About jonimayhan

Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator and the author of true paranormal best-sellers, Bones in the Basement, Devil's Toy Box and The Soul Collector. Check out her website: Jonimayhan.com

Culbertson Mansion Investigation Review 8-25-18

Culbertson

 

One of the greatest misconceptions we make as paranormal investigators is to go into a location with expectations of who we are going to find haunting the building. Such was the case in the historic Culbertson Mansion.

Haunted New Harmony hosted a public paranormal investigation at the 20,000 square foot Second-Empire mansion on August 25, 2018 with half the profits going directly back to the historic site. Thirty-three people attended the event which sold out three days after it was posted online. Most of them left with experiences they couldn’t explain.

The Culbertson Mansion is located in New Albany, Indiana, near the banks of the mighty Ohio River. It was built by William Culbertson, who was once the richest man in Indiana. The home has soaring hand-painted fresco ceilings, a carved rosewood-grained staircase, marble fireplaces and crystal chandeliers. Walking into the mansion is a visual delight. Many of us found it difficult to concentrate on the ghosts because we were so taken back by the opulence.

40085246_10218633340524114_7300263776819871744_nAfter a presentation on the history and hauntings of the building, we split up into three groups. They were led by Mary and Gary, who are both volunteers at the mansion and Kaitlyn Tisdale, who works for the Culbertson Mansion Historic Site.

Haunted New Harmony’s team of paranormal investigators were stationed on each floor and remained there for the duration of the night for consistency.

DSCN6060.JPGFirst Floor

I was the investigator on the first floor and held most of my sessions in the formal dining room. The three groups each spent an hour with me and we utilized a variety of methods. With each of our groups, we start out by situating all the participants in a circle in folding chairs. This keeps the group quiet to prevent noise contamination that will be picked up on our digital recorders. Ghosts often communicate with us in a frequency we can’t hear with our ears, but can record with our recorders.

We started out with a straight EVP session, where we went around the circle and asked questions of the ghosts who lingered nearby. We then used the Spirit Box. A Spirit Box is a specialty piece of paranormal equipment that scans rapidly through the radio stations. The ghosts are able to talk to us, using the white noise. We record these sessions on a digital recorder and review them later because we often don’t catch what is said at the time. We then moved on to a dowsing rod session. We’ve found that many nineteenth and twentieth century ghosts aren’t keen on our electronic devices, but will communicate through dowsing rods. This was the case at the Culbertson Mansion as well.

40066125_10218633339524089_6717238643745882112_nWe also utilized several devices that recorded changes in the electromagnetic fields. EMF detectors such as the Mel Meter and KII meters are often a valuable tool. Ghosts will use these to interact with us, but we didn’t have a lot of success with them at the mansion.

Throughout all three sessions on the first floor, I felt as though the activity was fairly low. Several people felt as though they were touched and a few people thought they saw movement in the shadows, but that was all. It wasn’t until I reviewed the audio recordings that I realized how active the night truly was.

One thing that was curious happened with the Spirit Box. We kept hearing the same male voice come across the speaker. He was somewhat sarcastic at times, but we couldn’t always make out what he was saying. We heard him clearly during my first group but didn’t hear him as often during the second and third group. It turns out, he just switched floors. We have his voice on the audio recorded on the other floors.

During one of our Spirit Box sessions, someone asked what Christmas was like in the mansion. “It’s been a long time,” was the response.

Listen to it here:

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/1st-floor-2nd-group-sb-what-was-christmas-likebeen-a-long-time

During my second group, someone felt as though they were touched on the knee. A voice on the Spirit Box immediately chimed in with “My dear.”

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/1st-floor-2nd-group-sb-did-you-pat-me-on-the-kneemy-dear

40083548_10218633337604041_7058569964025806848_nPerhaps one of the more chilling recordings I heard all night came during my third group. Two voices came on the Spirit Box, talking about me. “Where’s Joni,” one voice said. Then another voice responded with, “Oh, there’s Joni.” I’ve heard my name on the Spirit Box several times before but have never had them actively looking for me, which was a bit creepy.

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/1st-floor-3rd-group-sbwheres-jonioh-theres-joni

All through the night, each group kept asking for members of the Culbertson family to talk to us. If any of them spoke to us, they didn’t identify themselves. It made me realize that we came in, expecting to find them there and directed most of our conversations in their direction. What we didn’t think about was the others who might have drifted in.

A person doesn’t have to die in a building or even live there to haunt it. Sometimes they come in with other people and just decide to stay. Other times, they might have died nearby and drifted in because they were drawn there. We kept asking for their names all night and didn’t get a response until the third group visited my floor.

It was almost as though it took them all night to trust us. Out of the blue, they began telling us their names. None of them were names we were expecting either. If we were hoping to hear from William, Cornelia, Blanche, Samuel or Frank, we were greatly disappointed. The names they gave were: Cheryl, Mike and Randy. Who are these people? I don’t know, but perhaps someone reading this might have a better idea.

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/1st-floor-3rd-group-sbim-cherylim-mikerandy

During the session, I had my volunteer assistant bring a small group of three or people at a time down to the basement. I’ve found that the kitchen area there is very active and wanted everyone to have a chance to experience it. Every group that went down had amazing experiences with the dowsing rods. Several people reported feeling ghostly touches and felt cold spots. Several others came back with news that they were talking to Cornelia and a boy they thought was William, junior on the dowsing rods.

Towards the end of the evening, one of the volunteers needed to leave, so my friend Paula Bundy, who was helping me for the evening, took several groups down herself. At one point, I walked away from my group in the dining room to switch out the groups. The group in the dining room continued on with the EVP session and actually recorded a ghostly voice.

I had explained earlier in the evening that it wasn’t a good idea to ask them if they wanted us to leave. My policy is: if you ask that question and they say yes, we need to leave. We’d be jerks if we stayed after getting direct communication like that. Someone asked if they were happy we were there and someone else corrected him, telling him that probably wasn’t a good question (it was actually okay). As he was discussing this, they got a response on the digital recorder. The ghost said, “They don’t know me.”

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/1st-floor-3rd-group-evp-correct-interpretation-of-the-rulesthey-dont-know-me

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the first floor investigation came at the very end of the night. Someone who attended the event brought a REM Pod device. This electronic gadget beeps when the electromagnetic frequency surrounding it is broken. We had the device sitting in the room with us all night and it never made a peep until the end of the night. It began beeping. We recorded the beeps because it almost sounded like Morse Code. Melissa Goforth, a reporter who was covering the event, sent the recording to a friend who is an expert on Morse Code. He stunned us all by telling us it was beeping out the sentence: I was born in TN. Was the participant born in Tennessee? I’m hoping this will make more sense as time goes on.

DSCN6074Second Floor

Jason Nelson headed up all the investigations on the second floor. Jason has been helping me with my Haunted New Harmony events for a year now and is well versed in the process.

Gary was the volunteer for Jason’s first group. Gary is in charge of the carriage house, where they operate the haunted house event every October. Gary has been involved with the Culbertson Mansion for many years and shared a few expenses has had.

One story was especially intriguing. He was putting makeup on several of the actors for the haunted house event. As he was finishing, a woman in a beautiful green dress came in. He saw her in the mirror, but when he turned around, she was gone. A bit later, he walked past the dining room and saw the same woman putting place settings on the table, but when he came into the room, she had vanished. He asked someone and they said it was Cornelia. There’s a painting of her there, wearing the same green dress.

Another experience happened to him in the carriage house. As he was walking up the stairs, he felt hands on his back, as if coaxing him to move up the stairs faster. When he turned, the person behind him was too far behind him to have done it.

 

During their regular EVP sessions in the main room, they didn’t capture any true EVPs, but they did catch quite a few responses on the Spirit Box. They asked if they had a nanny and the response was: breaking the rules. That didn’t make a lot of sense to us, but the response was very clear.

Another response came when they asked if they had any pets. The answer was “I don’t.”

40021524_10216711926092523_7700044529641979904_nMelissa Goforth (pictured above with her daughter Sophie), who was reporting the event for the local paper, brought her daughter Sophie with her. Normally, I don’t allow children under 15 to attend my investigations for a variety of reasons, one being that it’s a bit much for children to handle. Through some miscommunication, I didn’t realize that Sophie was under fifteen until she arrived at the mansion. The ghosts seemed to like her though, so I was glad she attended. As I reviewed all the audio from the evening, most of it occurred when her group was in the room.

During the Spirit Box session, Melissa explained that she brought her daughter and wanted to know if there were any other children there. A voice said, “I want your kiddy.” This was alarming on many levels. Was one of the souls there interested in children?

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/2nd-floor-1st-group-sb-any-children-herei-want-your-kiddy

As the session continued, someone asked if he had any hobbies. The same male voice responded with “I could drink.”

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/2nd-floor-1st-group-sb-any-hobbiesi-could-drink

They asked him if he liked games too and he responded by saying, “The game,” which was a direct intelligent response, letting us know he could hear us and was answering our questions.

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/2nd-floor-1st-group-enjoy-gamesthe-game

During the session, someone saw a smoky mist move under another participant’s chair. It moved quickly but stayed just long enough for them to see it. Was this a ghost attempting to manifest?

They did a dowsing rod session with great success. When they asked if there were any kids there, the rods pointed to yes and then turned to point directly at Sophie.

During Jason’s third group, the dowsers discovered that Frank was there and Ann was with him. Someone also smelled Frank’s cigar in the hallway. Cornelia also came through, telling them she was there. Her first husband Dudley was there too. Several people were having foot pains and it was explained that Dudley had his left foot amputated, which could have explained it.

For me, the most thought provoking Spirit Box response came towards the end of the night. Someone asked what city the ghost lived in. Normally, if we get a response to this, it’s the town we’re investigating in, which makes total sense. This time though, we were shocked. “New Harmony,” the voice said.

This made the hairs on my arms stand at attention when I heard it. Did a ghost follow us from New Harmony to New Albany? Did it stay or come back home with us?

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/2nd-floor-3rd-group-sb-name-of-your-townnew-harmony

 

34047639_10217849001516129_9009396010253811712_nThird Floor

Traci Hoehn was in charge of the third floor and I set this up for a reason. Traci is very intuitive and often picks up on the same impressions that I do. From the moment I first visited the mansion, I knew the third floor was going to be the most haunted. There’s just a vibe up there that you can’t ignore if you have any sort of six senses.

Traci took her own notes during the evening, so I’m inputting them here:

Session 1:

  • Right after Kaitlyn explained the Punishment Closet and we were talking having groups of two go out there, there was the distinct sound of the door knob to the hallway between the servant’s room and the Punishment Closet rattling. It was loud enough to be heard by the entire room.
  • “Mommy” is heard several times on the spirit box, but I couldn’t get a clear clip because on each occurrence someone in the group was also talking.

