Community House #2 Investigation Review 7-27-19

CH2 outside dark.jpgWe had a full house for the July 27th investigation at Community House #2 in historic New Harmony, Indiana. It was a night none of us would soon forget.

Community House #2 was built in circa 1820 by a group known as the Harmonists. Led by Reverend George Rapp, the group fled Germany, escaping religious persecution. After a ten year stint in Pennsylvania, they set their eyes on 27,000 acres of land along a bend in the Wabash River and established a town where they could set up their own community. They called their community Harmony.

The group lasted ten years, building 180 structures and laying out the town as it appears today. In 1924, they decided to move back to Pennsylvania and set up their third and final Utopian society and sold the town to a wealthy Welsh social reformer named Robert Owen. He renamed the town New Harmony.

The Owen group’s version of Utopian revolved around education, science and social reform. Unfortunately, while his group made great strides, the movement never truly took hold and Owen left the town two years later. It then settled in to become a sleepy Midwestern town with a tremendous heritage.

Community House #2 was one of four dormitory buildings the Harmonists built. The first floor would have been used for community activities and group meals, while the second and third floors would have housed single members of the group. Later, during the Owen period, the first floor would have been used for a school modeled on the Pestalozzian teaching method, with the students and teachers living in the building. During its nearly two-hundred year lifespan, Community House #2 has been the site of the A.H. Fretageot Furniture Store, as well as the home of a local doctor, a hotel, a tavern, a cigar factory, a hardware store, a tea room and a print shop where the local paper was printed. Today, it is owned by the State of Indiana Museum Sites and is used for educational and historic purposes.

With so many lives passing through the building, it’s no wonder the haunting is legendary. A woman in white has been seen multiple times, both in the windows and by guests and tour guides. Staff there often hear footsteps on vacant floors and voices calling out or having group conversations in empty rooms. Haunted New Harmony has investigated this building numerous times and has  always had interesting experiences. This investigation would prove to be no different, with a few exemptions.

We decided to liven things up and offer several experiments. We started off with the Ganzfeld Experiment, which involves sensory deprivation. Guests sat at a table with blindfolds and headphones connected to a computer playing white noise. A red lamp sat in the middle of the table. During their ten minute stint, people experienced a host of oddities.

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(Above) Participants experimenting with the Ganzfeld Experiment

Our second experiment occurred on the second floor. We set up a floor length mirror in the dark hallway and invited guests to sit in front of it for five minutes. This proved to be interesting as well.

Our third experiment also happened on the second floor. Haunted New Harmony Investigator, Traci Hoehn, treated guests to the Estes Method. During this experiment, Traci wore headphones connected directly to a Spirit Box and sat blindfolded in the room as guests asked questions. A Spirit Box is a modified radio that scans the radio stations rapidly, allowing the ghosts to speak through the white noise. Because Traci was connected directly to the Spirit Box, it created a situation where she was fully tuned into the spirit world. Her third session would prove to be intense.

During the investigation, our four Haunted New Harmony investigators situated themselves on the three floors of the building. Guests, who were divided into three teams, moved from floor to floor on a half hour schedule.

First Floor Investigation

67309769_10221482022779390_1255692001756577792_nI held court on the first floor. In one room, we worked with a variety of tools to speak with the dead, while Paula Bundy managed the Ganzfeld Experiment in another room. Four guests at a time left the investigation to try the Ganzfeld before returning to the investigation.

Session 1 – Group 1

I started off the session with dowsing rods. I explained how they are used and then took a reading on the room to see who we were talking with:

  • There were males and females with us
  • There were five of them

I then passed the rods and let the group take turns:

  • They didn’t have any children
  • They didn’t go to school there
  • They didn’t like the food there
  • They like books
  • They are from New Harmony
  • They were related
  • They owned a horse and buggy

We decided to use the Spirit Box. We went around the room and introduced ourselves to the ghosts in the room before we started. I had downloaded the Google Translator onto my phone and planned to ask questions in German, but as it turned out, one of our guests was fluent in German. Jamie asked a few questions. We didn’t get a single response, so we went back to using dowsing rods.

Some of the nineteenth century ghosts in the building were apprehensive about our modern electronic equipment. By using more primitive tools, such as dowsing rods or pendulums, we’ve found we get more responses.

Dowsing rods:

  • One of the investigators asked the rods to point to where they were in the room and it pointed towards me and beside Brenda Wilbur. Both were spots where I was feeling/hearing ghosts, so this was interesting.
  • They had children
  • He was the father of the children

Second Group – Group Two

I forgot to turn off my digital recorder while we switched groups and left it running while I led the group up to their next floor. While I was gone, my recorder captured the sound of the door latch banging up and down. Meagan Patterson, who oversees the building, often hears this same latch make the same noise. The latch is on a closet door that is near the main room.

creepy closet door.jpg
(Above) The closet door with the “ghost friendly” latch

My second group came into the room unaware that the ghosts were active already.

We started off with dowsing rods:

  • We were still talking to males and females.
  • There were five of them.
  • There were mostly men.
  • Some of them sew
  • Men also sewed
  • Male children didn’t sew
  • Grown men didn’t sew (contradicting the first response)
  • None of them were teachers
  • They didn’t work at the furniture store

At that moment, the latch banged again.

  • Didn’t come over on the boatload of knowledge
  • They didn’t see her on the historical tour (she said they said “yes” on the 2nd floor)
  • They were there when Father Rapp was there
  • One of them went to school in this room
  • One of them has always stayed in this building

We decided to give the Spirit Box a try, even though we didn’t get anything with the first group. Sometimes it takes the ghost a while to warm up to it. Other times, the people in the group inspire them to respond. I left the room to check on the other groups and they started getting crazy responses.

We went around the room and didn’t get a response until someone asked if they were still there with us. “Go to hell,” a male voice with a slight twang answered.

Shortly afterwards, we captured an EVP, which is a ghost voice that we can’t hear with our ears. It didn’t come across the box, but was whispered into my digital recorder. A male voice said, “Ask me another question.”

Then, someone asked what his name was and he said, “Wes Bobbler.”

Someone else asked if they knew this building and we got another EVP. “It’s not a home,” the same male voice said.

Someone asked if they grew up here in town. The same male voice said, ”That’s correct.” It came across the Spirit Box this time.

Other questions were asked without garnering responses. As the next person was getting ready to ask a question, a young female voice called out, “New Albany.” This was interesting because four of our guests traveled from the New Albany, Indiana, area. Did someone bring their own ghost to the ghost hunt?

I rejoined the group and asked if they knew who the woman in the doorway was. Paula had just walked into the room. A friendly sounding female said, “I really like her.” The response is faint, but audible with headphones. Paula reported strange activity at her home the next morning, so she might have liked her a bit more than she was prepared for.

We went around the room a few more times, but didn’t get any further response.

Third Group – Group Three (45 minute session)

We started the session with the Spirit Box. We went around the room without getting any responses, so we moved onto dowsing rods. The ghosts in the room were quite fickle. While they were quite chatting with the second group, they snubbed the first and last group entirely.

I also pulled my Mel Meter out and turned it on. It measures electromagnetic energy spikes. It also has a built in REM pod. If a ghost breaks the beam surrounding the antenna, the lights all come on. I’d barely turned it on and put it on a table away from the group when the lights all turned on. I tried to get them to do it again but didn’t have any luck.

Dowsing rods:

  • The male was still there.
  • He didn’t want to talk to us on the Spirit Box.
  • He’s from New Harmony
  • He was there between 1800 and 1850.
  • He can make the car move (I put a small toy car on the floor)
  • I told her to ask “Will you push the car?” He responded with “no.”
  • The investigator was running out of questions, so he held the rods and I asked the questions.
  • She cooked in the building
  • She had a favorite meal she liked to cook
  • She wasn’t a Harmonist
  • She wasn’t there during the Owen period
  • She used to shop in the building when it was a store
  • She had farm animals – I went through all the various animals, she finally answered yes to chickens.

I wanted to try an experiment with the Spirit Box. Sometimes when we relax and just have an interesting conversation, we can draw them in. I asked the pie question. I asked everyone to tell me their favorite kind of pie. Sometimes the ghosts chime in, but no luck this time. I went to check on the other groups and take a few photos and left them with the Spirit Box. They asked some great questions, but didn’t get any responses. We decided to move into the main room and see if we had any better luck.

Once we were in the main room where I did my presentation, we started with a Spirit Box session. We’ve had such good results with it in the past, I was determined to keep trying. As we were asking questions, I saw something move in the doorway beside the closet. I took a few photos, hoping to catch something but didn’t.

We didn’t get any responses on the Spirit Box, but something interesting happened towards the end of the session. One of our guests had a Flir thermal camera. He caught some strange cool spots on the wall, which could have indicated moisture inside the wall. I came around and snapped a photo of his camera and actually caught some crazy shadows climbing up the walls behind several of our other guests. The shadows didn’t match up with the people in front of them and there wasn’t a light source that made sense for them. Had we caught a photo of the ghosts who were hanging out with us?

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(Above) A photo of Shane’s FLIR camera and strange shadows on the walls

Ganzfeld Experiment

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(Above) Kathy Satterwhite from New Albany, IN, and others experiment with the Ganzfeld Experiment

The last group was entirely women. They all heard children playing and calling out. Several thought the sounds were coming from the room, so they lifted their goggles to look around, only to discover everyone was quiet in the room.

I left a notebook on the table and asked everyone to write their experiences in it. The results were quite compelling. A lot of people heard children or a woman crying. None of them had the opportunity to look at the book before they began writing.

  • One person heard “I hear it” five times and heard a child crying
  • She could hear a little girl. Sounded like she was playing. Then she heard a man’s voice.
  • One man heard a faint sound of a woman crying in pain. He heard it three different times. He even pulled his goggles off to see if something was going on.
  • One man heard a man humming and felt someone walk around his chair.
  • One woman could hear a distant radio or TV playing. She felt a slight brush against her thigh that came with a temperature change. Then she heard a woman’s moan several times.
  • One woman heard a kid laughing and felt footsteps. Then towards the end, she could hear a woman singing.
  • One man saw a hand move at the edge of the goggles.
  • Saw a red circle that was not really there
  • Heard footsteps and could hear someone talking in the other room
  • Heard some rhythm in the white noise, like a repeating pattern. Saw faces.
  • Heard “Kathy” repeated. Heard “Help me” and whispering.
  • Heard mumbling of small female and footsteps. Felt a touch on my side, like a tug on my shirt. Maybe singing?
  • Kept hearing a woman singing.
  • Heard either a man or baby crying, yelling.
  • I felt the wire to the headphones move. I heard lots of people moving upstairs. I heard shuffling on the floor. I heard a man’s voice repeatedly. I saw the light blink.
  • I heard a woman talking or singing.
  • I heard a radio/TV playing and had a slight brush and temperature change on my thighs.
  • I heard crying, footsteps, door slam.
  • Heard woman and kids yelling/playing.
  • I heard a woman in pain three times.
  • I heard a man in the headphones, then I could hear a girl. It was like she was in the room right beside our table.

 

Second Floor Investigation

Second floor hallway

The second floor would have been used as a dormitory for most of the building’s existence. A long hallway divides the space, with rooms on either side. Some of the rooms are larger than others and open up into other rooms. Most of them are currently filled with artifacts from New Harmony’s history, but two rooms were cleared and available for us for the investigation.

Traci Hoehn presided over the second floor. An experienced investigator and someone with mediumistic abilities, Traci is probably the smartest person I know. She has a master’s degree in theology and is a professor at the University of Evansville. She is known by our group as the researcher. If we are investigating a location, Traci always comes prepared with historical knowledge. She also has a warped and twisted sense of humor, which makes her one of my favorite people on the planet.

Traci took on the Estes Method for her group. She wore noise-cancelling headphones that were connected directly to a Spirit Box and a blindfold, which essentially cut her off from everything around her. When she heard something come over the Spirit Box, she would call it out. People in the room were asking questions, but she couldn’t hear them. At times, the questions and answers matched up, but other times Traci began a far darker path. As the night progressed, it almost seemed as though Traci was channeling another presence and it wasn’t a very nice one. The experience in the last group left her shaken, to the point where it took her several days to recover.

Meagan Patterson, who is the Indiana State Museum Division Collections Manager, is in charge of all the State owned buildings in New Harmony. She has attended and assisted on many of our investigations and is an excellent investigator in her own right. She assisted Traci during the investigation, keeping an eye on her to make sure she was okay and to insure the session flowed smoothly.

We did a test run of the Estes Method and filmed it. If you want to get a better idea of how this works, check out the video:

First Group – Group Two

first estes group.jpg“Are you a man or a woman?”

T: A man. She’s right there. Turn.

“Are you close to one of us?”

T: Move.

“Are you alone?”

“Are you a kid?”

T: You look.

T: All right

“What’s your name?”

T: In here.

T: Certain.

“What did you do here?”

“Were you married?”

“Do you play music?”

T: Old.

T: Painful. I didn’t.

“Do you garden?”

“Is your family here too?”

T: Go away.

T: Leave.

T: uh uh (a conversation between two people)

“How many spirits are here?”

“Why are you feeling for us to leave?”

T: Your feelings.

T: I know.

T: I get it.

“Why do you stay here?”

T: Don’t.

T: I didn’t (female voice)

“What color is your hair?”

“What did you used to do for fun?”

“Did you have any brothers or sisters?”

“What is your daily routine?”

T: Who am I?

T: You (female voice)

“What’s your favorite color?”

T: uh hu

“How long did you live here?”

T: Decendent.

T: You

T: Drinking

T: Stop

“Do you have family with you now?”

“Do you like it here?”

“Do you two not get along?”

T: It’s the best

“What’s the best?”

T: I think so.

“Did you have any pets?”

“What do you want us to stop?”

“What do you want to learn about?”

“What’s your favorite song?”

T: Maybe you.

T: Can stay.

T: Night.

“Do you ever go outside?”

T: Chance (female voice)

“What are you talking about?”

“What chance?”

“Do you want someone to spend the night with you?”

T: convenient

“Did you stay on the first, second or third floor?”

T: Help me (female voice)

“How can we help you?”

“How long have you been here?”

The group came to an end and she welcomed her second group.

 

Second Group – Group Three

67430005_10221482018779290_2736670384106504192_nTraci welcomed her second group and then got started with the Estes Method once again.

“Did you run a business in this building?
T: Go!

“Did you live here?”

T: Fold

“Fold what?”

“Were you a teacher?”

“Were you a man?”

“What do you want to do?”

T: Let it (female voice)

T: That’s little

T: Oh shit! (the woman asking questions had just lost her thoughts and forgot her question, then Traci said this, making it amusing for her)

“Did you live here very long?”

“Was your family here with you?”

“Were you a student here?”

T: Maggie (female voice)

“Did you have fun or was it boring here?”

T: I’m here (female voice – she felt someone right in front her)

T: help me (very faint female voice)

“What year were you born?”

“What do you want us to help you with?”

“Is your name Maggie?”

“What do you like to do?”

T: Why? (female)

“Why?”

“What are you doing now?”

“What would you rather be doing?”

“Do you know what town we’re in?”

“Is someone hurting you?”

“Are you scared?”

T: Go on! Go on! Totally ridiculous!

“Do you like it here?”

T: Go on!

“Do you feel safe?”

T: Who couldn’t?

“Did you enjoy the outside?”

“Are there any children in here?”

“What kind of food did you eat?”

“Can you tell us your name?”

“When did you live here?”

“What year is it?”

T: Here

T: Mercy

T: You

“Who is Maggie?”

T: Go!

“To the female: were you downstairs earlier?”

“Has anyone we can’t see left the room since we’ve been here?”

T: Hi (female voice)

T: Honey

T: Stand

“Did you live here in this room? Is this where you slept?”

“Were you out in the hallway with me earlier?”

“Can you see how many of us are standing?”

T: He. Knows.

“Knows what?”

T: Make this. Unseen.

T: Once

“Can someone help you?”

T: Yeah. Absolutely (Seconds earlier, Meagan asked if someone wanted to go out to the mirror experiment)

T: I want to see

“What do you want to see?”

“What did you used to do in the summertime?”

T: Ooooh

“Were you a nurse?”

“Were you a teacher?”

“Were you in an accident? Did you get hurt?”

T: I don’t want to.

“Don’t want to do what?”

T: What’s that? People?

“Are you safe?”

“What are you thinking about right now?”

“who is Maggie?”

“What did you like to do for fun?”

T: We are. Tricked.

T: I know (someone just said “pass”)

“You know what?”

“Is someone with you?”

“What was your favorite game?”

T: Yeah. I heard you.

“Where was your favorite hiding spot?”

T: therapy

“Did that make you feel safe?”

T: Uh oh

“Do you feel better now?”

“Are you a child?”

T: problem

“Problem child?”

“Are you an adult?”

“Are you in the room with us right now?”

“Where are you standing?”

“Did you grow your own….”

T: Victory. You know (accusatory tone)”

“Did you raise farm animals?”

“We know what?”

“Is there anything we need to know?”

T: Let’s go for a walk

“Where do you want to walk to?”

The half hour ended, so they stopped the session.

 

Third Group – Group Three

67269830_10221482024539434_1030188536336220160_nTraci’s third group seemed like they had experiences on every floor. We talked afterwards, wondering if one of them might have brought their own ghost to the ghost hunt. She introduced herself, explained the process and got started.

“Hello (in German)”

“Are you in here with us?”

“How many people sleep in here at a time?”

“Who is wearing the headphones?”

“Did you sleep in this room?”

“Did you have family that lived with you?”

“Have you ever had your picture taken with a camera?”

“Are you the one who makes the floor shake under me?”

“Have you lived…”

T: hi. Oh my!

“Are you a female?”

“Are you a male?”

“Did you travel here from Pennsylvania?”

“Did you stay here when this was a hotel?”

“Is German your native language?”

T: So?

“Were you born in this building?”

“Were you born in this town?”

“Where are you from?”

T: It’s good (female voice)

“Did you come here from the river?”

T: Hi. It’s him! (female voice)

“Did you enjoy reading?”

“Did you enjoy working in the garden?”

“You said, “He’s here.” who is he?”

T: At 2 o’clock. All month. You are.”

“Do you mean I am he?”

T: At 2 o’clock. All month.

“What is at 2 o’clock?”

T: You’ll meet someone

“Who are you going to meet?”

T: Stop it!

T: see him (female voice)

“Who do you want me to see?”

“How old are you?”

“Did you work with the printing department here?”

“Did you work in this building?”

T: Progress (female voice)

“Did you cook?”

“Did you clean here?”

“What are your hobbies?”

“What do you do for fun?”

“Can you tell me your name?”

T: The thing is…I can see.

“Can you see me?”

“what can you see?”

“What’s the progress you talked about?”

“Are you able to vote?”

T: I am!

“What do you vote for?

T: here

“To stay here?”

T: You

“Me, what?”

