When I first started doing paranormal investigation, I stuck with the current trend of conducting a “scientific investigation.” My friends and I spent tremendous amounts of money on paranormal equipment and used them for every investigation. We set up cameras in all the known hot-spots and used meters and devices to measure and record the energy in the room in the hopes of capturing evidence of paranormal activity.
As I became more experienced, the traditional investigations began to bore me. I was so tired of the concept, of asking all the same old questions and then listening to hours of recorded audio in my hopes of capturing a ghostly voice. I was also worried. While we were capturing evidence, we weren’t doing anything to solve the issue. This especially bothered me with private investigations.
When a homeowner asked us to come in because they were experiencing something they couldn’t explain, they were often frightened by the activity. When footsteps are heard in the middle of the night or voices drifted through the house when no one was home, they often thought the worst. And who can blame them?
Most people’s perception of ghosts is based on what they see in the media. Nice ghosts exist, but they don’t sell out movie theaters. Instead, Hollywood invests in the darker side of the paranormal world, largely excluding the majority of the paranormal arena. I have probably contributed to this personification as well by writing about my horrific experiences in dealing with darker entities. The fact is: the paranormal world is far more complicated.
There are a mixture of good and bad ghosts, along with entities that were never human. In some cases, they already have a system set up, one that doesn’t require human involvement to keep it continuing. It’s the humans who need to be schooled, not the ghosts.
As my abilities as an intuitive medium expanded, I found that I was able to connect directly with the ghosts in residence. I no longer needed a digital recorder to hear their voices. I could now go directly to the source. This changed everything for me.
Now, when I go on a private investigation, I don’t bother with most of my equipment.I bring a high quality electromagnetic frequency (EMF) meter that I use to rule out high levels of energy that might be impacting the living. Sometimes, a malfunctioning electrical device can emit high levels of EMF, which can cause people to react in the same way they might if a ghost were present.
To explain this further, high EMF often makes people feel as though they are being watched. An example would be a house we investigated where the owners felt as though they were being watched while they sat in their living room. A quick sweep with the EMF meter revealed two air purifiers that were situated at opposite ends of the room. They were both old and outdated and were pouring high levels of EMF into the room. Once they were removed, the feelings of being watched disappeared altogether. To read more about the effects of high EMF, click HERE to read a previous blog post.
When I investigate private homes now, my most valuable tools are my friends and teammates. I bring like-minded people with mediumistic abilities. Together we’re able to identify what is causing (or not causing in some cases) the haunting and put together a plan to resolve the issues.
During a recent investigation, I was invited to the home of a friend who had just purchased a house. He hadn’t necessarily experienced any activity that would put him on Paranormal Witness, but he was uncomfortable in his home all the same. It had a bad vibe. It didn’t feel right. It was as though he wasn’t welcomed there. I stopped him before he could go into more details that might impact our walk-through of the property.
I brought two people along with me who I knew could help me get to the bottom of the haunting: Ken Murray and Barbara Niles. Sandy MacLeod often joins us, but was unable to attend this time.
Ken Murray is a talented psychic medium who has blown me away with his abilities and Barbara Niles is far more talented than she gives herself credit for. I met both of them through the Paranormal 101 classes I used to teach in the town of Gardner, Massachusetts. Sandy’s abilities are similar to mine. We are somewhere between Ken and Barbara. We both get distinct impressions when a ghost is nearby.
(Above) My Dream Team L-R: Joni Mayhan, Sandy MacLeod, Ken Murray and Barbara Niles
As we came into the house, I warned the homeowner to stay silent about the activity he had been experiencing. We wanted to go in completely cold, not knowing anything about the haunting or the history of the house that might taint our impressions. As a medium, this is very important. We are filtering any messages we might receive through our human bodies. If our brains are already thinking about the dark shadow he often sees at the end of the bed, we’ll be looking for dark energy. It might even lead us to mix our own impressions with the information we’ve been told, changing it completely.
We started on the third floor in an area that we later learned had once been servant’s quarters in the massive Craftman-styled house. Armed with notepads and writing utensils, we split up into separate rooms and allowed the energy to speak to us.
