growing bleaker by the day. In despair, he resorted to suicide, hanging himself from a ceiling rafter on the second floor of the dormitory building. Days later, the envelope containing the money he was awaiting was discovered on the floor of the post office, accidentally misplaced. Many feel that George Gerard still haunts the hallways.

One member of our group was fluent in French, so we asked her to ask a few questions, hoping Mr. Gerard would respond. We didn’t receive any responses, so we moved on with the investigation.

44764804_179918046246688_2308531349503344640_n(Above) Several members of the group during an EVP session. Photo courtesy of Traci Hoehn

 

One of the craziest things that happened during that session was a response to a question. Someone asked how they got there. “Forty-three,” was the answer. In many areas, the Spirit Box will pick up random radio stations, but New Harmony is too far away for that to happen. The box went through the stations several times without making a peep. When it blurted out, “Forty-three,” it was as loud and clear as though someone standing in the room said it. Was it in reference to a year? Or miles traveled? We weren’t certain and couldn’t get the man to expand further. Then, moments later, someone asked if there was someone there besides George Gerard and the same male voice said, “The first half.” Sometimes the responses don’t make sense to us. The first half of what? We asked but didn’t get an answer.

Our time was up on the first floor, so we moved up to the second floor, setting up our session in a room that was formerly used as a dormitory room. I decided to give the Spirit Box a break and broke out my dowsing rods. Nineteenth century ghosts are often apprehensive of our modern electronic devices, but will speak freely through the rods. We’ve always had great responses with them at Community House #2. I had the group pass them around so they could experience them firsthand. Some people are better with the dowsing rods than others. I think it’s because some people tend to overthink them. They will feel them begin to move and will adjust them, thinking they are moving them themselves.

Dowsing rod responses:

  • There was a woman and a girl there – no men
  • They weren’t young
  • They were happy there
  • They don’t want to stay there
  • It was confirmed that there weren’t any men there (we were probably on the women’s side of the hallway. Women and men would have been separated.)
  • They didn’t live there, nor did they work there or were customers there.
  • They like playing pranks on people
  • They didn’t have any pets

Our time was up on the second floor, so we moved to the third floor.

We started in the large main room and continued with our dowsing rod session.

  • There was someone with us
  • It wasn’t Nick Slater, Charles Slater or Albert, the three printers who we often talk to
  • (I was feeling a female, which Traci confirmed) They asked if it was Mrs. Murphy but didn’t get a response, so we moved onto Spirit Box

I asked if they knew any of our names and didn’t get a response, so I asked if they liked to mess with Amanda when she was working there. Immediately, someone said, “Amanda.”

Amanda then asked, “What about Meagan?” and they responded with, “Not a thing.” Amanda asked if his/her name was included on the exhibit panels and a male voice responded, “Not all of them.” Seconds later, another male voice said, “Maybe.”

Another male voice said, what sounded like, “Carol Duval.”

After another minute or two of no answers, I suggested that we move into the print shop. At that moment, a male voice said, “We’re in a trial.” I found this interesting. Did he feel he was on trial with all our questions?

We got settled in and began asking questions. I asked if they could tell us their names and a male responded with, “Ain’t sure.”

We continued with the session, picking up the same male voice over and over again, although we couldn’t always make out what he was saying. At one point, it sounded like he said, “I’m beautiful,” which didn’t make any sense.  Then without warning, I began hearing male voices outside the room. The digital recorder caught it, but it’s hard to hear over the sound of the choppy Spirit Box.

Someone asked if they moved here for the Utopia. A male voice said, “I did.” She couldn’t understand what he said, so she asked if he could say it again. The same male voice said, “Hear the voice.” I’m not sure what that meant. Was he telling her to listen to the voice or was he talking to one of them, asking if they heard the voice? At the time, we thought he said something about a book.

When asked how many years they worked there, a male voice said “Quite a few.” It was very faint though. Directly after that, a child’s voice came through with the most heartbreaking question I’ve ever heard. We didn’t hear it at the time because it happened so fast, but she said, “Can I go home?”

