Triple Treat Investigation Review 10-26-19

Triple Treat

New Harmony, Indiana, has many haunted venues, something we’ve learned up close and person over the past few years. We decided to do something different this Halloween season. Instead of investigating one building, we decided to investigate three buildings in one night.

We started off at Thrall’s Opera House.

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(Above) Thrall’s Opera House as it would have appeared in the early 1900’s

Thrall’s Opera House

(Excerpt from Haunted New Harmony)

Thrall’s Opera House is a surprising presence in a small town. It is the type of building you would expect to see in a larger town, not one built by a colony of people who fled from religious persecution.

Behind the magnificent façade lingers a secret. The building is actually one of the old community houses constructed by the Harmonists to house their members. Built in 1824, it once looked similar to Community House #2 and the three others that are no longer in existence.

Shortly after construction was finished, Rapp decided to sell the town and relocate his flock to Pennsylvania, where they would create the town of Economy. It was the fourth and final dormitory that the Harmonists built before moving.

When the Owen Community took over, the building was used for a variety of functions. It served as dormitory housing, as a warehouse and was often the site of lectures and dances.

The building was first used as a theater in 1859 when it was purchased by the New Harmony Dramatic Association/Thespian Society. Renamed Union Hall, the building soon underwent a dramatic transformation and became the focal point of New Harmony’s cultural society. It was used by various theatrical groups, including the world-famous Golden Troupe, a local family of actors and actresses.

Goldens.jpg(Above) The Golden family sitting on their front porch

In 1888, the building was sold once again to a man named Eugene Thrall. Thrall had owned an interest in the building since 1867 but decided to purchase the rest of the holdings. After his death, his widow renamed the building Thrall’s Opera House. Thrall did extensive renovations to the building, giving it its current Victorian elegance. It was even used as a nickelodeon movie theater from 1911 until 1913.

The building was once again sold in 1913 and endured its most diverse incarnation when it became a gas station and garage.

FullSizeRender.jpgIn 1964, the Harmonie Associates encouraged the town to purchase the building. It underwent more extensive renovations and restorations, returning it to the grand dame it once was.

It’s not surprising that the building is haunted. Residents and visitors have experienced strange occurrences at the opera house for decades. Strange footsteps can be heard on the stage area when the building is empty and unexplained shadows have been seen moving in the wings.

Our group of 26 divided up into two smaller groups and began investigating the building.

Meagan Patterson held court on the stage.

Stage – First Session

IMG_20191026_194754Group One: Rick, Liz, Jamie, Maddie, Eddie, Tina, Mark, Rick, Ashley, Jason, Tim, Sandy, Matthew, Elliott

Meagan asked everyone to introduce themselves and then instructed them to turn their cell phones on airplane mode so they don’t affect the equipment.  She also encouraged the group to look around and not focus on the equipment. There could be activity happening all around the group, but if everyone is looking down at the equipment, they won’t see it.

She then showed them how to use dowsing rods and then passed them around.

Dowsing Rod Session:

As they started the session, they began hearing random taps at the edge of the stage. This is something we’ve experienced in past investigations and couldn’t find an explanation for.

  • Eugene was with them
  • They enjoyed the Dulcimer concert last week
  • Wouldn’t answer the question “were you the one who turned off the sound system last week’
  • Received a tap when she asked if they were tapping on the chairs
  • Eugene played an instrument – it wasn’t brass.

The group’s first dowsing rod session didn’t provide a great deal of responses. Typically, it takes a while to get used to the feel of the dowsing rods and to relax enough to receive answers. We’ve found during other investigations that some people are better conduits than others, something that quickly presents itself over the course of the investigation. When the fifteen minutes were up, Meagan and Joni’s groups changed places.

Stage – Second Group

IMG_20191026_194803.jpgGroup Two: Gerald, Diane, Adam, Paige, Shanna, Gerry, Lori, Debbie, Lisa, Paula, John, Heather, Angela, Brent

After they introduced themselves, the group started a dowsing rod session. Several people in her second group had used dowsing rods before, which was a good start for the group.