“Are you a farmer?”

T: Go!

“Go where?”

T: Never!

T: Avoid

“What do you want to avoid?”

T: Get you!

“Get who?”

“Do you remember my name?”

“Who was in front of the mirror in the hall?”

“What is the name of the lady sitting in this room?”

T: Switch

“How many spirits are in this room with us?”

T: Don’t want it

“What don’t you want?”

T: You gonna charge me? (female voice)

T: Sorry

“What are you sorry for?”

T: in Evansville (female voice)

“Are you a female?”

“Have you seen me in here yesterday?”

“What’s in Evansville?”

T: They knew!

T: Rabbit

“Is that for a pet?”

T: Love (female)

“Do you have a boyfriend? Is he in Evansville?”

“Can you tell me my name?”

“Can you tell me what city I live in?”

T: I want it. Get it!

“What do you want me to get?”

“Do you have children?”

T: Uh oh

“Did someone drop something?”

T: No good! Yes it is! (female)

T: No! (male)

“Did you drive a car?”

T: Uh huh

“What’s your favorite time of the year?”

“Do you know Mary down the street?”

T: Me? (female)

“Do you live down the street?”

T: Sour. Oh man!

“Are you a child?”

T: Do it!

“Is your dad here?”

“Are you Mary?”

T: First

T: I don’t

Traci’s phone started ringing, so they nudged her. It was her alarm for medications. She took a small break and they discussed how it sounded like the ghosts were having a conversation. Traci took a minute to recover because it’s very draining. We’ve decided going forward that we’re going to have someone alternate with Traci so she doesn’t have to do it all alone.

“Did you ever jump on the beds here when you would play?”

T: So?

“Can you jump on the beds now?”

T: All right

T: I think mine

“Which bed are you jumping on?”

“Is it your bed or your sister’s bed?”

“Can you guide me to which bed is yours?”

“Do you remember seeing me yesterday on the tour?”

T: No

“Were there a lot of…”

T: Cry

“Did you come from a big family?”

“Are you happy here?”

“How old are you?”

T: Aren’t you? (female)

“Who else are you talking to?”

T: Think! (female)

“Is it your brother?”

“Is it your father?”

“Did you wear shoes or go barefoot?”

“Have you ever..”

T: Bitch!

T: Her

“Do you like to fish?”

T: Ah, It’s your female. She said to fucking kill her

“Who’s going to kill her?”

“Do you like pickles?”

“Or sauerkraut?”

T: ha ha (deep male voice)

“Did you like that? Was that funny?

T: Yeah. Find me (female voice)

“Right now? Wanna play hide and seek?”

“Maybe later, okay?”

“Did you…”

T: Over there (or hold her there)

“Were you an early riser in the mornings?”

“Did you like playing outside?”

T: No (really faint female voice)

“Are you the man of this house or just some other guy?”

“Do you let the women run the house?”

“Are you still with us?”

T: Letter

“Can you make a noise for us?”

“Can you move anything for us?”

“Where should I look to find you?”

T: He

“He…what?”

T: He did it

“What did he do?”

T: I’m stuck (male voice)

“Can you explain how you’re stuck?”

“Do you want to leave this building?”

“Are you the one I saw in the mirror?”

T: I’m here

“What is your name?”

“What is your purpose here in this building?”

“Did you have brothers and sisters?”

“Where did you come from before you settled here?”

Paula came in at that point to tell them it was time to end the session.

Traci wrote of her experience during the third session. Here it is in her own words:

Traci’s Estes Experience

The night with the Estes Method started very much as expected for me.  Much like our trial run, I was getting mostly male voices in the beginning.  The words seemed to be benign and I wasn’t sensing much at the beginning of the night.  After the first twenty minutes or so, I started hearing a random scream from a woman every now and again.  It was a scream of terror.  I didn’t note it aloud, as I didn’t want to alarm the participants.  This was soon joined by a growling voice occasionally.  I believe it is the same voice captured on the first floor.  I could never make out what he was saying, but the tone and aggression told me enough about the meaning.  Again, I didn’t make this because until I heard the recording from the first floor, I wasn’t even sure it was a voice.  It just sounded like a growl.

As the night wore on, the female voice spoke more often.  She always seemed to speak with intention and some urgency.  There was a pleading tone to her voice.  As you can tell from the recording and transcript, most of the words from the female voice (which all seemed to be the same voice) were concerned with a particular man.

Before we get to the major incident, there were three interesting phenomena that occurred throughout the sessions.  The first is that the ghosts seemed to be speaking to one another at several points throughout the sessions.  I got the feeling that they did not care or were not concerned with the questions being asked by the participants.  I was merely acting as the reporter to their private conversations.  The second phenomenon what that there seemed to be a male voice speaking throughout the evening just below the static of the Spirit Box.  I couldn’t make out what he was saying over the din, but the voice was nearly always present.  It was calm and methodical, almost a sermon-like cadence.  The last matter was that of my earmuffs vibrating.  It only affected the left side and happened several times.  The best way I can describe it is that it was like the vibration that would come from sitting next to a train.  However, I was sitting next to Meagan and the fireplace.  I could feel nothing with me hand nor did Meagan feel anything when I asked her after each session.

By the time the third session came around, I was in the rhythm of the Estes Method, attuned to the Spirit Box, and acclimated to the strangeness the evening had brought so far.  The pleading female voice and an aggressive male voice had made their presence known to me, as can be gathered from the recording. After our unscheduled break due to my medicine alarm, it felt strange when I put the headphones and blindfold back on.  I don’t if it was because I relaxed more since I knew we just had fifteen minutes left or if the night had been leading to this, but I suspect it was a little of both.

When I heard the male aggressive yell, “Bitch!” I saw a flash of his angry face in front of me.  He had a mustache and mutton chops, but they weren’t well groomed.  His nose had been broken at some point and healed badly. He was disheveled, and his clothes has some stains.  He’s tall with a bowler/derby hat, dark pants, and a dark vest.  The cloths were kind of shabby like he is a worker.  I think he had been drinking.  This is when the woman yelled back, “Fucking killer!”  I didn’t see her.  I think I was seeing through her.  I wasn’t feeling her full emotions and didn’t feel like she was inhabiting me, but I was seeing the scene through her eyes.  I knew the information from her. She wasn’t scared of him.  She was defiant.  This amused him, and he laughed a menacing, “Ha ha.”  He easily overpowered her and strangled her.  That is what the “hold her there” and the faint female voice saying “no” are about.  I didn’t see anything after this but neither did she and she was the one showing me.

Here is what I could intuit from the scene and have been able to better articulate since:  I am fairly certain she was a prostitute he frequented.  He killed someone she was close to, and she found out.  He had gotten away with the murder by disposing of the body and killed her because she would turn him in.  I feel he disposed of her as well.  I keep feeling water, like he tossed her in the river.

While I do think there is a good possibility that someone brought this here with them, I can’t help but think of our trial run.  Crystal kept grabbing her throat saying she couldn’t breathe when we were sitting in the same area. I asked Meagan as soon as the people walked out of the room if that area had ever been rented out as rooms like a hotel, and she confirmed.  It just felt too real in that space.

We thank Traci for braving this for us.

Psychomanteum

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Guests had the opportunity to attempt mirror scrying. In this experiment, we placed a floor-length mirror in the dark second floor hallway and invited people to sit in front of it for several minutes. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a book available for them to record their experiences, but I did learn about a few of them.

Most people saw their faces morphing into other faces. For some, it was a frightening experience. Here’s what others experienced:

  • Heard tapping on fireplace
  • Saw a man with a mustache
  • Heard people walking on the stairs
  • Saw something flit behind them quickly

 

Third Floor Investigation – Main Room

67309765_10221482021539359_2767999275722866688_nThe third floor of the building was primarily used for dormitory-style housing. Community House #2 was the only community house that offered a third floor thanks to the Mansard roof, which gave it additional space. Visitors to the space will notice the open wall, displaying the “Dutch Biscuit” style building material. Mud and straw would have been wrapped around boards and placed in between the beams, providing the building with insulation and protection from fire. The floors in the room are the original floors from when the building were built.

Crystal Folz, our resident psychic medium managed the third floor. She was born in Western Kentucky and now resides in Posey County. She has been working with search and rescue for over twenty years, helping find lost people using her psychic skills. Crystal’s groups always enjoy her easy manner and her quirky sense of humor. She brings a calmness to our investigations that is always essential and we’re so happy to have her on our team.

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First Group – Group Three

She started out with a dowsing rod session.

  • She is a female
  • They saw her during the historical tour the previous day
  • They had pets
  • The also saw the other lady there the previous day
  • Not a female
  • Is not above the age of 15
  • Is below the age of 5
  • Christmas is his favorite time of the year
  • He/she still lives in the house
  • There are others there with him/her
  • He/she enjoys living on the third floor
  • She is female
  • She had a garden outside
  • They were also talking to a male
  • There were between 2-5 people there
  • Liked to make pottery

Crystal was splitting the third floor with Jason Nelson. They would do fifteen minute sessions and then switch groups.

  • Was an employee in the building
  • Had a family
  • Was married
  • Had children

Second Group – Group One

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  • Worked in the building
  • They like it there
  • He/she used to stay there
  • Wasn’t there for a long time
  • Not a child
  • Not a female
  • Didn’t like working in the print shop
  • His name is Nick (known as a prankster. We’ve connected with him many times before)
  • He liked it there

Switched Groups with Jason.

  • They were talking to a male
  • They were also talking to a female
  • He’s happy
  • His parents lived there
  • They were also talking to a female
  • When they asked if they could move the ball, the light on the KII meter flickered

Third Group – Group Two

Crystal’s third group was in for a big surprise. They would have something happen in their group that would literally shut down the third floor afterwards. Half her group went into the Printer’s room with Jason and half of them stayed with her. They started the dowsing rod session:

  • One of them was standing next to them
  • They asked the rods to point to where they were standing – the rods didn’t respond
  • They don’t like it there
  • They find it creepy there at night
  • They were talking to a young child (Crystal noted that everyone who sat in the same chair connected with a child.)
  • They were also talking to a woman (same side of the room where people have connected with a woman)
  • Has a large family

They were having a difficult time getting responses. They went around several times without getting a response. Crystal suggested there might be another ghosts there who was preventing them from talking, so she had them ask. The rods didn’t respond. Jamie, who speaks German, attempted to ask them a few questions in German, but didn’t get any responses.  It was strange for Crystal because the rods had been very responsive all night. The rods would vibrate, but wouldn’t move in either direction. They asked again if someone was preventing them from responding and finally got a response of “yes.”

Four people from Crystal’s group went into the Print Shop with Jason and four people from his group joined her group.

They continued to have issues until the rods finally answered that someone was preventing them from answering.

  • The ghost was gone who was stopping them
  • They wanted to talk to the group
  • There were children there (same chair as the last few people who got the same response)

They decided to merge the groups together and conduct a Spirit Box session.

Someone saw movement in the laser grid, so they began keeping an eye on that area of the room to see if something else broke the light pattern.

They were asking questions when all of a sudden a loud cracking sound filled the room. It was enough that they almost left the third floor in fear the ceiling was coming down. They began looking around and discovered one of the posts that holds up the ceiling cracked from top to bottom.

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The Spirit Box was quiet but the dowsing rods began working again. Listening to the responses that were recorded, I couldn’t make out most of the responses because the Spirit Box was so loud. Below are the ones I could make out.

  • They liked to play games
  • There was an older man with them.
  • He was hiding on the other side of the room.
  • They asked for the rods to point to where he was standing and they pointed to the area where they saw movement.

 

Third Floor Investigation– Print Shop

Print shop 4.jpgJason Nelson led the investigation of the old print shop on the third floor. Jason has been an investigator for Haunted New Harmony for several years, assisting on investigations and ghost walks. He is a resident of New Harmony and was instrumental in helping me gain access to the State owned buildings. His style is more straightforward and to the point. He describes himself as a skeptic, but has seen enough paranormal activity to make him a “skeptical believer.”

The print shop contains equipment from the original print shop that operated in the building during 1858 until 1932.  Known as the Slater Print Shop, several local newspapers, including The New Harmony Register and The Advertiser were printed in the shop and were edited by Charles Slater and subsequently by his son, Harry “Nick” Slater. The shop was closed in 1932 when it was sold to Mary Emily Fauntleroy, who many will recognize from our Fauntleroy Home Investigations. The entire building was sold to the State of Indiana in 1940.

First Group – Group Three

Jason had technical difficulties and couldn’t get the Spirit Box turned on, so they spent the fifteen minute session chatting about other haunted locations they’ve all investigated.

Next group of people from Group Three

Crystal had the magic touch and got the Spirit Box to work for him, so they were off and running.

They introduced themselves and then started the Spirit Box session. They started out the session by asking if anyone was with them. A voice said, “Want to.”

Another investigator asked if he or she was married. A voice responded, “That is so.”

They went around the room, asking more questions. It wasn’t until someone asked if his or her mama was a good cook that someone answered with a “no.”

Next group of people from Group Three

Someone asked if Nick followed them from the other room. A male voice said, “When he says it.” They asked more questions, but didn’t get any further responses.

The next group came in and got started. “Do you work in the print shop?” someone asked. A creepy voice instructed her to “turn around.”

Someone else asked if they listen to music and a faint voice said, “I hear it.”

“Did you play an instrument?” The response was odd. “I found it.”

Second Group – Group One

jason's second group.jpgThe second group arrived and Jason led them through another Spirit Box session. As they were introducing themselves, Jason said he hoped someone would talk to them during the session. A male voice instantly said, “probably.”

Someone asked what his favorite color was and he responded with “yellow.”

They went around the room a few times and did get a few responses, but none of them were clear enough to interpret.

The next group came in and they continued with the session. They went around the room without getting any responses. Finally, someone asked if they got breaks and a male voice told her, “kind of.” The session was over before they knew it and the next group came in.

The lights had been flickering all night while they were in the Print Shop. Jason noted it.

Someone asked if they had any children. There was a response, but I couldn’t quite make it out. It almost sounded like “super.”

Someone then asked if they spoke German in German and we got a response. I had to send it to Jamie Hettenbach-Barchett who attended the investigation and is fluent in German. She said it sounds like “ja” which is pronounced “yah” and means “yes.”

Conclusion

We gathered together at the end to compare notes on the investigation. Everyone from the last group on the second floor was buzzing about Traci’s experience with the Estes Method. I showed everyone the picture I just took of Shane’s thermal camera with the strange shadows on the wall.  Jason mentioned having a lot of lights flickering on the third floor and the odd cracking sound. Crystal talked about how the rods were vibrating but wouldn’t move. She felt someone was preventing them from answering. She also noted that everyone who sat in a specific chair got a response from a child. I told them how I didn’t get anything on the Spirit Box until I walked away to check on the other groups. Then, they had a male coming through chatting with them. As soon as I came back, they instantly stopped talking. Someone else talked about how cool the Estes Method was and how they got the name “Maggie.” They were also excited about what they heard on the Ganzfeld Experiment. I asked them to raise their hands if they had an experience with it and at least half the group raised their hands. They talked about what a soldier Traci was for doing the Estes Method. It was definitely a difficult situation for her and she provided us with interesting information about the building that we weren’t aware of. They also loved the mirror gazing experiment. Most people saw their own faces morphing, but several people saw something coming up behind them. Almost everyone had some sort of experience during the night. Ben noted that at the beginning of the night, during my presentation, he felt a small hand touch his leg. He was standing in the doorway near the closet where Meagan often hears the door handle giggle.

People also talked about how a lot of them heard children talking during the Ganzfeld without realizing everyone else had similar experiences. One thing we do know is that Dr. Edward Murphy and his wife lived in Community House #2 and lost all seven of their children at various times.

I want to thank everyone for coming out for the investigation and special thanks to my amazing team for helping me pull it all together.

67238103_10221482004978945_790555865462603776_n(Above L-R) Joni Mayhan, Crystal Folz, Traci Hoehn, Jason Nelson, Paula Bundy and Meagan Patterson

CH2 outside dark

To learn more about New Harmony’s history and hauntings, check out my book, Haunted New Harmony, available at local New Harmony stores and on Amazon.com by clicking HERE

 

 

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Culbertson Mansion Investigation Review 6-15-19

65898586_10221226259865477_6284728629515517952_nThe Culbertson Mansion is located in New Albany, Indiana, near the banks of the mighty Ohio River. It was built in 1867 by William Culbertson, who was the richest man in Indiana at one point. Culbertson built the house for his second wife Cordelia (Nellie) and lived there with her, their children and his children from his first marriage until Nellie’s death in 1880 of cholera.

In 1884, Culbertson married Rebecca Keith, who was 38 years old. William Culbertson died in 1892 due to complications of the flu. The house was sold for $7,100 to the McDonald Family in 1899 at auction. The house remained in the McDonald family until it was purchased by the American Legion in 1945 and was used by them for functions and meetings until Historic New Albany purchased the house in 1964.

The house is quite lavish. At 20,000 square feet, it has 25 rooms, hand-painted frescos on many of the ceilings, complete with gold leaf, marble fireplaces and fifteen foot doors. It gives the word opulence new meaning.

This was Haunted New Harmony’s fourth public investigation of the mansion. Every time we’ve visited, we’ve been amazed by the paranormal responses. The ghosts there are willing and eager to communicate with us, something we discovered before the event even started.

65304019_10221226260985505_4932839019709988864_n.jpgAs we were waiting for the first guests to arrive, two Haunted New Harmony staff members were standing by the front door. Rick Schlegelmilch and Traci Hoehn heard a sound and turned to discover the doorknob jiggling. They thought that someone was trying to get in, so they opened the door and were surprised to find the entryway empty.

After the guests arrived, we gave a brief presentation on the history and hauntings of the mansion, as well as a demonstration of the dowsing rods. Because we’ve had tremendous results with the rods in past investigations, we wanted to use them again.

The group broke into three smaller groups and began investigating their assigned floors. Joni Mayhan was the First Floor investigator, while Crystal Folz managed the Second Floor and Traci Hoehn oversaw the Third Floor. Rick Schlegelmilch managed the Ganzfeld Experiment in the basement.

First Floor

DSCN6060.JPGFirst Group (Group 1)

The first floor of the mansion would have been where the Culbertsons received their guests. The area consists of a formal dining room, an informal dining room, an informal parlor, Mr. Culbertson’s den and several rooms in the back that were used by the servants. We initially set up in the formal dining room, but found ourselves moving to the informal parlor midway through the investigation. Both rooms provided us with ample activity, but the informal parlor was especially active that night.

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We started in the formal dining room with a dowsing rod session:

  • They aren’t comfortable with one member of the group
  • Not a woman
  • They will be communicating with us tonight
  • They like the home
  • They think the home is beautiful
  • They won’t be revealing themselves to us
  • They aren’t in any of the pictures in the house
  • Doesn’t like dark, stormy nights

One man began asking qualifying questions, attempting to validate the authenticity of the dowsing rods. My impression was that he was testing the system, something the ghosts also picked up on. If they feel as though they are being tested, they probably won’t respond. I asked the man if he was a skeptic and he denied it, but I don’t think the ghost hunt was what he was expecting.