Being clairaudient, I alway hear tones that are similar to ear ringing. Once I tune into the sound, I am able to connect with the soul attached to it. In the first room, I picked up a tone that I identified as a young female. As I allowed the connection to grow, I saw her in my mind’s eye and began to hear her words. The first thing I saw was long light-brown hair that trailed down her back. As she turned, I saw a bit of her face. She was young, probably in her late teens or early twenties, and she was sad. As I studied her, I learned that she was an Irish immigrant, brought to this country to work for an American family, possibly as a nanny or housekeeper. “I just want to go home,” she told me.
Knowing we still had a lot of house to cover, I moved into another room on the third floor. I then connected in similar fashion with a heavy-set older woman with dark hair that was pulled into a knot on the back of her head. She struck me as motherly and matronly. She felt like a housekeeper to me, someone who took care of the family, as well as the rest of the staff. I saw her folding laundry, humming while she worked.
I moved onto a third room as Ken and Barbara switched rooms too. During this time, we didn’t say any more to one another than deciding on what to call the rooms so we could discuss them later. We decided on Room 1, Room 2, Room 3 and Room 4. Room 1 was where I felt the girl. Room 3 was where I felt the older woman. In Room 4 I got an impression of children and saw a child’s sailboat. I didn’t connect with any energy, except for the younger woman who was following me. I quickly moved onto Room 2 and discovered the reason for the haunting.
I didn’t need to listen for the tone. The impression came to me immediately. I saw a tall man with ramrod straight posture and dark hair. He had an air about him of importance, but the word that rose in my mind was “butler.” He felt he was better than everybody else. We were all beneath him. I saw him actively trying to disturb the living, making them as uncomfortable as possible.
Once everyone was finished, we moved through the rest of the house, feeling the energy and quietly writing down our impressions. By the time we made our way to the basement, I had also connected with a woman from the 1920’s. I saw her as tall and fashionably thin, wearing a pale beige silk dress with fringe along the hem. She was worried about something, but I couldn’t pick up on the source of her discontent until we got to the basement.
Basements are often my favorite places in haunted location. Not because they are creepy and dark, but because they seem to be the place where ghosts go to hide when the living impede upon their space. This basement was different though.
It was brightly lit and freshly painted. If you saw a photo of it, you wouldn’t immediately think it was creepy, but the energy said otherwise. It felt as though the air itself was sizzling with electricity. It was hard to breath, feeling like the air was thick and heavy. I did a quick sweep with the EMF detector, not finding anything amiss.
Soon, an image rose in my mind of wooden cases filled with glass bottles. I felt myself being drawn to a far corner of the room that had been sectioned off in a closet to house the well pump. “This is where they hid it,” a voice said in my mind. I identified the source of the voice as coming from the fashionable 1920’s woman and realized that this was the reason behind her anxiety. “Flowers cover up the scent,” she told me.
Scent? I looked around, trying to make sense of what I was being told and then it dawned on me. Alcohol. Instinctively, I knew that the house was used during the prohibition days to hide alcohol. While she was worried about it, her husband was almost glib. “Don’t worry about it. We won’t get caught,” he told her.
Once Ken and Barbara were finished writing down their own impressions, we reconvened outside on the porch steps to discuss our findings.
This is always a worrisome moment for me. I often doubt the impressions that I feel, wondering if my highly active imagination was simply manufacturing all the information. It made sense that I would identify the third floor as servant’s quarters. Most old houses were set up in that fashion and the staff I saw were traditional roles that were often employed in wealthy households. The 1920’s woman fit the time period that I had established in my mind, which also fit the style of the house. Was this nothing more than a nice story?
“Ken, why don’t you start,” I suggested, waiting with baited breath to hear what he was going to say. Ken has impressed me over the past year with his findings. He’s almost alway dead-on in his impressions, helping us solve many cases.
“I felt an older woman on the third floor, who I feel was a maid or a nanny,” he said and went onto describe her exactly as I saw her myself. Being a far better medium than I’ll ever be, he also added details, such as the color of her dress and the jewelry she was wearing.