Session 2:

  • One man felt very cold while it was very hot in the room. There was no breeze around him.  I could feel the cold around his body when my hands were about an inch from him.  When he got up and moved, I sat in his chair for a moment.  I didn’t feel cold, but I noticed that his chair wasn’t even warm.  The metal seat felt cold as if no one had been sitting in it all evening.
  • The young girl felt something grabbing her foot.
  • When someone asked, “How old are you?” during the spirit box session, there were two responses: initially a voice said four quickly followed by three.
  • We got several responses through the night when asking about pets that seemed to answer dogs, cats, and possibly chickens.

 

Session 3:

  • Two women sitting near the corner where the closet is located felt cold spots.
  • One of the aforementioned women later felt a hand on her back and then playing with her hair. She felt uneasy and moved seats.  While this was going on an empty chair next to the two women continually made ticking noises.
  • The seat that was occupied by the man in Session 2 who felt cold was now occupied by a man who said he kept feeling the sense of falling backward.

Traci captured quite a few Spirit Box responses during the night. One was a very intelligent response to a question. They asked them what their favorite games were. A male voice said, “My favorite.”

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/group-3-what-is-your-favorite-game-to-playmy-favorite

When someone asked if there were any children in the room with them, they received a response that sounded like a child’s voice. I can’t make out what the child says, but the fact that a child responded makes it quite interesting.

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/group-3-is-there-any-children-in-this-room-with-us

They also recorded a true EVP during a dowsing rod session. A woman asked the rods to show her what “yes” looked like. A ghostly voice responded with “no.”

The third floor is home to a very intriguing room. It’s located down a long hallway beside the staircase and looks to be made of wood lattice, the same type you might put around the bottom of a porch. The room is just large enough for two people and has a chair in it. This room is called the Punishment Closet.

Children who were misbehaving might have been put here in a “time out,” to think about their misdeeds. It definitely has a creepy feeling to it. During the session, Jason would have the volunteer bring small groups of three to the closet to use the dowsing rods.

40037146_10216712682231426_1748324806442352640_n

Above: Sophie in the Punishment Closet (photo courtesy of Melissa Goforth)

On several occasions, the guests would discover that the rods wouldn’t operate like they had during the group. They would often spin wildly and refuse to settle down. Nearly everyone who spent time in the closet came out feeling a bit unnerved.

40212336_10218633343924199_9170369584916594688_nReview

At the end of the night, I gathered the groups together in the formal dining room and asked them to share their experiences for the evening. Everyone agreed that the third floor was the most active floor of the night. Many people came forward, telling us they felt cold spots and ghostly touches. Several people saw smoky mists attempting to form. One woman thought she heard someone whisper her name as she went down the stairs to the basement.

Someone thought they heard the name Martin and Kaitlyn said there was once a servant there named Martin. They also kept getting the number 3 come across the Spirit Box on the third floor. We couldn’t figure out any reference to the number three, but perhaps that information will become clear as time goes on.

Everyone enjoyed the punishment room and felt a lot of activity there. Everyone also loved working with the dowsing rods and felt they were getting relevant responses to their questions.

All in all, it was a great investigation. I think we learned quite a bit about the ghosts who linger there, but we’ve barely scratched the surface. The mansion hasn’t been widely investigated and the ghosts aren’t well versed on how to interact with us. Trust has to be established first. I feel they’ll become even more forthcoming in future events.

I hope to return to the mansion for another public event in November. I will post information on my website as soon as we can determine a date.

40158234_10218633344724219_7166327394947563520_n

Above: Joni Mayhan, Paula Bundy, Jason Nelson and Traci Hoehn

Thank you to everyone who came out to the event, including my team of investigators and the wonderful volunteers who were so knowledgeable and helpful throughout the night. Special thanks to Jessica Stavros and Kaitlyn Tisdale from the Indiana State Museum Sites for hosting us for this amazing event.

And also…thank you to the souls who linger there for allowing us in their space.

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The Old Rooming House – Evidence Review 3/30/18 and 3/31/18

 

IMG_6159.JPG

When my friend (and second cousin) Jim Stinson suggested we set up a paranormal investigation at his nineteenth-century era rooming house, I didn’t hesitate. After visiting The Old Rooming House numerous times, I knew it was haunted and was eager to explore it.

The Old Rooming House is an Italianate Victorian house built in 1896. While originally a family home, it was established as a classic comfort boarding house in 1949 by Mary Rickens, who charged $3 a week and expected her boarders to be “neat, clean and polite.” Mary ran her business for over 35 years, and then sold it to Jim Stinson, the current proprietor. Jim remodeled the house, adding extra bathrooms and varnishing the hardwood floors. Since then he’s continued to add to the house’s impressive collection of vintage travel memorabilia, antique furniture, and much-loved books.

People who stay there feel a sense of peace and relaxation. For many, the experience of stepping back in time provides them with an opportunity to unwind and recharge themselves. Jim says that many people will check in with the expectation of exploring the town, only to find themselves taking a nap instead.

We decided to try something different. Instead of just hosting a ghost hunt, we required all the attendees to book a room and spend the night. This kept the groups small and gave everyone a chance to explore the haunting as well as enjoy the tranquility the Old Rooming House offers.

For me, it was a chance to explore the history of the building by going directly to the source.

March 30th Investigation

My good friend Deb Burdick came to this event, along with Jim’s next door neighbor, Jessica. Deb has a long history with The Old Rooming House, having helped Jim set it up when he opened it in the 1990’s. Rounding out the rest of the group were two families from Illinois. I knew right away that we would have a good night because the groups quickly bonded with one another. If I liked them, I was fairly certain the ghosts at the Old Rooming House would too.

29570482_10217333877438349_3722285775863174565_n.jpgDuring the opening session, I turned on my recorder and began explaining how the investigation would work. While I was talking, a woman’s whispery voice said, “I do,” in response to if they understood how to use the flashlight to communicate with us. Thirty seconds later, I felt a touch on my finger. It felt like a fly landed on me but there wasn’t a fly anywhere in the room. I mentioned it to the group and the flashlight came on immediately.

Sitting Room

29570484_10217333872398223_6725704933608415278_n.jpgWe introduced ourselves and then I passed the dowsing rods around the group. When it was Frank’s turn, his hands were shaking as he held the rods. He apologized for his shaking hands and we received an EVP at that point. The same female voice consoled him, saying “You’re fine.”

During a dowsing rod session, we learned the following information:

  • Raised a family in the house – flashlight came on
  • Mannie was in the house – both dowsing rods and flashlight
  • The fire was intentionally set
  • Leora was present – She was born in the house next door and lived there until she died at 99. When the house was 100 years old, she gave it a birthday party. She took care of her family. Since we had a surprise guest, we began asking her questions with the dowsing rods. Here are the responses:
    • She had many good memories in the house
    • There were many parties held in the house
    • She still feels the love that was made in the house
    • She was happy we were there – both dowsing rods and flashlight response

I turned on the Spirit Box and we went around the group and asked questions.

Someone asked what their favorite room in the house was. A male voice said “pink,” which was followed by a female saying “up.” We weren’t sure what they meant by that since there aren’t any pink rooms upstairs. Perhaps there used to be a pink room upstairs?

During the Spirit Box session, we heard a knocking sound coming from the floorboards. It started near Deb, knocking twice and then knocked again beside me. We spent a few minutes trying to find a natural reason for it but couldn’t.

IMG_6117Room #3

We moved upstairs to Room #3 and continued our investigation after a short break. Almost immediately, we heard a knock on the window beside me. It sounded like a knuckle rapping on glass.

We introduced ourselves again in case we were talking to someone new. As I told them we were there to communicate with them and wished them no harm, the flashlight came on quickly.

  • There were more than one there
  • Someone there studied French
  • They all get along

I was running my iOvilus during the EVP session and it said “David, threat, ticket.” That didn’t make sense to any of us, but I’m including this here in case it makes sense later.

We moved to the Spirit Box. It was fairly quiet until Heather began trying to pin down the age of the soul we were talking to. She asked if it was her age or younger and a deep female voice said, “I will be.” It was quiet for several more questions, not speaking until Ed passed when it was his turn. A clear male voice said, “Don’t stop now.”

Deb asked if she liked the work she did and a female voice said what sounds like, “I ironed.”

I decided to lighten things up a bit and asked everyone to go around the circle and tell us what their favorite pie is. The responses were mouth-watering, even to the souls residing there. After Corey said, “pumpkin,” a female voice piped up and said, “Chocolate.”

We then moved onto the dowsing rods. Since Jessica seemed to have the best responses when she used them, I asked her to hold the rods while everyone asked questions.

  • They were happy we were there
  • There were three of them there
  • They like music
  • Some of them are musicians and have played music together
  • There were three spirits there (confirming this for the second time)
  • They didn’t mind if we did another investigation (slow yes)
  • She bought the house in the 1930’s (Mannie bought it in 1947-49)
    • Richard family owned it before her. It was a residence
  • Guests were expected to be well behaved
  • She’s the one who encourages Jim to make hospital corners when making beds
  • She wishes Jim would paint the exterior
  • She had a lot of friends in New Harmony
  • They wanted us to leave the room and move to another room (the rods actually pointed to the door)

IMG_6128Room 4

We moved to Room #4 and continued with the dowsing rods.

  • Confirmed she bought the house in the 1930’s
  • One of them was a female
  • There are three of them
  • At least one of them is a musician (confirming a previous response)
  • One of them followed us from another room
  • One of them played music at dances in town
  • One of them played at the dance hall in town
  • At least one of them went to church
  • At least one of them was married
  • One of the people we were talking to was Mannie
  • She likes the way New Harmony is now
  • She sometimes leaves the house to visit other locations in town
  • She likes to go to the Labyrinth
  • She used to have picnics
  • No response when I asked if she belonged to a Women’s club
  • There were men’s clubs in town
  • One of them went to dances on the second floor of the Oddfellows Building
  • None of them knew of anyone practicing séances, table tipping sessions or spiritual gatherings
  • One of them knew Homer Fauntleroy and Mary Emily Fauntleroy
  • One of them went to the Fauntleroy Home on a tour
  • One of them went to the Opera House

Lisa asked if someone could knock on something to show us they were truly there. There was an immediate knocking sound in the hallway behind us. She continued with the dowsing rods.

  • One of them didn’t think of us as friends, but considered us guests
  • One of them was originally from New Harmony
  • One of them ventured outside of New Harmony
  • One of them plays the piano
  • No one plays the guitar
  • One of them sings a lot (the rods began spinning after the “yes” response
  • One of them sang in church
  • None of them listened to Elvis Presley but did listen to music on the radio
  • Tennessee Ernie Ford wasn’t popular then
  • One of them liked going down to the Wabash River and liked to fish
  • One of them knew Jane Owen
  • Some of them try to communicate with guests at the Old Rooming House
  • Some of them think about leaving and going somewhere else
  • None of them have lived outside the United States

We moved onto Spirit Box and had several clear responses. I asked who we were talking to and a voice came through very clearly. He said, “I’m Nick.” The response really took us back because it was so loud and clear. We began asking him other questions, but he wouldn’t respond to them. Someone asked if he’d been downstairs and he said, “Who me?” someone asked the same question again (we were getting tired at this point) and he said, “You talking to me?”