I believe a lot of people are surprised by what actually happens during a real paranormal investigation. If you watch ghost shows on TV, you’re probably in for an underwhelming experience. We don’t chase demons down hallways and couches seldom fly across the room. If we’re lucky, we will see a shadow move, smell a phantom odor or feel a ghostly touch, but that is usually the extent of our experiences. Our goal is to communicate with them and to learn something about their story, their history. Sometimes this process is slow and methodical. It isn’t normally fast-paced and exciting.  The man and his guest left during break, so I’m guessing it wasn’t what he wanted.

The next person took the rods and had much better results.

  • She was talking to a woman (something I also felt)
  • She was willing to communicate with us.

I sent the first group down to the basement to experiment with the Ganzfeld Experiment, which is a sensory deprivation experience. Participants wear white goggles and sit around a table with a red lamp, wearing headphones that play white noise. They sit for ten minutes to see what they experience. During the night, everyone who attended had an opportunity to use them. I’ll include a complete reporting at the end of this section about what they experienced.

We put away the dowsing rods and used the Spirit Box. A Spirit Box is basically a modified radio that scans through the stations rapidly. Ghosts are able to use the white noise to communicate. Because we were so close to the Louisville area, we pick up a plethora of radio stations. With this in mind, I build a Faraday Pouch for each Spirit Box we used at the event.

A Faraday Pouch is a pretty basic contraption. I used aluminum foil and duct tape to build a small pouch to put the Spirit Box inside of. As hoped for, it blocked out a lot of the radio stations, allowing us to be more confident in the responses we heard.

I had the group introduce themselves, which is something we always do during investigations. We have to remember that we are in their house. Just because we can’t see them doesn’t mean they aren’t there and we can be rude to them. As soon as we finished, I asked what they’re names were. A man answered “Paul.”

Other Spirit Box responses:

Did you live here in the 1800’s? “I didn’t”

 

Did you live here in the 1900’s? “I did”

Paul, did you have children? “Pool party!”

Are you with us, Paul? “I’m Denny.”

We asked a few more questions but didn’t get a lot of responses. We went back to dowsing rods for a bit.

  • Paul was with us
  • Someone else was with us – it was a female
  • Paul worked in the building – slow yes
  • He got paid to work

We turned the Spirit Box back on because several people had been doing the Gansfeld Experiment and didn’t hear it.

What was your name? “Satan” At the time, I thought it said Steven, which encouraged everyone to talk to “Steven.” Upon review, it’s definitely “Satan.” I’m confident that Satan wasn’t there with us. I believe that one of the ghosts in the house was having fun with us, knowing this response would create pandemonium (if properly interpreted)

Is Paul with you, Steven? “That’s who I am.”

As I walked the next group to the basement door to do the Ganzfeld Experiment, I encourage the group to keep asking questions. At that moment, an older woman with a lisp came through and said, ”The time is over soon.”

Someone asked about the female with him. I believe they meant to ask, “What is the name of the female here with you?” The response was, “The spirit?”

Is the female with you your wife? “Irene”

Did you live in New Albany? “Muncie”

They began talking about various servants who worked in the house. They asked about Mary Louise, wondering if she had a heart condition. A male voice confirmed this with, “She did.”

 

Second Group (Group 3)

IMG_20190615_211539.jpgThe group had just spent an hour on the third floor and were eager for more intrigue. We started out with a dowsing rod session:

  • We weren’t talking to a female
  • He was under 10 years old – we had a hard time nailing this down and weren’t sure if it was even accurate
  • He didn’t like art or music
  • His hair isn’t brown
  • He liked going to school
  • Doesn’t like to dance, sing or read
  • He likes nursery rhymes, candy, parties and trick-or-treating (trick-or-treating was first done in the US in 1927)
  • He can see Joe and was standing behind him

Spirit Box: We had a lot of random blurps, but weren’t really getting anything clear.

  • What is your name? “Eleven”
  • What was your favorite toy? “Drum”

I finally turned off the Spirit Box and began talking to the ghosts about moving on. I think it’s important to let them know they aren’t trapped in place – that they can move on to Heaven. I talked to them for a while, but didn’t feel anyone cross over.

We decided to change rooms and went into the informal parlor. We turned on the Spirit Box in there and began getting more responses.

How do you feel about the volunteers being here? “It’s good.”

Would you rather have chocolate cake or vanilla cake? “Vanilla”

I left the room to check on the Ganzfeld Experiment, so someone asked, “Where is Joni right now?” A male voice said, “I’m insulted.”

Someone asked how many ladies were in the room. A male voice answered correctly. “Six,” he said.

We really weren’t getting much on the Spirit Box. We went around the room several times and didn’t get any clear responses, so we turned it off. At that point, one of the volunteers mentioned that she wears an insulin pump and the batteries were already drained. They usually last much longer. She went to get her second pack and discovered that it was also drained. I explained to the group that ghosts often draw energy from batteries and from the living. I hadn’t noticed any substantial battery drain on my equipment, but it was interesting to hear.

Dowsing rods:

  • There was a female in the room
  • Her name was Nellie (Cornelia Culbertson’s nickname)
  • She doesn’t mind that we aren’t dressed formally in her dining room
  • She isn’t okay with the way women dress today
  • Women shouldn’t wear shorts.
  • They should wear clothing that covers their legs
  • I asked the rods to point to where she stood and they pointed to the area by the piano, where I was hearing her
  • It wasn’t her piano (later confirmed)
  • Her piano was much nicer
  • She didn’t play the piano
  • She was in love with her husband – slow yes
  • She was a teacher
  • She had children
  • She had troubles with Mr. Culbertson’s children
  • She had problems with one in particular: Charlie
  • Charlie was sometimes disrespectful with the staff
  • Charlie sometimes chased after some of the female staff
  • She had a lot of parties there
  • She doesn’t mind that so many volunteers are there all the time
  • She didn’t know that her daughter fought for the right for women to vote
  • She doesn’t like how her house looks now
  • She likes the walls and ceiling renovations
  • She likes the fence that goes around the yard
  • She doesn’t like how her house looks during Christmas
  • She didn’t pick the purple in the ceiling
  • She doesn’t wish the house had her same furnishings
  • She does wish they had nicer furniture

Third Group (Group 2)

64537017_10221113538047502_2182892582453903360_n.jpgMy third group had their own EMF meters which were going off continually. I tend to ignore them when they flicker constantly because it usually is due to electric lines or Wi-Fi floating through the room. They reported that they’d been having this issue all night. The devices they were using were Ghost Meters, which I’ve found to be less effective than more expensive models like the KII or Mel Meters. I had a Ghost Meters for several years and ended up giving it away because it provided far too many false positive results.

Joining us for our last session was Jessica, who oversees the building and all of it’s events. Jessica has a wealth of knowledge about the mansion and the people who lived there, so we were excited to have her with us.

We started out with dowsing rods in the informal parlor:

  • Nellie was still with us
  • She was enjoying what we were doing
  • She didn’t wish we’d done anything differently
  • She liked because we were asking her questions
  • She’s not happy with the furniture. It’s not as upscale as she’s like. Jessica said she loved blue satin. She had it on everything.
  • The front bedroom wasn’t hers with blue walls
  • She didn’t share a bedroom with her husband
  • Her bedroom was the rose room (master bedroom)
  • Couldn’t get an answer about where Mr. Culbertson slept
  • The closet on the third floor was a punishment closet – slow yes, meaning it might have been a bit more than just that
  • She’s happy with the work they’re doing – slow yes
  • The walls aren’t painted like they were when she was there
  • No answer when they asked if she ever saw a ghost
  • Her first husband Dudley is not there with her now
  • Maryann isn’t there
  • Frank was there when Brice was at the mansion
  • She doesn’t like it when Frank smokes in the house
  • Ann is there too
  • Blanche isn’t there
  • She didn’t have a very good time there
  • One of the volunteers asked if she recognized her and she did
  • She doesn’t mind what they do in the carriage house, but doesn’t find it amusing.
  • She tolerates it because it brings the house back to its former glory
  • She didn’t enjoy all of her time in the house
  • She wouldn’t want them to paint the walls blue
  • There are kids there
  • She wasn’t lonely there
  • That wasn’t her when they were doing the Estes on the third floor
  • She used to choose the flowers the maid on the third floor brought in
  • There aren’t any animals there
  • She doesn’t go out to the carriage house
  • She liked to read – slow yes
  • She was in the room with us right then
  • I asked for the rods to point to where she was in the room. The rods pointed to the same place beside the piano.
  • She knows what happened to her portrait
  • It was stolen by someone on staff and they still have it
  • They no longer work there
  • She doesn’t know where they are
  • It was a male who stole it
  • Jessica asked a few names and it said no and then said yes when she got to the person it was. He apparently did bad things there.
  • They didn’t have any indoor pets, but through a series of questions we learned that there was a cat in the basement. A servant would let it in. Jessica was curious because they’ve never seen any reference to pets at the mansion. My impression was that she wouldn’t put up with pets in the house because they created messes.
  • Jessica was there before in another life. She wasn’t a Culbertson. She wasn’t a maid – slow no.
  • One of the volunteers asked if she knew if she was getting her promotion. The rods said no, which meant she didn’t know.
  • There are negative energies there
  • The negative energy is on the third floor (confirmed by the Estes Method) in Josephine’s room. The energy is male. Someone asked if it was someone she knew and it went from yes to no to yes to no. He didn’t come in while she lived there or during the American legion period.
  • She was upset that the American Legion changed the entire house
  • Nellie hasn’t been there the entire time. I explained that if she was upset by what was going on, she might have gone back to somewhere else she was once happy and then came back once the renovations started. She wasn’t there when the American Legion owned it.
  • She wasn’t the only one in the room.
  • They weren’t all from the home. Some came in with others in the room. She asked if the rods could point to where the other entities are and the rods pointed towards the person who asked the question. It came in with the woman. She didn’t know the ghost in life. Mrs. Culbertson can’t get rid of it. It is benevolent though. It hasn’t always been with her.
  • The next person asked if the ghost was standing behind her and the rods pointed towards her. It was a male. It came with the woman beside her.
  • There are more than two ghosts in the room. She asked where they were standing and the rods divided and pointed in two directions. There weren’t more than three.
  • Pets can follow people in the afterlife
  • She was well educated
  • The ghost in the corner was female. She wasn’t a servant. It wasn’t Maryann. She wasn’t a McDonald. It wasn’t a child. She wasn’t a seamstress. She was a cook. Her name was Clarissa. Jessica explained that Clarissa was the daughter of a slave but was born free in Indiana. Jessica was curious about her sleeping arrangements so we began asking questions. Clarissa confirmed that she had segregated sleeping arrangements. She slept out in the wood house. She was happy with the Blue Banquet (a benefit dinner Jessica hosted recently that used many of Clarissa’s menus). She knew about it.  She didn’t like Rebecca “Keith” Culbertson. She wasn’t happy about how she treated Blanche but she was happy with how Blanche treated Keith. Jessica said they didn’t get along. Blanche was with Clarissa when she passed away.

We decided to try the Spirit Box for a few minutes.

We asked if Clarissa was the only person of color in the mansion and got a few responses we couldn’t quite make out. Then someone said, “You’re a child.”

 

I caught a strong whiff of old fashioned perfume. It almost smelled like potpourri

I asked if there was any particular food they missed. A male voice said, “chocolate shake.”

Did anyone abide in alcohol? “I did.” Jessica told the group that she found a letter about how Anne and Sam snuck liquor up to the second floor when they were youngsters.

Are there any pranksters in the family? “Boys”

Talking about Sam lighting the wood shed on fire. “They probably could.”

Sam burning down the wood house. “He liked it.”

Did Sam get in trouble? “Gives him more fight.”

 

Ganzfeld Experiment

64632781_10221113533687393_6202455017677389824_n.jpgDuring my first floor investigations, I sent groups of 3 down to the basement, where Rick Schlegelmilch was overseeing the Ganzfeld Experiment. This sensory deprivation experience involves participants sitting around a table, wearing goggles and headphones that are plugged into a laptop that’s playing white noise. A red lamp in the middle of the table completes the experiment. Many people who have tried this have tapped into dormant psychic medium tendencies, allowing them glimpses of images, sounds and smells. Several people felt ghostly touches. After they rose from their chairs after ten minutes, Rick asked them to write their experiences in a notebook. Here is what they wrote:

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  • Saw a piece of broken pottery – black and gold circles
  • The light went from bright to several shades darker
  • Felt speedy heart and also a flicker of light a couple times
  • Felt coldness on my face (constant)
  • My papaw was with me
  • Cool breeze, train and falls like Niagara
  • Appeared to have a face and eye kept appearing
  • Heard a 2 snap noise in my left ear. Kinda strange.
  • I saw flashes, almost as if someone took a photo. There were multiple tapping noises and the sound of a very low voice.
  • Felt cold air. Sounded like someone stomping, playing with my fingers.
  • Felt surrounded by warm peaceful feelings. Heard background noise on left side.
  • Footsteps to left. Light throbbing. Felt someone behind me. He was close enough to touch me but didn’t.
  • Very bright blue lights and noise the whole time.
  • Lots of fingers running through my head.
  • Gentle touch on head, back right side of skull. Cold air in front of my face, put my hand in front of my face and it was still cold air on my face. A thought came to mind. Something about not being treated like anyone else. No one treats us like anyone else.
  • First heard a bunch of screaming, and in many people screaming, like in pain. Then near the end, my stomach started to feel sick.

Second Floor

65386760_10221220519841980_8232739135702433792_n.jpgCrystal Folz, who is our group’s psychic medium, managed the investigation on the second floor. Those rooms would have been bedrooms during the Culbertson and McDonald eras. When they owned it, the American Legion removed one of the walls and turned a portion of the second floor into a billiards hall. Guests on the second floor often smell cigar smoke, which they believe comes from Frank Semple, who was married to Culbertson’s daughter Anna and lived in the mansion for many years.

 First Group (Group 2)

65218290_10221220517801929_108132141048528896_nThe first group settled in and Crystal explained how the session would go. Even though she’s a psychic medium, she stays closed down psychically during the investigation so she can stay focused on the guests. They started with a dowsing rod session.

Dowsing Rod Sessions Highlights:

  • There weren’t any cars there
  • They were talking to a female
  • She was born in the house
  • There were no other ghosts with them
  • There were pets at the mansion
  • There is a dog in the house
  • There were more than four of them in the room
  • The female had a favorite dress she liked to wear
  • The head maid Josephine was there
  • She once scared a policeman and thought it was a funny prank

They switched rooms and did a Spirit Box session. They got some blurps on the machine, but didn’t receive any clear responses. While they were doing the session, they noticed a wild temperature fluctuation. The temperature dropped ten degrees in a matter of a half hour.

Second Group (Group 1)

64399361_10221220518641950_5155017909860302848_nThe second group spent a lot of the session chatting with Crystal about how being a psychic medium works and she gladly shared several stories. At one point, her group started laughing so hard, I could hear them down on the first floor. It made me smile and pick up my game a bit too.  Her group started with a dowsing rod session:

  • They weren’t talking to a child
  • They are happy to be where they are
  • There were three of them there
  • None of them followed the group from downstairs

They switched rooms. The room they switched to was once Anne and Frank’s bedroom. Almost immediately, they discovered that the men in the group would get answers on the dowsing rods, but the women wouldn’t get anything. Crystal later learned how the room used to be open to the other room and was used as a billiards room during the American Legion days. That might have explained why they wouldn’t respond to the females in the group.

Dowsing Rods:

  • One of them is sad
  • Someone was there from the American Legion era
  • They enjoyed those times at the American Legion

Once again, they didn’t receive any clear responses on the Spirit Box. Part of the reason for the lack of communication was the setting on the Spirit Box. They had it set to the fastest speed, which in my opinion, makes it more difficult to get clear answers.

Third Group (Group 3)

64734954_10221113538807521_2389498917621334016_n.jpgCrystal’s third group came to her after our break and were eager to get started. They stared out with a dowsing Rod Session and got far more responses than the other groups got.

Dowsing rod responses:

  • They don’t like being there
  • They are looking for help
  • They lived there
  • They worked there
  • They were talking to a female
  • She wants to cross over
  • The woman was in the Culbertson family
  • They were talking to Nellie
  • She was looking for something
  • She’s been in the Punishment Closet
  • Her children were with her
  • She’s happy – slow response

I gave Crystal a small cat ball with motion active lights inside of it. If anything bumped the ball, it would instantly light up. Traci and I both had the same balls for our groups and neither of ours lit up, but the one on the second floor did. The group spent a few minutes trying to get it to do it again, but it only happened the one time.

Dowsing rod session continued:

  • They were also talking to a male
  • He was there when the American Legion owned the building. Crystal said it was odd that they were communicating with Megan because in that room, only males were getting responses earlier
  • He played pool and was good at it
  • He liked to drink
  • There isn’t something he wants to show them
  • Hanna’s profession (she’s a mortician) doesn’t make them uncomfortable

They switched rooms and used the spirit box. This time the box was far more chatty.

Spirit Box responses:

What is your name? “Kevin”

Are we still talking to the same person? “No”

How many are in the room with us right now? “Seven”

Kevin, are you in the room? “I’m here”

Whose room is this? “Mine”

Are you a little boy? “You’re flunking”

How many of you are here with us right now? “Ten”

They moved to dowsing rods:

  • Still talking to a woman
  • She was invited into the room next door
  • She was healthy when she was alive
  • She won’t be happy when everyone leaves and the house is quiet
  • There were no longer ten or more people with them
  • Nellie wasn’t with them
  • Kevin was with them
  • Some of his family is there with him
  • He likes to read books
  • He was an only child

Third Floor

65386821_10221220820089486_2578047973325799424_n (1)The third floor was probably used for a combination of functions. While it might have been used for servant housing, it was probably also used for the Culbertson children. He had more children than he had second floor bedrooms for and the third floor would have been convenient. We do believe the room Traci investigated was the head maid’s room, although she wouldn’t have had it all to herself. She probably would have shared it with other servants.

When the McDonalds owned the house, they blocked off the third floor and the staircase completely to help keep heating costs down.

First Group (Group 3)

64236013_10221113536967475_4681327895224778752_n.jpgAs Traci started her first session on the third floor, she noticed something that every other group had issues with all night. The EMF (Electromagnetic) meters used to detect the presence of ghosts were flickering and wouldn’t stop. In previous investigations, the meters only reacted on occasion, remaining quiet for the majority of the event. It’s not necessarily an indicator of paranormal activity, but it was strange.