We’ve known there were children there, but seldom hear from them during our sessions. Was she trapped and needed permission to go home? Someone asked if this was their favorite room and in the middle of it, you can hear a woman saying, “Go into the light.” This was astounding to me and really validated what I’ve always thought. If she was telling the child to go into the light, which is the pathway to Heaven. I hope she listened to the woman.

Amanda followed up on an earlier response that we thought we heard about a book. She asked if the book was in the building right now and the same male voice with the slight southern twang said, “That’s kind a tough.” Someone else asked what the last date they remembered printing on a newspaper. “I didn’t,” was the response, which makes sense if the person wasn’t a part of the printing offices.

Our time was up at Community House #2, so we moved on to the Fauntleroy Home.

40592125_10218698293267892_5211552766241013760_n(Above) The Fauntleroy Home. Photo by Joni Mayhan

 

The Fauntleroy Home was built in 1820 and was the fifty-third house built by the Harmonists. It is best known as the birthplace of the Minerva Society, one of the first women’s groups in the nation. The house is named after Robert Henry Fauntleroy and his wife, Jane Dale Owen Fauntleroy who lived there in the early to mid-1800’s. The house has been prone to ghost stories since 1848, when the first ghost was reported being seen on the staircase. By my estimation, it is the most haunted house in New Harmony.

Mary Emily
(Above) An old photo of Mary Emily Fauntleroy sitting in the same area we investigated

 

As we sat in the entry room by the stairs, I explained to the group about the primary ghost who haunts the house. Mary Emily Fauntleroy purchased the house in the early 1900’s and turned it into New Harmony’s first tour site. She put her blood, sweat and tears into the house but couldn’t make ends meet during the Great Depression. The house ended up in possession of the state with the promise that she could continue to live in the house until she died. She lived there for many years, but when WWII broke out, the state ceased operations and booted her out, despite the promises. She moved next door to live with her brother Homer until she died.

The haunting accelerated about ten years ago when the house underwent a major renovation. The state wanted to return the house to a specific period and all of Mary Emily’s modifications and collection didn’t fit the 1850’s time period they were shooting for. They ended up removing most of her collection and tore down the additions she had made to the house. The haunting became angry after that and for good reason. Mary Emily was angry.

Amanda Bryden, who is in charge of the buildings, was one of the people who made the decision to restore and renovate the house.

I asked Amanda if there was anything she wanted to add and as she started to speak, the pinwheel that we placed in the middle of the floor suddenly was crushed to the ground. It didn’t merely fall over; it was pushed so hard that the plastic cup that was holding it became dented. “I’ll just shut up now,” Amanda said with a chuckle. She’s always felt that Mary Emily doesn’t like her because of the renovations and this might have been confirmation.

As I listened to the audio we recorded during this session, there was a strange crackly voice that came through just after she said that. We did a Spirit Box session for twenty minutes and got a few responses that weren’t clear, but nothing from Mary Emily. We moved up to the second floor.

Everyone agreed that the second floor feels far different from the first floor. It feels heavy and not necessarily welcoming. We always feel as though we’re being watched and possibly judged. It’s not a friendly space. As soon as we turned on the Spirit Box, a male voice asked, “Who you talking to?” I just went with the flow and answered him. “We’re talking to you,” I said.

I told them that I was doing a presentation at Workingmen’s Institute, New Harmony’s library, and asked if they wanted me to tell the people anything. “Go home,” the male voice said.

I followed up my question by asking if they’ve ever been there before. “Do I do everything?” he responded in a sarcastic tone. The man was very vocal during the session. Someone asked, “Were you happy in life?” He responded with, “This says buy me.” I’m not sure what it meant.

Someone asked who the president was and there was no response until a full minute later when someone asked if there were more than one ghost in the room. “Johnson!” a male voice blurted out, which was followed by another male voice that said, “You didn’t!”

Sometimes I wonder if they can hear us clearly or not. This was apparent when Mary Emily’s voice came through and answered a question. Someone asked, “Are you male?” and she said, “I am healthy.”

Then, the investigation got very interesting. Elizabeth Stowers attended the investigation and offered to take a few photos. As she took a photo, we heard a very loud “hello!” come across the Spirit Box. It was so loud, I thought it came from inside the room instead of across the box.
When Elizabeth looked at the photo, the lights streamed up from the Spirit Box to the ceiling.