  • Someone there helped build the building
  • He’s not angry
  • He’s sad
  • He didn’t bring someone with him
  • He stays there because he has unfinished business
  • He doesn’t believe he’ll finish the business
  • He’s at peace

The session ended so the group moved onto the next location.

Annex- first group

Joni’s group investigated the area behind the stage where props are stored. Among the items is Francis Golden’s piano. Francis was part of the Golden Family. They performed all over the country, but Thrall’s Opera House was their home base. We were hoping to connect with one or more of the family members during our investigation.

We did a Spirit Box session for fifteen minutes. A Spirit Box is a modified radio that scans rapidly through the radio stations, allowing the ghosts to speak through the white noise. It’s usually a very productive means of garnering conversations with the dead and this time would be no different. We got a response after the first question.

A man asked, “What is your presence here?” A woman answered, “Typical.” I don’t know if she was being serious, telling us she was just a typical ghost or if she was being sarcastic, telling us we were being typical investigators.

 

A few more questions were asked without getting a response and then someone asked if they could tell us their names. A male voice said, “Certainly.”

When it was my turn, I asked if Eugene was there. A male voice said, “Yep.”

We went around the room and asked more questions but didn’t get any further responses.

Annex – second group

We settled in for a Spirit Box session, but it took them a while to talk to us this time. Someone in the last group asked them about their death before I remembered to discourage those kinds of questions. Sometimes that puts them off and they pull back from us. Eddie asked if they were male or female and we finally got a very faint response of “Male.”

Someone asked if they stayed there all the time and a fairly garbled male voice said what sounds to me like “That is rough.”

Eddie asked if Eugene played a string instrument and we got a very faint response that sounds like “yes.” At the time, we thought it said no, so he continued asking questions about the instrument. In the middle of it, a male voice came through and said, “It’s all right.”

Someone asked if they loved New Harmony as much as she does and a warbled male voice said what sounds like “That’s why I got them.”

When asked how old they are, a faint voice came through and said, “ten.”

Eddie asked if they are stuck in the building and we got one of the more intriguing responses of the night. A male voice told him, “I ghost.” This brings to mind many further questions. His response suggests that he’s fully aware of his situation, but what does “I ghost” truly mean to him?

Eddie then asked if he could tell us his name. A very clear male voice came through and said, “It’s Nelson.”

We asked a few more questions, but didn’t get responses.

Break-off Sessions

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We put electric candles in front of the mirrors in the men’s dressing room and invited guests to sit in front of the mirrors to see what would happen. Typically, we set up our mirror gazing experiments in smaller rooms with only one person at a time, but we thought we’d take advantage of the situation and use what we had. One participant had an experience. He saw a black shadow move from behind him and zip towards the door. Another group experienced the dressing room door close by itself while they were inside.

CH2 outside dark

Community House #2

(Excerpt from Haunted New Harmony)

Community House #2 is one of the oldest structures in New Harmony. Built in circa 1822, it was constructed by the Harmonists to house members of the group. It was framed in heavy timbers and built with bricks at their brickyard.

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(Above) Community House #2 when it was the A.H. Fretageot Furniture Store

Because the Harmonists were celibate, the dormitory buildings were used by both men and women. The first floor would have been used for community activities, with the second and third floor consisting primarily of dormitory rooms. A long hall separated the east side from the west side, with bedrooms lining the hallway. Men would have been on one side, with women on the other side. During the Harmonist days, there were four community houses but only two remain standing to this day.

During the second Utopian society, the Owen group used the dormitory for a school for children and housing for students and teachers.

inside CH2.jpg
(Above) Community House #2 when it was the A.H. Fretageot Furniture Store

Since that time, the building has been used for a number of purposes, including a print shop for the local newspaper, a boarding house, tavern, tea room and the A.H. Furniture Store.

