Ribeyre Gymnasium Investigation Review 11-23-21
The Ribeyre Gymnasium was only one year old when it was used for a tragic purpose. In 1925 an F-5 tornado swept through three states, killing hundreds of people. To date, it is still considered to be the worst tornado in US history.
The town of New Harmony was spared, but the nearby town of Griffin, Indiana, wasn’t so fortunate. The tornado completely demolished the town, only leaving one building untouched. New Harmony stepped into action, bringing the dead and dying to town.
The injured were attended to by local doctors inside the gymnasium. The dead were put in the basement, turning it into a temporary morgue. The building has been haunted ever since.
Over the years, many people have experienced the haunting. Children who used the gymnasium for gym class often saw people sitting in the bleachers that vanished moments later. They heard noises coming from empty rooms and often experienced the sensation of being watched.
A local woman who hosts yoga classes there often hears the sounds of children giggling and racing across the stage. Others have seen children roaming around the building. A man who came to repair the broken bell in the clock tower would see them racing up and down the bleachers. He would sometimes bring his ten year-old son, who would sit on the court rolling a basketball into the shadows, only to have the ball roll back to him.
During our previous investigations there, we’ve connected with many people who linger around the gym. Some of them are from the tornado tragedy, but many others are from the gymnasium’s long history, and perhaps from the land itself.
For this investigation, we divided into three groups. I took the lead in the gymnasium, Jason Nelson was the lead in the Annex Building, and Traci Hoehn held court in the basement.
I’ve always had good responses with my Spirit Box at the gymnasium, but this time would be different. A Spirit Box is a modified radio that scans rapidly through the channels. Ghosts are able to vocalize through the white noise. We often hear intelligent, full-sentence responses to our questions, but not on this night. We went around and let everyone ask a few questions, but the box stubbornly remained silent.
We weren’t going to be daunted. Sometimes the ghosts don’t like the flashing, blinking technology, so we moved onto a lower tech method: dowsing rods. Dowsing rods have been used for centuries for a variety of purposes. Water Witchers use them to find underground water, while others have used them for divination. We’ve found them to be highly successful.
When asking questions, we have two rules: don’t ask them if they want us to leave and don’t ask how they died. We also want to be respectful of them, treating them the same way we would if we could see them. Here are some of the responses:
- They don’t dislike the bell that rings every half hour
- There was a little boy on and off with us throughout the night
- He had a sister
- He was happy and didn’t want to go anywhere
- The ghosts missed the basketball games and dances
- They said they know someone in the room. When asked to point the rods at that person, they pointed to me. Apparently, I made an impression during the previous investigations.
- They don’t like the renovations. This makes sense if they liked the basketball games, since they removed the hoops and bleachers during the renovations.
- They like the weddings and receptions that are now held there.
- They didn’t play in the school band.
- They were there when “A League of their Own” was filmed.
- There was a man with us
- He didn’t work there and wasn’t married
- The boy was there. He was between the age of 10 and 15. He liked the children in the group. (Two pre-teens attended the investigation).
- There was a little girl there too.
- Later, a woman joined the group. She was between fifteen and twenty. She was married. She had children, but wouldn’t talk about them.
While we were sitting there, I caught a very strong whiff of what smelled like Juicy Fruit gum. I asked if anyone else smelled it and one other person did. And then it was gone.
We sent groups of two or three up to one of the attic rooms that was once the locker room. They would use a pendulum and got a lot of information. Several reported talking to the little boy. One said he had little brothers.
The third group had just been in the basement. One woman was so overwhelmed by the energy, she ended up coming upstairs. I never tell the current group what the last group discovered. It’s always interesting when they get the same results.
- The little boy wasn’t there any longer. He was up in one of the attics with a breakout group.
- They know the names of people in the group. When asked to point to Emily, the rods pointed to Emily. Sandy was holding the rods and didn’t know who Emily was, which made it even more interesting. When asked to point them towards me, they complied.
- We were talking to a female, maybe the same one who was there for the last group.
- She is happy being there, but doesn’t have a lot of friends there.
- She doesn’t have any siblings there with her.
- She gets to leave on occasion. She sometimes visits the families of the loved ones who died during the tornado.
- She enjoys our company.
- She is an adult, correlating with what the last group discovered.
- She has children, but none of them are there.
