As you stand on the sidewalk outside Workingmen’s Institute in New Harmony, Indiana, and admire the massive Victorian Romanesque Revival architecture, it’s not difficult to imagine a haunting transpiring there.
Workingmen’s Institute was established in 1838 by philanthropist William Maclure, who was Robert Owen’s business partner during the second communal experiment in New Harmony. The library originated in the old Harmonist Church. When the structure began falling apart due to the passages of time, a new building was built and the library was moved. It is the oldest continually operating library in the state of Indiana.
As a paranormal investigator, my intention for investigating these old historic buildings isn’t founded in any Halloween shenanigans. I simply want to know more about the people who spent so many years of their lives there. When historical records fail us, we’ve found that we can often go to the source and communicate with the souls who lived that history. We sometimes learn secrets from the past that have been either forgotten or, in some cases, covered up and buried. This investigation would prove to be interesting, to say the least.
This was our second investigation of the grand old building and it wouldn’t disappoint us. We wanted to know the names of the people still lingering there and we attempted to learn more about several monumental moments in the building’s past.
We divided up into four groups. One member of each group was assigned the role of “Group Leader.” They were provided with a timeline and navigated their groups to each area of the building.
The zones were set up as follows: Maclure Room, Library, Natural History Room and the Gallery.
First Floor – Maclure Room – Lead by Rick Schlegelmilch
When you walk into the Maclure Room, you can almost feel the layers of history swirl around you. The room is large and rectangular, occupied by wooden library tables, several old pianos and room for folding chairs. Workingmen’s Institute hosts a bevy of lectures here. You can come and listen to a wide array of topics or, on a quiet day, you can use one of the tables for a project.
Shannon DeLap, the Circulations Manager, has heard the pianos play several notes, even though the room was empty and the covers were closed over the keys. Over the years, others have heard phantom voices and footsteps that couldn’t be logically explained.
We used the room for several divination experiments.
(Above) New Harmony natives Robyn Davenport and Linda Clifford trying the Ganzfeld Method.
On one table, we set up the Ganzfeld Experiment. This sensory deprivation experiment is simple. Participants wear white goggles and headphones that are connect to a laptop that is playing white noise. In the middle of the table is a red lamp. Rick brought groups of four to the table and gave them ten minutes sessions.
The Ganzfeld Experiment is interesting because it allows people to tap into their psychic or medium abilities by eliminating outside distractions. After they finished, I asked them to write in a book, describing their experiences.
(Above) Rick Schlegelmilch assisting two guests with the Ganzfeld Method
Ganzfeld Experiment Notes
- I heard my daughter yelling at me, “Mommy! Help!”
- I heard my mom yelling at me, “Help!” (both were in the same session)
- Seen rain on the goggles
- Heard a heartbeat
- Heard a tongue clicking sound
- Saw shadow move back and forth
- Something touched my back
- Kept hearing “Awesome!”
- Heard a faint but steady heartbeat sound all the way through
- Heard nothing
- Heard recording – sounded like a man asking a question and a woman answering – over and over and over – very repetitive. Same tone as if replaying a recorded conversation. The answer sounded like “flash moving forward.”
Guests were also invited to try the Psychomanteum. In this experiment, a floor length mirror is placed in a small dark room, lit only by an electric candle. As the participants sit in the chair and watch themselves in the mirror, strange things happened.
(Above) Ben Adams, from the New Albany area. His photo came out strange. What is the shape on his face?
I asked them to write down their experiences in a notebook and here is what they said:
- Slight headache. Mist formed behind me.
- My face was changing. One time, I looked like I had a beard. Also saw a shadow moving on the wall beside me.
- There is a woman with me in the room. I asked for the light to be very dim and if they were there.
- Saw a face looking over the top of my head at me. Was a quick flash.
- My face went black a few times.
- Sense of heaviness. Noise when room went silent. Not sure what it was.
- Some heaviness. Another face. Shoulders glow around it.
- Face distortion and wavy mirror. Lots of shadows by outside of door.
- Kept seeing old man’s face with grey hair and a large nose.
- My reflection didn’t move once when I thought I had smiled.
- Had a faint smell of something sweet, like baking.
- A man’s face appeared and he kept rolling his eyes up.
- The light shut off four times and my face would transform into several different faces – all men and boys
- The ruler on the wall to the left kept moving. I touched it to hold it still and it stopped, then started again a moment later.
Guests were also invited to experiment with several divination tools, including Rune Stones, pendulums and lithromancy, which involves tossing semi-precious stones onto a grid.
Everyone seemed to have a good time and it gave them a chance to catch their breath in between investigations.