 

One of the guests had been to Antique Emporium earlier in the day and talked to the shop owner, Paula, about her resident ghost Bebe. The woman began asking if the ghosts at the Old Rooming House knew Bebe. The responses were inconclusive. We thought we heard something different than what was actually said in many cases. Someone asked if they’d gone fishing with Bebe and a voice said, “We didn’t.” It’s highly possible they didn’t know the ghost from Antique Emporium when she was alive. The time periods could have been vastly different and they might not have recognized her name. We aren’t even certain her name is Bebe. That’s just a nickname they gave her at the shop.

Since the majority of my group was from Illinois, someone asked if the ghosts had ever been to Illinois. Two voices responded. One said, “No,” and the other said, “I didn’t.”

Someone asked if we had been in their room before, earlier in the evening, and a female voice said, “We talkin’.” The same question was asked again a few minutes later (again, we were getting tired) and the ghosts cut us some slack. “You talking to me?” one of them said.

Perhaps the best response we received all night came when someone asked if any of them played the banjo. “Mannie,” was the response. This is interesting because the former owner, Mary Rickert’s nickname was Mannie.

It was getting late, so we moved downstairs to Room #1.

29597840_10217333871838209_8395921855511523026_n.jpgRoom #1

We did a Spirit Box session, but it was clear they were getting as tired as we were. We didn’t get a single response on the Spirit Box so we moved back to the dowsing rods.

  • They didn’t like the noisy box (Spirit Box)
  • There were two females and a male there
  • One of the females was Mannie
  • Leora doesn’t stay there but popped in to say hi
  • No response when we asked if the man’s name was Nick
  • I asked if I got Nick’s name wrong and it said “yes” and the flashlight came on
  • The other female is quiet and doesn’t wish to communicate
  • The three of them aren’t related
  • They have frequent ghost visitors from other houses
  • Bebe is one of those visitors
  • One of them was born in the 1900’s
  • One of them was born in the 1800’s

We were amused to see the rods begin pointing to the next person, as though they were prompting us to move it along. We passed the rods and began asking more questions.

  • There is something valuable hidden in the house
  • They would gladly share with us
  • At least one of them drank illegally during prohibition
  • There were some speak easies in New Harmony
  • One of them likes rum
  • The Old Rooming House was never a speak easy
  • The person upstairs was Richard or “Dick” for short, not Nick
  • He was from Illinois
  • He liked to sing

After we finished that session, it was clear that everyone was tired. We concluded our investigation by thanking the residents for allowing us in their space and everyone went to bed. As expected, they all slept soundly.

Evidence Review 3-31-18

26239617_10217342851502695_4938380083895197951_nI returned for the second investigation the following day. The second group was smaller than the first. We had two groups from the Evansville area attend. One was an experienced paranormal investigator named Donna, who attended with her friend, sister and her mother. The other group was a woman and her 13 year-old-daughter, Zoey.

We started out in the sitting room and did a quick EVP session. I like to do a burst session to start things off. A burst session is when you go around the group and ask just a few questions while recording it on a digital recorder. You then listen to the recording to see if anyone responded. Even though we got a response during my Friday night investigation, we didn’t get anything this time.

We then moved onto dowsing rods. I demonstrated how to use them and then passed them around the group, inviting everyone to try them. Not everyone is adept at dowsing. Some people are just a natural conduit, while others are not.

  • There was someone there with us
  • The person was a female
  • She was happy I came back again
  • There wasn’t anything we did the previous night that they didn’t like
  • She watches over the guests and makes sure they are okay
  • Her name was Mannie
  • She had trouble with some guests over her time there
  • She liked to plant flowers
  • She liked her guests to be comfortable
  • She liked roses
  • She loved New Harmony
  • She has ridden in a horse and buggy

I then went to Spirit Box.

I told them that they are going to fix the old Harmony Way bridge and asked if she knew that. A voice came through and said, “You can watch me.”

Room 3

IMG_6137.JPGWe started out with a dowsing rod session. I was curious to see if Leora was there with us and received a “no” response. I continued on.

  • Manny was friends with Leora
  • I asked if Manny was married and got a very slow no response (her husband died before she did)
  • She said she did not have children
  • She liked her guests to be polite, neat and clean
  • We got a slow “yes” response when asked if she fed her guests. (she fed the ones who stayed with her for long periods)
  • She had an automobile
  • It’s okay for them to come back and visit again
  • She had people there to clean for her – Mannie did most of it herself
  • She had trouble with guests before
  • We asked about the fire. It damaged the home but no one was hurt.

We didn’t know it at the time, but we actually recorded a ghost voice responding to the question just after the dowsing rods crossed. It said, “no.”

  • The building was repaired quickly after the fire (it actually sat empty for a year)
  • The fire was set intentionally
  • It was the only major fire they had there (we asked more questions about the fire and who set it but the person is still alive, so I don’t want to disclose this information publicly)
  • They played board games there
  • Mannie liked children
  • She had many favorite guests who returned again and again
  • Someone has tried to break in before
  • A guest died there and is still there – died of natural causes (heart attack)
  • She allowed pets to be there, but only certain animals
  • She liked dogs more than cats
  • Women were treated equal when she owned the rooming house
  • She’s happy that Jim keeps the place neat and clean
  • She knew they were coming before they got there
  • She liked all color roses
  • She had a garden
  • She had chickens at one time
  • She loved animals
  • She visits places around town, including shops, churches and restaurants
  • She comes and goes as she pleases
  • People see a white light when they pass
  • Passing is much easier than what people think
  • There is an afterlife
  • It’s a continuous circle

We then moved to Spirit Box. We didn’t get a tremendous amount of responses, but the ones we did receive were intelligent.

Someone asked if there was anyone on the staircase. “To the right,” was the response. It was enough to make us go out into the hallway to look. We didn’t see anything, but it was still an interesting response.

Since we felt we had been talking to Mannie for most of the evening, we frequently checked in to make sure she was still with us. When someone asked if Manny was still there, a voice said “Manny.” It wasn’t necessarily confirmation of her presence, but it was validation that the ghosts in the house could hear us and respond clearly.

 

Someone asked if Nick was still there and a female voice said, “Nick’s escaped.” This was a bit alarming to me on several accounts. It was a very clear intelligent response…and I had a new ghost in my house. I felt it earlier that morning when I woke up. Was it possible that Nick followed me home?

At least ten minutes went past without getting a single blip on the Spirit Box. Someone asked who owns the rooming house and a voice said something that sounded vaguely like “Jimmy,” came through, followed by “old coat.” I asked the owner about this and he said that a man named Bob often came to the Rooming House and died several years ago (not on the premises). Jim went to a yard sale some time later and bought one of Bob’s old coats.

We took a break and resumed our investigation in Room 4.

IMG_6135.JPGRoom #4

We started out with the Spirit Box but didn’t get anything clear so we moved to dowsing rods.

  • Nick was married
  • He had children
  • He lived out of state
  • He stayed there often (slow yes)
  • He liked Manny
  • Room 4 was the room he often stayed in
  • They were allowed to bring women up to their rooms
  • They asked if he was married and this time got a “no”
  • We began to wonder if we were talking to two different ghosts and the answer was yes.
  • Nick was a businessman
  • He knew about the fire but wasn’t staying there when it happened
  • He had a dog who sometimes stayed with him
  • He stayed there for long periods of time
  • The other female who is there wasn’t there when Nick was there

I began asking questions about afterlife and the rest of the group joined in.

  • They’d never been to Heaven
  • They do see a while light when they die and can decide whether to go into it or not
  • She didn’t leave because she didn’t want to leave the house
  • There isn’t a hell
  • When people die, they never go to a bad place
  • Everybody is welcome in Heaven
  • Every person has spirit guides
  • Some people have more than one
  • It said that I had three, which surprised me because I thought I only had two. Then I remembered my grandma Nanny who has been with me all my life. They confirmed this.
  • Everyone went around the room and asked about their spirit guides. Nearly everyone had more than one and many had relatives watching over them.
  • We choose to come back and live new lives (reincarnation)
  • We make contracts when we come back
  • If people choose not to go through the light, they can cross over later

 

IMG_6143.JPGRoom 1

We talked for a bit and then did a Spirit Box session. After nearly ten minutes without receiving a single response, we turned it off. I played a few songs from their time period to see if I could generate any activity, but it was apparent the ghosts were getting as tired as we were. We ended up having a long conversation about pendulums. One of the members of the group had one, so she pulled it out and we demonstrated how to use it.

We didn’t receive any more responses, so we called it a night.

All in all, it was a great experience for everyone involved. It wasn’t a scary ghost hunt. It was a way to connect directly with the people who created the history of the property. We were honored for the chance to communicate with them.

 

Thank you to Jim Stinson at the Old Rooming House for his hospitality. Like many of the buildings in New Harmony, I felt that the building was gently haunted. A former owner and a guest or two loved it so much they decided to stick around.  Most people wouldn’t even know about it unless they pursued it like we did.

For more information about the Old Rooming House: http://www.oldroominghouse.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do Your Ears Ring When a Ghost is Nearby?

Clairaudience

For many years, I blamed my frequent ear-ringing on a common medical condition called Tinnitus. When I would hear the sound, which often ranged in pitch and tone, I would blame it on the loud music I listened to as a teenager. But then I began to notice something strange.

When I would turn my head, the sound would either get louder or softer and I would also get the unnerving sensation that someone was watching me. Was this truly tinnitus or was it something else?

10297756_10208596438887846_3588367893016507105_n(Above) My ears were definitely ringing at the Spider Gates Cemetery in Leicester, Massachusetts

After years of experimenting with this, I began to realize that I was actually hearing something that no one else could detect. I was hearing ghosts.

People who experience the paranormal through their hearing are Clairaudient. In Latin, this means “clear hearing.” Many people who are Clairaudient hear actual voices or music, while many others hear tones like I do.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, test it. Turn your head to see if the sound is constant or if it seems to originate from a specific direction. I can pinpoint the location of the ghost by using this ability, telling me where in the room the entity is standing. I’ve also learned to pull information about the ghost by the pitch of the tone.

For me, a very high crystalline pitch signifies a spirit, someone who has crossed over into the light. It might be a spirit guide or a family member coming to check on me. A tone that sounds more like fuzzy static is a ghost, someone who is earth-bound. Within this tone, the pitch might be high or low. A higher pitch is always connected to women or children entities. A lower pitch is usually attributed to a male entity.

As with many people, as I began working with my abilities instead of running from them, I began to grow stronger. New abilities began appearing, almost like magic. If I tuned into the tones, I began getting pictures in my mind of the ghost I was hearing. Over time, this advanced into pulling more information. After I tuned in, I would get the picture in my mind, but also began getting information about the person.