- They celebrate holidays there, which makes sense because the gym is used for seasonal festivals.
- They liked it when the building was used by the school as a gym.
The bell started ringing. Even though it was nine o’clock, it chimed eleven times.
- The woman wasn’t married. (This was interesting information because she told them she had children. Depending on the era, women with children born out of wedlock were treated differently).
- The woman went to school in New Harmony.
- The woman didn’t have any pets. She doesn’t like the color pink. She doesn’t like Christmas, but she does like Halloween.
It was almost time to end the investigation when the strangest thing of the night happened. The gym was dimly lit, but the doorway to the kitchen was brightly lit. Several people saw a man walk into the kitchen. Shortly afterwards, we heard someone whistling. We all just assumed it was someone from one of the other groups, but something about it didn’t sit right with me. I got up to go look and the kitchen was empty.
The only other door in the kitchen led to the basement. As I stood there, the group started up the stairs. They hadn’t seen anyone come down and hadn’t heard the whistling. Our mysterious whistler had vanished!
Traci led a group in the basement of the gymnasium, which would prove to be the hotspot of the night. Traci did the Estes Method for her groups in the basement. She connected noise cancelling headphones directly to the Spirit Box and blindfolded herself. The group would ask questions to the ghosts in the basement, but Traci couldn’t hear the questions. She would only hear what came through the Spirit Box and would say the responses aloud. Sometimes the questions and responses correlate. Other times, Traci goes into almost a trance state where she begins to see images in her mind, as well as hearing the responses.
Q: Can you tell us your name?
T: Two, Three, Me.
Q: What about you?
Q: Are you a boy? Are you a girl?
Q: How many are here with us?
T: No. On it!
Q: On what?
T: Dang it!
Q: Did you help build this gymnasium?
Q: What is your name?
Q: How long have you been here?
T: Feels like it. What? I’m right here!
Q: How old are you?
T: No. You can see me. Where you stand.
Q: Where are you standing?
T: I see. Stick around.
Q: How many of us are down here? Can you see us?
Q: Where are you?
Q: We’d like to see you.
T: gun. Three one.
Q: Did you own a gun?
T: In here
Q: Are you a hunter?
Q: Can you do something to let us know you’re here?
T: In the room
Q: What room?
Q: Do you play here?
T: The inner
Q: do you have any friends here?
T: There are four now
Q: Are they all male?
Q: Are you the tallest of the four?
Q: Are you from New Harmony?
T: The front door
Q: What about the front door?
T: We’re opening
Q: You’re opening the door?
T: In the theater
Q: Which theater?
T: I know that
Q: What do you know?
T: (as a side note, at 7:45, tap me on the knee) She wanted them to let her know.
T: No (This made everyone laugh)
Q: Why do we need to run?
T: You’re right there
Q: Where you married
T: I don’t know you
Q: I’m Sandy. I’m from Massachusetts. I’m here visiting Joni.
T: make up something
T: I drowned. Bodies.
Q: Where are the bodies?
T: letter. Uh hu. Right there. Now. I feel. Cold.
Q: Is there anything we can do to help you?
T: I matter
Q: Yes, you do
T: In the tree
Q: What’s in the tree?
Q: do you want to tell us your story to insure your story stays alive
T: You know it. There. Oh no. I feel that.
Q: What do you feel?
T: Can’t beat them.
T: Hey. I’ll keep it.
Q: What will you keep?
T: I don’t want it. Stay away from me.
Q: Are there still four of you?
T: Well, thank you!
Q; You’re welcome, even though I don’t know what I’m thanking you for
T: They’re laughing
T: The light
Traci took off the blindfold and headphones. Ben Adams had been walking around with an SLS camera and gave them a demonstration of how it works. It uses Xbox technology, which maps the room and picks up on ghosts, displaying them on the screen as stick figures. Ben said he got something. When they were talking about a child, he picked up on a small figure.
Traci said there was a man who wasn’t happy they were down there.
Traci explained the Estes Method and then got started with the second session.
Q: Is there anyone here with us?
Q: Hello, Alex. Are you from New Harmony?
T: Stop it!
Q: Are you a little boy?
Q: Are you going to show yourself?
T: My name’s Gordon
Q: Hello, Gordon. Are you an old man?
