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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Annex Building

My group started in the Annex portion of the building.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Attic #1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

27655212_10216835256573139_255128775635955861_nThe Basement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then it said, “measure hundred.”

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

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

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

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

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

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The Gymnasium

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

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

 Attic #2

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

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

Some of what I was able to make out:

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The Haunting of The Ribeyre Gymnasium

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

One of the stories he heard about involved the gymnasium.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Click HERE to learn about Joni Mayhan’s books

Haunted New Harmony cover  Dark and Scary Things cover  Ghost Magnet handprint cover Signs of Spirits front cover 400ppi

 

 

 

 

Grounding & Shielding – How to Protect yourself from Negative Energy

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

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

Forms of Negative Energy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Signs that you are ungrounded:

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

How to Ground Yourself

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

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

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Other methods of grounding:

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

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

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Shielding

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

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

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

Other methods of shielding

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

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

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

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

 

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

Dark and Scary Things cover

 

 

 

Investigation Review 10-28-17

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(Above) the first group who investigated the Fauntleroy Home

I’m happy to say that our last Haunted New Harmony investigation for the season ended on a high note. Both the Fauntleroy Home and Community House #2 were exceptionally active. After a few quiet investigations, we were worried the ghosts were worn out, but they came out in full swing for the end of our season.

Community House #2.jpgCommunity House #2

Billy Miller, who normally handles the Community House #2 investigations, wasn’t able to make it, so Crystal Folz stepped in for the night. Crystal is a close friend and psychic medium who has helped me explored a lot of the hauntings in New Harmony for my book. She’s attended nearly every event this season as an assistant, so she was well acquainted with the resident ghosts and what to expect.

They had their biggest responses with dowsing rods. They learned that they were speaking with Nick Slater who was one of the printers who worked in the building. He often plays tricks on them during investigations, pretending to be someone else. He also has responded that he has a crush on Meagan Patterson who helps oversee the building.

22885874_10215836850093601_8906300732599413695_n.jpgThey learned that another person they were speaking with liked to cook and prayed together with others. They also learned that there were children born during their period, which makes us believe they weren’t Harmonists, who practiced celibacy.

(Left) Meagan Patterson is one of the people who oversee the buildings we investigate. She has been to every investigation and has proven herself to be a valuable member of the team.

Later, they felt they were talking to an apprentice who became a printer, which could have been Charles Slater. They heard sounds downstairs, but nothing was there when they went to check it out.

Crystal instructed everyone on the proper use of dowsing rods. The second group had similar results as the first. The souls there responded that they were happy the guests were there. Someone asked if the ghosts would like them to leave and Crystal was quick to stop people from asking it again. If we ask that question and they respond with “yes,” it’s rude for us to stay. Typically, when we receive that response, we stop the investigation or at least move to another area of the building out of respect for their wishes.

22853147_10215836849173578_129324771747760606_nSomeone using the dowsing rods asked if the ghost followed them from the Fauntleroy Home and the response was “yes,” which made sense to Amanda. She said that Mary Emily Fauntleroy actually owned Community House #2 in the 1920’s. When they asked if it was Mary Emily, the dowsing rods said “no.” They spent a few minutes trying to figure out who it might be, but couldn’t determine the identity of the ghost.

(Left) The dark hallway on the second floor

Someone asked if the soul was a Harmonist and the rods responded with “yes.” Someone asked if they were there before the Community House was built and the rods responded with “yes.” This made sense to Amanda because there were many people who lived in the community in houses before the Community House was built. Once it was built, younger members of the group would have been relocated there.

  • Did you work in this building – yes
  • Did you work in the furniture store – no
  • Did you cook food in this building – yes

Amanda felt it was a Harmonist so she asked if they also cooked food in the summer kitchen next door. The rods responded with yes. She went onto describe how the summer kitchen was beneficial. Cooking would have heated up the building and present fire dangers, so having a summer kitchen made sense.

  • Did you live in Pennsylvania – yes
  • Did you come to New Harmony by boat – no
  • Did you come to New Harmony by wagon – yes
  • Did you move back to Pennsylvania with the rest of the group in 1824-25? – no response

Crystal explained that she might have died before the group left and wasn’t aware of them moving back.

  • Were members of your family also in this society – quick yes
  • Did you have any children – no, which made sense since they were celibate
  • Did you eat in the room on the first floor with the deep fireplace – yes, which makes sense since they feel it was the kitchen.

22788949_10215836848173553_1878113260111779797_n.jpgDid men live on one side and women on the other side? No. This was surprising to them because they’ve always thought the sexes were separated. Carijuan Shafer, who was a tour guide for years in town, felt that it might have been from an earlier time before they separated the sexes.

  • (Left) Joni with Crystal Folz
  • Did you attend church in the wooden church? Yes
  • Did you attend church in the brick church? No

The group stopped getting responses so they moved to the second floor. Crystal explained that the previous group was hearing sounds behind them when they were sitting in the hallway. Some took two photos of the hallway. One photo was completely black and the other one had a white light in it. They also thought they saw someone standing behind Paula, who was acting as the hall monitor for the group.

One of the people said they felt a lot of energy at Fauntleroy Home, but wasn’t feeling the same at Community House. Crystal began exploring it with the group, explaining that there was different energy in the two locations. Carijuan Shafer told her about some of her experiences at Community House when she was a tour guide. She said she often heard people walking around, going about their day, but never felt threatened by them.