On one recent case, I was checking out an old house for a friend. I knew nothing about the location and warned my friend to remain quiet while I walked the premises.

Almost immediately, I began hearing a tone. It was high pitched, which meant it was female. I saw her as being an older woman with a roundish face and a button nose. I saw her carrying a black book with her, which I interpreted as being a Bible. I thought she might be a widow because I saw her alone. She was determined in life and retained that quality in death. I sat down later that night and drew the image I saw in my head. After I sent it to my friend, he was astonished. It looked very similar to a woman who had once lived in the house next door to his property. He confirmed that she was a widow and was very religious. She’s actually been seen in spirit-form inside the house before but was often accompanied by a special-needs daughter who she spent her life caring for. I didn’t see the daughter, but I often only see/feel one at a time, so this didn’t surprise me. The stronger ghost usually comes forward for me.

IMG_2673(Above) The photo of the ghost I drew side-by-side with the actual photograph of the woman who I might have seen. I doctored the image since she still has relatives in the area.

If you hear frequent ear-ringing, try the following tips:

  • Turn your head. If the sound remains constant, you probably have Tinnitus. If it doesn’t, you might be Clairaudient.
  • Try to find the source of the sound. Often times, there will be a cold spot in that location as well.
  • Watch your pets. My cats were excellent validation for me when I was first working on this ability. I would track the area the sound was coming from and then watch my cats, who were actively staring at the same spot.
  • If you have paranormal equipment, use this to communicate after you hear the ear-ringing. I’ve recorded many EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomena) on my digital voice recorder after pinpointing an active spot in the area. You might also get higher readings with an electromagnetic meter (EMF) in that spot.

As someone who is a bona fide ghost magnet, I feel the need to caution you about expanding any metaphysical abilities. As the ghosts become more visible to you, you also become more visible to them. Learn how to ground and shield yourself and always have a backup plan in place in case something follows you home.

 

Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator and the best-selling author of 17 paranormal books. She also teaches Paranormal 101 classes in the town of New Harmony, Indiana. To learn more about Joni’s books, click on the photo below.

book covers for business cards NEW

 

 

 

 

Sweethearts Ghost Hunt Investigation Review 2/17/18

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I learn something new from every investigation and this one was no different. The Ribeyre Gymnasium was the perfect location for a ghost hunt. Built in 1924 to serve as the sports center for the local New Harmony school system, the gymnasium has witnessed a tremendous amount of history during the past century.

The gymnasium was only a year old when a tragic F5 tornado swept through the nearby town of Griffin, IN, and nearly wiped the town off the face of the earth. Many of the injured and dead were brought to New Harmony, with the gymnasium being used as a temporary morgue.

Since that time, strange occurrences have been reported. People often hear voices, footsteps, and doors slamming in empty rooms and the apparitions of two children have been seen frequently. During my first Sweethearts Ghost Hunt investigation at the gymnasium, many of us witnessed a child poking his/her head out of the bathroom door. Others saw movement on the balcony. While we didn’t visually witness the apparitions during this investigation, we had enough experiences to validate the haunting of the Ribeyre Gymnasium.

After a presentation and a lasagna dinner, we divided into two groups of 12 people. Crystal Folz, my friend who has helped me with many other events, took one group to the Annex building, while I took another group of 12 to the basement. Assisting us with the night was Paula Bundy, my childhood friend who helps me with my events and Shannon DeLap, my local New Harmony friend.

 

Basement – Small Room at the base of the stairs

27973484_10216903707204362_1911629265521360449_nMy group started out together in the small room in the basement at the foot of the stairs. I wanted them to experience an EVP session together before we divided into two smaller groups. I passed around my dowsing rods to let everyone experience them. Several people were blown away by how the rods move on their own. I then pulled out some of my equipment, including my Mel Meter and KII meter, which measures electromagnetic energy fluctuations, which can sometimes signify a ghostly presence.  As soon as we introduced the meters, especially the KII, I had everyone turn their cell phones onto airplane mode. When our phones search for signals or receive data, it can cause the KII meter to register. Knowing that everyone’s phones were discontinued from getting a signal gave us the confidence to know that all readings on the meter were legitimate.

Two members of our group came with a plethora of equipment. Al and Judy traveled from northern Indiana and spent the day walking around New Harmony, taking in the sights. One of the gadgets they brought was a Phasmabox program they ran off a tablet. (http://www.extremesenses.com/software/phasmabox.htm).

It took Al and Judy a few minutes to get the device running, so I asked the group if they could feel the ghosts coming into the room. Several members of our group have had profound paranormal experiences and attended to gain more insight.

As soon as the Phasmabox was operating, we started getting strange responses. This program apparently scans online radio stations and works similarly to the Spirit Box without the choppiness.

Here’s an example of what we heard. After about twenty seconds it said, “This in twenty seconds.”  It wasn’t in response to a question. It just said it. None of us could make it out at the time. I had to section it out and listen to it with headphones to make it out.

Judy said, “What did you want to ask us?” The device said, “Are you happy?” What I found to be strange was the fact that the voice that responded sounded very similar to me, even though I didn’t say a word.

Al then asked how many were in the room with us. It immediately answered, “Six.” Judy then asked if they could tell us their names. A female voice came through and said, “Two men with us.”

I honestly wasn’t sure what to make of the Phasmabox. Many of the sounds it made were nonsensical. We couldn’t understand what it was saying, but other times, it was as clear as day. One person asked if they lived in New Harmony. The response was, “Been around.”

 

After almost a half hour, I took half the group to the large area in the basement that has the dirt floor. Paula stayed with the remainder of the group and continued with the Phasmabox.

As soon as my group was gone, the Phasmabox said a few things that made no sense, but then said very clearly, “We’ve lost some.” Was it referring to the fact that half our group left?

They also had a strange response come through that no one understood at the time. It might just be my ears hearing this, but I swear the Phasmabox said, “We want Joni Mayhan to talk to us.” Listen for yourself and let me know what you think.

The group continued to ask questions and during one of the lulls in responses, my digital recorder caught this beauty. “I said, who farted?” If we hadn’t been getting some pretty relevant responses to this point, I would have sworn this was a lark, but it’s hard to dismiss.

The group asked my favorite question and got a great response. I always hold up several fingers and ask them how many fingers they see. I do this for several reasons. Firstly, I want to know if they can actually see us. Secondly, I want to validate the responses we are getting from our ITC devices. There is a lot of skepticism regarding the Spirit Box, so validation is important. Al held up two fingers and asked the question. “Two,” was the very eery response.

After twenty minutes, I brought my group back and had Paula’s group switch places with me.

As soon as my group settled back into the small room, I noticed that one of the recently vacated chairs was making ticking sounds. While it is natural for the chairs to ease back into position after someone gets up from them, the sounds continued long after it should have. I commented to the group about it. Upon audio review, I learned that we caught an EVP at that moment. A whispery voice said, “Chairs tick!” right after I finished speaking.

I was determined to show them how amazing the Spirit Box is when it’s working, so I turned it back on for a few rounds of questions. We went around the group several times and the only response we got was a male voice, telling us to “go!”

When it was Crystal’s group’s turn in the basement, they divided up immediately. Shannon took half the group to the large room, while Crystal stayed in the small room at the base of the stairs with the rest of the group. Crystal’s group immediately began getting hits on the KII meter, which could signify a ghostly presence. This was the first time the meter had blinked all night. Crystal made sure everyone’s cell phones were turned off.

They began using it as a tool for communicating. It came on when they asked if it was a male but didn’t answer any more questions. They moved onto the dowsing rods. They learned:

  • They were talking to a male – he said he wasn’t young
  • He was frightened
  • He was from Griffin

When they asked if he lived on a farm, they got two responses, one from the dowsing rod and an EVP.

After a while, they stopped getting responses. They did what my group did earlier in the same spot and began chatting about the paranormal. Sometimes backing away from the investigation and lightening the mood gives them the courage to move closer. Using the dowsing rods, they asked if someone was preventing them from answering. The rods answered “no.”

They started to move their chairs to make room for Shannon’s group, who weren’t getting any results, and the KII lights started going off again.

Crystal asked if all the movement was stirring them up and the meter flashed again.

One member of the group began asking questions about the Griffin tornado. She told them that she had once been through a tornado too and asked if they were scared when it happened. The digital recorder picked up a faint EVP that said, “I don’t know.” The voice was male and sounded like an adult. The dowsing rods began moving towards yes but paused at the same time they recorded the EVP.

 

img_3914

Large Room with the Dirt Floor in the Basement

When my group was in the basement, Paula took half the group into the larger room with the dirt floor. As soon as they turned on the Phasmabox, a girl’s voice came through. The group thought she said, “Someone help me,” but upon later review, I couldn’t really make out what she said. It almost sounded like, “someone there” but it wasn’t clear enough to consider a valid response. Seconds later, Judy asked, “What do you need help with?” A female voice said, “Help me.” They misinterpreted it at the time as “everything.”

They continued to talk to the Phasmabox and got quite a few responses that were difficult to interpret. They asked it to make the lights change on the KII device and it flickered to yellow. Al told them to make it go red and a voice came through and said “green.”

When it was my turn to bring a group into the dirt-floor room, we started with a Spirit Box session but received no responses after a few minutes, so we turned it off. We ended up just sitting and talking while running the audio recorder. We didn’t record any EVPs but had a good conversation about the ghosts in the building.

 Crystal’s Group in the Dirt-Floor Room

Crystal’s group found the larger room to be fairly quiet too. They passed around the dowsing rods and began getting some interesting responses.

Dowsing Rod responses:

  • They don’t consider it to be a quiet place
  • There were several ghosts there

The group began hearing voices talking, so Crystal checked with the other basement group, who said they were also hearing voices. It could have been from my group upstairs, but we were in the far end of the Annex. She decided to just monitor it since she couldn’t find a source of the voices. They continued with the dowsing rods.

  • They were afraid to talk to them (slow yes)
  • They were talking to a child
  • It wasn’t a little girl
  • There were more than one of them
  • They were siblings
  • He was there with his sister (slow yes)
  • They were from the 1920’s (fast yes)
  • His father worked there (also confirmed with a faint EVP that said “yeah”)
  • He played at the banks of the Wabash River
  • He liked to go swimming in the Wabash River
  • He helped his dad a lot
  • He liked to help his dad (fast yes)
  • His dad didn’t work on the ferry
  • His dad worked in town in New harmony (fast yes)
  • His dad worked in a shop

Shannon’s Group in the Dirt-Floor Room

Shannon’s turn in the larger room was similar to the rest of our experiences. As with every group, they were fascinated by the foundation and structure. Shannon commented that it almost looked like they were in an episode of Stranger Things.