Q: Hey! Is this Gordon? Where did you go to school?
T: We’re faithful. Exactly!
Q: How many of you are here with us, Gordon?
Q: Are you making those noises?
T: Behind you
Q: What are your favorite pies for Thanksgiving?
T: Is that you?
Q: It’s Sandy
T: please. No.
T: Quiet. It’s going fast. Father Rapp.
Q: What’s going fast?
T: Good show!
Q: Are we entertaining you?
Q: Can you walk through the green dots?
T: East then. I will not go.
T: I heard.
Q: What did you hear?
Q: Did you like plays?
T: One. That’s all.
Q: What does one mean?
Q: You said one. I was just wondering what you meant.
T: Forget it
T: Don’t know. Go again. (groups were switching out). It’s going to rain.
Q: Do you like it when it rains?
T: Get up.
Q: Are you telling us to get up?
T: A little.
T: My name.
Q: Can you tell me your name?
T: Help me. It was.
Q: How can we help you?
T: Coming. And then what?
Q: Does anyone have any questions?
T: Yup. I’m American. Ground.
Q: Do you know where your family is?
Q: Is Ed related to you?
Q: How can we help you? We want to help you.
T: Oh yeah. Nothing.
Q: Do you like it when people come to visit you?
T: Fire. There was just a scream. Run!
T: It’s awful. Well. You were.
Q: You were what?
T: There. Um ha
Q: We’re so sorry it was awful.
T: Hi. Can’t go. I was looking.
Q: What were you looking for?
T: Do WHAT?
Q: Were you looking for family?
T: Okay. Yellow.
Q: Is that your favorite color?
T: Man. Get a hold of it!
Q: Is this someone new?
T: It’s me!
Q: Gordon? Alex? Who’s here now?
Traci took off the blindfold and headphones. She said one of them was sarcastic and he was talking over a female voice that was trying to come through. She said towards the beginning, one of them told them to “fuck off.” There was a child in the group, so she didn’t say it aloud at the time. She felt there was a grumpy one down there.
Sandy had been running the SLS camera and informed the group that there were stick figures floating around above the group for most of the session.
Several guests remarked that it felt very heavy there, very sad.
Traci explained the Estes Method to her third group and then they got started with the session. Donna Tilly had her Flir Thermal Imaging Camera and she let someone from the group use it while she used the SLS camera.
Donna saw people on the floor on the SLS and showed the group. Then they disappeared.
Q: What’s your name? Where are you from? Do you live here?
T: There. I am!
Q: Where’s there?
T: In the back
Q: In the back of the basement?
T: Do you see me?
Q: I don’t see you. Can you come closer?
Q: Are you alone here?
T: I did it
Q: What did you do?
Q: Are you male? Are you female?
T: Going down
Q: Going down where?
Q: Do you stay down here?
Q: Can you walk through the light grid?
Q: How old are you?
Q: Do you have friends here? Family?
T: Don’t do it
Q: Don’t do WHAT?
Q: Do you like answering our questions?
Q: Do you recognize anyone? Where are you at?
T: In the storm
Q: What happened in the storm?
T: You know.
Q: Do you like it down here?
Q: Did you come down here after the storm?
T: yeah. There. A long time. So sad.
Q: Did someone come here with you?
T: Where were we? My favorite.
Q: Your favorite sibling?
Q: Do you miss the school being here? What do you want to talk about?
T: I do.
Q: Were you married.
Q: Did you have kids?
T: Long time.
Q: How long were you married?
T: Help me
Q: What can we do?
Q: Do you stay here?
T: Indeed. Over there.
Q: Can you come over here?
T: yes. Everything’s coming together!
Q: What can we do for you?
T: Hey! One time. Ouch!
Q: What kind of job did you have?
T: There it comes again. You can come here.
Q: What’s evil?
Q: What’s your talk about?
T: You don’t know?
Q: I don’t
Q: Do you remember the explosion across the street?
T: All are gone.
Q: How many are left?
T: Regardless. Oh no! We’re here. Whoops!
Q: Who’s here?
Q: Do you like that bell (bell started ringing)?
T: I’m coming
Q: Can you come talk to us?
T: What’d you say?
Q: Can you come talk to us?
T: Two or three
Q: Two or three are here? (Donna asked this)
T: What? You bitch!