He also picked up on the younger woman and the butler, adding in more layers. He thought the young woman’s name was Anna and saw her with her hair pulled up in a bun. Barbara’s notes revealed similar impressions.Because she is still in the beginning stages of her spiritual advancements, her encounters were less detailed. She identified the older woman, the younger woman and the man. Neither of them picked up on the 1920’s woman, but they both felt children present, which went along with my feelings about the bedroom with the sailboat.
Our only disagreement came in the basement. Ken saw a fight between two men that led to one of the men being stabbed. He also felt that the younger woman was having an affair with the former male owner of the house, something that might have contributed to the fight. He didn’t get any impressions about alcohol, but thought it made sense as he listened to me talk. Barbara also felt alcohol was involved, but felt like it was stolen.
All three of us agreed that the source of the haunting was the male butler. Ken felt as though he probably stood at the end of the homeowner’s bed and presented himself in shadows.He also thought the homeowner might feel as though someone was watching him while he was in the shower and that the bathroom door might occasionally pop open on it’s own.
We also all agreed that while the butler was an angry soul, he wasn’t powerful enough to do anything more than rattle doorknobs and create shadows. The older maid kept him in check, preventing him from attempting anything truly frightening or dangerous. Ken also felt that she liked the current homeowner and would work to keep him protected.
At that point, we took our findings to the homeowner and learned more history of the house. As it turns out, the house across the street had a hidden tunnel that led from the basement to the garage, something that the current owners suspected was created during the prohibition days. Was this connected?
As we thought about it, it began to make sense. Even though we were all different in our findings, they fit an overall story. If the people across the street had an illegal still or were bringing in alcohol for the sake of reselling it, it would make sense that the man in the house we investigated might have been a part of it, perhaps even breaking into his house to steal it and then hide it in his basement. If he were caught by his neighbor, a fight could have broken out. Even though we were forcing the pieces together, they fit.
In the end, we decided not to do anything about the haunting. Sometimes this is the best method. The dead have worked out a system of checks and balances. Often, we join hands and create a sacred circle where we envision a white light above our heads. We then encourage any lost souls to go through it, bringing them to a place most people call Heaven. While this is usually successful for us, it wasn’t the right thing to do in this case. If we attempted to cross over one or more of them, we might end up doing more harm than good. The heavy-set maid might have crossed over, leaving the angry butler there alone without anyone to prevent him from going after the living. It wasn’t worth taking the chance. It was better to leave it as we found it.
The only one I felt bad about was the younger Irish immigrant woman. She had been following me all night and was nearby as we spoke to the homeowner.
Mentally, I connected with her and told her about the white light, showing her an image of her floating towards it and finding her way to Heaven, where her family was waiting for her. I felt her acknowledgement and knew that she would go when she was ready.
Once we explained our findings to the homeowner, he felt better about the situation. Being a person who is involved in paranormal events, he was well-versed in the ways that ghosts often function. The reason why his house didn’t feel warm and welcoming was because the butler was impacting his emotions.
“Ask the maid to help you. Ask her if she will keep him away from you,” I suggested.
“You might also make an offering to the male butler, to appease him in a sense,” Ken said. “I see a decanter of liquor, possibly bourbon. Put it on a shelf in the dining room and tell him that it’s for him,” he said.
“And flowers for the maid,” I added, somehow knowing that she’d enjoy them.
Ken also gave the homeowner a stick of palo santos wood, which we often use in place of sage to “cleanse” the air to make the energy more positive and instructed him on how to use it. “Light it and then let it smolder in a small fire-proof bowl and then allow the smoke to fill the air in the rooms,” he told him. “When you finish, it will feel much lighter in here.”
After we said our goodbyes to the homeowner, we gathered by our cars and chatted about the evening. All in all, we felt good about what we did. We didn’t remove any energy or cross over any weary souls, but sometimes that’s the best thing to do. We simply went in, evaluated the situation and made a decision. I know that some mediums will disagree with what we did, but that’s to be expected. Everyone has differing opinions and we did what we felt was best for this case. If the activity picks up or becomes threatening in any way, we can always go back and do something different. Sometimes it’s better to just leave things as you found them.
Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigation and the author of 15 paranormal books. She also teaches a popular online Paranormal 101 class. For more information about Joni or her books or classes, click HERE .