Second Floor – Gallery– Lead by Joni Mayhan
I conducted the investigation in the Gallery, which was named appropriately due to the dozens of gilded-gold framed paintings on the walls. The paintings were a gift from Dr. Edward Murphy, who arrived in New Harmony during the Owen period as a barefoot 13-year old orphan. The people in the town took him under their wings and helped him learn several trades. Having a thirst for knowledge, Edward used the books at Workingmen’s Institute to help him become more educated. He eventually went to medical school and became a doctor. When WMI needed to be moved to another location after the old Harmonist church needed to be torn down, he donated the land the new building would be built on and assisted with the process. Years later, he made several trips to Europe to have reproductions done of famous paintings. He brought them back to New Harmony so that the people there could see fine art without having to travel. His and his wife Sophia’s ashes are interred in an urn in the Gallery Room.
First Group ( Group D)
Linda, Margie, Chris, Robin, Megan, Tiffany
I started the session by explaining how to properly use dowsing rods. I then asked a few questions.
- We were talking to a man
- He was willing to talk to us
Most people aren’t successful the first time they attempt to use dowsing rods. Some people simply aren’t good conduits while others are too nervous and inadvertently alter the movement of the rods. Some people get the hang of it after several attempts, but others don’t have the same success.
We passed them around and got the following responses:
- Did not work in the library
- Did not live in New Harmony
- Not from Illinois
- They don’t remember the eight-legged calf from the museum
- He is male
- He wasn’t young when he was there
- He wasn’t married
- He wanted to get married though
- He doesn’t want to stay there
I added a flashlight to the mix to see if any of the resident ghosts would use it for communication, but gave up fairly quickly when it wouldn’t stop flickering on and off.
- Murphy and his wife was there
- They were messing with us (meaning some of our responses weren’t correct). We’ve often run into tricksters on our investigations. They will tell us misinformation and will often pull pranks during the investigations. In all honesty, if I were a ghost, this is probably how I would be too, so I can’t blame them.
I decided to try the Spirit Box and see what we could find. I asked if they could tell us their name and we immediately heard a faint response that I couldn’t quite make out. We went around and asked a few more questions and were getting random radio interference. In between questions, someone said, “This is Doug. I got a question.”
Someone asked if he had any brothers or sisters and he responded with, “My name is Zion.”
I left the group to visit the other groups and take photos. While I was gone, the group continued with the Spirit Box. Someone asked if they knew any of their names and a man very clearly asked, “Who is the female?”
This was interesting because the entire group consisted of females. Was he asking about me because I left or someone else who caught his eye? They continued with their questions and a male voice came through and said, “Give me real questions.”
This made me laugh during evidence review because the group was actually asking good questions. Apparently they weren’t to his liking though.
Then, during a pause between questions, a male voice asked, “Do you people have best friends?”
I came back right afterwards and the group wasn’t sure if they got anything or not, so we went back to using the dowsing rods.
We decided to try to nail down more about the male we had been talking to earlier.
- He wasn’t a farmer
- He didn’t fish in the Wabash
They asked the rods to point to where he was standing in the room. One of the rods pointed behind the group and the other pointed towards me, which is where I was feeling someone.
- His last name was Murphy
Time ran out, so they moved across the hallway to the Natural History Room and my next group came in.
Second Group (Group C)
Chris, Mary, Bambi, Rosemary, Mary Ann, Briel, Ben
We introduced ourselves and then I told them the story about Dr. Murphy. I was using my spare Spirit Box, one I’m not as happy with. We spent a minute trying to change the settings, but still weren’t getting any responses. We ran it for a few minutes on the AM setting, instead of FM, but weren’t getting any responses. It took me a few minutes to realize my speaker was cutting out, so we disconnected it altogether and began getting clear responses.
Ben asked, “Hi. What is your name?” and a faint male voice responded with, “Jacob.”
We switched it back to the AM setting and the group asked questions while I ran to check on the other groups and take photos. Not a single voice came through while I was gone. We immediately turned it off and tried the dowsing rods.
- He was standing behind him (I could feel it as well)
- They didn’t like his suggestion that they turn the building into a hotel
- He said he was Dr. Murphy (I told him about the trickster and suggested the next person asked if a famous public person was there to see if they gave us a positive response). Someone asked if Elvis Presley was there and it said yes, confirming my thoughts.
Chris started seeing shadows moving near the doorway. I turned so I could watch too, but it was gone by the time I looked. We started to continue with the session when several of us heard a whistle. It was two note, almost like someone was calling someone else. The air conditioner was on at the time so my audio recording of it is too faint to post. I checked with the other groups but nobody else heard it.