Traci does a great job of setting up her sessions. She explains how to use the dowsing rods and the questions they can ask. “Never ask them a question you wouldn’t ask your grandmother,” she told them. She then picked up the dowsing rods and demonstrated how to use them and started a baseline for them to build on. She established that they were talking to several females. No males were present. She then passed them on to the guests.

Dowsing Rods:

  • There was a woman with them
  • There was more than one woman with them
  • There was a male (when Traci asked, it said no)
  • He/she was married
  • He/she never swam in the Ohio River – very fast yes response
  • He/she worked in the house
  • He/she was a cook
  • He/she liked to cook – slow yes response
  • He/she had children
  • He/she had three children
  • He/she children didn’t stay in the room with him
  • He/she wasn’t a native of New Albany
  • He/she didn’t travel there down the Ohio River
  • He/she has been to a party in the house
  • He/she went outside in the yard
  • He/she had a boat
  • He/she is afraid of swimming
  • He/she had a bad experience in the water
  • He/she enjoyed art
  • He/she was good at art – slow yes response
  • He/she liked to draw
  • He/she liked to sing
  • He/she liked to sing in church
  • Other people liked hearing him/her sing
  • He/she didn’t have a tenor voice
  • He/she rode a horse
  • It was fun riding a horse
  • Played instruments

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(Above) The Punishment Closet

During the session, she sent small groups out to the Punishment Closet with a pendulum. The Punishment Closet is somewhat of a mystery. They believe that Mrs. Culbertson had it built as a “time out room” for her husband’s rambunctious children. Her husband was probably away on business a lot and his children were prone to getting into trouble. One of them burnt down the wood shed at one point just to watch it burn.

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Dowsing Rods:

  • Doesn’t like the mansion
  • When asked if they could leave, the rods wavered between yes and no. Traci explained to them that they could leave if they wanted to.
  • Lived there during the flood
  • That was his/her room
  • It’s always hot up there (not true)
  • Spent a lot of time in Louisville
  • Hasn’t been to New York City

Traci then began the Estes Effect experiment. She first explained the process. The Spirit Box scans the radio stations at a rapid rate. Traci blindfolded herself and connected herself to the Spirit Box with noise cancelling headphones. The group asked questions to the ghosts in the house that Traci can’t hear. As soon as she hears something come through the box, she says it aloud. This cancels out any human error when hearing voices through the Spirit Box.

Q: Did you ever go to Derby?

Q: What was your favorite breakfast food?

Q: Did you have a favorite dress?

Traci: “Hey”

Traci: “GO. No problem”

Q: What color is your shirt?

Q: Do you like wearing shoes or going barefoot?

Traci: “I don’t know.”

Q: Do you like going outside?

Traci: “Kind of.”

Q: Do you like playing near the big tree?

Traci: “Hear right now.”

Q: Do you like going down by the river?

Traci: “I think so.”

Q: Do you like going down with your friends to the river?

Traci: “Roll over.”

Q: What is your favorite flower?

Traci: “Maybe.”

Q: Were you born in this month?

Traci: “Hey. I can’t. Well.”

Q: How many times were you married?

Traci: “Sort of.”

Q: Would you like something from us?

Traci: “Yeah.”

Q: What would you like?

Traci: “Take off.”

Q: Something is making noise in the chair. Chair ticked.

Traci: “The man.”

Q: Why are you here?

Traci: “Never.”

Q: Why can’t you leave?

Traci: “Think about it. Please do it.”

Traci: “Sinner”

Traci: “Joni”

Q: Who’s Joni?

Traci: “Here”

Q: Where’s Joni at now?

Q: What color is Joni’s hair?

Traci: “Yeah”

Q: How many people are in this building right now?

Traci: “Never mind”

Q: How many living people are in this room?

Traci: “Things”

Q: Do you like flowers?

Traci: “My God!”

Q: What is your favorite song?

Traci: “Stop!”

Q: Do you want us to stop asking questions?

Traci: “We’re done!”

Q: What is my name?

Traci: “Children!”

At that point, I came upstairs to check on them and they told me that the Spirit Box said my name. Did they see me coming up? It was an interesting experiment with some fairly profound responses. Traci said the voice that was coming through with the angry tone was male. It was apparent he was becoming annoyed with what he perceived as trivial questions.

Second group (Group 2)

65937239_10221220823729577_6027899167286755328_nThe group settled in after being on the second floor for their first session. Traci explained everything they would be doing and then they started a dowsing rod session.

Dowsing Rods:

  • There was a woman there
  • There wasn’t a man there
  • She was the head maid
  • She was a servant
  • The Culbertsons treated her well
  • She liked living on the third floor
  • She showered up there. This was a good question because there isn’t currently a bathroom on the third floor. One of the volunteers said there used to be a bathroom up there but was turned into a bedroom later.
  • Someone who came back from the Punishment Closet asked if there a little boy in the Punishment Closet with her. It responded with yes.
  • He was the little boy who burned down the wood shed. (Probably not true since Samuel died as an old man)
  • Liked being close to the river
  • Went to the stores in town
  • They think it’s fun when they have the haunted house event in the Carriage House
  • Someone asked if she was going to get the promotion she was testing for. The dowsing rods said “no.”
  • They had pretty flowers at the mansion
  • She provided the flowers for the mansion

Traci noted that the K2 meters were reacting near the big mirror

She then started the Estes Effect.

 

Q: What’s your name

Traci: “Mama” (she said it sounded like a child)

Traci: “What’s that?”

Q: How many children do you have?

Traci: “Mama” (child’s voice)

Q: Do you have any boys

Q: Are your children here

Q: Do you want your mama?

Q: How old are you?

Q: Are you Cordelia? (rapid fire questions)

Traci: “Yes” (probably in response to the question about wanting her mama)

Traci: “I know”

Q: Were you outside in the chair?

Traci: “I think so”

Traci: “floozie” (this word wasn’t popular until the 1920’s)

Q: Did you punish your boys?

Traci: “Mama” (child’s voice)

Q: Are you calling for mama

Traci: “He can’t be quiet.”

Q: Is that why you punish him?

Q: Is there more than one person here?

Traci: “Who’s gone? I don’t know?”

Q: Who’s the boy

Traci: “You’ll make it.”

Q: Do you get mad at your boys?

Traci: “Come with me?”

Q: Where to?

Traci: “Chicago”

Q: Why Chicago?

Traci: “Attention”

Q: Attention to what?

Traci: “Black”

Q: What year is it?

Traci: “Tonight”

Q: What happens tonight?

Traci: “The book”

Q: What book?

Q: What color shirt am I wearing?

Traci: “I don’t know.”

Q: Are you happy?

Traci: “Oh well”

Q: Are we missing the point

Traci: “I know what you done”

Q: Did somebody do something wrong?

Traci: “Where’s that?”

Traci: “Tombstone”

Q: Is there something you want to tell us.

Traci: “I should go”

Q: Why do you want to leave

Traci: “What?”

Q: It’s okay to talk to us

Traci: “No problem”

Traci: “Julie”

Traci: “Child’s here.”

Traci: “Any more”

Traci: “What happened?”

Q: Do you know Julie?

Q: What about Julie?

Traci: “What?”

Q: Who is Julie?

Traci: “Motorcycle”

Q: Are you always in the house?

Traci: “Focus”

Q: Focus on what?

Traci: “Eric”

Q: Who is Eric?

Traci: “Investigate them.”

Q: Investigate Eric and Julie? (one member in the group had family members by the same names, which concerned her)

Traci: “Thank you”

Traci: “This kid”

Q: One of your kids?

Q: Did you have a favorite kid?

Traci: “Anything. Back to it”

Q: Did you live in the house?

Q: Do you like people coming in to talk to you?

Traci: “No. No.” (male voice)

Traci: “I don’t” (male voice)

Q: We have enjoyed talking with you but you’re free to leave

Traci: “Maybe. We’ll talk” (male voice)

Traci: “It’s up” (male voice)

Q: What’s up?
Traci: “Probably” (male voice)

Traci then came out of the session and removed her headphones.

She explained some of the history regarding the Culbertson family. She said the “floozy” comment might have been in reference to Blanche Culbertson. Blanche was Mr. Culbertson’s youngest daughter. She became known as “Scandalous Blanche” after she refused to marry the man her father wanted to marry. Instead, she married the man she loved, someone who was known to be a scoundrel. Her father wrote her out of his will, but she later took it to court and won her fair portion of his estate. Later in her life (after her divorce from the scoundrel) she went to New York City and was a huge influence on the women’s movement.  Blanche is one of our favorite characters in the house.

Third Group – Group 1

IMG_20190615_233015Traci’s last group would prove to experience the most activity.  They started off the session by taking a baseline on the dowsing rods.

  • There were several women in the room
  • There weren’t any males there
  • There was a child there

She then handed off the rods.

  • She wasn’t a servant
  • She wasn’t married to anyone who belonged to the house
  • She wasn’t a guest of the house
  • She was a little girl
  • Her mother is with her
  • She has a little brother
  • She’s happy
  • Her name isn’t Mary Julia
  • Her mother’s name isn’t Cornelia
  • Her mother’s name isn’t Eliza
  • Her last name wasn’t McDonald
  • She didn’t live in the house

The chair began ticking even though it hadn’t been touched in a while. Traci explained to the group to pay attention to that. Sometimes the ghosts use that for communication.

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Dowsing rods continued:

  • Someone is there because they’re attached to a piece of furniture
  • She’s from Indiana
  • She doesn’t know the girl they met in the Punishment Closet
  • She’s okay with them being there

Traci then moved on to the Estes Method.

Q: Have you been here for a long time?

Traci: “Really?”

Q: Are you tired?

Q: Do you like this room?

Traci: “Hello”

Q: Hi

Traci: “Robert”

Q: Hi Robert

Traci: “Friend. Partner”

Traci: “Apple”

Q: How old are you?

Traci: “Recording?”

Q: Yes, we’re recording this session.

Q: Do you live here?

Q: How old are you Robert?

Q: Is your mother here? (rapid fire questions, which always seem to irritate them)

Traci: “You’re stupid.” (Male voice)

Q: That wasn’t nice.

Q: Is that the way you usually talk?

Traci: “Go!” (Male voice)

Traci: “Weird”

Q: How many of us are in this room?

Q: Do you like to play with balls?

Traci: “John. Hello.”

Q: Are you a little boy?

Traci: “I wasn’t sure”

Q: Are you and adult?

Traci: “I’m here. Government.”

Q: Do you work for the veterans

Traci: “Peace”

Q: Did you serve in a war?

Were you part of the American Legion?

Traci: “In time”

Traci: “I wanted to try. I can’t”

Traci: “fifty, a hundred.”

Q: Can you move the ball?

Traci: “It’s going to stay”

Traci: “got you”

Q: Did your father fight in the war?

Traci: “Me too”

Was it WW2?

Traci: “Evil”

Q: Did you fight in Germany?

Q: Did you fly in planes?

Q: Were you in Normandy? Rapid fire questions

Q: Do you have kids, Robert?

Q: Did you work in the stables?

Q: Is there a mother and daughter in here still? Rapid fire questions continuing

Traci: “Resort. Help.”

Q: Do you need help?

Q: Were you wounded in the war?

Traci: “Yeah. Get me.”

Q: Where were you wounded?

Q: Did you lose a leg?

Q: Robert, are you looking for the light? Can you find the light?

Traci: “yes”

Q: Do you need help finding it?

Traci: “My wife”

Traci: “The problem.”

Q: Is your wife sick?

Q: How many people are in this room?

Traci: “Music”

Q: Did you have a daughter?

Traci: “I like it.”

Traci: “There he is.”

Q: Was it the music in the carriage house?

Traci: “Help me.”

Q: Are you stuck, Robert?

Q: Do you like this window?

Traci: “This?”

Q: Do you like the third floor?

Traci: “Taken”

Q: Is this room taken?

Q: Were you a caretaker here?

Traci: “Raindrop. Please.”

Q: Did you work here in the sixties? Or the seventies?
Traci: “Hi”

Q: Hi

Q: Do you want to talk with us?

Traci: “Who is it?”

Q: This is Alicia.

“Traci: This is William.”

“What?”

Q: William Culbertson?
Traci: “what do you see?”

Q: I don’t see anything. You wanna show me something?

“Traci: William”

Q: Can you give us a sign please?”

Traci: “More.”

Q: Do you also go by Bill?

Traci: “My name is William”

Q: What is your last name?

Traci: “Holding everything.”

Q: Did you buy this house?

Q: Were you close to the train?

Traci: “Hey, I’m here”

Q: Are you still William?

Traci: “never stop. Stop it.”

Q: Are you getting tired, William?

Traci: “Mad”

Q: Just mad?

Q: Did you drink, William?

Q: Were you a cigar smoker?

Traci: “Well.

Traci: “From”

Mary, a volunteer, explained that there were several Williams. There was also a William Arthur. According to Jessica, William Arthur went by Will sometimes. He was the eldest Culbertson son who gained a drinking problem later in life. His wife’s name was Olive and she had infidelity problems. They were constantly in debt and his father had to bail them out repetitively. They lost their daughter as a young girl. When Will died, Olive was cut out of the will. They stated that they’d helped her enough when her husband was alive and they wouldn’t help her any longer.

During past investigations, we’ve felt there is a lost child up on the third floor. She might have belonged to a servant. We’ve tried to help her many times, but she rejects the assistance.

As the night came to a close, we gathered together in the formal dining room and had a group discussion about the night. The majority of the guests felt that the first floor was the most active. As Jessica pointed out, guests would have been received in the informal parlor on the first floor, which was where we got the most responses.

The mansion wasn’t as active as we’ve seen it in the past, but it was still active enough to keep us intrigued. Every time we visit, we learn something new about the ghosts who reside there.

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(Above) my team: (L-R) me, Traci Hoehn, Crystal Folz, Rich Schlegelmilch, Meagan Patterson

Thank you to everyone who attended and thank you to the Culbertson Mansion for hosting our event. Special thanks to my team for all their hard work!

 

 

Workingmen’s Institute Investigation Review – 3/9/19

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Ghosts aren’t always the scary phantoms you see in movies. Most of the time they are nothing more than people who decided to stay where they were instead of moving on to the afterlife. The reasons they stay are numerous. Sometimes they remain earthbound to watch over family members or homes they loved. Other times, they stick around to oversee their life’s work. Libraries nearly top this list.

I’ve visited many old libraries and haven’t seen one yet that didn’t have a ghost in residence. Over the years it’s become apparent to me that librarians are dedicated to their work and their libraries. The fact that some of them hang around in spirit form doesn’t surprise me.

Workingmen’s Institute has a rich history. It was established in 1838 by philanthropist William Maclure, who was Robert Owen’s business partner during the second communal experiment in New Harmony. Maclure wanted education to be available to everyone, regardless of their social status or wealth. It is the oldest continually operating library in the state of Indiana.

The library was originally housed in the Harmonists’ old church. When the building became old and unstable, they needed a new location. Dr. Edward Murphy donated the money to purchase the land and the building was soon built.

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(Above) Dr. Edward Murphy on the stairs of WMI at the grand opening

Dr. Murphy was a tremendous influence in New Harmony’s early days. His name graces many of the buildings and the park due to his generosity. In his later years, he made several trips to Europe to commission the reproductions of famous works of art. He brought them back and framed them in beautiful gold frames and donated them to WMI so the people of New Harmony could see fine art. He and his wife Sofia died within days of one another and the bulk of his wealth was donated to the library. His and Sofia’s ashes are interred in an urn that is located in the gallery room, surrounded by all his beautiful art.

Was Dr. Murphy still lingering at the library? That was one of our questions for the night.

We know the library is haunted. Over the years, people have had many ghostly encounters. They’ve ranged from boxes falling from a shelf, containing the information the current librarian was looking for, to ghostly apparitions drifting up the staircase. We were excited to see what we would uncover.

After a brief presentation, we divided into four groups. Each group would spend a half hour in each room with a paranormal investigator. Helping me that night were psychic medium Crystal Folz, medium/paranormal investigator Traci Hoehn and paranormal investigator Jason Nelson.

Maclure Room

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(Above) The group, listening to Joni’s presentation in the Maclure Room

If you’ve been to Workingmen’s Institute, the Maclure Room is the large presentation room to the left of the main doorway. Over the years, it’s seen many presentations and research projects. It’s not difficult to imagine many of the tables being occupied by unseen readers. Jason Nelson led all the groups in this room.

Jason’s First Group (Group A)

Jason’s first group started their session by using the Spirit Box. They went around the room and introduced themselves, which is always a polite way to start a session. We have to realize that we are coming into their space. I’ve found that if we are polite, we often get more results, not to mention the fact that it’s the right thing to do.

As they were starting the session, a sound came through that Jason identified as a possible radio blurt. As soon as he mentioned that, another male voice came through and said, “That was fucked up.” They went around the room and asked more questions without getting a response, and then someone asked if they ever climbed trees. A male voice said, “Yeah, I did.”

The session was due to end soon, so Jason told everyone they could go around the room and ask one more question. They didn’t get a tangible response until someone asked if they were male or female. A female voice answered with, “I’m Betty.”

The best response from the session came towards the end. Someone asked if they played sports. A male voice said, “That’s more fun!”

Jason then turned off the Spirit Box and led the group through a dowsing rod session. Dowsing rods are usually fairly successful tools when investigating older buildings. Ghosts from the nineteenth century are often apprehensive about our electronic devices but are comfortable with dowsing rods.

He passed the rods around the room and gave everyone a chance to use them. As always, some people are very good with the dowsing rods and others are not. Here are the responses:

  • One of the people they were talking to had children
  • They were talking to a girl
  • She is young
  • She’s an only child
  • She didn’t grow up in New Harmony
  • She played with other children when she was a child
  • Her name was Louise
  • She had a favorite dress
  • She is the woman in white they often see on the stairs
  • She sometimes plays with the giraffe on the shelf
  • She likes to sing
  • Edward Murphy was also there
  • The person they were talking to stays there all the time

Jason’s Second Group (Group B)

He started by having the group introduce themselves and they went directly to Spirit Box. This group started off asking questions too rapidly, not leaving ample amount of time between them. It almost sounded like an inquisition and the ghosts responded by staying quiet. As they eased into the session, they backed off a bit and started getting more responses. Most of the responses were either too faint to pick up or weren’t identifiable words, but they did finally get an intelligent response. Someone asked if they visit the building frequently and a female responded by asking him a question. “What do you think about?” she asked.

They turned off the Spirit Box and moved to dowsing rods. They gave more space between questions with the dowsing rods and got more responses:

  • The 8-legged calf upstairs was his/hers (doubtful this is true)
  • Something in the collection upstairs in the museum belonged to them
  • They smoked
  • They liked bourbon
  • They often hear Rick whistle as he walks past
  • They wore glasses
  • One of the pairs of glasses in the museum is his/hers
  • There was a child in the room
  • He/she was the one playing with Sophie’s hair during my presentation (Sophie also noted that she saw a shadow move across the back of the room)
  • He/she contributed to the collection in the museum
  • He/she has toys upstairs

Jason’s Third Group (Group C)

Jason’s third group needed to use the restroom, so there was a delay in getting started. It threw them off a bit because they forgot to go around the group and introduce themselves like Jason normally had them do. As they started the Spirit Box, one woman asked, “What’s your name?” There was a radio blurt, which Jason noted. As soon as he stopped speaking, a male voice threw the question right back at her. “What is your name?” he asked.