I asked who said hi to us and a voice clearly said, “Edith.”

She took another photo and asked if they’d jump into it and the same female voice said, “Again?” In this photo, the lights were absolutely crazy. They buzzed out from all the devices and spun around the room. There has been some discussion about the photos. Several people feel they’re due to slow shutter speeds, but Elizabeth was using a flash. I don’t know enough about photography in low light situations to know if this can be explainable or not, but she took an additional dozen photos and couldn’t duplicate what she captured in the strange two.

lights(Above) The room was completely dark when Elizabeth Stowers took this photo. Several people have stated that a slow shutter speed will produce these results, but I find it interesting because a flash was used for the shot. Is it paranormal or just a slow shutter speed? You be the judge.

 

As she was attempting to duplicate the photos, we caught a male voice on the Spirit Box attempting to help her. He said, “Don’t move it.”

We finally gave up on the photos and sat back down to continue our session. Amanda asked if they used to live next door. The same female voice said, “No.”

We went around the room for several more turns and didn’t get anything, so we moved to dowsing rods.

Dowsing rods:

  • He was a male
  • As I asked if he used to live next door, I heard a disembodied voice. Upon play back, it is very faint, but sounds like it says, “Joni.” Most of the group heard it and we went to the windows to see if someone was walking past, but the streets were empty.
  • He didn’t live at the Chadwick House next door
  • He lived in New Harmony
  • He lived across the street in the Neef-Lesseur house
  • He lived there in the 1800’s
  • He didn’t come over on the Boatload of Knowledge
  • He didn’t know any of the Owens, Fretageots
  • He worked in New Harmony
  • I passed the rods and as I did, I felt a female behind me. We asked the rods.
  • It was a female
  • She was behind me
  • She enjoys the company
  • She wasn’t the one who manipulated the photo

I began feeling a very strong female behind me. We tried to communicate with her with the rods, but no one responded. Then, out of the blue, the house alarm went off. It goes off without fail every single investigation. We tried to find out who turned it on, but no one would take the credit.

Traci Hoehn, who often helps me with investigations, took over the dowsing rods. She explained to the group how she locks her elbows in tight and a ghost seemed to be listening too. We caught a female voice on the recorder saying, “Look.”

Continuing on with the dowsing rods:

  • This room was her favorite place
  • She didn’t have children
  • She often travels to other buildings
  • We were talking to Mary Emily
  • She wished she could have had children
  • We had a discussion about how Mary Emily was really married to her house and someone asked if she had suitors. No response on the rods.
  • She was the one who knocked the pinwheel over earlier.

I suddenly saw the shape of a man appear in the doorway across from me. It stood there for two to three seconds and then disappeared. We asked the dowsing rods, but didn’t get a response. We continue for a few more minutes but didn’t get any further responses, so we moved onto the basement.

We settled in for an evp session. As we went around the room, I heard a humming sound, but no one else heard it. I heard it a second time and several others heard it too, but it wasn’t caught on the digital recorder. After we’d gone around the room several times, we moved onto Spirit Box. Someone asked what their names were and there was a faint response. It said, “Edward.” That was the only response we got. I could feel them in the basement, but they weren’t interested in communicating with us. We ended the session and walked back, taking our time to talk about the Harmonist Cemetery and the Scholars Retreat, which is the house Mary Emily moved to after being evicted from her home.

On the surface, it seemed like a fairly quiet night. We didn’t hear the loud door slamming or footsteps that we sometimes witness. Once I dived into the audio review, I quickly realized that this investigation was one of the most monumental encounters in my years of investigating the paranormal.

Some of the ghosts in New Harmony are eager to talk to us and we’re equally happy to listen.  Thank you to everyone who attended and to Amanda Bryden, the State Historic Site Collections Manager, for hosting this event. Much appreciation to Traci Hoehn for her assistance and photographs and to Crystal Folz for joining us after her Ghost Walk. Thank you Elizabeth Stowers for sharing your amazing photos with us too!