- When asked if Mr. Murphy would present himself to us, the rods gave a “yes” response
- They are happy with us
- He didn’t whistle
The session ended and the next group joined me.
(Above) LaKeisha was the ghost’s favorite and she was a very good dowser too!
Third Group (Group B)
(LaKeisha, Dustin, April, Joe, Amy, Kimberly, Shannon)
My third group had just been in the Maclure room, playing with the divination tools. After we introduced ourselves, we started the session with a dowsing rod session:
- There was a male there (there was also a female there)
- I asked if he could point to where he was standing, both rods pointed between me and Shannon
- Shannon asked for the rods to point to their favorite person in the room and they pointed to LaKeisha.
- He/she was a librarian there
- He/she didn’t work with the doctor
- We were talking to the female
- She was over forty years old
- She was a librarian
We decided to give the Spirit Box a chance. I started asking questions about the paintings that were damaged back in the 1970’s. Apparently, someone broke in, stole several Civil War weapons and then damaged several of the paintings. The group continued with the questions. Someone asked if the person was male or female and a voice responded, “Female.” Moments later, a male voice came across and told us, “It’s not me.” The response happened with a burst of static so it’s not easy to hear without headphones so I didn’t include it here.
We then got our first insult of the evening. A male voice came through and asked us, “Who’s the fat one?” All I can say is, he better not be talking about me!
Someone asked if we were boring them. A male voice said, “We’ve had enough.”
We went to dowsing rods for a few minutes while I replaced the batteries in my Spirit Box.
- There is a list of all the things that were stolen
- Several of the items were brought to the Old Rooming House (the nephew of the former owner of the Old Rooming House was suspected of the theft)
- They wouldn’t answer any questions regarding where the items were hidden
We got the Spirit Box going again. Shannon asked for their names and three separate voices chimed in. “McCoffee!” said the first one, which was followed by “James” and finally “Jessie.”
LaKeisha felt someone touch her neck. She asked who did it, but didn’t get a response.
My timer alarm went off, signifying the end of the session and a faint voice came through on the Spirit Box, asking, “What was that?” I heard the same voice several times, but his responses were never clear enough to mark. The session ended and my last group came in.
Fourth Group (Group A)
Steve, Chris, Joy, Jodi, Nancy, Pam, Duane, Ashlynn
We introduced ourselves and then started right off with a Spirit Box session since the last one was so productive. I wanted to catch them while they were feeling chatty.
I was like a dog with a good bone over the break-in at WMI, wanting to see if they would tell us more. That is part of the allure of paranormal investigations. When the living won’t or can’t tell you what happened, sometimes the dead are more cooperative. I asked if the boy brought some of the items to the rooming house and a man said, “He broke in.”
Another topic I was curious about was Dr. Murphy’s children. He and his wife Sophia had seven children and none of them made it to adulthood. I asked if they knew what happened to them and a man said, “They were scared.”
Ashlyn asked what their favorite color was and a male answered “yellow.” It was too faint to post, but was clear enough to hear with headphones. We went around a few more times and got several responses, but none of them were clear enough to understand. As the night wears on, the ghosts often wear down. Talking through a Spirit Box is often more difficult than moving dowsing rods, so we switched.
Chris was the best dowser of the evening for his group, so we asked him to hold to rods while we asked questions.
- I asked if there was a female with us and the rods both immediately pointed towards me, making everyone laugh. I’d been feeling her behind me all evening. I’m thinking she was the “Jessie” who gave her name earlier.
- She liked to bake.
- She liked to read
- She was a librarian there
- She worked there until she retired (slow yes)
This made me start thinking about something. Nora Chadwick Fretageot was the head librarian at WMI for eleven years in the mid 1800’s. She also is a known haunting at Arbor House. I asked if the ghost we were talking to was Nora and they said yes. I began asking qualifying questions to see if we were talking to her or someone pretending to be her. I asked if her husband was a doctor and she said no, but she did say he was a lawyer. I wasn’t certain if he was or not, but I did know he owned the AH Fretageot Furniture store that was once located in Community House #2 which is also haunted.
- She says she’s the one who shows herself on the staircase (Shannon has seen her several times)
- I asked if her name was Nora and the rods pointed behind me again.
- I began tuning into her and got a mind picture of a woman who was between 16-20 with brown hair and a plain dress. She was kind and sweet. I saw her being from the 1930-1940 era.
- She lived there during the 1800s.
- She worked in the library
- She said she worked there in the 1840s, which was a qualifying question because the building hadn’t been built yet in the 1840s.
- She was the female voice Traci heard in the library during their Estes Method session.
- The rods kept pointing towards me, so I got up and switched seats with someone sitting across the room. Then the rods pointed towards me in the other chair.