The same male voice came through shortly afterwards and did something I’ve never heard before. As the woman asked, “Did you have children?” he asked the same question over the top of her question.

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Jason asked if they were male or female and a woman responded “female.” Then, directly afterwards two very faint voices came though. One said, “Desmond,” and the other said, “Alvin.” They were too faint to clip into shareable clips.

They then moved to dowsing rods:

  • He/she has never had a dog
  • He/she grew up in New Harmony
  • They were talking to a man
  • He was upstairs earlier
  • He followed someone to the investigation
  • He wasn’t clergy
  • He wasn’t Dr. Murphy
  • He never used the fire pump upstairs in the Gallery room
  • No one else was in the room besides him
  • He’s been following their group from room to room
  • He liked to travel
  • He was a student in New Harmony
  • He doesn’t know anyone in the room
  • Not female (confirms the earlier response)
  • He’s not able to move around town

Jason’s Fourth Group (Group D)

Jason’s last group went around and introduced themselves before starting the session. They started with the Spirit Box. While they asked great questions, none of the responses were clear or relevant. They then moved onto dowsing rods and got a lot of great answers:

  • There was a little girl in the room
  • There were many of them there
  • William Maclure wasn’t there
  • No members of the Owen family were there
  • Alexander Maclure was there
  • John Eaton was there
  • They answered yes to “Have you read any good books lately?”
  • They have something in the archives
  • The little girl followed them from the other room
  • She had a pet
  • The little girl had a dog
  • She lived there and then moved away
  • Thomas Say wasn’t there
  • One of them was a Rappite
  • George Rapp was not there

Library

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(Above) The library as it looked when we investigated. It was under construction, which enhanced the haunting.

When I first mentioned the WMI investigation, Traci Hoehn was quick to claim the library. Having worked in a library before, she understood the commitment librarians have for their libraries. She also knew the activity level would be high in this room because it was undergoing construction to repair the ceilings and replace the aging light fixtures. Ghosts typically don’t like construction and become far more active, which proved to be the case.

Traci’s First Group (Group B)

Traci welcomed everyone into the library and explained the equipment she was using. She used a KII meter, which measures spikes in the electromagnetic field. She also used a Maglite flashlight they could use for communication, as well as a Static Electricity REM pod, which detects when ghosts are nearby. It will trigger when there is static electricity is present, something that ghosts might be able to utilize. She also used dowsing rods and gave them a demonstration.

Traci’s guests were also able to experiment with the Psychomanteum chamber. The room is equipped with a tall mirror and a dim light. People sit in front of the mirror and watch their reflection. I’ll include a section at the end of this review regarding what people experienced when they tried it.

Traci also explained that the library area will probably be an active area in the library. I agree with her. Librarians tend to be very protective over their libraries. When they die, many of them stick around to watch over their beloved space.

Dowsing Rod session:

  • There was someone with them
  • There were more than one (flashlight came on too)
  • There was a man in the room
  • There was a woman in the room as well
  • The woman worked there
  • The woman wasn’t a librarian (slow no)
  • The man worked in the library
  • The man was born in New Harmony
  • They like playing with the flashlight
  • She likes coming to the library to get away from distractions
  • The woman liked working at the library (slow yes)
  • The man had pets at home
  • The woman wasn’t the one who took care of Will (not sure who Will was)
  • The man was an archivist
  • His name is Arthur (referring to Arthur Dransfield, who was a librarian there)
  • The woman is approximately 30 years old (slow yes)
  • She had animals at home she took care of (fast yes)
  • The man took care of horses
  • The man was approximately 30 years old

Traci’s Second Group (Group A)

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Traci explained her equipment to the new group and also explained that the library would probably be fairly active due to the construction. As a medium, she could feel them coming in and out of the room.

Dowsing Rod Session:

  • The woman was married
  • She had children (slow yes)
  • One of them (a child?) liked to play outside with other children
  • The man did not grow up in New Harmony
  • One of them followed this group from the other room
  • The woman is the white lady they’ve been seeing on the stairs
  • Her last name is Golden
  • Her first name was Francis (not sure this is accurate. Grace is who we think is there)
  • She worked there (she didn’t. Neither of the Golden sisters worked there) This was a Control Question. Traci explained that sometimes we get a ghost who likes to mess with people, sometimes pretending to be someone else. This was probably the case, since Francis Golden probably wasn’t at the library. As far as we know, she didn’t have a real connection to WMI, but her sister Grace’s hat is stored there.
  • The woman worked in New Harmony
  • The little girl from the other room was there
  • Traci was trying to encourage her to play with the light or the pinwheel and she kept moving the rods to “no.” She would play with the giraffe though, if it was in the room. They asked if the giraffe was supposed to be in this room and she said “yes.” Traci confirmed that with the library construction, the giraffe was usually kept in the library. She asked them to point to where the giraffe is supposed to be and it pointed to the right place. She asked the little girl to point to where she was in the room and it pointed towards one of the pillars. Someone asked where the children’s area was (question directed to Traci) and the rods pointed to the area where the children normally sit, making everyone laugh.

Traci’s Third Group (Group D)

Traci’s third group consisted of the former librarian, Margret Sherzinger, and Linda Warrum, who is a New Harmony historian. They were able to ask pertinent questions about the history. After explaining the equipment and the reason why the library might be more active, she sent the first person into the Psychomanteum. They then moved into a dowsing rod session.

Before they could get started with the dowsing rods, they started hearing footsteps on the other side of the library. Traci asked about it with the dowsing rods.

  • One of them was walking over on the other side
  • There was still a man in the room
  • There was still a woman in the room
  • The little girl was still in the room
  • There was a librarian there (she used this to demonstrate the importance of directing the questions to a specific person)
  • Traci asked for them to point to where the giraffe is supposed to be and it pointed to the same area it did before. She also asked if it would point to where the little girl is and it pointed to the same area as before.
  • All three of them are a family (woman, man and child)
  • Someone asked if any of them ever ran the library. The rods pointed towards the vault.
  • They are the Elliot family
  • Claudia was there. (Josephine’s daughter)
  • Margaret (who was the librarian at WMI for five years) was asking questions. She and her daughter helped make the giraffe. As she was saying that, the rods said yes. Margaret took a moment and thanked Josephine for all the help she gave her over the years when she was the librarian.
  • At that point the plastic that separated the rooms to keep construction dust down began swaying. They asked if they could move it again.
  • There is another librarian there besides Josephine
  • Alline was there
  • She grew up in New Harmony

Traci’s Fourth Group (Group C)

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After a review of the equipment, Traci sent the first person off to the Psychomanteum and the rest of the group used the dowsing rods.

  • The little girl was still with them (slow yes)
  • The group had a laugh as everyone’s stomachs began growling at the same time
  • The little girl lived there (in New Harmony?) They started to pass the rods to the next person, but the rods kept pointing back to the previous person who was using them. Traci explained that the little girl was particular in who she wanted to hold the rods.
  • She had a dollhouse
  • She thinks they’re too noisy upstairs (Crystal’s group)
  • She likes it quiet in the library
  • She has a sibling – she has a half-brother and several sisters. Every time Traci would ask about the number of sisters she had, the rods would respond yes. Traci asked if she had 20 sisters and it said yes, making them all laugh. Traci then asked, “Are you lying?” and the rods went to yes. It was obvious she was toying with the group.
  • The man enjoys looking at nature and knows the little girl they were talking to
  • He enjoys reading with the little girl
  • Traci then demonstrated how to use the rods to locate things in the room. She asked them to point to the ladder in the room. They did. She then asked if the man would point them towards where he was standing in the room. The rods pointed in a specific direction. She then asked if the woman would point them towards herself and the rods pointed directly behind Traci. For the little girl, the rods pointed towards the same area she was standing before. Traci then asked if one of the guests would ask the question while she held the rods but closed her eyes. Someone asked if they would point to several items in the room and it did.

Psychomanteum

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(Above) The Psychomanteum Chamber is nothing more than a full length mirror with a chair in front of it. Participants sit in front of the mirror with a dim light and watch their imagine change.

Most people had some sort of experience in the psychomanteum chamber. In order to give the majority of the group a chance to try it, they only had a maximum of five minutes. Most people found that they didn’t need the full five minutes. Many of them came out after two or three minutes with fear on their faces.

  • Several people in the first group saw their faces grow beards.
  • Several people said the light went out and then came back on (it’s supposed to flicker but would actually go off)
  • Shannon saw her face morph into a man’s face
  • Several others saw their faces melting and then transform into something else.
  • Felt like someone was touching the back of her neck.
  • Felt like his head was moving even though it wasn’t
  • Saw her face with glasses on and then the entire room went dark
  • Saw her face become oblong and then back to normal
  • Her face went light and then dark
  • Felt like something was behind her, watching her
  • Saw a light up above her – looked like a silhouette
  • Two people saw a mist materialize behind them

Natural History Room

Natural History room.jpgThe Natural History Room is located on the second floor of the building and contains a portion of the museum. Glass cases wrap around the room, showcasing everything from old Civil War weapons to old shoes. It also houses quite a few taxidermy animals, including an 8-legged calf, and the skeleton of a Civil War hero horse named Old Fly.

During my visits there, I always felt the strongest energy in this room, which was why I assigned it to Crystal Folz. Being a psychic medium, I knew she would be able to hone in on the energy better than any of the rest of us. This proved to be true.

Crystal’s First Group (Group C)

Crystal held court in the Natural History Room. She demonstrated how to use the rods to the group and then they started the session.

  • There were more than two of them
  • They could see the group sitting there
  • There was something of theirs in the room
  • They have shoes there
  • The children’s shoes aren’t theirs
  • One of them is a child who likes to read books

Crystal’s Second Group (Group D)

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(Above) The Natural History Room in the early 1900’s

Crystal had the disadvantage of sharing her group with the Gansfeld Experiment. As soon as the group started getting results, the group switched and half went out into the hallway to try the Gansfeld.

The Gansfeld Experiment is a sensory deprivation experiment. Participants wear headphones connected to a laptop playing white noise and wear white goggles as they sit around a red lamp.

As soon as her new group settled in, she started another dowsing rod session while the other half of the group was out in the hallway.

  • It wasn’t a man named John
  • One of them has an item in the room
  • One of them came there as a child
  • They enjoy being there
  • There is more than one of them
  • They weren’t talking to a male
  • She doesn’t like science
  • She doesn’t like history
  • She’s an artist
  • Her art is displayed in New Harmony
  • She’s an Owen descendant
  • She’s a female
  • She’s Rosamond Dale Owen Oliphant.

From my book Haunted New Harmony:

“Rosamond was born in New Harmony in 1846 and was the granddaughter of Robert Owen. She was known to many as being eccentric.

Apparently, Rosamond was prone to having visions. One day while she was in the Fauntleroy garden, she had a vision of a strange land, along with the knowledge that her life would be forever changed. When she awoke the next morning, the words “prepare” were on her lips, so she swiftly began making plans to travel to England.

Soon after arriving in Europe, she married Laurence Oliphant, who was a known mystic and author. He died four months after they married. After his death, she told friends that she was still in contact with him. Her sense of spiritualism was something she embraced and often spoke about.”

Rosamond was a prolific author and worked for reform in women’s restrictive clothing. She was also involved in the Suffrage Movement and Peace Movement before setting up her own utopian colony in Palestine. If the group was, in fact, in contact with Rosamond, this is very fascinating and is something we will pursue in the future.

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(Above) Rosamond Dale Owen Oliphant

Continuing the dowsing rod session:

  • She doesn’t have artwork in the building
  • There is a male there with her
  • He is trying to prevent her from speaking
  • He is a scientist
  • He has artifacts in the building
  • He has a connection with Old Fly (the horse skeleton in the room)
  • Answered yes to “Was he your horse?” (Control question. The horse was a female)
  • He’s telling tales to get attention
  • He’s an Owen
  • He’s Richard Owen
  • William Owen is there also
  • David Owen is there
  • Robert Dale Owen is not there
  • They are all there together (slow yes)

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(Above) Some of the old shoes in the museum’s collection

They switched groups and the other half came into the room. They began a dowsing rod session with no knowledge of the group before there’s findings:

  • They were talking to a female
  • She is in her early twenties
  • She’s from New Harmony
  • She’s not attached to the building
  • Her work is in the building
  • They heard a noise in the other side of the room and asked if she made the noise. They got a “no” response.
  • They were sitting close to something she was associated with
  • William Maclure was there
  • He’s not happy with the changes they’ve made
  • There is a child there
  • The child is over the age of five

Crystal’s Third Group (Group A)

Crystal’s group started with a dowsing rod session:

  • There was someone there
  • It was a female
  • Her shoes were in the case

As Crystal’s group settled in, one male participant said that he felt like a girl was following him during the night. He had quite a few encounters with her during the evening and was curious. When it was his turn, he began asking questions.

  • The little girl was still with him
  • She likes coming into the room to look at the animals
  • She sometimes plays with the Old Fly skeleton
  • He began testing the girl and asked if the horse’s name was Sea Biscuit. He got a “no.” He asked if the horse’s name was Old Fly. He got a “yes.”
  • He asked the rods to point to the horse and it pointed to a woman in the group, making everyone laugh.
  • She doesn’t play the piano in the room
  • There was also a male there
  • They shouldn’t ask about the war

The other half of the group came in, fresh from the Gansfeld Experiment, and the rest of the group went out to take their place.

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(Above) Old Fly’s skeleton

One of the group members knew of a man who used to maintain the building and built a lot of the cabinets. She directed questions to him.

  • He was there and confirmed he built a lot of the cabinets
  • The little girl was still there
  • They don’t like the changes being made to the building
  • The little girl likes to run and play up there
  • She likes to run up the stairs
  • She is afraid of some of the taxidermied animals
  • One of the ghosts came with one of the guests
  • They don’t live there all the time
  • One of the ghosts came from Evansville that night (very slow yes)

Crystal’s Fourth Group (Group B)

The last group came in and Crystal gave them some basic information about the items in the room, including military items, old shoes, taxidermied animals. She also told them how the previous group felt that a ghost came with one of the investigators.

  • One of them liked to play chess
  • He/she know the little girl who was downstairs with their group
  • He/she don’t drink alcohol
  • He/she aren’t the ghost from the previous rooms they investigated
  • He/she don’t like seeing the dead animals
  • He/she come into the Natural History room to get away from everyone
  • He/she don’t have a favorite animal in the room
  • He/she didn’t work in the building
  • He/she is from New Harmony
  • He/she came from the New Albany area (several people from the group were from New Albany) and has been following them all night
  • He/she knew they were coming there that night
  • He/she knows them from the Culbertson Mansion (several people investigated the mansion with me previously)

The group began talking about how the dowsing rods pull strongly on their own and were amazed by the reaction. None of them liked the room and felt creeped out there. One of the participants felt that something was in the area where the war artifacts were kept.

  • The ghost is with Joni (followed me to the event – one of the participants has read my books and knows that I am often a ghost magnet)
  • Some of the mineral specimens belong to him/her
  • Some of his/her work is there (stones)

They had a discussion about the stones in the room. As we know, crystals and gemstones can retain energy and can often affect an investigation. Crystal confirmed this.

The group switched and the other half of the group came in.

  • He/she wasn’t a hunter
  • He/she has pets (slow yes)
  • They were talking to a female (slow yes – Crystal noted that almost all the “yes” responses were that way, yet the “no” responses were quick)
  • She’s not old
  • The dishes in the cupboard weren’t hers
  • Someone noted that the rods weren’t responding, but were vibrating instead. She said it felt almost like electricity moving through the rods. Someone else mentioned feeling a tightness in his chest.
  • They can move the pinwheel (but didn’t)
  • She doesn’t have a dog
  • The horse skeleton doesn’t belong to him/her
  • The rods were vibrating again and weren’t answering any questions. Crystal did an experiment of holding her hand above the rods. She could feel the energy coming off them. Others in the room could feel the energy too.

 

Gansfeld Experiment Results

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The Gansfeld Experiment was an interesting addition to our investigations. It provided our guests with a chance to try something new. They weren’t given any details about what they should expect, which gave them a clean slate to experiment with.

They sat around a small table wearing headphones that played white noise and wore white goggles that prevented them from seeing anything other than the red light in front of them. My good friend Paula Bundy oversaw this experiment. She timed them for ten minutes and then asked them to write down what they experienced. Not everyone had an experience. Some people felt nothing, while others had phenomenal experiences.  When we tested it prior to the event, Crystal Folz saw a vision of a woman painting pictures of seashells in books. It’s very possible she was picking up on Lucy Way Sistare Say. She was the wife of famed scientist Thomas Say. Thomas was an entomologist, conchologist, and herpetologist who spend many years in New Harmony identifying insects and shells. His wife Lucy would paint the illustrations after he drew them.

Lucy Say
(Above) Lucy Say

Here is what others experienced:

  • Felt a tap on the top of my headphones
  • Saw wrinkled eyes
  • Dark shadows and forms were checking me out
  • Saw two dark shadows – one from each side that moved into a light that became brighter. Then, heard a moan that started out saying “Mine” and went to “no.”
  • Something touched my necklace. My eyes and body went numb.
  • Heard a loud noise and someone walked by. I felt a touch on my left arm.
  • I felt someone kick my chair. It made it shake.
  • I felt someone touch my arm
  • Someone squeezed my shoulder. My heart was racing and my hands were sweaty. The red light kept turning black.
  • I got very hot and then very cold.
  • I felt tingling on my left side on the back of my head. The air seemed heavy.
  • I heard a soft tinkling of bells. Peaceful feeling.
  • I felt as if I was floating. I heard a high female voice in my left ear.
  • I felt like my face was bloating and then constricting. I heard a whole crowd of people who instantly started talking.
  • I heard a high-pitched little girl laughing.
  • I felt very cold but relaxing.
  • I felt like I was on a jetliner
  • I had three things happen. First, I heard a Native American Chant. Then I heard a man talking/moaning. Lastly, I heard multiple voices all mixed together.
  • I heard some voices. Time went by really fast. Right was pulsating or flickering.

Gallery Room

IMG_9512.JPGThe Gallery Room is across the hallway from the Natural History Room. It houses some of the larger historic artifacts in the museum, including a Harmonist wagon, fire engine and Father Rapp’s desk. All around the room are huge paintings in gilded gold frames. The photos were provided by Dr. Edward Murphy.