After a brief history review, we again broke into two groups. Meagan’s first group investigated the second floor in one of the old Harmonist dormitory rooms, while Joni’s first group investigated the third floor.

Second Floor – First group

CH2 first groupDowsing Rod Session:

  • There was a child with them
  • He was the little boy who was injured during a freak cannon accident
  • He likes to play with the toys they bring in
  • He doesn’t want to play with the equipment they brought
  • He remembers Eddie, who’s been there twice before on investigations
  • He likes playing tricks on people
  • He likes running down the hallways
  • There are other children with him
  • They remember town marshal Scotty and his dog Murphy
  • They remember the print shop
  • They are the reason why one of the women felt tense
  • The woman in white was with them
  • She doesn’t take care of the children

Meagan told the group about George Gerard. He lived there in the mid 1800’s. He was expecting money to come to him in the mail. When it didn’t come in, he committed suicide in the building. The money was later found on the floor at the post office.

  • George Gerard was there
  • They were on the women’s side of the building
  • The little boy wasn’t there any longer.

Second Floor – Second Group

CH2 second group

They started the dowsing rod session and began getting information.

  • Someone wanted to talk to them

During that point, they captured an EVP, which is a ghost voice. It isn’t heard at the time, but is picked up on the audio recorder.  Someone asked if he had a dog and he said, “No.” The response is faint, which is typical of true EVPs.

Meagan shared a story with them. She was up in the attic checking something one day and heard a cat meow, which was strange since there isn’t a cat in the building.

  • Timothy wasn’t there
  • They were talking to a woman
  • Doesn’t like to play ball
  • She’s too old to play ball
  • Not in the war
  • Was a slave
  • Many slaves moved through New Harmony

This group didn’t have much luck with the dowsing rods. Sometimes people overthink the rods and will actually stop the movement because they think they’re causing the movement. We’ve just discovered that some people are better at them than others.

Time was up, so the group moved to the next location.

Third Floor – first group

We got started with our Spirit Box session. The box was chatty from the very start, but most of the responses were garbled and we couldn’t make them out. It wasn’t until someone asked, “How many spirits are here with us,” before we started getting clear responses. It sounded as though they were counting off. One said, ”Two,” and then another said, “three” and then the clearest response of the night said, “Five.”

We continued to get faint responses we couldn’t quite make out. One of the stories regarding the building involves a ten year-old boy who was killed during a freak cannon accident. We’ve talked with him on previous investigations. We asked them what his name was and got a faint response of “John.”

I wanted to run down to the second floor and snap a few photos for this evidence review. I told them what I was doing and a female voice came across the Spirit Box and said, “Take your time, Maam.” We all laughed because the response was so clear.

Someone asked if there was anyone else there besides the five women and a male voice said, “For sure.”

We got on the topic of pets in the building. When asked if they had dogs or cats in the building, a female said, “Ask me.”

“Do you ever leave this building?” got a strange response. It sounds like the same male voice said, “Quit passing.” Was this in response to some members of the group who passed when it was time for their turn? Or did it mean something altogether different?

Third Floor – second group

As our second group started, I asked them to be as kind to the second group as they were to the first. We introduced ourselves and then got started. I asked if they could tell us their names and a garbled voice came through and said, “I’m Adam.”

Someone asked what kind of wood the floor was made of and a female voice responded with “Kirkpatrick.” It’s possible she was telling us her name since the response came so close to the previous question.

Are you children or adults got a faint response of “adults.”

The responses that came after the next few questions were so faint, it was difficult to make them out. Someone asked if they moved to other buildings and it sounded like we got a response of “safe.”

The last time we investigated the third floor, one of the bearing beams in the room cracked and split. The sound was loud, making us think the building was coming down. They believe it cracked due to moisture expansion, but the timing couldn’t have been more profound, coming during the middle of our investigation. I asked if they knew who broke the beam and received a response of “We aren’t sure.”

Someone asked if they lived there and the group thought the response was “All my life.” I slowed it down and it’s probably just music from the radio, but sounded like “why would I lie” to me.