They started off with a Spirit Box session. Everyone asked very good questions but didn’t get any responses. During the middle of the session, Crystal came into the room to ask them if they were also hearing people talking. Shannon told her that they were hearing voices too but couldn’t pinpoint the location of where the voices were coming from. The room suddenly grew colder, something everyone in the group felt.

After several minutes, one of the members of the group felt something poke her shoulder. The room seemed to grow even colder. Shannon reported she also felt something touch her leg and wondered if someone was standing between the two of them.

During their session, they noticed that the lights would periodically dim. They began attempting to use the lights for interaction, asking the ghosts to dim the lights. While the lights did appear to dim, the reaction was too delayed to consider it as a valid response.

Shannon also felt something move the recorder. It happened after Rosemary asked if they were from Griffin, so she wondered if it was a response to the question.

28056323_10216903709164411_6922133234180398068_n

Annex

We were all stunned to realize that the Annex was the most active spot in the entire building. I went in with a preconceived notion that I would find more ghosts in the basement than anywhere else, but I was wrong.

Crystal’s group was the first group to investigate this room. She started out by explaining the equipment to everyone and showed them how to use the dowsing rods. She set up the laser grid and directed it so it shone against the far wall. If something walked through the light grid, it’s easier to see.

She then explained how the Spirit Box worked and gave them a quick demonstration. She also explained how the KII and Ghost Meter worked and instructed everyone to turn their cell phones on airplane mode so they wouldn’t interfere.

They then settled in for a dowsing rod session. Here’s what they learned:

  • He/she was a child
  • He/she didn’t grow up here. Crystal explained that the Owens often brought orphans into their group (the Harmonists did this too) so they might not understand the question.
  • He was a boy (I also got a very faint EVP “yes” here on the digital recorder.
  • He likes to go outside and play
  • He didn’t have any pets
  • He wasn’t originally from New Harmony (this was a good questions because it confirmed an earlier response)

Several people heard a woman’s voice towards the back of the room, so they began directing questions towards her.

  • She confirmed she was a woman
  • She confirmed that she just spoke aloud

Crystal sent Shannon into the gymnasium to get the pinwheel and explained to the group that some of the older souls residing there weren’t comfortable with our electronic gear and might be more inclined to communicate by spinning the pinwheel. As they settled back into the session, there was a strange moaning sound in the background. It almost sounded like an animal moaning. No one in the group heard it at the time.

 

Several people began seeing shadows moving in the gymnasium by the stage through the open door.

They continued with the dowsing rods, directing questions towards the woman. They noticed that when she answered, the dowsing rods responded in a different manner than they had when they talked to the boy, regardless of who was holding them. Only one rod would cross this time.

  • She didn’t remember the man who used to fix the clock
  • She likes hanging around the gymnasium
  • She wasn’t from New Harmony
  • She came with someone to New Harmony

Crystal then turned on the Spirit Box, but continued to use the dowsing rods.

  • The person was from Griffin (dowsing rods)
  • There were no responses on the Spirit Box

Crystal then divided the group and sent half the group up to Attic #1 with Shannon and gave them fifteen minutes to see what they could find.

She continued with the dowsing rods:

  • The woman moved here for a job
  • She lived in New Harmony
  • She didn’t live on a farm (this was also confirmed by a faint EVP that said “didn’t”)
  • She worked in New Harmony

They began noticing the chair clicks at that point. The other group had already been gone for over ten minutes, so the chair shouldn’t have still been settling.

  • She wasn’t a coach for any of the athletic groups

They asked if the boy was still there and got a “yes” response on the dowsing rods

  • He confirmed that he was playing with the chairs
  • He likes causing trouble
  • He’s the one who peeks out of the bathroom
  • There are other children there with him
  • Tracy had a video camera pointed on the bathroom door and asked if the boy would peek out of the doorway for her camera. He said yes via the dowsing rods.

Shannon came back down with the first group and brought the second group up to the attic.

Crystal continued with the dowsing rods with the other half of the group who had been in the attic.

  • The woman didn’t come to the event with someone in the group
  • When they asked if she was a child, the rod wavered back and forth (young woman?)
  • She didn’t like to play sports
  • She wasn’t an indoor person
  • She had something else she wanted to tell them
  • She wanted to tell them something about herself
  • When asked if she had unfinished business, the rods responded with a “yes” but went very slowly
  • There is someone she needs to talk to (fast yes)
  • The person is a member of her family (fast yes)
  • The family member was in the room

Crystal is a psychic medium and began picking up on the fact that the person probably was there with a member of the group and not a ghost hanging around the building. While she was reluctant to do a reading, she let the event run its course.

  • She was there with a male
  • She wanted to tell the male that she loved him
  • The male was her son

At that point, the woman realized the spirit who was talking to them was her husband’s deceased mother. It was an emotional moment for the woman and her husband, but they wanted to push through it and get as much information as possible. Crystal made sure both of them were comfortable continuing, so they did.

  • The woman confirmed her name
  • She knew her son was loved and well cared for now

Her husband took the rods and began communicating with his mother.

  • She knows that he’s okay
  • She’s at peace
  • She’s a little worried about him (dowsing rods responded slowly)
  • She knows that he loves her (fast yes)
  • Crystal then talked to the group about what they’d just experienced. One person said she felt validated after having experiences all her life. They were all amazed at the experience, having used the dowsing rods themselves and seeing how they moved.

Joni’s Group in the Annex

My group was the second group in the Annex building. As soon as we sat down, I told everyone to keep an eye out on the bathroom doorways. During the last investigation, a handful of us saw a head peek out of the doorway. I also explained that the ice machine in the kitchen often dumps a load of ice into the bin, making a loud crashing noise.

We started the session and I asked if there was anyone there who wanted to communicate with us. Immediately, the ice machine made a crashing noise that caused us all to laugh.

We started a Spirit Box session and got an immediate response. I asked if they could spin the pinwheel we had on the floor and a female voice said, “no.” I bring out the pinwheel because we had some luck with it at another investigation. I like to provide low tech options to them as well as our high-tech gadgets.

Al and Judy had a lot of equipment, so I invited them to bring out their SB-11 Spirit Box. The model I use is the SB-7. The SB-11 is essentially two of my devices put together. They scan simultaneously, one scanning backwards and the other scanning forwards, to prevent any radio interference.  The results were a mixed bag. While we did seem to get some responses, they were too faint to make out, even later with headphones on.

After a few minutes of this, I decided to take four people up to the first attic to see what we could find up there.

Paula stayed with the other half of the group and they continued using the SB-11 Spirit Box.

In reviewing the audio recorded during this session, it was difficult to understand some of the responses. The SB-11 seems to produce so much white noise; it’s hard to hear the voices.

Someone asked if they were married. A male voice said, “I am.”

“Did you ever go swimming in the Wabash?” Paula asked. “No,” was the faint response.

I came back down a few minutes later and Paula took her group to the attic. I left my SB-7 Spirit Box running. I also left my flashlight up there. As soon as her group got up to the attic, they sat down and asked if anyone was there. The flashlight came on immediately.

Someone asked what his name was and the response was amusing. “Pony Boy,” a voice on the Spirit Box said. Was he a big fan of The Outsiders?

The flashlight remained off until someone asked if they liked playing with it. It immediately came on for the second time.

Some time went on and the flashlight remained off. Someone asked if they liked it when I brought groups there and it came back on.

It remained off until someone asked if they could turn it on again. It immediately came back on, and then stayed off.

“Are there seven people with you?” someone asked. They heard something, but couldn’t make it out. “Is that a yes?” he asked. “Yes,” was the clear response.

I went upstairs and brought the group back to the Annex building, where Al had his Phasmabox going again. We all rejoined the group and started asking questions.

“Do you know what color my car is? Did you see me drive up?” I asked. It responded with “yellow” immediately. It was the wrong answer because my car is red, but the fact that it provided an actual color was interesting to me. Was this really working?

I took a group up to Attic #1 and when I returned, I decided to work with the dowsing rods. I was feeling there were two females there and the dowsing rods confirmed this. I noticed Kylie staring at my chair with a look of horror on her face, so I stopped and asked her what was wrong. Apparently, after I sat my phone on the empty chair beside me, it started skittering down the seat. I was able to duplicate it once, but it wouldn’t do it again. I don’t necessarily think it was paranormal, but it was pretty creepy the way it moved and stopped, moved and stopped.

Al turned back on his Phasmabox and let it run for a while. After someone asked what his name was, he said, “It’s Houston.”

Still not convinced the program was really the afterlife speaking to us, I decided to test it. I asked questions that only had one answer. I asked what town we were in and didn’t get a response. I held up three fingers and asked how many fingers I was holding up. No response. There have been many times when I’ve wondered if some of the communication we’ve had come through the Spirit Box, and in the Phasmabox, were coming though the machine, almost like “ghost telephones.” I often ask direct questions to test this theory and I’ve only had a correct response twice, both while I was living in Massachusetts. Was it possible we were just talking “long distance” to someone in the spirit world? I’m not sure but I’ll definitely keep asking.

After a few more minutes, we broke for break.

 

27972560_10216903707964381_2260420697075127722_nAttic #1 (to the left of the stage)

Shannon brought two groups up to the first attic. During her first session, she felt someone rubbing her neck and back. Another person felt very wobbly up there and reported having a difficult time trying to breathe. This is something the group from the previous week also experienced. The flight of stairs is relatively short, so it wouldn’t be normal for people to be winded. They discussed it at length and said that the sensation was abnormal for them. The entire group heard what sounded like a piano playing several notes. They didn’t hear it again.

 Joni’s Attic #1 Group

I brought a small group up to the first attic. We decided to use the flashlight to communicate.

We learned that we were talking to a male. No response when we asked his age. We doubled back and asked if we were talking to a female – no response, but when we asked if it was a male, the light came on. We stopped getting responses on the flashlight so I turned on my Spirit Box. We got a few slight responses, but the heating unit clicked on at that point, so any EVPs we might have gotten were drowned out.

 

27867064_10216903708764401_8653082069185866241_n.jpgGymnasium

After our final break, the entire group investigated the gymnasium together. Due to the acoustics, we couldn’t have a group in the gymnasium while there was a group in the basement. We tested this during our test-run investigation and heard every footstep echo loudly in the basement below.

I set up several divination tools on tables around the room, inviting people to experiment with them. Included in this experiment were Rune Stones, pendulums, and a scrying mirror. Rick had some interesting results with the scrying mirror. The mirror itself is simply a black mirror that you stare at, hoping to see something appear in the mirror. Rick sat with the mirror facing the balcony in the gymnasium, a spot where children have been seen running up and down the old bleachers. He thought he saw movement in the balcony area as he used the mirror.

In the meantime, our four group leaders took small groups up to the stage area and to the second attic for small EVP sessions.

Shannon brought a group to the stage and did a ten-minute Spirit Box session. The group asked some very compelling questions but didn’t get any valid responses.