Joni’s First Group (Group D)

I started out by explaining how to use the dowsing rods. My “yes” is different from the rest of my group. For me, it’s always wide open for “yes” and crossed for “no.” We always start out the session by asking what “yes” and “no” looks like for the room. I then did a baseline reading for the room and identified that we had a male with us. I then passed the rods to see what others could get.

The first dowsing rod session for a group is usually fairly quiet as the participants get used to using them. My first group included New Harmony residents with a lot of knowledge about the town, so they asked excellent questions. It wasn’t until we’d passed them to the fourth person before someone got responses.

  • He worked there.
  • It wasn’t a male she was talking to.
  • There weren’t more than two of them.
  • They don’t use any of the equipment behind him (fire engine, desk, wagon, etc.)
  • He didn’t catalog anything there
  • He/she doesn’t have a connection with the building

With minimal responses, we decided to use the Spirit Box. I explained what it was and how it works and then turned it on to see what we could get.

I then told the group about our test run investigation there the previous week. Traci Hoehn and I did ten minute sessions in several rooms to get an idea of how the ghosts would react to us. In the Gallery, we connected with a male and a female. The female talked to us a lot in the beginning before the male came through strongly. We both felt that he was preventing her from communicating. Was this the case here as well? As I was closing the session, I asked if they were going to talk to us at all during the night and a male voice said, “Get off it.” The response wasn’t as clean as I wanted, so I’m not sharing it, but it was an indicator of where the evening might go.

Joni’s Second Group (Group C)

53921491_10220280460061073_208279289353732096_nMy second group arrived after being in the Natural History room. Several of them told me they had experiences with the Ganzfeld Experiment.

I shared some information I’d just received about the room we were investigating. According to Circulations Manager, Shannon DeLap, the room might have been used to conduct séances back in its early days. We do know that spiritualism was alive and well across the country, especially among the wealthy set. Considering that Robert Dale Owen wrote two books about his experiences with the Fox sister mediums during the Spiritual Revolution, it wasn’t a stretch to believe that New Harmony was swept up in the movement as well.

What does this mean for a building? Often, when séances are conducted, they open portals in an area, allowing easier passage for other ghosts to come through. It gives the room/and or building a certain spiritual buzz. The energy that fills the space makes it easier for ghosts to communicate.

After going around the group and introducing ourselves, we did a dowsing rod session.

Dowsing rod session:

  • The male wasn’t there with us (but I could feel him)
  • The female was there
  • Not from Indiana
  • She doesn’t have children
  • She wasn’t an outdoor person
  • She’s not a student
  • She’s not more than 30 years old
  • She’s not a mother
  • She’s not a teacher
  • She doesn’t work in the service of others
  • She doesn’t enjoy the indoors
  • She doesn’t enjoy the building
  • She wants to leave
  • She enjoys the sunshine
  • She was outside a lot in life

The woman holding the rods was getting more responses than anyone else, so I appointed her our group dowser. We began asking questions and she held the rods.

  • She is a female
  • She wasn’t the one who was there before
  • I started to ask if she came with someone and the rods pointed towards me
  • After we all laughed, and then I asked the question again. This time the rods pointed to the woman beside me.
  • I asked if the woman was related to Brenda and they said “no”
  • She didn’t know Brenda from before the event, making me wonder if the rods were pointing to Brenda or to me

We then moved to Spirit Box. We went around the group, not getting any responses. I could hear the group outside in the hall, so I got up to make sure the door was closed. As I walked away, a faint male voice said, “Don’t stop.” Did he think I was leaving and was trying to stop me?

We went around the group and asked more questions. While we got a few responses, none of them were clear. I did comment that the group got a lot more responses than the last group. I asked, “What is it about the group you like the best?” An older woman answered, “You are pretty.” It’s not as clear as I’d like, but I’m including a link so you can hear it.

Joni’s Third Group (Group B)

53300070_10220280461781116_4963178660098998272_n.jpgMy third group was primarily composed of people I know from other investigations or from around New Harmony. I decided to go right to Spirit Box since we were starting to get some reactions during the last group. We introduced ourselves and then went around the room, asking questions.

I asked if the female was still with us and got a faint response that sounded like, “I’m with you.”

My friend Rick Schlegelmilch, who often helps me with investigations, asked if they ever helped with the fire engine. A faint male voice said, “I got to.”

Rick’s wife Donna was next and asked, “How tall are you?” The same male voice answered, “I can’t hit.” I’m not sure what he meant by this, but the response came directly after the question. Did he mean that he was too short to fight or did this refer to something else entirely?

All evening, people kept hearing noises coming from the dark corner near the attic staircase.  This is also the area where Dr. and Mrs. Murphy’s ashes are interred. Halfway through our session, we decided to move down to the dark corner and I’m glad we did.

As soon as we moved, everyone felt immediately spooked. They kept looking up the staircase, feeling like something was watching them. I asked if they remembered one of our names and a very faint voice said, “Mary.” There wasn’t a “Mary” in our group, but it was an intelligent response to our question, which made it amazing.

I then asked if they could ask anyone of us to leave, who it would be. It sounded like it said, “You,” but it wasn’t clear. I then went around the room and asked everyone to tell us their favorite kind of pie. Sometimes this discussion will generate a response and it did. A voice responded with “Apple.” Seconds later, after we laughed over the clear response, another voice chimed in with, “Cake!”

The group kept feeling something at the top of the stairs and even saw a shadow move. Melissa Goforth noted that her phone app had spit out three words over the course of the night. The first word was “tease.” She asked if they were teasing us and a voice said, “Yep.” She also noted that earlier in the evening when her cousin Tony asked if they smoked, the word “lung” popped up.

One of the members of our group had mediumship abilities and felt that it was a man with salt and pepper hair.

Several members of the group also felt there was someone standing behind me. I had put myself in the corner, so there wasn’t much room, but they snapped a few photos, just in case we caught something. As we were talking about it, a male voice came through the Spirit Box and said, “we’re near you.’

The session was coming to an end so I thanked them for allowing us in our space. A male voice came through very clearly and said, “You’re welcome.” I was almost giddy as I uploaded the file online. I’ve gotten this response before, but it’s very rare. After uploading it, I listened to it again and the male voice was suddenly gone. It its place was a female voice that sounded like she was saying, “You think.” I have had EVPs disappear before. It’s usually a sign that the message was just for me and not for me to share with others.

Joni’s Fourth Group (Group A)

The last group came in buzzing about the Gansfeld Experiment. Several people had amazing results and others didn’t feel anything but thought it was a fun experiment. They all felt the library was the most active room in the building.

As we got going on the session, someone else mentioned a little girl who’d been following them around all night. This wasn’t the first time I heard about her. Every group seemed to mention her but I’d yet to feel her in my area. “Are you the little girl who’s been following us around, playing with us?” a woman asked. A male voice responded with “I haven’t.” It made all of us laugh.

This group was also feeling as though someone was standing on the stairs watching us. Someone asked if there was anyone in the attic and a male voice responded, “too much.” Did this mean they were tiring of us? Or did his question somehow offend them? Either way, it was interesting to me because it was the same voice that had been talking to us all night. It sounded like a very old man or an old woman with a deep voice. Could this be the male who was answering our dowsing rod questions earlier? Or someone else altogether?

I always try to ask relevant questions that could only have one answer. I asked what town they were from and was immediately rewarded by the kind of response I was hoping for. “Harmony,” a woman’s voice said. This was astounding on several levels. First, it was an intelligent response. Second, it gave us a time period for the ghost. The town was only called Harmony from 1814 through 1824. It’s been known as New Harmony ever since.

My group began talking about hearing noises at the top of the stairs. They snapped a few pictures, hoping to capture something but they didn’t get anything. We returned to the investigation and asked a few questions, but didn’t get a response, so I told them the story about the ghostly picture Rick Schlegelmilch took of me at Thrall’s Opera House. I was telling them the story about how I showed it to a psychic medium friend, who identified the man as Eugene Thrall, the man the opera house is named after. As I was telling the story, a male voice came through and said, “I don’t believe you.” He said it while I was still talking so it’s not clear enough to share, but still very relevant. A ghost is telling us he doesn’t believe my ghost story. How interesting is that?

We ended up chatting about ghost stories for the rest of the session. Several voices popped through, but weren’t clear enough to understand.

All in all, it was an interesting evening. We didn’t answer any definitive questions about who lurks at Workingmen’s Institute, but we did get a lot closer in understanding the haunting.

54432866_10220280459981071_1613114739133513728_n.jpg
(Above L-R) Front row: Joni Mayhan, Traci Hoehn, Rick Schlegelmilch. Back row: Crystal Folz, Paula Bundy and Jason Nelson.

Thank you to Shannon and Ryan from Workingmen’s Institute for hosting us! Thank you also to my amazing team and to all the people who came to the event!

 

 

Culbertson Mansion Investigation Review 1-19-19

culbertson mansion jan 19 poster

Mother Nature threw us a serious curveball for our Culbertson Mansion Investigation. Several days prior to the event, weather forecasters were predicting a major winter storm that would rush in during the middle of our event.

I always hate to cancel or postpone events because you never truly know what the weather will actually do. They can forecast snow and then it fizzles out. Plus that, many people had already made hotel arrangements and were still geared to go. I decided on a compromise and emailed everyone, offering to set up a second event for anyone who couldn’t make it due to the weather. Several people took me up on that offer, but 30 brave souls still showed up, ready to investigate.

51170976_751155871944303_2591699934898028544_n(Above) Joni giving a presentation about the paranormal and expectations for the investigation

51315371_756192964745968_1930300023858266112_n(Above) Chuck, a long-time volunteer at the mansion, giving a presentation about the history of the mansion

After a brief Orientation Presentation in the formal dining room, we divided up into four groups. The groups were led by volunteers from the Culbertson Mansion and would follow a schedule, bringing them to all three floors of the mansion, along with the carriage house.

My team stayed on their assigned floors. I took the first floor. Jason Nelson took the second floor. Traci Hoehn took the third floor, and Crystal Folz was in the carriage house. That gave everyone in the group a chance to investigate with all three of us and see three different styles of investigating.

History of the Mansion

The Culbertson Mansion was completed in 1869 by William Culbertson. At one point in time, this self-made millionaire was perhaps the richest man in the state of Indiana. The mansion was 20,000 square feet with 25 rooms and cost $120,000 to build.

William Culbertson lived there with his second wife, Cornelia, and his children from his first marriage until her death in 1832, and with his third wife, Rebecca, until his death in 1892.  John McDonald purchased the mansion in 1899 at auction. The house was then sold to The American Legion in 1945 and was purchased by Historic New Albany in 1964.  It was accepted as a state site in 1976 and the restoration process began in 1980, largely funded by the Friends of the Culbertson Mansion foundation who sponsors a yearly haunted house event in the carriage house that sits behind the house.

First floor Investigations

Joni’s First Group (Group 4)

We started out in the formal parlor. We introduced ourselves and I explained how our EVP session would work. The group sat in a loose circle and we took turns asking questions and then waiting 15-20 seconds afterwards to give the ghosts a chance to respond.

On the floor in front of us, I placed several pieces of equipment. We had a Mel Meter, which would alert us to any electromagnetic changes, which could signify a ghostly presence. We also had a Maglite flashlight, turned between the on and off position. On a cold flashlight (one that hasn’t been used that evening) ghosts can manipulate the flashlight and use it as a communication device. We also had dowsing rods and a Spirit Box. The Spirit Box is a modified radio that scans through the radio stations rapidly, allowing the ghosts to use the white noise to speak to us.

50104284_10219862765258964_4544986194227757056_nWe started out with a straight EVP session. We sat quietly and began asking questions, allowing the digital recorder to catch any ghostly responses. Sometimes ghosts will respond in a different frequency than our ears can pick up. The digital recorder will pick this up.

Getting a true EVP is no easy task. Firstly, the group has to remain perfectly silent. A whisper or a foot scuffling on the floor can sound exactly like a ghost voice. A stomach growl will sound like a demon growling. To counteract this, I maintain a strict session. Everyone must be sitting quietly and I will verbally announce any noises the group makes so I will know later when I review the audio.

We went around the room once, with each of us asking a question, but we did not record any true EVPs. We then moved on to the Spirit Box.

The problem with Spirit Boxes are the entire reason why they work to begin with: radio stations. If the box scans quickly enough, it will move through the stations without picking up too much from each individual station. Because we were very close to a major city, this was almost an impossible feat. I equipped every Spirit Box with an RFID bag, also known as a Faraday Pouch. These bags are supposed to block out the radio stations, allowing us to fully trust the responses that come through the device. The bags I purchased weren’t completely effective on the third floor and carriage house, where they were closer to the outside world. They seemed to work nicely on the first and second floors though.

I asked if they could repeat any of our names. A male voice came through the Spirit Box immediately and said, “Valerie.” This would have been truly astounding if we had a Valerie in our group, but we didn’t. Was there another Valerie there who we couldn’t see?

Another problem with the Spirit Box is the choppy sound it generates as it switches between radio stations. Many times, we’ll get a response but not be aware of it until later during audio review. This was the case here, as well.

None of us heard the “Valerie.” We also didn’t hear another ghost introduce herself. Rick Schlegelmilch, who came to the event to assist us, asked if they could tell him the date on the last newspaper they read. A ghost voice came through with a late introduction. “I’m Natalie,” she said.

Many people give up on the Spirit Box quickly, thinking they’re getting nothing but radio interference. Upon later review, the responses are actually quite clear once they are separated from the static. Such was the case when I discovered one of the ghosts swore at us. “F&@% You!” one of the male ghosts said to us. Because the FCC doesn’t allow certain swear words, this was definitely not radio interference.

Another disadvantage is not knowing when the ghosts are going to speak. Many possible responses were covered up by an investigator asking a question. I heard a ghost say,”Hey Joni,” very clearly with my headphones on, but someone was speaking through the response, making it impossible to isolate. This didn’t surprise me. The last time I was at the mansion, I walked out of the room to let a late guest in the front door and recorded an interesting conversation. “Where’s Joni” one ghost said. “Oh, there she is,” said another. They obviously pay attention to who comes and goes from the mansion and they remember us when we return.

Sometimes, the ghosts have questions for us, as well. In between questions, a female voice came through and said, “What are you working with?”  We heard the same female voice repeated throughout the session.

The next response came quickly. Someone asked if they played any instruments. A male voice came through and said, “They won’t suppress me.” The response is spoken fast. I had to slow it down with my editing equipment to figure out what he was saying. What did he mean by that? Who won’t suppress him? Us or the other ghosts in the house? Or was this a memory from life? This is part of the reason why paranormal investigating is so intriguing. I only wish we would have heard it at the time so we could have asked more questions.

The flashlight came on during his response, which seemed to be a pattern that night. Every time we got a valid response, the light came on. We’ll have to watch this during further investigations at the mansion.

Immediately afterwards, another female voice came through and announced, “I’m all independent.” Could this be Blanche Warner, also known as “Scandalous Blanche”? She was the daughter of William Culbertson. He wrote it in his will that she would forfeit her inheritance if she married Leigh French, a man her father deemed unworthy. After her father’s death, she went to Europe for nearly a year. Upon her return, she broke her engagement to the man her father wanted her to marry and eloped with Leigh, who worked for the circus and had the reputation of being a womanizer. She lost her inheritance, but took the case to court and won. She later became a very well-known supporter of women’s rights. She was a lifelong member of the National Women’s Suffrage Association. Could this be Blanche?

We went around the room again without getting any clear responses and then out of the blue a voice says, “You guys make money on it.” Was this in regards to the investigation? Had I heard this, I would have pointed out the fact that the mansion gets half of everything we raise to put towards maintenance of the building, not to mention the months of work I put into organizing it.

We moved into Mr. Culbertson’s office area. I’ve always felt like I’m not supposed to be in the room, which could come from Mr. Culbertson himself.

Mr. Culbertson was a shrewd businessman, but he was also a man with a lot of heart. He opened an orphanage in 1883, caring for children up to sixteen years-old. His foundation still takes care of the children’s wing at the local hospital. His foundation also still funds the Meals on Wheels for the New Albany area.  Having grown up in near poverty, he apparently never forgot his roots.

We started out our second portion of the session by slowing things down. I’ve found that if we berate the dead with question after question, they often lose interest in us. But, if we spend some time simply chatting, they become intrigued by our conversations and drift in closer.

I explained why we sometimes discover strange ghosts in haunted locations. Most people attend the event, expecting to communicate with the known souls who lived there, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes, haunted locations draw in other souls. They come in with other random people or just drift in on their own. They don’t have to die in a location to haunt it.

We attempted to get the ghosts in the den to respond with taps or sounds, but didn’t get any responses.  We had the flashlight on the floor and it seemed to respond to the questions.

  • Are you happy with us visiting you? Flashlight came on

After a few more questions that came without responses, we moved onto the Spirit Box.

As soon as we turned it on and got it going, a male voice came through, saying, “I will be right back.” He had a foreign accent, which was interesting. I encouraged the man beside me to ask a question. Before he could speak, a male voice on the Spirit Box said, “Is that Jethro?”

He finally asked his question. “This was Mr. Culbertson’s office so there must have been a lot of testiceedings (I think he meant official meetings) here.” A woman came across and asked, “Because we had large meals?” At the time, I thought she said, “Because we have live music?”

We began getting some responses that I couldn’t quite make out, even with headphones on later. Then out of the blue, a male voice said, “We don’t feels ya.” This was a strange response, especially in a home where we expect to hear 19th century voices. Who was this?

This was quickly followed by a woman saying, “Come down any time.”

We went through about ten more minutes of Spirit Box and got nothing but static and random sound bursts, so I ended the session.

Joni’s Second Group (Group 1)

My second group came directly from a wild experience at the Carriage House. I warned them that the first floor tended to be quiet, but hoped it would be more active. We started in Mr. Culbertson’s office and settled into a quick EVP session and then followed it with the Spirit Box.

Before I could even ask a question, we got a very strange message. “You up to being good, Dad,” said one male voice. “Yo, Brice,” said another. I have no idea what this means. The Spirit Box moves through the stations rapidly, so it made no sense. You can hear me laughing in the middle of it because it was so absurdly clear and strange.

I finally got to ask my first question and would be, once again, stunned upon evidence review. “Can you see us right now?” I asked. A male voice said, “I don’t know, bro!” Even though it was clear, none of us caught it at the time. I moved onto my second question. “If you can see me, how many fingers am I holding up?” I said, putting three fingers into the air. A female voice immediately came through. “And I’ve just been insulted,” she said.

I passed off to the next person and we got another strange response. After I asked my question, the flashlight had flickered. She asked if that was them, if they could do it again. “That wasn’t Coralee, was it?” said a female voice, as though asking someone else for confirmation. If that isn’t odd enough, a different male voice popped in and said, “The lights was…” I couldn’t make out the rest because the investigator started talking again, unaware of the scenario that was unfolding. She asked if they could turn the light back on and it came back on at that moment.