When asked if they protect the children, we heard a faint response of “no.” When she asked if they protect the children of the town, another faint voice said, “Probably.”

The last question of the session was answered with a fairly profound, but faint response. “How many people are in our group.” The response was “ten” and then another voice said “eleven”.  Three members of our group were in the print shop, so eleven was the correct answer.

Print Shop

IMG_20190727_215553_1.jpgWe had a break-off session on the third floor. Several people would go into the Print Shop alone and work with a pendulum. Some of their results were interesting.

First group

1st break off Print room.jpgFirst Break-off group

  • There are children there
  • Wasn’t in the war
  • His name was Timothy (little boy)
  • He likes to play ball
  • He’s not stuck there
  • He’s missing a leg
  • He has friends there
  • He’s not lonely
  • He has more than five friends there
  • There wasn’t anyone else in the room with him

Second break-off group (they were told Timothy was in the room)

  • He was just communicating with the other group
  • When he was bad he didn’t have to go under the stairs
  • At that moment, they saw the rope in the room move

Third break-off group (weren’t told anything by previous group)

  • There was only one person in the room
  • He/she can feel they’re there
  • He/she didn’t enjoy the weather (it was rainy all day)
  • Not male
  • She’s a female
  • She didn’t work there
  • She doesn’t know if she lived there
  • She wasn’t married
  • She was related to the little boy

Third break off print

Second Group

First break-off group

  • They had a difficult time getting responses and spent most of their session trying to find out what yes/no looked like. This is normal. Some people are better with dowsing rods and pendulums than others.

Second break-off group

  • They were talking to the woman in the white dress that’s been seen in the building
  • She takes care of the children
  • The little boy wasn’t there
  • The children were happy
  • There aren’t any children there with her right now
  • She can read
  • She fed the children
  • She didn’t get the children ready for bed

Third break-off group (were told by the previous group they were talking to the woman in white)

  • The little boy wasn’t with them
  • The woman in white was with them
  • She doesn’t stay on the third floor
  • She doesn’t go to all of the floors
  • She would often sneak into the men’s side of the building
  • She didn’t work there
  • She didn’t live there

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Fauntleroy Home

The Fauntleroy Home was the 53rd home built in New Harmony. It was originally the Franz Pheil house. After the Harmonists left New Harmony, a variety of people lived there during the Owen period.

(Excerpt from Haunted New Harmony)

Robert Henry Fauntleroy was intrigued by Robert Owen’s tantalizing concept of the communal society. He sold his farm in Virginia and all of his slaves before moving to the town. There, he met and married Robert Owen’s daughter Jane Dale Owen. They built onto the house, adding additional space for their growing family. In her teenage years, their oldest daughter, Constance created the Minerva Society, which was one the country’s first women’s club. The group had their own constitution and by-laws and discussed everything from poetry to current events, keeping detailed logs and protocol for their meetings. The club ended after four years, due to complications incurred during the Civil War, but their imprint on history remained.

After the original Fauntleroys passed away, the house became a rental property until it was purchased in 1911 by another Fauntleroy.

Mary Emily
(Above) A photo of Mary Emily Fauntleroy sitting in her favorite room

Mary Emily Fauntleroy had always been interested in New Harmony history, as well as in historic preservations. Soon after she acquired the house, she began making modifications to the property. She tore down walls and added modernizations to turn the house into a museum, while also making it more comfortable for her to live in. She built several additions, including a kitchen, dining room and a sunroom so she could live in the house but still have portions of it available to the public. She spent countless hours tracking down furniture and artifacts that had once been located in the home, including the minutes from the Minerva Society.

“It was like blood, sweat and tears for her as she tracked down all of the artifacts, “Amanda Bryden told me.

She then opened the house up for tours. In fact, according to Amanda, she offered the first tour site in New Harmony. “People would jump in their cars or horse and buggy and head to New Harmony,” she told us.

Mary Emily owned the house for nearly twenty years.