27973918_10216903736005082_5315086413038545436_nAttic #2 (to the right of the stage)

Crystal brought a small group up to the second attic and did a ten-minute Spirit Box session. Someone asked what their names were and a voice responded, “Mark.” The voice sounded high-pitched, as though it belonged to a child or young man. One member of the group thought the voice sounded like it said, “Kirk” and began directing questions to Kirk. There were no more responses which might be due to the incorrect name. The heater clicked on at that point which obliterated any further responses.

Conclusion

As the night drew to a close, we sat in a large circle in the gymnasium and discussed the evening. We did a brief Spirit Box session and only got one interesting response. I asked if they knew what day of the week it was and a voice said, “Sunday.” It was actually Saturday, but we were only ten minutes away from Sunday, so they weren’t off by much. I then went around the circle and asked everyone to tell us their favorite part of the evening.

Everyone had some sort of experience. It ranged from the young man who communicated with his mother to someone seeing shapes move on the balcony. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Rosemary heard a piano play in Attic #1. It was just a few notes, but was interesting.
  • When Shannon did a Spirit Box session on the stage, she said goodnight and they said “goodnight” back to them. She also felt someone touch her back in Attic #1.
  • Paula was amazed at the KII hits in the basement. We’ve never had much luck with it before there.
  • The dowsing rods crossed at the same time the lights flickered for one person. This happened several times.
  • Others were amazed at the relevant responses we got with dowsing rods, spirit box and the Phasmabox
  • Rick watched something moving in the balcony several times
  • Several people enjoyed the paranormal experiences because they helped them validate other events that have happened to them in their lives.

Thank you to everyone who attended the event. Special thanks go to Crystal Folz, Paula Bundy and Shannon DeLap for all your help making this event so successful.

Sweetheart’s Ghost Hunt Evidence Review – 2/10/18

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What better way to spend Valentine’s Day weekend than go on a ghost hunt? This was our intention as we hosted a Sweethearts Ghost Hunt at the Ribeyre Gymnasium in New Harmony, Indiana.

The Ribeyre Gymnasium was used during the filming of the 1992 film A League of their Own (see screenshot on the screen in the photo above) and is home to many of New Harmony’s festivals, including Christmas in New Harmony. It also has a fairly dark history.

After a F-5 tornado swept through the area in 1925 and nearly wiped out the nearby town of Griffin, Indiana, the gymnasium was used as a temporary morgue to hold the bodies. Since that time, strange occurrences have been reported at the gymnasium. Phantom children have been seen racing up the bleachers, footsteps and strange sounds have been heard, just to name a few.

(to learn more about Ribeyre Gymnasium, read my recent blog: A Haunting at Ribeyre Gymnasium)

Our first Sweethearts Ghost Hunt was quite memorable. Every single person in attendance had some sort of strange experience they couldn’t explain. Some of them were quite profound.

27973705_10216835326294882_3167437900094006380_nAfter a delicious lasagna dinner and a history presentation by your’s truly, we divided up into two groups to explore the building.

My group consisted of my friends from the Vincennes Animal Shelter in nearby Vincennes, Indiana. My sister Leah works at this shelter and I frequently visit her and paint murals of animals on their walls, so I know the ladies there well.  In that group were: Angie Stanley and her husband Bill. Angie’s daughter, Samantha Monroe,  her husband Chris, and fellow co-worker Kim Geheb. Shannon DeLap, my local friend who helped me with the event, also joined our group.

The second group was led by Meagan Patterson. Many may recognize Meagan from Community House #2, where she assists Amanda Bryden who is the Site Manager. Meagan and Amanda have co-hosted several events with Haunted New Harmony at their State Sites. Meagan’s group consisted of Eric and Rachel Maurer, who joined us in October at our Community House #2 investigation, and Dina Reid, along with her husband Dustin. Paula Bundy, my lifelong friend who helped me with the event, joined their group, as well.

The Annex Building

My group started in the Annex portion of the building.

The Annex building is connected to the gymnasium but is separated by a wall. It is often used for community events and festivals. It’s always a happy space, filled with laughter and entertainment. It is long and narrow with floors that are tiled in a checkerboard pattern. At the very end of the room is a bar and doorway that leads to the kitchen. Further beyond that are two bathrooms.

We had barely sat down when we heard a strange sound. It almost sounded like something banging into something else. When I reviewed the audio, I realized that the sound also came with an EVP. I can hear a man’s voice saying “I want.”

We brought out the Spirit Box and began getting more responses. When someone asked if we were talking to a boy or a girl, a male voice said, “Jehovah.”

We continued to get strange responses. When someone asked if they were alone, someone said, “Something talk.” When some asked why they were there, we got a response from the same voice said, “Checkpoint.”

I was sitting with my back to the door, facing the bathrooms. As I watched the bathroom doorways, I saw a small head peek out from the doorway and then pop back into the bathroom. It’s so rare to actually see the ghosts; I was amazed to have actually experienced what I was feeling.

I decided to break things up and took a small group up to the second-floor attic area to the left of the stage.

While I was gone, they started realizing that the chairs we vacated began ticking all of a sudden. The sound they made was the same sound the chair makes when someone sits down. They began asking if someone was sitting there.

“Are you here?” someone asked. A voice on the Spirit Box responded, “Right here.”

After a few minutes of silence, Angie said, “Just let us know you’re here.” The same male voice said, “Let me see,” as if he needed to check with someone first.

Angie had a lot of responses to her questions. She’s very easygoing in nature, so this didn’t surprise me. Ghosts usually pick their favorites and Angie was it. When she asked if they had any kids, a male voice said, “There’s more.”

Angie had another strange response to her questions. She asked “What’s your name?” A male voice said, “Repatine.” If anyone knows what this means, please let me know. I looked it up and couldn’t find any information about it.

While Shannon was sitting with the group, she felt someone push her chair. It was enough to propel her forward, almost to the point of pushing her right out of her chair. Everyone in the group witnessed it and was a bit unnerved by the experience.

Not long after that happened, Angie felt someone tap her shoulder several times. She turned, expecting to find someone behind her, but no one was there. As she turned around, she swore she saw something move in the corner, but it disappeared too quickly for her to make it out.

When my group came down from the attic, I immediately noticed the chairs making the same ticking sound, so I started using it to determine if the sound was coincidental or paranormal. You never know when you’re in a haunted building. The ghosts often choose their own methods of communicating.

When I asked if they were a male, there was no response. When I asked if the ghost was a woman, the chair immediately ticked.

I was elated, but still a bit skeptical. We continued to ask questions and the chair would make the same sound instantly after the question was asked but remained quiet otherwise. We learned that we had two females with us, one was a child and the other was a woman. The child said she went to school in New Harmony and had gym classes in the building. The woman didn’t respond when we asked if she was a parent or teacher. She did tell us she had brothers and sisters but wasn’t married. We asked if they played sports here and the child responded with a tick. When we went through all the sports, she said she played soccer, which was surprising. I didn’t think soccer was popular back then. I will have to check with several town historians to see if this is accurate or if we had a trickster on our hands.

Meagan’s group also saw someone peeking out of the bathroom and kitchen doorways. Nearly everyone in the group witnessed it and was astounded to actually see something paranormal. They played music from the 1920’s era in hopes of getting a response but didn’t have any luck. They also noticed the chairs ticking and thought it was strange, but didn’t attempt to communicate.

I’m always careful to not tell the new group anything that happened to us before they have a chance to experience it for themselves. I’m glad I didn’t because Dina and Dustin also saw the ghost poke its head out of both the bathroom doorway and the kitchen doorway. Both of them were astounded by what they saw. Getting to actually see an apparition isn’t something that usually happens on investigations. I’ve been on hundreds of them and have only had this happen to me four times in total.

They turned on the Spirit Box for a round of questions but had technical difficulties. Unfortunately, I neglected to fully explain the placement of the Spirit Box. It ended up too close to the digital recorder so I couldn’t pull any clear EVPs from the recorded audio. We’ll make sure we get this right the next time. Despite the technical difficulties, the group all had profound experiences in the Annex building.

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Attic #1

I brought a small group (Sam, Chris, and Kim) up to the first attic. As soon as we sat down, we started hearing taps on the window. At first, I thought it might just be the wind, so I started testing it.

“If it’s you tapping on the window, can you do it again?” I asked. There was an immediate tap on the window.

The window remained silent until we asked another question. I asked if it was okay for us to be up there and received an immediate response.

The heater clicked on almost as soon as we got started. The sound cut out most other sounds in the small space.  Soon after, the other heater clicked on and the sound was almost deafening. If we captured any EVPs during this time, they were washed out by the ambient sounds of the heaters.

Some asked if they could tap on the window again. The window had remained quiet up until that point but we got an immediate tap.

I turned on my iOvilus and after a few minutes, it spit out the word “object.” It had no relevance to what we were talking about, so I dismissed it as being a random word.

Sam asked how many of them were in the building and the iOvilus said, “Legion.” This was a bit startling for me because the word “Legion” typically signifies demons, as referenced in the Bible.

“You can knock that right off,” I said. I knew there weren’t any demons in the attic. Sometimes nasty ghosts will say things like that to scare us but it wasn’t working with me.

“Come,” it said next. Legions come? That sounded a little more frightening than I was comfortable with. It didn’t scare me because I knew there weren’t demons there. Demons feel far different to me than human ghosts, which was what we were dealing with. Was it just random words being spit out by a phone app or was it someone trying to frighten us? I wasn’t sure, but with the heaters on, we weren’t really able to fully communicate anyway, so I ended the session and we returned to the Annex building to rejoin the rest of the group.

I left the recorder running and sat it on a chair. It took the next group several minutes to make their way up to the attic. Nothing was recorded during the absence of investigators except for the heaters.

The next group came up with the Spirit Box to see if they could get any communication. This group was led by Shannon. Angie and Bill joined her. They asked if there was anyone with them and a voice responded, “I’m home!”

Meagan’s group also had some interesting experiences in Attic #1.

As they climbed the short flight of stairs, none of them felt like they could breathe. Several people in the group felt the same way the entire time they were up there. That struck me as interesting because I felt the same way when I was up there. I blamed it on a winter full of inactivity and the fact that I’m out of shape, but others felt the same way. Dina said they actually felt more uncomfortable the longer they were up there.  Rachel agreed that it was very difficult to breathe.

Something else happened that was unexplainable. As soon as they sat down, the bare bulb on the ceiling flickered on briefly before turning back off. The light was turned off, so this was a bit surprising for all of them.

They did a Spirit Box session in the attic. Dustin asked if they would tell him their names and a low voice came through. What’s interesting was that the sound wasn’t caught by the digital recorder even though everyone in the room heard it.

As the group was leaving the attic area, Rachel and Eric were in the back of the group. As they reached the first landing, they heard the distinct sound of the chairs continuing to tick. It sounded like someone was sitting in the chair, making it move.  They stood at the bottom of the stairs and listened to it. They left a digital recorder on the steps for a few minutes to see if they could capture anything. They will let me know if they do and I’ll post it here.