The same woman asked if they’ve always lived there. A female voice responded, “He was in love.”

There were many other responses, but they were too difficult to interpret. I had to leave the room to make a phone regarding a pet emergency at home. When I returned, I started to sit back down when another voice popped through. “Throw the bat before the ball,” a male voice said that was similar to the voice that said, “I don’t know, bro!” The comment made no sense in the context we were in, so I’m not sure if it was a radio station that popped in or an amusing ghost. Either way, it was interesting.

I turned off the Spirit Box and pulled out my tiny set of dowsing rods. Before we could get started, we began hearing a tapping behind the group.  We didn’t hear it again, so we moved on to dowsing. Here’s what we found:

  • Blanche is still in the house (at the same time, an investigator saw a shadow move near the curtains)
  • They moved past the curtains
  • They were communicating by using the flashlight

We stopped getting clear responses and decided to switch rooms, moving to the formal parlor. We continued with dowsing rods:

  • He was male
  • It was Mr. Culbertson
  • He was unhappy with Blanche (Mel Meter rose to 2.9 and then dropped again)
  • He still loves Blanche

Rick and I were both feeling a female behind me and I explained to the group that I’ve had a female following me around for several weeks. We began asking her questions on the dowsing rods.

  • She came with me
  • It has something to do with the book I’m currently writing. I explained to the group that I’m working on a book about the Hanover Haunting, a house that has extreme paranormal activity and has been featured on many paranormal TV shows. Since starting the book, I’ve been having strange activity in my house.
  • She is from Pennsylvania (the location of the house in my book)
  • She’s not angry about the book and is glad someone is telling her story
  • She’s the woman from my book. I went through several names, trying to get her to identify herself, but she said yes on the wrong name. Ghosts are often tricksters, pretending to be someone else. This seemed to be the case because she didn’t pick the right name. Or, she was someone else from the house and I got the wrong ghost.
  • The house was a stop on the Underground Railway (yet to be substantiated)
  • Culbertson was still there
  • He’s been to Glennwood Park but has never been to any of the homes there
  • At least one of his wives died in the house
  • Several of his children died in the house

Time was up, so we went to break.

Joni’s Third Group (Group 4)

We started in Mr. Culbertson’s office. I explained the Spirit Box to them. As we went around the room asking questions, it was clear that we were picking up nothing but blurbs from radio stations so I turned it off.

The activity had seriously tapered off and the ghosts were no longer interested in interacting with us. This is when it grows difficult to keep the group entertained. We were sending small groups down to the basement to use dowsing rods, but they weren’t getting any responses down there either. It was 10pm, making me wonder if the ghosts were growing weary too.

We did a dowsing rod session in Mr. Culbertson’s office and got a few responses:

  • There were members of the Culbertson family were with us
  • I asked the rods to point to where they were standing and it pointed towards Mr. Culbertson’s office chair behind his desk. The rods confirmed he was sitting behind his desk, watching us.

We asked quite a few more questions, but didn’t get any responses. We moved to the formal parlor to see if we could find someone willing to communicate with us.

Someone asked me my belief on ghosts, so I spent a few minutes sharing my beliefs. I believe that at the time of death, most people cross over into Heaven immediately. Some people, however, balk at the light. They might have guilt over something bad they did during their lifetime or simply want to hang around to look over their loved ones, businesses or homes. They haven’t been to Heaven so they haven’t undergone spiritual enlightenment. They are basically souls without their bodies. They know nothing more than they would have known before they died. We chatted for a while, sharing stories about the paranormal before turning on the Spirit Box. As soon as I turned it on, a male voice said, “Is that you?”

We thought we heard the word “Dominos” which was interesting because that’s what my team and I had for dinner. I asked if they knew what kind of pizza we had and they responded with “Pepperoni,” which was correct.

I asked if they knew any of our names and immediately heard something that sounded like, “What’s your names?” I realized that we hadn’t introduced ourselves, so we went around the room and said our names. After Ben introduced himself, the same male voice that spoke with us at the beginning of the session said, “That’s Detrick.” Did Ben remind this man of someone he knew in life?

I asked if they could tell me their favorite color and had a few responses that sounded like colors. I heard blue and red twice.

Someone asked if they lived there and a male voice said, “Be the staff.”

We went around the room and asked more questions that didn’t get responses. When it came back around to me, I asked one of my favorite questions. “What town are we in right now?” The response was “Evansville.” This is interesting to me on many levels, firstly, being that we weren’t actually in Evansville. We were in New Albany. It’s fairly close to Evansville though, but far enough away that we wouldn’t be picking up any Evansville radio stations. What does this mean paranormally? Was the ghost from Evansville? Or had he hitched a ride with one of our guests?

When the investigation starts sounding like an inquisition, with everyone firing off questions to the dead, I will often back it off and spend some time talking to try to generate interest. I went around the room and asked everyone to say their favorite kind of pie. When we finished, I asked the ghosts in the room to tell us their favorite pie. We heard a very faint response of “peach.” We then went around the room and shared our favorite meals. After we finished, I asked them what their favorite meals were. A male voice said, “All of them.” I think this is a good subject because I know that many of us would miss our favorite meals if we were in their same situation.

Joni’s Fourth Group (Group 3)

My last group had just spent an hour in the Carriage House and were appropriately frozen solid. I decided to move my group into the formal dining room where we held the presentation. We hadn’t investigated that room during the night so I wanted to see if we would get more activity.

We started off the session by chatting for a little while. Everyone was eager to talk about their experiences, so we spent a few minutes just chatting. Sometimes, people’s energy spikes during investigations and they need a chance to settle down. Once everyone felt more relaxed, we started in on the session.

We then went around the room and asked the “pie question.” After we finished, I asked them what their favorite pie was and heard a faint response of “apple.” Moments later, I captured one of my favorite responses of all times. “We love you,” said a male voice. This made me happy because, no matter how respectful we try to be, we always run the chance of disturbing them. Knowing that we brought them some measure of pleasure was immensely satisfying.

I tried an experiment of passing the Spirit Box from person to person. As they held the Spirit Box, they would ask a question. While we didn’t get any clear responses, it’s an experiment I’ll attempt again in the future.

The group’s leader left due to the impending weather so I didn’t have someone to take small groups down to the basement. I decided to bring them all down with me for one final session. We started off using the Spirit Box in the kitchen area.

I started off, as I normally do, by introducing ourselves. I then asked if they remembered any of our names. A male voice said, “Joni.” This isn’t the first time I’ve heard my name called out by a ghost, but it always gives me a start.

We asked a few more questions and couldn’t make out the responses. Then, out of the blue, an older female asked us a question. “Are y’all spending the night?” she asked. I wish I would have heard it at the time because we didn’t answer her, which probably didn’t help us in building trust with them.

A member of our group asked, “Are you going to tell us your name?” A female voice whispered into the digital recorder, “Cathy.” It was an EVP (ghost voice) and didn’t go through the Spirit Box. This is fairly rare when investigating, so I was pleased to have recorded it.

We asked the question again, and a voice told us, “Rick.”

I decided to show them the reproduction of Mr. Culbertson in his casket. This was made years ago for a murder mystery at the mansion and is incredibly real looking. After everyone had a look, we returned to the laundry area. Several people with EMF detectors were getting electromagnetic spikes on their devices. We spent a few minutes trying to track down the source before we decided to head back upstairs.

img_8304(Above) A near-perfect replica of Mr. Culbertson in his coffin, made for a murder mystery party

We went back up to the formal parlor and chatted for a bit. I asked everyone what their favorite part of the evening was.

  • Getting to use a pendulum on the third floor with Traci
  • When the latched door on the second floor opened during her session with Jason
  • A door opened for their group on the third floor too.
  • The activity on the third floor.
  • When Mike got poked on the second floor. He thought Lexi did it but she didn’t.
  • The pendulum on the third floor. Talked to a little boy who didn’t want to leave there. Wasn’t afraid of anyone, but was afraid of something.
  • Just enjoyed the entire experience.
  • The punishment closet.
  • The strange beeping of the smoke alarms in the Carriage House.

IMG_8302.JPG(Above) One of my groups doing a dowsing rod session in the basement

It was nearing midnight and the weather was getting worse outside, so we called the evening to an end.

 

Second Floor Investigations

Jason’s First Group (Group 3)

The second floor consists of a lady’s parlor and several bedrooms. Jason started the session in the bedroom known as the Blue room. The group introduced themselves to the souls in the room and then started a dowsing rod session. Jason demonstrated how to use them and the group had some success.

  • They were talking to a male
  • There were more than one of them in the room
  • They were also talking to a woman
  • They liked cats

After they went around the room with the dowsing rods, Jason introduced the Spirit Box. After explaining what it was, he had the group go around and ask questions. They also continued to use the dowsing rods.

Someone asked, “What’s your name?” A woman’s voice responded with, “Frighten.”

Someone else asked, “Do you have any siblings?” and there was a strange female howling noise, almost like someone was making a ghost noise. Jason noted that the wind was gusting loudly outside, but we never heard the same sound again during any of his sessions.

Jason asked if they had a favorite color and someone responded with “blue.” Even though it wasn’t a clear response, it was interesting to get an intelligent answer to a question, validating the spirit box as a useful tool.

Someone asked if they had girls and the dowsing rods crossed to yes. He asked if they had boys and a voice said “yes” on the Spirit Box.

When asked, “What’s your favorite part of the house?” a voice answered, “ Not sure.”

Someone else asked, “Are you by yourself?” A voice answered, “Great question,” possibly congratulating him on his investigative skills.

After a half hour in the Blue room, the group moved to the room with the round chair, which I believe is called the Rose Room.

One of the bedrooms in the rear of the floor was unfinished and was used for storage. We nicknamed it the “Costume Room” because many old costumes are stored there. We also believe it might have been Charlie Culbertson’s bedroom.

Charlie was an interesting character. As an adult, he was an alcoholic and was sent off to asylums many times during his life. He was eventually placed in the care of his younger brother, Samuel.

Three of the four groups had Break-off Groups. We would send groups of two to a secondary location with dowsing rods for ten minutes to see what they would experience. Sometimes ghosts are more apt to approach a smaller group and this proved to be the case for our groups at the mansion.

When the small groups came back, Jason asked them what they experienced.

  • Whitney and Russ communicated with a 7 year-old boy.
  • Mike and Lexi talked to someone who liked  looking at the stars. They said they liked the night time better.

Jason then did a full thirty-minute EVP session. The group took turns asking questions and then waiting for a response. Unfortunately, they didn’t capture any EVPs during this session.

As they ended the session, the most surprising event of his evening on the second floor occurred. “Well, that ends the session,” he said and the door popped open on its own. He knew for a fact that the door had been latched tightly. Were the ghosts of the house helping him out?

Jason’s Second Group (Group 2)

Jason demonstrated the dowsing rods and explained how effective they are in a house with nineteenth century ghosts. Sometimes they look at our modern electronic equipment and back away, frightened. They would recognize something like dowsing rods or pendulums though. They did a full session, passing the rods from person to person so they could get a chance to use them. Most people were surprised at the way they move. They would be holding them steady and then feel them tug away. Here are some of the responses:

  • They like the renovations
  • They were in the room with them
  • They were speaking with Ann (it was her room)
  • They were upset that the building was once painted white, covering up all the beautiful art (The McDonalds painted the walls and ceilings white because they were covered in soot from the coal burning furnace. This essentially covered up all the beautiful hand-painted ceilings)
  • She enjoyed living there
  • She owned a horse and carriage
  • She had a happy family

Jason then introduced the Spirit Box. Because his group had just spent an hour with me on the first floor, he didn’t have to fully explain how it worked. The group was eager to see if they could get any responses. Here is what they found:

  • How many are here? Don’t know
  • Were you the one that opened the door earlier? No
  • What was your favorite game? Dowsing
  • What was your favorite meal? No people
  • Did you ever travel? Fortunately
  • How many of you are with us right now? One (female voice, but they had been hearing males too, so this wasn’t accurate.)
  • Is there someone standing behind me? Sounds like “no” and then another voice “confuse them”
  • Did you make your own clothes? No
  • Did you have a set bedtime? We didn’t

Mary shared a story with the group. She said the boy the last group communicated with in the Costume Room was the one that took her ring. It disappeared when they did a murder mystery. She left it there with her costume overnight and when she came back the next morning, it was nowhere to be found. She searched for it for an entire year. The next year they did the murder mystery, she had a brand new costume. She went into the dressing room to change and as she was leaving, she looked down. Right in front of her in the middle of the floor was her ring.  She said there was no way the ring was there the entire time because they did a spring cleaning in the room.

They changed rooms and did an evp session for the next half hour, but unfortunately didn’t record any EVPS.

Jason had been sending groups of two to the Costume Room all night. Most of them came back saying they’d communicated with a little boy. One woman named Angie heard her name called out as they were returning to the main room.

Jason’s Third Group (Group 1)

Jason set them up in between the two bedrooms on the second floor and began with a dowsing rod session. They went around the room and introduced themselves and then started the session.

  • They like everyone being there to visit with them
  • They are from the area
  • They liked to play dress up
  • They have brothers

After a while, they stopped getting responses with the dowsing rods, so Jason moved to Spirit Box.

“What is your name?” and a very clear male voice said, “Christopher.” The group didn’t pick it up at the time because it happened fast.

“How old are you?” A boy’s voice responds with, “Eight.” This fits the experience another group had in the Costume Room with dowsing rods.

Because the group didn’t hear “Christopher,” they began connecting dots between the person who liked to play dress up and the eight year old. They asked if the eight year old liked to play with dolls and there was a long response, followed by a very faint, “no.”

Someone asked what their favorite color was, stating that hers was purple. A male voice said, “Is orange.” Another voice chimed in with what sounded like, “blue,” but wasn’t clear enough to define.

Here are the rest of the questions and responses:

  • “Did you grow up in this house?” “I’m Bill” a voice said.
  • “What is your favorite thing to do? “A male voice responded with “Drink.” We’ve gotten this response before and believe it might be Charlie responding.
  • “Did you see the river flood? “I did”
  • “Any brothers or sisters in the room?” “Sable”
  • “Is that a picture of you hanging on the wall?” “Long Story
  • “Are you able to sleep in your own bed. ““I do.”
  • “Who was with us in the carriage house?” “You.”
  • Between questions, a male voice said, “I’m coming through.”
  • “Did you sleep with a teddy bear?” “I did.”

Jason’s third group came to a close and he sent them on their way to the Carriage House.

Jason’s Fourth Group (Group 4)

By the time Jason’s fourth group came, they were starting to get tired. His group had just spent an hour on the first floor with me and were anxiously watching the storm unfold outside. Snow was pelting the windows as the winds howled like banshees.

Jason started the session with an EVP session and then moved onto Spirit Box.  It was apparent the ghosts were getting tired too because they didn’t get a lot of responses.

Someone asked, “Are you a female?” A very faint voice said,  “Female.”

The group continued around the circle, asking one question each.

  • “What was the name of your pets?” “Juniper.”
  • “What do you think of the painting on the ceiling? “I like it.”
  • “What color is the wall in here? “Blue. ”
  • “What was your favorite subject in school?” “Reading.”
  • “What was your best friend’s name?” “Devon.”

They stopped the session after a while and just started chatting. At that point, Jason recorded two very strange EVPs.

One came while they were talking. It sounds like a male voice saying, “That’s Volable’s Dance.” That made no sense to me. The second one was a loud, aggressive, “Yeah,” with the word drawn out for several seconds. This was while they were moving chairs, so perhaps the ghost was happy they were leaving?

They started talking about the costume room. Two people talked about seeing a small child block out the light and something moved the mirror. William likes to play hide and seek. They heard a knock. Using the dowsing rods, they asked if William was there and they opened immediately. They were impressed with how the rods moved by themselves.

Third Floor Investigations

50623501_409733779769115_8421677302559014912_nTraci’s First Group (Group 4)

Traci’s first group started with a brief history lesson from Chuck about the third floor. Chuck has been with the mansion for over thirty years and knows the history well. He told them that the second owners, the McDonald’s, built a wall at the top of the third floor to block it off. It was just used for storage.

There is a lathe-work closet near the back staircase that they believe was used as a punishment closet for children. It is original to the house. There were stories that Cornelia (Mr. Culbertson’s second wife) had an actual closet in her last house that she used strictly for this purpose, so it made sense. The Culbertson boys were always in trouble too, so they probably used that closet on a regular basis. Sam was five when they moved into the house and set the wood shed on fire. When they asked him why he did it, he just nonchalantly told them he was cold. Samuel’s brothers were Charlie and Joseph. Charlie was a severe alcoholic and spent a lot of time in institutions to try to get him dry.  At one point in his life, he was declared insane. His younger brother Sam ended up being his caretaker.

Since it was the group’s first session of the night, Traci then gave them a rundown on the various equipment she planned to use. She had everyone put their phones on airplane mode so it wouldn’t interfere with the equipment. She demonstrated the usage of each devise and tool to insure they knew how it worked. She also suggested that when asking questions about gender, ask if they are “male or female” instead of asking if they are a “man or woman, boy or girl,” because some of the souls in a certain age range might not identify with boy or man. If he’s a teenager, he might not see himself as either. She also talked about asking polite questions. “Ask them questions that you wouldn’t mind someone asking your grandmother.” Don’t ask them rude questions and always treat them like people.

She sent two people at a time to go to the punishment closet for Break-off sessions and started the group investigation in the main bedroom.

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(Above) The Punishment Closet Photo courtesy of Bigoldhouses.blogspot

They did a quick session on the Spirit Box but didn’t really get any clear responses. They then moved to dowsing rods, where they got much better responses.

  • Their family lived there
  • They used the sewing machine in the room – not true. It wasn’t original to the house.
  • Traci asked if they were talking to a trickster and got a positive response. We see this often at investigations. Sometimes they will give us misinformation just to throw us off.

Several of the people were just using dowsing rods for the first time, so they were getting used to using them and weren’t always getting responses.

She asked the groups that had been in the punishment closet and they said they got the following responses:

  • They weren’t punished in the room but the room was used for punishment (they were probably put in there for “time outs”
  • They didn’t play in the room
  • They were talking to a girl
  • They might have been talking to Blanche at one point – rods went crazy
  • Asked if Eliza was there and the KII went to yellow showing activity

Traci’s Second Group (Group 3)

Traci’s second group showed up and she explained to them that they’d only be investigating in one room instead of moving from one room to another. The reason for this, she explained, was the lack of bracing on the hallway floors and in floors in the other rooms. If you walk on it, it makes a horrible squeaky sound that you can hear throughout the entire building.

50732300_1771942882907598_2001432189882859520_nShe then gave them some history on the third floor. The uses for the third floor aren’t as clear as the other floors. The room with the photos and historical displays in it was once used as the ballroom and possibly a children’s play room. They think that the bedroom she was in and the other one on that floor were used as servants’ quarters or might have been used as bedrooms for the Culbertson children.  Someone asked if there was a fire in the house, pointing towards the black marks on the walls and ceilings. Traci explained that the house was heated with coal, which left soot behind. Since the third floor was blocked off by the second owners, it was basically untouched and looks like it would have during the Culbertson days, with about a hundred years of wear and tear added.