- She’s not the one who moves the books on the table downstairs but she knows who does it.
- I asked if they could point to where Joy was sitting and they pointed right at her.
- I asked if she could point to where she was standing in the room and she pointed beside Chris.
Time was up so we ended the session.
Second Floor – Natural History Room – led by Jason Nelson
The Natural History room is filled with artifacts from New Harmony’s past. Where else can you find an eight-legged calf, a horse skeleton and weapons from the Civil War in one place? I can remember visiting the museum as a child and being enthralled and also a little creeped out. Besides the collection of minerals and personal items from New Harmony’s past, there is also a collection of dead animals in jars and taxidermy critters scattered around the room.
First Group (Group C)
Chris, Mary, Bambi, Rosemary, Mary Ann, Briel, Ben
Jason welcomed his first group and explained New Harmony’s role in geology. They started with a Spirit Box session. As the group introduced themselves, it sounded as though someone said, “Hi Bri,” when Briel said her name.
As they went around the room, Jason noticed that one of the doors was opened. Something came across the Spirit Box that sort of sounded like, “Maybe it was me,” but it was too warbled to consider a true response.
The group asked what their names were and a very faint female voice said, “Tom.” It was too faint to clip as an EVP file, but was identifiable with headphones. As they continued going around the group, someone asked if they liked Halloween and a male responded with, “He’s going to get you.” This was fairly chilling to hear. Who was going to get them?
As usual, many of the Spirit Box answers were difficult to interpret. When one guest asked if they liked hanging around there a man said, “You giggle.” It was very clear and very confusing. No one was giggling. What did he mean?
Sometimes the questions get mundane as people run out of things to ask. Apparently the ghosts were growing bored. In between questions, a female said, “So typical.” Was she tired of getting asked the same questions over and over again? This was soon followed by a male voice agreeing with her. “They don’t stop,” he said.
Jason then moved on to a dowsing rod session:
- They weren’t talking to a male, which was confirmed by the next question. It was a female.
- She was close to their circle
At that moment, Ben’s KII detector started flickering, indicating someone was nearby. The other KII detector wasn’t doing anything. As they watched, it started going absolutely crazy, flickering up into the orange level. This was interesting to Jason because our KII devices seldom react at WMI.
- She worked there
- She enjoyed her job
- There were pets with them
- She worked with books
- She had kids
- She had pets
Chris got up and started walking around. He said he was having anxiety and chest pain. He then explained that he saw a shadow person walk past the window and continue down the wall. He got up and walked over to where he saw it. Right before it happened, his sister, Mary, felt an extreme cold chill. Chris said the room felt very heavy.
At that point the session ended and Jason’s next group came in.
Second Group (Group D)
Linda, Margie, Chris, Robin, Megan, Tiffany
They settled in for a Spirit Box session and went around a few times without getting anything valid. Several minutes into the session, the KII started flickering again, but stopped after a minute. Jason started seeing shadows move along the wall. The group started watching it. Curious about the KII reactions from the last group, Jason passed his meter down to the area where it reacted before.
There were very few responses. The few voices that came across the box were faint and difficult to make out. It wasn’t until Jason asked if they liked to dance that they got their first clear response. A woman said, “Yeah.” This makes me wonder if the ghost who was so chatty with the previous group followed them to the Gallery. Or perhaps they simply wore them out and they were saving their energy for the next group? They didn’t get any further responses, so they shut it off and tried the dowsing rods.
- There was someone with them
- Tom was with them
- He was a hunter
- He went to church in New Harmony
- He sang in the choir
- They were now talking to someone else. They weren’t talking to Tom (rods opened wide over her shoulder)
- Jason suggested that he might be indicating where he was standing, so they asked, but the rods didn’t move. She asked if he was standing behind Robin and it said no. She asked if he was standing behind her and they said no.
- He said he’s the only one who stays in the library (not true-we’ve gotten other responses there)
- There was someone there they’d rather talk to
- They asked the rods to point to where they were standing and they pointed to Robin
- They were still there with them (Tiffany was using the rods)
- There is someone there with him
- He likes being there
- The air conditioner came on with a roar, scaring everyone. She asked if it scared him too and he said yes.
- He likes it when people come in to visit him.
- I came into the room because I heard a whistle. I asked the group and the rods crossed, indicating they also heard the whistle.
The session ended and the next group came in.
Third Group ( Group A)
Jodi, Steve, Chris, Joy, Nancy, Pam, Duane, Ashlyn
Jason’s third group arrived fresh from the Estes Method session with Traci in the Library. He started off with a Spirit Box session. He started out by telling his group, like he told all the others, to keep the questions positive. He also told them about how someone in his first group came through on the Spirit Box, telling them one of the ghosts there was named Tom. He then asked if anyone wanted to talk to them. A warbled voice came through and said, “What a fool!”