27655212_10216835256573139_255128775635955861_nThe Basement

Meagan’s group spent an hour in the basement. The first thing they noticed was the abrupt temperature change as they came down the stairs. They were thankful they remembered to bring jackets with them.

The basement is divided into four rooms. There is a small room at the base of the stairs that leads to two more rooms of equal size. They are separated by large hanging doors. Jutting off the middle room is the main basement area. We called this the “dirt-floor room” during the investigation because it has a dirt floor. The temperature in that room was substantially warmer too.

The bodies from the Griffin tornado were stored in the dirt-floor room, so we were expecting this to be the most active room in the entire building. While we did have some experiences, it wasn’t as haunted as several other spots in the building, which surprised me.

They did an EVP session in the first room, at the base of the stairs, but didn’t receive any EVP responses. They did have several interesting things happen though. They kept hearing a chirping sound and commented on it several times during the session, even though it wasn’t something that was picked up on the digital recorder. Rachel kept hearing the sound of fabric shifting, which wasn’t caught on the recorder either.

Dustin and Dina kept hearing sounds in the other room. It almost sounded like someone moving around, banging into things, but when they went to look, no one was there. It felt like the ghosts were there, but were hanging back.

After fifteen minutes, they brought out the Spirit Box and began asking questions. They didn’t get a single response, so they moved to another spot in the basement. While they were sitting there, they felt a sudden temperature change.  The room suddenly grew substantially colder. Eric measured it on his handheld temperature recorder and confirmed the temperature drop.

They moved into the dirt-floor room. They didn’t get any responses, neither on the Spirit Box nor through EVP. They all felt as though they were being watched the entire time. Several of them thought they saw movement at the other end of the room. At one point, they were being buzzed by an insect, which is interesting since the temperature in the basement was chilly.

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Meagan had a laser grid set up so it pointed down into the dark areas of the basement. A laser grid looks like one of those laser cat toys, with the exception that it has dozens of lights instead of just one. The theory behind it as a paranormal device is that it allows investigators to see movement in dark areas. If something walks across it, they will break the light grid and become more visible. As they sat there watching it, they noticed some substantial movement at the far end of the basement.

After an hour in the basement, they came upstairs and joined my group for a quick break.

When our break was over, my group went to the basement to see what we could find. We started out in the room at the base of the stairs, which I think was once used as the coach’s office.

Basements are almost always creepy. The visual effects of cobwebs and open rafters is enough to make most people anxious. In my experience, it’s usually a fairly haunted space. The dead often attempt to retreat from the living and basements provide the perfect spot for hiding.

I pulled out my flashlight to see if we could get any interactions with it. There is some controversy regarding using flashlights for paranormal investigations. The battery can arc and turn the light on randomly, which is why I always use a “cold” flashlight. I also watch the responses. If the flashlight seems to be coming on randomly, I stop using it. In this case, it was clear we were talking to someone. The light only came on after a question was asked.

As we introduced ourselves, the flashlight came on when Chris said his name. We decided to see if it was a response or not. We asked a series of questions and received no responses. When Chris asked if the ghost’s name was Christine, the light came on.

By experimenting with the method, we continued to ask her questions and learned that she was a teacher at the school and that she taught sports. She enjoyed coaching and was married. She was also happy we were there talking to her. We circled back around and asked if we were still talking to Christina and received a positive response.

After a while, we stopped getting responses, so we moved onto another piece of equipment. I pulled out my iOvilus. Normally, I don’t trust phone apps. Most of them simply spit out randomly generated words, but I’ve actually had good results with my iOvilus app.

The first time I used it was in my kitchen in my old house. As I turned it on, my cat George went to the back door and began meowing to get outside. The iOvilus spit out two consecutive words: George beg. I was fairly blown away by the response and have had positive results with it ever since.

I turned it on, but it remained silent for nearly ten minutes. Finally, it spit out the word, “salaran.” I didn’t know what that meant and had to look it up later. It means “drainage.”

After a few minutes, it said, “recuse,” which means to take back.

Then it said, “measure hundred.”

The responses didn’t make sense to me, so I’m not convinced it was paranormal, but wanted to mention it here in case it is relevant to someone who knows the history of the building.

After about twenty minutes, I decided to switch things up. I moved half the group to the big area in the basement with the dirt floor and left the other half of our group in the room right outside the doorway. Neither group received any responses in the room outside the door to the dirt-floor room.

In the dirt-floor room, we did receive several responses on the Spirit Box. When asked if they remembered the sinking of the Titanic, we heard a male voice say, “I did.”

We asked quite a few more questions without hearing any responses, so Angie asked if they were shy. The same male voice said, “yes.”

When someone asked if they liked horses, the same male voice said, “I do.After a few more minutes, the clocktower bells rang, signaling the end of our basement session. We gladly made our way up the stairs to warm up.

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The Gymnasium

After another brief break, we moved to the gymnasium. I had set up several divination methods at various stations around the room for everyone to try. Divination tools have been used for centuries to communicate with spirits and spirit guides. Included in my collection were pendulums, Runestones, and a scrying mirror.

While everyone branched off to experiment with the Divination tools, I had several smaller groups investigate the stage, while others investigated the second attic area.

 Attic #2

The second attic is located to the right of the stage and is used for storage. I wasn’t even aware the room existed until the night of the investigation and was eager to explore it. Like basements, attics are often the places where the ghosts retreat to in order to get away from the living. We weren’t disappointed by what we found.

The first group brought the Spirit Box up with them. The digital recorder was placed too close to the Spirit Box, so it was difficult for me to hear the questions that were asked (as a note: always keep the digital recorder six feet away from the Spirit Box).

Some of what I was able to make out:

  • They were talking to a male who liked basketball.
  • He didn’t have kids
  • When they asked if he liked being there, he said, “I do.”
  • They asked if there was a kid up there. He responded “Just me.”
  • Someone doubled back and asked if he liked basketball again. “Yes,” he said.
  • Someone asked if he liked candy. He said, “Yes.”
  • They asked how old he was and he said, “fifteen.”
  • When they asked if he had a girlfriend, he said, “sure.”

Another group went to the second attic in a team led by Shannon Delap. They had some interesting interactions that went along with the same responses as the first team. When Shannon asked if there was anyone there, a male voice said, “I’m home.” Angie seemed to get the most responses. She asked if it was okay for them to talk to them and a male said, “I would let you” or “I’m gonna get you.” Listen to the recording below and tell me what you hear.

She followed up by asking him if he liked basketball and he said “yes.” When it was Shannon’s turn again, she asked if he liked being there and he said, “I do.”

 

For the last thirty minutes, we sat in a circle in the middle of the gymnasium and conducted a group session. I turned on the Spirit Box and we went around the room and asked questions. Some of the responses were funny.

I told them they could walk around the room and show themselves if they wanted to. A male’s voice said, “no,” in a way that made us all laugh.

I asked him if he could tell us his name and he didn’t respond. This is typical of a normal investigation. It seems to be the favorite question for investigators to ask but is one that usually goes unanswered. I’ve often wondered about this. Are they not supposed to tell us their names? Or have they been gone so long they’ve forgotten?

As these thoughts were going through my mind, someone else asked the same question again (we were all getting tired at this point) and a man’s voice said, “I’m Herman.” It was warbled and not as clear as I would like to hear, but it was understandable. Who was Herman? Was he a student there or just someone who wandered in from somewhere else?

Someone asked what he did for a living. A woman responded, “living.”

I turned off the Spirit Box, mostly because the noise becomes grating after a while. We set up several EMF detectors and a flashlight in the middle of the room, but they wouldn’t touch them. I added a pinwheel to the mix, but they didn’t touch it either.

It was clear that the ghosts were growing tired, but I still had a half hour with the group and didn’t want to just sit around and stare at each other. I decided to move one of the helium balloons that were used for table decorations into the center of the circle. It definitely moved and began spinning in a slow circle, but it was difficult to determine if it was paranormal or just normal. The ceiling fans were spinning and the air current was moving around the room fairly steadily.  The other balloons that were still on the tables were moving too, but not as erratically as the one in the middle.

I told them if they could make the balloon drop to the ground, they would probably cause a few of us to pee our pants. As soon as I said that, the flashlight came on, making everyone laugh.

We did another round of questions but didn’t receive any responses on the gadgets I had in the middle of the floor, so I pulled the Spirit Box back out.

Several people asked questions that went unanswered. Then, Angie asked if they ever went to dances at the gym. A female voice said, “I’m coming.”

After a few more minutes, I turned it back off and asked everyone to tell me their most interesting moments of the night. Everyone had something to contribute.

Most of them agreed that the most active areas were the Annex building, Attic #1 and the first room at the base of the stairs in the basement.

The bell went off at midnight and we all jumped, even though we should have expected it after hearing it mark the hours all night. The evening was over but the memories will remain with us for a long time.

I want to thank everyone who came out to the event. Special thanks goes to Meagan Patterson, who led a group, and to Paula Bundy and Shannon DeLap, who helped me throughout the event.

 

The Haunting of The Ribeyre Gymnasium

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(Above) The Ribeyre Gymnasium – 603 Main Street, New Harmony, IN

 

No matter where you are in New Harmony, you can hear the clock tower on the Ribeyre Gymnasium mark the hours. The resounding rings echo through the town, paying homage to the passage of time. Even if I’m aware of the time, I still find myself pausing to count the rings. In some ways, it feels like a moment of unity because no matter where we are when it chimes, we are all focused on the same thing.

The Ribeyre Gymnasium was built in 1924 to provide the local school with a facility for sporting activities. It was extensively renovated within the past ten years, with the renovation budget topping over a million dollars. It is a bright sun-lit space with gleaming golden floors and soaring ceilings. It is the site of many weddings, banquets and receptions, having the capacity to seat 600 people. It was even used for filming several scenes of the 1992 movie A League of Their Own.

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(Above) A scene from the movie A League of Their Own

 

When you walk into the space, it brings you back to an earlier era, but beneath the happy façade lingers a horrific memory.

The gymnasium was barely a year old when it became used for something no one would have imagined.

On Wednesday, March 18th, 1925, a massive category 5 tornado cut a 219 mile path through three states. It completely demolished the town of Griffin, which is located several miles away from New Harmony.

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(Above) A sign in nearby Griffin, IN, documenting the tragic events of the past

 

The storm seemed to come out of nowhere, catching the residents by surprise. Some of them attempted to seek shelter in nearby homes and businesses but were crushed by the rubble as the buildings collapsed all around them. Children on their way home from school on the school bus were also victims of the tragedy, as the bus tumbled end over end, becoming airborne at one point. All in all, fifty-two people died that day, with many more seriously injured.

Bodies were pulled from the debris and carried to wagons and carts. Since the entire town was flattened, residents looked to nearby New Harmony for help.