They settled into an EVP session, also using the flashlight for responses. They didn’t get any responses, so they moved to dowsing rods. I wasn’t able to document some of the dowsing rod responses because they weren’t always vocalized for the recorder.

  • They grew up there
  • They played in the ballroom
  • They didn’t play in the ballroom in 1980 – used as a question to make sure they weren’t dealing with the trickster
  • They don’t like the flashlight
  • They liked playing games
  • They were talking to a little boy – the woman who asked it just returned from the punishment closet and said they’d been talking to a boy who liked to play on the third floor. She said the boy said he played with his nanny.
  • They were talking to a child
  • None of his sisters were there
  • Charlie was also there
  • He didn’t want to turn the flashlight off
  • Traci asked for the rods to point to where he was in the room. It was behind her.
  • Someone else asked for the rods to point to the ghost in the room. The KII lit up to orange and the rods pointed to behind him. Two different EMF meters were lighting up in two separate areas of the room.
  • He was running around the room

Traci asked about the responses they were getting in the punishment closet

  • It was a boy
  • He didn’t like playing with his sister
  • He wasn’t William Culbertson
  • He lived there

As they were closing the session the door popped open on its own. Everyone was stunned. They didn’t realize that Jason had the same thing happen with his second group.

Traci’s Third Group (Group 2)

50571645_516033332251110_2676606782595399680_n(Above) Mary using the dowsing rods on the third floor

Because everyone had been through two sessions already, Traci didn’t have to explain the process. They moved right in with an EVP session. After they went around the room without getting any responses, they used the Spirit Box.

Traci asked if there was anyone there with them and a male voice came through immediately and said, “No respect.” Another male voice came through and said, “We’ll just have to do it.”

Another investigator told them she was carrying her flashlight. “And what do we do with that?” the same male voice from before asked.

Someone asked how many of them were there and a female voice said, “Seven.”

Someone else asked if they could silence the radio and a male said, “Ask a question!”

Traci asked if they could talk to them on the box and a male said, “Box?” She then got perhaps the creepiest Spirit Box response of the night. She asked if there were any children on the third floor. A male voice said, “I’m exposed.”

They went around the room and asked more questions. They were getting a lot of unclear responses and radio blurbs. Someone asked if they had to walk to school and a male voice said. “A hundred years.” The group seemed to lose interest in the Spirit Box and began talking about using the flashlight for responses and a male voice came through the middle of their conversation and told them to “Stop talking.”

Someone asked if they were tired of the flashlight since it hadn’t been turning on and off for a while. A male voice with an English accent said, “We come to the light.”

Dowsing Rod Session

  • They were talking to the same person they spoke with in the punishment closet
  • He had a bicycle (William Culbertson had a bicycle)
  • He rode his bicycle on Main Street
  • He likes the snow outside – slow yes
  • There was an adult in the room
  • Wasn’t related to the woman who died of cholera in the house
  • Traci asked for them to point to where they were in the room. The rods pointed behind her. She picked up the KII meter and tried to see if she could validate it, but didn’t get any results. She asked the rods to point to another person in the room and they pointed to another corner. During the middle of this, she audibly heard a whistle.
  • Rods verified they were moving around the room
  • They spent time in the punishment room

In between questions, Traci felt a really cold breeze move through the room. Several others felt it too. She didn’t think it was the wind. It dropped several degrees in that room but not in the hallway or anywhere else.

All of a sudden, Mary began feeling a cold sensation on her lap. It was as though a ghost was sitting on her lap. Traci walked over and felt the air above the spot and confirmed it was vastly colder than the rest of the room. Did someone sit in Mary’s lap?

Traci brought a ball that they attempted to get the ghosts to play with, but didn’t have any results. She kept a small camera on it all night. During one of the breaks, she caught a man clearing his throat when there wasn’t anyone on the floor.

She tried playing a knocking game. She knocked on a wall and tried to get them to repeat it. Just after she did that, she saw a shadow move across the room. She eventually debunked it by having everyone in the room move to see if she could duplicate the movement.

The session came to an end and her group left to visit the carriage house.

Traci’s Fourth Group (Group 1)

Traci welcomed her last group of the evening into the room and gave them a brief history lesson on the third floor. She mentioned to the group that a very strong female came into the room ahead of them. Rick Schlegelmilch also felt it and validated.

She explained the punishment closet and showed them how to use the pendulum they’d be using it inside the room. They then started the session.

They started with an EVP session but didn’t get any responses. The storm was kicking up outside and the group could hear the howling of the wind and occasional thumps against the exterior. Traci then moved them to a dowsing rod session, showing them how to use the rods to point to where the ghosts were.

She asked it to point to where the servant’s room was and it pointed to the left.

  • There was a woman in the room. When asked to point to where she was standing, the rods pointed over her shoulder again. She then switched chairs with someone to see if she’d get the same results. Someone else used the rods and asked the same question. The rods pointed to the same area.
  • There was a picture hanging on the wall in that spot. They asked if it was a picture of her and the rods didn’t respond.
  • There was a female in the room
  • Cornelia sent children to the punishment room
  • The woman they were talking to might have been a nanny.
  • She loved the children.
  • There were four children there
  • She cared for all four children
  • They didn’t play in the snow – didn’t like snow

Traci heard a whisper, but I couldn’t pick anything up on the digital recorder.

  • The servant wasn’t good to him/her.
  • Didn’t tell his/her mommy or daddy about it.
  • They played ball inside the house.
  • Wouldn’t respond when asked if they broke anything with the ball.
  • Was sometimes scared in the house
  • The female was still there.
  • Someone asked if she ever married. The rods pointed to no and at the same time, they caught a Class A Evp from what sounded like a male saying, “Wasn’t me.”
  • She liked the Culbertsons.
  • She had some time to herself.
  • She was never married, but did have a man she wanted to marry.
  • The man she wanted to marry owned the house (big response from the group). If this was the case, then she was in love with Mr. Culbertson. (unsubstantiated)
  • He loved her too.
  • She had children of her own. It was Mr. Culbertson’s child. (unsubstantiated)
  • They tried to get her to say her name for EVP or the name of her children, but she wouldn’t.

The group from the punishment closet came back and reported that they really didn’t get any responses. Others said they felt they were talking to William. He liked warm weather. They liked to play hide and seek. He was good at it.

They spent the last few minutes talking about the night. Traci explained that children spirits often are hesitant about responding. Typically, children will be apprehensive about speaking up in a group of adults.

During the evening, Traci captured two EVPs in the punishment closet.  One said, “Ask me,” and the other one said, “I’m cold.” This is interesting because it tells us they feel the cold too.

 

Carriage House Investigations

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The Carriage House is an interesting building. At one point in its existence, it was used as a stable and carriage house for the Culbertson’s horses and carriages. Stable Hands and servants might have lived there, as well. When the American Legion purchased the building, it was used for dances. For the past thirty years though, it has been used as a seasonal haunted house attraction. Friends of the Culbertson Mansion have hosted the event for over thirty years, raising ten million dollars to renovate and restore the mansion. This was our first time getting to investigate there, so we were eager to see what we would find.

As we came into the building, it was still partially decorated for the haunted house event. Giant rats peered through the walls and monsters glared at us from corners. We knew we were in for an interesting night.

Crystal’s First Group (Group 1)

Crystal is a psychic medium and often picks up information that is pertinent to the investigation. While she’s investigating with groups, she often holds back from sharing her impressions to allow others in the group to discover the ghosts on their own. She started out her first session by explaining the dowsing rods to the group. She also explained the importance of verbally acknowledging what is happening so it is recorded on the digital recorder. They then introduced themselves.

Dowsing Rod session:

From the minute they walked into the building, it was as though the ghosts were anxiously waiting for them. They would be plagued by strange noises and beeping smoke alarms all night. As they started the session, they heard a noise that seemed to come from downstairs. Gary went downstairs to check on it and discovered that the door was ajar even though he knew he closed it tightly before they went upstairs. When he returned, they went back to the session. Here’s some of what they found:

  • The ghosts made the noise downstairs
  • They are happy to stay there
  • They don’t like that the house is used as a haunted house

Crystal explained that a male stable hand lived in the carriage house at one point, so she asked them to try directing questions to him. They hadn’t been getting a lot of responses, but it was early on in the investigation. It often takes people a little while to get adapted to using the dowsing rods.

  • They had siblings
  • They were talking to a female Culbertson
  • Not Blanche

All of a sudden, they began hearing the speaker pop even though the speakers were disabled. The sound was incredibly loud and the group kept jumping. The sound was absolutely unnerving. Gary was stunned too, telling them that he disconnected the speakers before the investigation and couldn’t understand why they were doing that. Eventually, they were able to get back to the dowsing rod session.

  • She was Mary Julia who died at the age of 21. Died from an infliction of the heart.
  • She didn’t die of a heart attack
  • A man broke her heart
  • She is sad
  • One of the women began feeling overwhelming sadness. Another felt nauseated.
  • Crystal was feeling a male presence so they began asking questions geared towards him.

They moved to the next room. The room was decorated from the haunted house event. A table was set up in the middle with prop people sitting around it. It definitely gave the room a creepy vibe as they sat in between the prop people.

49346091_10219862764298940_7189116233722101760_nThey turned on the Spirit Box, but weren’t getting anything substantial. Because we were next door to Louisville, they were picking up hundreds of radio stations despite the Faraday Pouch. After a minute or so, they turned it off and went back to the dowsing rods.

Traci Hoehn had put together a listing of the people who had lived there, along with the history of the house. Crystal referred to it for information during her sessions.

  • Samuel Culbertson was one of the Culbertson sons. He went on to help his father start an orphanage. They tried talking to him, but didn’t get any responses.
  • Crystal began psychically picking up a male with congestive heart disease. She felt he did greasy work – auto body work, perhaps. Crystal often picks up information from the living and asked the group if they knew anyone who fit the description, but they didn’t. It might have been someone associated with the building.
  • There was a fire in the carriage house.
  • They began hearing a bumping sound outside. Then, the noise sounded again and was closer this time, sounding like it came from the attic of the Carriage House. Crystal explained that the house was purchased by the American Legion in the 1940s and they held parties in the Carriage House.
  • No one died in the Carriage House (true)

The atmosphere in the Carriage House was nearly combustive. They could feel the energy growing stronger and stronger. The smoke alarms kept chirping and almost seemed as though they were sending a message. The lights flickered and they heard another bump.

While someone was asking a question, they began hearing a strange growling sound. It went on for several seconds and was followed by a loud thump near them. Crystal, who normally doesn’t get excitable about the paranormal was jarred out of her normal professional persona. “What the F was that?” she yelled, jumping out of her chair. Gary, who is in charge of the Carriage House, has never heard that particular sound before. He said that sometimes it’s quiet, but other times it sounds like someone is holding a party upstairs.

They continued on with the dowsing rod session:

  • They asked if they were the ones making the noises and the rods crossed to yes.
  • He’s a male. He’s Samuel or pretending to be Samuel.
  • The pounding noises above them continued, freaking them all out. Gary confirmed there are no water pipes on the second floor or attic. He couldn’t logically explain the sounds they were hearing. Gary said the area the sound was coming from is a brand new constructed area.
  • Crystal didn’t think it was Samuel.

Crystal’s Second Group (Group 4)

Crystal was so frightened after her first session, she folded up the chairs and contemplated telling me that she couldn’t do any more sessions out there. Besides being in a semi-heated building which never truly got warm, the paranormal activity was off the charts.

She steadied herself between groups and decided to give it another chance. Her next group showed up and she escorted them to a small room on the second floor. She told them about the experiences the first group had and told them to prepare for anything. As it turned out, she didn’t need to. None of her other groups experienced the same horror-fest the first group was treated to.

She didn’t need to explain the dowsing rods since they’d already used them in their first session. Crystal shared some of the history of the building with them, explaining how it has been used over the years. They introduced themselves and then moved onto a dowsing rod session.

  • It wasn’t a child. Dowsing Rods pointed to no and the lights flickered
  • It wasn’t the same person as before in Crystal’s first group
  • Not an adult
  • Not standing right behind the woman asking the question
  • They didn’t enjoy the haunted house event
  • They were having fun
  • Don’t like it when people come to visit them
  • They like the weather and like the snow
  • Couldn’t get them to answer if they were male or female

They moved to the next room and used the dowsing rods again. Crystal felt they were getting the most activity from this room.

  • They liked to play in the Carriage House
  • They didn’t work in the Carriage House
  • They liked to go to the river – flashlight flickered
  • Crystal asked if they could make the same banging sounds they made with the first group. The room remained quiet throughout the session.
  • They made the noises the first group heard – flashlight flickered
  • They think it’s cold out there too – flashlight flickered
  • They began hearing footsteps above them even though no one was upstairs
  • They are in the room with them – flashlight flickered
  • Asked for a sign they were there – flashlight flickered
  • There was someone down the hall – flashlight
  • They were walking around down the hallway – flashlight
  • They have friends that live there with them – flashlight flickered

Crystal’s Third Group (Group 3)

Crystal’s third group had just spent an hour on the third floor with Traci and were well-versed on using the dowsing rods. Crystal didn’t waste any time explaining, so they started a session right away. Because the group was comfortable with the rods, they got far more responses than her other groups got.

Dowsing Rod responses:

  • They wanted to talk to them
  • They weren’t talking to an adult
  • They used to work in the building
  • Asked if they could point to where they were. Rods pointed Bill. She asked again and the rods pointed towards Bill again.
  • He’s a boy
  • He’s less than ten years old. Crystal pointed out that the building was a stable and living quarters for servants.
  • He likes being there
  • He wasn’t the person who was there with the first group
  • He likes to have visitors
  • They like dancing
  • His parents worked there
  • Wouldn’t point to where he was in the room with the rods
  • They didn’t like Russ sitting in the wheelchair.

Crystal shared a story with the group about our first visit to the mansion. During that trip, Crystal picked up on a man who had lost his leg. She asked Jessica and Kaitlyn about it and they confirmed her suspicions. Mr. Culbertson’s second wife Cornelia was a widow. Her first husband, Dudley, had issues with his leg and had to have it amputated. Even though he never lived in the house, his energy was there.

  • They asked if the souls there wanted Russ out of the wheelchair and the rods indicated yes, so Russ moved, switching places with Crystal.

Their half hour was up in the small room, so Crystal moved them into the room with the monster feast prop. The members of the group sat at the table with the monsters and started a dowsing rod session. Before they could begin, the smoke detectors, which had been going off steadily all night, suddenly stopped. Then, they seemed to be chiming in order, starting with the furthest one and moving towards them.

Crystal realized she was no longer feeling the man with congestive heart failure and wondered if he was attached to someone in the first group. They continued with the dowsing rod session:

  • They enjoy the cold
  • The KII meter, which detects electromagnetic energy spikes kept spiking up to the highest setting, but most of the group had their phones turned on. Unless they have their phones set on airplane mode, they can set off KII meters. Using the dowsing rods, someone asked if they were messing with the KII meter and it said yes.
  • One of the guests asked if they liked his hat and the rods said yes.
  • He likes hats in general
  • Another male asked if they liked his hat better and the KII went to orange and the dowsing rods said yes. Everyone in the group laughed.
  • They worked in the building
  • One of them belonged to the American Legion and went to parties there

The session came to an end and Crystal sent them on their way to their next location.

Crystal’s Fourth Group (Group 2)

Crystal’s fourth group also just investigated the third floor and were abuzz about the activity they experienced there. They settled into the smaller room and began a dowsing rod session.

  • They didn’t tend to the horses when it was a carriage house
  • Caught a child’s voice on the audio. Couldn’t make out what she was saying but it sounded like a female child.
  • They didn’t follow anyone there
  • They are messing with the smoke detectors
  • Someone asked for them to point the rods to where he/she was standing. The rods pointed to the same point they did the last time for the last group.
  • They were there when they had parties there
  • He/she was a singer/liked to sing
  • They liked to dance
  • She is a female (confirming the evp)
  • No males were there at that moment
  • Mary, a volunteer at the mansion, explained that the American Legion had dances in the Carriage House in the fifties all the way up until the 70s.
  • The bands played pop music. No response on country and western or folk bands.
  • They were talking to someone new
  • They don’t recognize Mary from working in the haunted house
  • They weren’t there in 1976 or 1980.
  • They were still talking to a female
  • She is messing with the smoke detectors

After a half hour, they switched rooms and went into the monster feast room. They started another dowsing rod session and had great results:

  • Female was still with them
  • There were also males there with them
  • There were more than five spirits with them – rods and flashlight
  • They had more than one horse
  • They asked the rods to point to where he/she was standing. It pointed towards the doorway

Mary, who is a long-time volunteer with the mansion, shared a story. She said they used to have a long hallway in the carriage house. At the end of the hallway, there was a hidden closet where an actor would stand. As soon as people got near her, she’d jump out and scare them. One night, she came running down the hallway in a panic. She told them that a large orb appeared inside the closet with her and chased her out.

They continued with the dowsing rod session:

  • There was a man in there – flashlight
  • Has gone fishing on the river and had a boat – flashlight and rods
  • They heard a noise that sounded like something moved across the floor
  • They asked if someone just moved something and the dowsing rods crossed to yes
  • They can knock on the walls – rods and flashlight
  • She lived there – rods and flashlight
  • She was happy there – rods
  • They asked if they could speak with the male who was controlling the smoke detectors and got a possible EVP. It sounds like it says, “no more.” The flashlight went off at the same time.

During their session, they picked up an EVP. It is very faint and will probably require the use of headphones to hear it, but I’m posting it anyway. I can’t make out what the child is saying.

The session came to an end and Crystal walked with them back into the mansion, happy to finally be out of the cold.

I want to thank everyone who came to the investigation and braved the weather. Thank you to my team of investigators, the volunteers who gave their time and to the guests who dedicated five hours of their evening to talk to ghosts. We will be setting up another investigation soon for the people who weren’t able to attend due to weather concerns. Needless to say, it will be held in a far warmner month.

I will be setting up an investigation in New Harmony in March and will post the date and information as soon as I have it.

 

Thanks!!

Joni

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We began doing a dowsing rod session:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Traci’s Attic Investigations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Haunted New Harmony Investigation Review 10-26-18

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Dowsing Rod session responses:

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We moved onto a dowsing rod session:

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

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

We continued on with the dowsing rod session:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

45367128_603003543431300_7705693592752226304_n 45427224_2266330980322745_1560070840760926208_n

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Haunted New Harmony Investigation Review 10-19-18

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Dowsing rod responses:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Dowsing rods:

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

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

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

Continuing on with the dowsing rods:

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

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

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

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

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