Someone asked if he built the building and a man said “no” while he was still speaking. Someone else asked if there were any children there and the same voice that said, “What a fool!” answered with a very faint response of “A handful.” The third group had already gotten more responses than the first two groups put together.
Because they knew about the Tom response, every question was directed towards Tom. My impression is that there might be a Tom in the room, but he’s only one of many. In fact, the voice that told them about Tom was female. Someone started to ask another question to Tom and a voice came through and said, “Who was that?”
The group started seeing shadows moving near the taxidermy eagle. As they were talking about it, a male voice came through and told them, “That’s the seagull.”
Jason asked if they had a favorite hobby or sport and a child’s voice came through and said, “I did!” We’ve had this happen before. They’ll answer the question very literally if we’re not careful.
Someone asked how many of them were in the room with them and a male voice with a strong southern drawl said, “Maybe four.” That would have been my guess too, so I trust this answer.
“Did you have a dog?” was answered by a female who said, “Had a dog or doll” and then the same man said, “That old war buddy,” he said. He wasn’t done though. When asked if he lived his whole life in New Harmony, he said, “I did.”
Several people in Jason’s groups had been feeling cold drafts all night, even when the air conditioning wasn’t on. They felt it again during this session and spent a few minutes discussing it.
Someone asked what his job’s name was and a male voice responded with “baseball.” I don’t believe we had any professional baseball players from New Harmony, but it’s possible he misunderstood the question.
Jason then turned off the Spirit Box and did a dowsing rod session.
- Someone was in the room with them. He mentioned that he felt a presence directly behind him. As with many of the other groups, he called the ghost Tom. “Tom” liked to hunt and enjoyed hunting squirrels.
- He was a blacksmith
The session ended and the next group came in.
Fourth Group (Group B)
LaKeisha, Dustin, April, Joe, Amy, Kimberly, Shannon
Jason’s fourth group had just spent a session in the Gallery with me and were eager to see what they’d find in the Natural History Room. Jason started them out with a Spirit Box session.
After a few questions, they finally got a response. Someone asked what their favorite time of the year was and a very faint male voice said “Autumn.” I spent quite a bit of time trying to make the response audible without the benefit of headphones, but couldn’t bring it out any further.
Jason asked if they did the hokey pokey, which generated a laugh. He told them that they can ask all sorts of questions and they didn’t have to be serious. At that point a male voice came across the box and said what sounds like “Mis de nom,” which is French for “put in name.” I’m not certain how this applies to the question, but it was interesting enough to bear mentioning.
Shannon, who is the circulation manager (aka head librarian) at WMI, made the connection between the “Tom” they were talking to and the famous scientist, Thomas Say. She asked if that was him, but didn’t get a response. It is curious because some of Thomas Say’s work is housed and displayed in the room they were investigating.
They went around the room several times with the Spirit Box but didn’t get any responses. It was highly likely that we wore the ghosts out during the course of the night. They moved to a dowsing rod session:
- There was only one ghost in the room with them
- He/she was still hanging out by the window (the KII went off again at the same time)
- That’s his/her favorite spot in the room
- There was someone in the room they really wanted to talk to. She asked if they would point the rods at that person, but didn’t get a response. (Later, she realized the rods were actually pointing towards Shannon, which also happened to be the starting point).
- Shannon took the rods and asked for them to point to the person they wanted to talk to and it started pointing to the window before it turned around and pointed at her.
- They like it how Shannon tells them “good night” every night when she leaves
- They liked working there
- He is Thomas Say
- He is glad the Say Firefly is the state insect
They decided to spend their last few minutes discussing the investigation. Shannon mentioned that the energy was different in the room from the last investigation. The energy was odd in the room the last event, but was calmer this time. They also thought it was interesting that the name Tom kept coming up. Shannon mentioned that the other group heard the name Tom too.
The session ended and everyone headed downstairs to discuss the evening.
Library – Led by Traci Hoehn and assisted by Paula Bundy
(Transcribed and written by Traci Hoehn)
When you enter the library of the WMI, you are surrounded by the portraits of past librarians as well as the expected books, newspapers, and usual library fare. You can feel their silent presence looming over you in the silence. In this room, I, along with the help of Paula Bundy, led groups through an investigation using the Estes Method.