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(Above) The Fauntleroy Home as it would have appeared when Mary Emily Fauntleroy lived there

In the 1920’s the Indiana Federation of Women’s Clubs became interested in the property. They offered to purchase it from her, but allow her to live in the house until she died. According to the agreement, nothing would change for her. She could still remain at the house and act as the hostess, but she wouldn’t have to take care of the maintenance.

All was well for several years, but then the Great Depression hit the nation and it became too much for the club to handle. They turned the house over to the state in 1939, who listed it as a historic site. After World War II broke out, everything changed.

With the hardships of war looming over the country, the state was forced to cease operations here. They forced Mary Emily to move out, despite the earlier promises that were made to her.

“Thankfully, she just ended up next door, moving in with her brother Homer and his wife. Still, this is where she wanted to be and she wasn’t able to be here,” Amanda said.

Mary Emily passed away in 1954, never being able to move back into her beloved home.

The first reported haunting in the house came in 1845 when the ghost of the house passed the lady of the house on the staircase. It has been known as New Harmony’s most haunted house for decades.

The haunting in the house became even more potent after the State of Indiana Museum Division decided to do an extensive renovation to the home. In order to return the house to their chosen time period of 1850, they had to remove all of Mary Emily’s beloved collection.

32253274_601586606888393_5622425473968504832_n.jpg(Above) The Fauntleroy Home while it was undergoing renovations nearly ten years ago

Meagan oversaw the investigation on the first floor, while Joni investigated the second floor.

First Floor – first group

IMG_20191026_215128.jpgThey investigated the foyer area beside the staircase. We have photos of Mary Emily sitting in this room and by all accounts, it was her favorite room in the house. We soon learned that two of our guests were former tour guides for Historic New Harmony. They described feeling very uncomfortable inside the house. Liz told me about getting pushed while on the stairs and Elliott reported always singing “Amazing Grace” as loud as possible while walking through the building when he was alone and needed to come inside for something.

The group settled into a dowsing rod session:

  • They saw him and his wife Sandy outside earlier in the day.

The couple reported visiting the Fauntleroy Home earlier in the week. Meagan asked them to share their story. Sandy walked past with her dog and spent some time talking with Mary Emily. She looked back and her dog was mysteriously released from his harness. It wasn’t unlatched. It was sitting on the ground beside him. Normally, her dog Nacho would have taken advantage of the sudden freedom and would have bolted, but strangely just remained beside his harness.

They continue on with the session.

  • She likes pets
  • She liked their dog, Nacho

They didn’t get any further responses.

First Floor – second group

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Her next group started their dowsing rod session. Since Heather was the best dowser in the group, they had her hold the rods while other people asked questions.

  • She’s the only one with them
  • She’s not sad
  • She doesn’t play the piano
  • She doesn’t feel trapped there
  • She planted flowers there
  • She liked to be outside
  • She does play the piano (might have been someone else)
  • She brought her harp over from Scotland
  • Homer (her brother) isn’t there

Meagan told the group that Robert Henry Fauntleroy was an inventor and made his own telescope, which is housed in the room beside them. She encouraged them to ask questions.

  • He liked giving lessons to children on astrology
  • He has a favorite constellation
  • The star Betelgeuse is not in that constellation
  • He or she was in the room with them
  • Jane Dale Owen Fauntleroy was with them
  • She likes the renovations

Second Floor – first group

We set up camp on the second floor in the bedroom we often felt energy lingering in. In past years, we’ve gotten a lot of responses, but the house would be fairly quiet for the duration of our investigation. As soon as I turned on the Spirit Box, they let their intentions be known. An angry male voice came across and said, “Get out!”

After that response, I didn’t count on getting much more, but when someone asked if they were with us, a different male voice said, “You know it.”

Someone asked if this was their room and a male voice came across fairly indignantly. “This is Bowser’s Room,” he said. We’re not sure who Bowser is. Could it be a nickname that we aren’t aware of?