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(Above) The Griffin Tornado was documented in the documentary, The Griffin Tornado, as well as the book Death Rides the Sky by Angela Mason

 

The brand new Ribeyre Gymnasium seemed to provide the perfect location to store the bodies until they could be identified and collected by their families. In several cases, the injuries were so severe; it was difficult to determine if the person was living or dead. One woman was carried down into the basement to be laid out with the rest of the victims. As they placed her on the ground, she began moving.

In my years of investigating the paranormal, I’ve found myself in some very unnerving locations. I’ve been in abandoned mental hospitals, old prisons and even inside empty crypts, but nothing could have prepared me for what I felt in the basement of the gymnasium.

It’s difficult to describe how energy feels to someone who is sensitive to it. We are all energetic beings and everything around us is composed of energy. When you feel the energy, it almost feels like you can detect the mood of an environment. In this case, the mood was desperately somber.

gymnasium.jpg(Above) the Ribeyre Gymnasium in its early days. Photo courtesy of Workingmen’s Institute

 

The space was long and broad. It had a dirt floor and dusty rafters, showing the passage of time. Even though the upstairs was bright and cheery, the basement provided a clear glimpse into the building’s past.

I brought my psychic medium friend, Crystal Folz, with me and she had the same reaction. Neither of us could handle being in the space for more than a few minutes. If there was a haunting there, it was lost in the overwhelming sadness that lingered in that space.

I walked around for as long as I could handle it before I said a prayer for the lost souls and left. Coming up the stairs to the sunlight was like coming up from the depths of a deep dark lake for my first breath of air.

Stories surrounding the gymnasium often involve the appearance of children. Several people have actually witnessed them walking across the gymnasium floor. They’re also known to turn the lights on and off.

gym basement.jpg(Above) The basement of the gymnasium

 

This story was confirmed by Benton Frisse, who grew up in the town and shared several other stories with me.

During high school, Benton did a film project called “Haunted New Harmony”. He went around town and interviewed people about their experiences.

One of the stories he heard about involved the gymnasium.

Before the gymnasium was renovated, the old tower clock would often malfunction. A local man would go to the gym at all hours of the day and night to fix it.

He would have to climb up a rickety old ladder to reach the clock tower. “The ladder going up to the clock tower was scary. You couldn’t have paid me a hundred bucks to climb that ladder,” Benton told me.

Late one night, the man went to fix the clock. He was halfway back down the ladder when something caught his eye. He saw two children race across the bleachers.

The children looked three-dimensional, with the exception of having a slight glow. He watched them race up the bleachers and then disappear as they reached the top. As time went on, he saw them more and more. They were dressed in outfits from the 1930’s, making him wonder if they were victims of the tornado.

Another local resident named Rita also had an experience at the gymnasium. She used to teach rug hooking classes at the annex building, which is connected to the gymnasium.

“Close to the time we were going to be leaving, I looked up at the clock and it started spinning,” she told me. Both the minute hand and the hour hand were spinning around the dial, as though being pushed by invisible fingers.

She was amazed because the clock had been operating normally during the day. As they all stared in wonderment, the clock slowed down and began operating normally again.

She later asked the man who maintained the building about the clock. He told her there was no reason why the clock would do that. There weren’t any power surges in the area and the clock has never done that before.

Could it have been the work of the children? While it does seem like a prank a child might pull, it’s difficult to determine. So many lives passed through the building, it could have come from any number of sources.

used to be where gym is now.jpg(Above) An undated photo of the building that once stood on the lot where the Ribeyre Gymnasium was later built. Photo courtesy of Workingmen’s Institute

 

Another occurrence happened to former resident, Cathy Powers, who once owned Country Cottage Restaurant. Cathy now helps the endeavors of Posey County Pound Puppies.

When New Harmony sponsors events and festivals, Cathy often sets up a table at the Ribeyre Gymnasium to promote the cause.

“I always tell vendors the place is haunted,” she said. One of her friends told her she often saw people standing on the old platform that used to be near the front door. She would catch them out of the corner of her eye, but when she turned to look at them, they would disappear.

One time, Cathy was at the gym setting up for an event and she began hearing a strange noise coming from the speakers.

“This was probably before your time, but it was like the sound the old stand-up console radios made when they were looking for a station,” she said and then demonstrated the noise. If I was expecting her to emulate a static sound, I was mistaken. The high-pitched sound she made nearly resembled aliens descending. It was enough to make the hair on the back of my neck rise.

Cathy attempted to seek out the source of the sound, but couldn’t find anything to explain it. The system wasn’t even turned on.

Rick Johnson spent many years at the Ribeyre Gymnasium. As a long-time teacher in the New Harmony school system, he was also a coach for the basketball team.

A room had been set up in the basement of the building for the coaching staff. When he was down there, he often heard noises and voices coming from the other rooms in the basement.

Every time he would get up to check, he would find the basement empty. It didn’t necessarily spook him, but it gave him an uneasy feeling nonetheless.

IMG_2172.JPGIf you find yourself in the Ribeyre Gymnasium, pay attention to the area near the bell tower and the edges of the room. It’s possible you might catch sight of the little boy who roams there.

 

The article above is an excerpt from Joni’s book Haunted New Harmony.

 

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Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator and the author of 17 paranormal books. To learn more about New Harmony’s haunted history, check out her latest book Haunted New Harmony or attend one of her many Haunted New Harmony events.

 

 

Click HERE to learn about Joni Mayhan’s books

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Grounding & Shielding – How to Protect yourself from Negative Energy

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Negative energy is all around us. Whether it comes from the supernatural world or from the land of the living, we all encounter it on a daily basis.

Naturally, the best way to protect yourself from negative energy is to avoid it, but this isn’t always possible. Sometimes it has a way of finding us despite our attempts to distance ourselves from it.

Forms of Negative Energy

  • Psychic Vampires – Some people have a unique gift of pulling energy from us while filling us with their negative energy. Many aren’t even aware they are doing it. It’s just part of their makeup. They are the kind of people who always complain about everything and attempt to pull others into their drama.
  • Excess Energy – While this isn’t necessarily negative energy, too much of anything isn’t good. If you are empathic and are able to feel the energy of others, you could become quickly overloaded. A prime example of excess energy is what you find at the shopping malls during the Holiday Season. There are so many people with a plethora of anxiety who are sharing the space with you. If you spend too long here, you’re bound to become overloaded.
  • Negative Ghosts – If people were truly aware of how many ghosts roam around the world, they would probably lose their minds. As someone who can sense and interact with ghosts, I can tell you that the number of ghosts who are earthbound is probably much higher than you think. Ghosts are much like the living. There are good ghosts and bad ghosts. They often pull energy from the living in order to sustain themselves.

The first step in protecting yourself is learning how to ground yourself.

beyond-the-ground-an-esoteric-lesson-in-groundingGrounding

When we hear the term “being grounded,” we often think about people who are easy-going and are fully present in their lives. This isn’t far from the truth, but being grounded goes even deeper than what you see on the surface.

If you consider us energetic beings, which we are, you can compare this to how electrical energy flows through a circuit. It has to be grounded before the energy can move fluidly through the channels. It’s almost like turning off a light switch. The energy only travels to the point where it’s shut off. When we ground ourselves, we allow the energy to flow freely and move the excess energy to a place where it won’t impact us. I use it frequently during the day to help me remain calm and focused.

If you think about it, you’ve probably been practicing some form of grounding for most of your life. When we get frustrated with a situation, we often sigh. A sigh is a shortened version of the grounding process.

When I find myself in crowds of people, especially during the holidays, I make sure I’m grounded and protected before I even leave my house. All that erratic energy bounces around the building and you can’t help but get caught in the web. By grounding, I can reduce the effects.

Signs that you are ungrounded:

  • Feeling disoriented and overwhelmed
  • Having a strong need to get away from other people
  • Finding yourself daydreaming and losing touch with reality
  • Being agitated or feel a sense of anxiety
  • Craving sugar and starches
  • Inability to focus

How to Ground Yourself

Learning how to ground yourself is one of the easiest metaphysical practices to master. It might take you a little time to figure out what works for you, but once you get the hang of it, the results are worth the effort. Here is the way I ground myself.

  • Imagine a white light above you.
  • With every breath, pull the white light into yourself, through the top of your head.
  • As you exhale, imagine the white light pushing negative energy down through your feet and into the ground. Some people visualize themselves as trees with deep roots going into the ground when they do this.

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Other methods of grounding:

  • Trees can be helpful for grounding, as well. Many people ground themselves by hugging or leaning against trees and imagining the negative energy sinking into the ground beneath them, being swept away by the roots.
  • Walking barefoot outdoors often helps some people to ground. Having the direct contact with the earth seems to be helpful in removing the toxins.
  • Meditate and ask your Spirit Guides to remove the negative energy. Imagine yourself being purified with every breath of air you take until you feel light and happy.
  • Burn sage and allow it to cover every part of your body, including the soles of your feet. Imagine the smoke clearing away all the negative energy, replacing it with clean, fresh joyful energy.
  • Grounding stones such as hematite, black tourmaline, tiger eye, onyx, jasper, green aventurine, just to name a few, are helpful to assist you in grounding yourself.
    • Hold the stone in your hand and envision it empowering you.
    • Take deep breaths, focusing on the stone in your hand.
    • Imagine the stone absorbing all the excess emotions.
    • Carry the stone in your pocket during the day and hold it when you feel the need to ground.
  • Find a Youtube video that works for you. There are many great guided meditations and instructions for the process of grounding. Sample several of them and pick the one that resonates with you.

Learning this technique can make a positive impact on your overall well-being. Practice it often until you are able to master the ability. The benefits are endless. You’ll regain your energy and retain your inner strength. Once you’ve learned how to ground yourself, work on learning how to protect your energy through the process of shielding.

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Shielding

Shielding is the practice of creating a bubble of protective energy around you to safeguard yourself from negative energy. While there are many ways to do this, I found the following method to be effective.

Imagine an energy ball forming at your solar plexus (your upper abdomen near the diaphragm).

Pull it up and around you like a bubble and visualize yourself filling it with white light. I do this every day, asking for it to protect me for 24 hours. If you don’t time it, the shield will only last for several hours.

Other methods of shielding

Instead of a bubble of light, build your shield with mirrors that reflect the negative emotions back towards the sender. Sometimes I imagine myself surrounded by a giant disco ball. The visualization helps me hold the shield in place longer.

Another thing you might try is to imagine that your shield is coated with Teflon or sprayed with a clear slick-resistant substance (I imagine Pam cooking spray) that causes the energy to slide off.

You might also fortify your shield with protective stones such as black tourmaline, onyx, tiger’s eye. I place them in all four corners of my house to create a physical spiritual barrier and sometimes carry them in my pocket for extra protection.

In this day, with all the negative energy floating around, it’s important to learn how to prevent it from affecting you. Give it a shot and see if it helps.

 

For more information about Grounding and Shielding, along with paranormal protection methods, check out my book Dark and Scary Things – A Sensitive’s Guide for Protection

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