Q: Besides “ghosts” is there anything you’d like to be called? (child asked – very good question!)
T: Yes. It’s good.
Q: Ghost is good?
T: Night. That’ll work. I never.
Q: Never what?
Q: Try what?
Traci took the blindfold and headphones off. She said they have one rude ghost that cussed at everyone. She told them how the last group was told to “fuck off.” Those words aren’t allowed on broadcast radio. Ben reported that he saw two ghosts in the front room. One was tall and one was short.
Jason led groups in the Annex Building, which is attached to the gymnasium. He told the group to be alert to the room around them and to not watch the equipment. Several years ago during an investigation, I witnessed a little boy popping out of the bathroom door. Nobody in my group saw it because they were watching the equipment.
Jason started them off with dowsing rods and showed them how to use them.
- They are happy
- They are not alone
- They were talking to a girl
- She’s wearing a dress
- She’s between 8 and 12 years old
- She lives in the building
- She enjoys the weddings and reunions held in the building
- She likes to play games
Bell rang. As they changed groups to go up to the attic, Jason talked to the group about how frequently children have been seen there. Ben then came into the room and showed them the SLS camera and demonstrated it.
- The one they were talking to isn’t alone
- They were talking to a child
- They were talking to the little boy
- He likes to play ball
They had a ball and tried to get the boy to knock the ball across the room, but nothing happened.
- He said he would reveal himself to the group tonight
The session ended and the group was moving onto the basement.
After explaining all the equipment, Jason got started with his session. The bell rang as they got started. He also explained how the chairs can actually be used for communications. They make a ticking sound long after someone gets up. They started off with the Spirit Box, but they didn’t have any better results than I had in the gym. Ben was roaming around with the SLS camera and showed them how it worked. They then moved onto using dowsing rods. The group didn’t always announce the answers the rods gave. I only included the responses I could hear on the recording.
- They liked the school dances
- They watch over the children
- Ghosts like to stay at the Benton house
- They remember Elizabeth Benton
- They know the little boy who is there
They tried the Spirit Box again, but had no luck. The session ended and the group headed to the basement after a short break.
- There was a boy there with them
- He’s under ten years old
- He likes dogs
- He has brothers
- He has sisters
- He liked school
- He liked reading books
- He didn’t like to play tag
- He likes horses, playing games, music and singing
Bell rang. The groups switched out for the expanded areas. Jason mentioned that he saw a shadow move across the door.
- He had a dog and a lot of friends
- There are other children there
- He knows the little girl who is there
- The little girl is not his sister
As the session was coming to an end, my recorder caught the whistling sound that my group heard in the gymnasium. No one in Jason’s group heard it.
It was an interesting investigation. All of the groups got the same responses without any prior knowledge of what the group before them discovered. From what we know, here is who was there with us:
- A little boy who was around 10 years-old.
- He had a sister, but it wasn’t the little girl who was there
- He also had a brother. Neither sibling was there.
- He liked ball, dogs, games (except for Tag)
- He liked school, reading, music and singing
- A little girl between the age of 10-12 years-old
- She was wearing a dress
- She lives in the building
- She likes playing games
- A woman who was between 15 and 20 years-old
- She had a child, but wasn’t married (she told one group she was married). She wouldn’t talk about the child.
- She can leave to visit family members who are still alive
- She likes the weddings and receptions
- She doesn’t like Christmas, but does like Halloween
- She didn’t have any pets
- No family members were there with her
- None of the other ghosts there were her friends
- She likes the weddings and receptions
- She went to school in New Harmony
- She didn’t have any pets
- A man – no age was determined
- He didn’t work there and wasn’t married
- He gave us no further information. He only popped in one time.
- A man in the basement
- He drowned
- He might have been there during the Harmonist period, because he talked about Father Rapp.
- He didn’t move East with the group, but knew they were going (was he already dead?)
- He had children a long time ago
- He wanted help, but didn’t respond to offers of assistance
- A grumpy man in the basement
- He swore a lot and didn’t seem to like women
- He wouldn’t provide any other information
- A woman in the basement
- Not a lot of details were provided about her. The men kept talking over her.
- Possibly one more male. They said there were four of them and Traci heard several male voices.
Thank you to everyone who came out to investigate with us. Special thanks to my team who literally made this possible!