We went around the room a few more times before we got another response, which might lend some explanation to why they weren’t talking to us. A woman in our group asked what day it was and a male voice said, “So evil.” Did they think we were evil?

Time was up, so we switched groups.

Second Floor – second group

Fauntleroy 3.jpg
(Above) How the upstairs bedroom would have looked in Mary Emily’s day. Photo taken by her brother Homer Fauntleroy.

Although we didn’t think so at the time, this group would capture the best evidence of the night, if not the entire Haunted New Harmony season. We did a Spirit Box session and didn’t get a single response. The funny thing was, I could feel them crowding in around us. I wasn’t sure why they weren’t talking. We turned the Spirit Box off early and just sat in the silence to see if they would rap on a wall or turn on the flashlight, but they wouldn’t comply.

Paige was sitting to the right of me. When she sat down, she felt fingers latch onto her shoulders and then shove her. Her stomach was also bothering her the duration of our time in the Fauntleroy. She didn’t tell us about it until we were walking back at the end of the night.

Someone in the group said he was seeing shadows move, so I pulled my camera out and snapped two photos. The room was completely dark, so I had to use the Night Shot option on my phone camera. The first photo came out exactly as we saw it. In the second photo, we saw what was really going on. In the photo, you can see a woman floating between the man by the window and the woman in the middle. To the right of the woman you can see a group of woman, looking quite indignant, standing with arms folded. On the other side of the man on the right of the picture, you can see another grouping. It’s either four small dark forms or one big human shape, depending on how you look at it. Either way, we were able to prove we weren’t alone.

IMG_20191026_221849(Above) Photo #1 shows nothing more than what we could see with our eyes

 

IMG_20191026_221858(Above) Photo #2, taken seconds later, shows what was really going on in the room with us

Break-off Groups

We had several people go into the landing on the second floor and experiment with the pendulum during our second floor investigation.

First Group

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First break-off group

  • He/she lived in the house
  • He/she planted flowers in the garden

Second break-off group

  • Mary Emily is in the house
  • There are more than four people in the house
  • She’s not sad
  • She plays the harp
  • She’s not happy there
  • It was her wedding dress that got destroyed (not true. She was never married. It was her mother’s dress that was destroyed)
  • She was sad that the dress was destroyed
  • Her brother Homer isn’t there with her
  • She wasn’t the one playing the piano at night

Second Group

IMG_20191026_220411

First break-off group

  • The first group was soft-spoken, so I couldn’t hear most of what they said
  • She told Mary Emily she saw a picture of her with her harp
  • Mary Emily didn’t enjoy gardening
  • It was too much work for her
  • She enjoyed her collection
  • She was sad when her dress was destroyed
  • She was upset when she had to move from the house
  • She’s happy they can’t take the house away from her now

Second break-off group (I don’t know if they weren’t getting responses or if they just weren’t saying the responses aloud. I just heard a lot of questions on the digital recorder I left on the windowsill beside them, but not a lot of answers.)

  • She didn’t like it when they built the bridge
  • It wasn’t the noise that bothered her
  • They thought there was too much going on at once

Third break-off group (this group whispered their questions and I couldn’t make most of them out over the sounds of the other groups)

  • Didn’t like living with her brother
  • She’s not attached to a necklace (??)

As we made the walk back to Thrall’s Opera House, everyone was buzzing about the investigation, sharing their favorite moments of the night with one another. True paranormal investigations are nothing like what you see on television. They can be boring and tedious, but they can also be vastly intriguing. What we experienced was real and was astounding if you really think about it. We actually communicated with people who once visited those hallways but have been dead for decades, if not centuries.

IMG_20191026_184748 (1)
(Above) L-R Meagan Patterson, Crystal Folz, Joni Mayhan, Paula Bundy, Traci Hoehn and Rick Schlegelmilch

Haunted New Harmony would like to thank everyone who participated in this event, from Joni’s amazing team to the State of Indiana Museum Division, to Meagan Patterson and, last but not least, all the guests who joined us.