Each group began with an explanation of the Estes Method. It is a procedure in which the Spirit Box is used while one person, me in this case, is listening to it through headphones instead of the whole group listening via speaker as usual. The listener is also blindfolded. These precautions are taken to prevent the listener from hearing (or lip-reading) the questions being asked. The listener then says aloud any responses heard. Ideally, the participants then follow-up on responses to begin a dialogue with any ghosts present in the room. Another aspect of the Estes Method is channeling. When the listener has mediumistic abilities, the Estes Method seems to be a possible method of channeling.
All the groups also began with a discussion of the ghosts that may be encountered in the library. The librarians at WMI have a habit of returning to their beloved building after death to continue their work. They have even been known to assist in the search for hard to find materials from time to time.
After establishing the ground rules for the Estes Method, we began the sessions. The transcript for each session is as follows:
Session 1, Group B
Is this your library?
What is your favorite book in the library?
Who is your favorite author?
T: It’s good.
What was your favorite grade in school?
What was your favorite subject in school?
Is your picture on the wall?
What topics to you like to read about?
T: They’re looking.
What are they looking at?
How many are here?
Are you male or female?
Were you born here?
Did you work here?
What year were you born?
Were you married?
Did you have children?
T: You. You.
Do you have pets?
Do you have a brother or sister?
T: David. Photographer.
Where else should we go in this building tonight?
T: Who is it?
What did David take pictures of?
Can you make that light up?
Do you have a favorite room in the building?
(Traci stated she was touched on the back of the neck.)
T: Who did?
Did you just touch Traci?
T: Weapon. (The Spirit Box stopped making noise and a male voice harshly whispered, as Traci explained to the group.)
Do you like photography?
What is a good book to read?
Do you like mystery books?
T: Turn around.
Are you male or female?
What do you think of the remodel here? Renovation I guess, not remodel.
Yeah, in this building.
T: Shameless. Here.
You don’t like what they did to it?
Is there a poet that you like?
Can you name them, or name a poem?
What makes you feel at home here?
What kind of weapon?
T: It’s me. Mine.
Were you a teacher?
T: Rain. Go.
Do you like working outside?
(Something touched back of Traci’s arm.)
Do you like the water?
What was your job?
T: Haunted. What?
What was your job?
T: Can’t take it.
Did you live here?
What is your favorite holiday?
Do you like when the kids visit the library?
Is there a time…
T: Please don’t.
(The participant then passed, which everyone found amusing.)
Who keep touching Traci?
Are you a male or a female?
Where should be go?
T: What is that? No. Good night.
Are you tired?
Is the library your sanctuary?
Do you feel at peace here in the library?
T: A guy.
T: After. After a time.
What happened to Ronald?
Are you Ronald?
Was your husband Ronald?
T: That’s nasty.
Did you work here?
Did you own a house here?
Where is Ronald now?
T: I want. I need.
What do you need?
Do you have a car?
What would you like us to know about your life?
What would you like us to know about this library?
What did Mike do that was sneaky?
Do you like the librarian who is here now?
T: You. Please.
How many spirits are in here?
T: Your mouth.
Can you tell me your name?
Can you tell me my name?
Do you like coffee?
Do you like whiskey?
T: Stop it.
What is your favorite food?
Discussion afterward: After we finished the session, discussed what happened. I felt someone walking in front of me several times during the experiment, but the group confirmed that no one had moved near me. Several participants felt strange that I looked directly towards them when it was their turn to speak. I have no explanation for this. It is not the first time this has happened. One participant explained that when she started to ask a question she felt was dumb, she was interrupted by the response, “please don’t.” We also discussed the possibility that the responses of “they’re looking” and “red” may have been in reference to the Ganzfeld experiment taking place in another room.
Before the session finished, I used the dousing rods to clarify the “weapon” response. Their weapon is located on the second floor of the WMI.
Session 2, Group A
Since I’m a librarian here and I know some of you in here are librarians…
Traci: From scratch.
…did you like working as a librarian?
Do you like that I’m the librarian?
Did you work here for many years?
Do you like to read?
T: No. More. One more.
Did you have a favorite book?
Are there any children in here with us?
T: Mother is here.
What years were you here?
Why did you come to New Harmony?
T: I love.
Who was your favorite author in your time?
What was your favorite spot in this library?
T: What’s that? Red.
Are you the one that makes everybody feel so welcome here?
Do you like the layout of the library?
Did you help establish the Institute?
T: Midnight. Back. Backdoor.
Are you a beggar?
T: Come on. Going home.
Do you smoke?
What’s your favorite book?
Did you raise your family in New Harmony?
Were you married?
Did you have children?
How many spirits are here with us?
T: At night.
Do you like to go outside?
T: At night.
Do you walk the streets at night?
What was your favorite part of your job?
T: What? Look. He’s trying. Going.
Do you go from place to place in New Harmony?
Were you here when this building was being built?
Is this a man or a woman speaking to us?
Where is home?
T: Everything. Oh no. You want. Go.
Can you tell me who the author of Little Women is?
T: I don’t care.
Do you read Jane Austen?
Could you tell me where to find a picture of the original labyrinth?
T: A chance.
Are you a male librarian or a female librarian?
How many books are in this library?
Do you like that they have so many movies instead of books these days?
T: Anything right.
Can you tell us how many people are asking you questions?
Are you married?
Do you have children?
Where in New Harmony are the spirits most active?
T: One thing.
If you can leave here where do you go?
Are you tied to this building?
Did you come here before the Civil War?
If you’re a man, were you in the Civil War?
T: The room. Go.
Do you visit any other places in New Harmony?
T: I can’t. Tom.
Who is Tom?
Can you leave this building?
Do you know the current director’s name?
T: Where’s that?
Do you think that we should get more books?
Do you enjoy reading to children?
Do you like writing?
Is your portrait hanging in this room?
Are you happy?
T: Idiot. (everyone laughs)
Are you sad?
What’s your name?
T: I was there.
Where were you?
T: I’m here. (Faint female voice, underneath white noise for the past two responses.)
What do you want us to know about you?
Is there anything you would like us to do to help you?
Why do you stay here?
Tom, are you the one in charge of all the weaponry upstairs? Did you find it?
Does it make you happy to see more people coming into the library?
An increase in programs for children?
T: Just lock it.
Did you donate any of the items that are in here?
Are there any questions that you want to ask us?
T: Hey, Frank?
T: Can we also have a talk? (Traci felt someone step in front of her.)
T: I’m home.
Do you live here?
Is Frank short for Francis? (Traci feels someone walking around)
T: That was me. Can be.
Do you have any brothers or sisters?
T: Did you know?
Did you know?
How many years did you work in this building?
Are those your children’s names?
Can you move the books?
T: Help you to get home. I used to. Sorry.
Discussion afterward: In our post-investigation discussion, Shannon (the current WMI librarian), said she saw a dark figure moving around at the same time I said I felt someone walking in front of me. She also confirmed that there is an alarm that goes off sometimes at night when a back door in the basement moves. Perhaps this is the meaning of the back door at midnight response. As a group we discussed the abilities of some ghosts to move objects, namely books in this situation. Shannon has experienced book being moved from shelves to tables in the night.
Session 3, Group D
Did someone earlier want to talk to Meg?
Is there anyone in here that wants…
Traci: Down there.
Did you want to talk to us tonight?
Do you want to talk to Joni tonight?
Do you have a question for me?
Were you a librarian?
Will you talk to us?
Did you work in the building?
T: I understand. Illuminating.
What’s your name?
What’s your birthday?
Where are you from?
Are you from New Harmony?
T: I am.
Did you work in the library?
Did you go to…
T: Quiet! (Group laughs.)
Did you run a business?
What kind of job did you have in New Harmony?
Are we talking to a woman or are we talking to a man?
Did you have any children?
Did you have any children?
Did your children go to the New Harmony school?
Do you have a favorite book?
T: Say it again.
Do you have a favorite book?
Are you a man?
T: I do.
What is your favorite book?
Do you go to other rooms or do you stay in the library?
Is there a picture of you hanging in this room?
Do you like how the room is set up now?
T: Where are you?
Are you in the library?
Do you like to watch the kids out the window from school?
Were you here when the old school was across the street?
What year were you here?
T: Get her.
What is your name?
What is your last name?
T: Do it.
Do you like Edgar Allan Poe? We can be friends if you like Edgar Allan Poe.
Do you work in the library most days?
Were you married to a doctor?
Earlier I believe you said you were a man, then there was a mention of a stethoscope, could you possibly be Dr. Murphy?
T: I thought you were another one.
Did you treat any of the residents of New Harmony if you were Dr. Murphy? What types of ailments did you treat?
Were there a lot of children for you to treat?
How many children did you have?
Do you go to other buildings besides the library?
Is The Raven your favorite book?
Is Edgar Allan Poe your favorite author?
Do you have a favorite author?
Can you quote another verse from The Raven?
T: Come on.
How long have you been here?
T: Heaven. Go. I see it.
Do you not want to be here?
Did you work here?
Do you have a family?
If you can see heaven can you tell us what it looks like?
T: Too close. That’s awesome.
Do you go back and forth from heaven to here?
Did you raise chickens?
Did you live on a farm?
(Traci felt something wet on the side of her face.)
T: A secret.
What exactly is a secret?
T: Tell no one.
Tell no one? Tell no one that we spoke with you?
(Traci clarified: A male said ‘a secret.’ A female said ‘tell no one.’)
Questions for the female: Were you married to Dr. Murphy?
T: In the middle.
Were you the mistress of Dr. Murphy?
Any relation at all to Dr. Murphy?
T: I’m happy.
Any questions for us?
Can we answer any questions for you?
What’s your secret?
Do you still read?
T: Do you?
Is that why to stay in here, to read?
T: Enough for. Eventual.
Have you read all the books in the library?
T: What he has.
Do you feel safe in the library?
T: No, stop.
Do you want to leave the library?
T: Oh, shit. Well, then.
Are you arguing with each other?
Has keeping this secret made you sad?
Can you tell us something else about the secret? Is the secret about you?
T: Hang on. It leads to me.
Were you having an affair with someone?
T: Too many.
Did you have a baby?
Were you sick and didn’t want anybody to know?
T: I’m Kevin.
Did you work in the library, Kevin?
T: Hi, hey.
Did you live near the library?
Are you someone new?
Are you still here?
T: I’m sorry.
Back to this secret. Was the secret about your husband?
T: It’s not…it’s not Kevin.
Was Kevin your husband?
Did you have an affair with Kevin?
I’ve lived in New Harmony for 25 years; how long did you live in New Harmony? Or did you live in New Harmony.
I walk by here all of the time walking my dogs. Do you see me walking my dogs?
T: It’s Calvin.
I never had Calvin for a dog. Did Calvin see me walking my dogs? 2-4 at one time?
How many people are we speaking with?
T: Don’t make me.
Don’t make you do what?
T: I’m just a lad.
Are you a little boy that used to come to the library?
Are you tired of answering our questions?
Is the little boy still here?
Will you share your secret if we promise not to tell?
Is the secret about you?
Discussion afterward: In the discussion I explained that I began channeling Calvin. I had initially heard the name wrong and said Kevin but was corrected. I felt a coat on me, like an overcoat. I am fairly certain Calvin was from the Owenite period of the New Harmony history. He was a pre-teen boy and was afraid. The group was very curious about the secret. They were determined that it was an affair, but the feeling I got as a listener was that something was physically hidden. I also let the group know that the voice that was speaking about heaven was silent immediately after talking about going.
Session 4, Group C
Can you tell us what year it is?
Do you want to give it a try?
T: Attention. It’s me. How’d it go?
How did what go?
What’s your name?
T: I’ll tell you what. You’re talking to John.
John, is your weapon upstairs?
What did you do here, John?
Are you stuck here, John?
T: I see it. Mmmhmm.
Do you want to leave?
T: You know what?
T: Don’t do that (someone noisily moved).
Can I take a book home, John?
Would that upset you?
Did you work here?
Are you wondering what we’re all doing here?
T: Lost it. It’s typical.
Did you live here in New Harmony?
Were you married?
T: Don’t. I was there. Bright pink.
What was bright pink?
Is there a female spirit in the room? Besides John?
Do you like pickles?
T: Ask them.
What, about pickles?
Is there a librarian that would like to say ‘hi’?
John, what is your job here? What do you do?
T: Mamma. Don’t. I feel you.
John, how old are you?
Are you still here with us?
Can I take some books home, John?
What about something from the room upstairs? Would that be ok?
T: Go away from here.
T: John Smith.
Why should I go away?
Can you give us any other names?
Do you not like us here?
T: Goodnight. At ten.
What happens at ten?
(Traci felt someone walking in front of her)
Do you have any advice for us right now?
T: Please do.
Anything we could do to help you?
T: At night. He’s there.
Who is there?
T: Hey there.
Who are you talking to?
Has it been a long day for you today?
T: Go ahead. Scream.
Do you want me to scream?
Are you hanging around Traci over there, walking around?
T: Uh huh
Do you like Traci? (Traci felt footsteps again)
Do you need something from Traci?
T: I can. Every time.
Can you tell me what time it is right now? Can you tell Traci what time it is right now?
How old are you?
Can you make a noise?
Can you knock on something for us?
John, are you still in here, or is somebody else in here?
Can you make a whistle noise or some kind of other noise to let us know you’re still here? I don’t think you’re still here.
Can you tell us what year you were born?
Discussion afterward: We discussed that phrase ‘goodnight, at ten.’ It was interesting considering the event ended at ten. Perhaps the ghosts were done with us. This seemed to be the case as the activity wound down at the end of the night.
I want to thank everyone who attended. Special thanks go to Workingmen’s Institute for hosting us and to my wonderful team for their assistance and support.
(Above L-R) Joni Mayhan, Rick Schlegelmilch, Jason Nelson, Paula Bundy and Traci Hoehn