Crystal split the group into two, putting several people out in the hallway to see if they saw any shadows, while the other portion of the group went into a small room that was once used as a dormitory room.

They told the group about Gretchin Iron’s experience when she came to film for Channel 44. When she walked past the bathroom filming, the bathroom light was off, but when she walked back past it, it was on. Carijuan told them that she also had a lot of similar experiences with the light when she was there as a tour guide.

They asked if there was a male in the room. The flashlight flickered and then the rods responded with “yes.” Crystal explained that they might be communicating with Nick Slater, who was the printer’s son. They’ve had several encounters with him in that room, so they began directing their questions towards him.

  • Are you the printer’s son – no.

Amanda explained that Nick was also a printer, so they asked him if he was a printer and the rods responded with “yes.”

  • Did you like it here – No
  • Did you act in plays in New Harmony – No. Amanda knew that Nick did once act in plays, so either Nick was tricking them, which he often does, or they were talking to someone else.

Crystal began redirecting the questions towards a little boy with a crutch that they’ve communicated with before.

  • Is the little boy with the crutch here tonight? No
  • Did he live in this building? Yes

Amanda explained that the Harmonists often took in orphans, as well as women and children from other communities.

  • Was the little boy an orphan? Yes
  • Did the Harmonists take him in? Yes
  • This resonated with Crystal. He didn’t feel like he was one of them.
  • Did he attend school here in New Harmony? Yes

Crystal began to wonder if the little boy was capable of talking. It seemed like someone else was speaking for him.

  • Can the little boy speak? No
  • Is he mute? Yes
  • They began speculating that he might also be deaf.
  • Is he deaf? No

Amanda explained that he could have had a trauma that stopped his speech. It could have been physical or mental.

  • Was he born mute? No
  • Did a trauma cause his muteness? Yes
  • Did he have any siblings? No

Did something happen to his parents? No response. Carijuan explained that sometimes when children were born with defects in that era, the parents wouldn’t raise them. They would just take them to an orphanage. They began wondering if he came with them from Pennsylvania.

  • Were the boy born here? No
  • Was he from Pennsylvania? No response
  • Was he from Germany? No response

Amanda wondered if he was born somewhere near the area, but not in New Harmony. No response. They wondered if he simply didn’t know where he was born, that he was dropped off there as an infant.

They then switched out the group. The people who had been in the room went into the hall and the hall people came into the room. Crystal explained who they felt they were talking to, so they continued.

  • Did the little boy with the crutch go back with the group to Pennsylvania? No response
  • Did he stay in New Harmony? Yes
  • Does he have descendants here? No response

Crystal explained that ghosts often show themselves in the way they are comfortable. She explained that the little boy wasn’t communicating with them because he couldn’t speak in life, that someone else was answering questions about him.

Amanda explained that when the town was sold to the Owens, the majority of the Harmonists moved to Pennsylvania. Several of them might have stayed and not moved with the group, but they probably wouldn’t have stayed in town. The Owen group was so different, it would have been a culture crash for them and they wouldn’t have wanted to stay.

  • Was he born with a disability or a lame leg? No

Crystal felt he had been in an accident, so they began directing the questions in that manner.

  • Was he hurt by a cannon? No

They knew there was an accident involving cannon and a little boy was injured, but after the response, they knew that wasn’t the case.

  • Was he hurt on a boat? No response.

They decided to move the group up to the third floor since they only had 45 minutes left.

Crystal asked the group how they felt, if they were feeling any energy. Most of them just felt cold because the temperature was cooler there. Many of them were getting worn down. It was getting late and they were getting tired.

Crystal explained that they needed to be gentle with their questions. Asking about their death or about accidents might make them feel uncomfortable. She said they needed to use empathy and compassion and realize they were talking to actual human beings.

She moved a small group into the print shop.

  • Are there any spirits here? Yes
  • Are you a child? No
  • Are you a female? Yes
  • Did you wear the high collar with a broche? No
  • Were you a Harmonist woman? No

Were you a modern New Harmony woman?  No response that was marked. They began talking about all the lives that moved through the buildings. Since Carijuan’s godmother was Jane Blaffer Owen, she wondered if she was there with her.

  • Are you Jane Owen, my Godmother? Yes
  • Did you enjoy the baked goods that I brought you? No. Carijuan explained that she was asking a question to see if she was actually talking to her or not. She never brought her baked goods, so the no response was accurate.
  • Carijuan knew that Jane Owen didn’t like the color blue.
  • Do you like the color blue? Yes

That led them to believe they weren’t talking to Jane, so they redirected their questions, wondering if they were talking to Nick Slater, who is often a trickster. He pretends to be other people.

Crystal wasn’t convinced they were talking to Nick. She began wondering if they were talking to someone else altogether. She wondered if one member of the group had an attachment that followed her to the investigation.

  • Did you come here with someone today? Yes

22814217_10215836850533612_1526072225089668823_nCrystal went around the room and had everyone ask if the ghost was there with each of them. When Paula asked, the rods responded with “yes.” Crystal then asked if it was a grandparent of Paula’s, but it responded with “no.”

  • (Left) Paula Bundy and me. Paula is a childhood friend who has been to every one of my investigations, acting as a group assistant. She wasn’t a ghost hunter before she met me, but she is now.
  • Are you the ghost who hung out at Paula’s house for a while? Yes
  • Are you a female? Yes
  • Are you a male? No response. They asked to make sure they weren’t dealing with a trickster. Crystal then asked a question she knew the answer to.
  • Have you seen Paula’s four grandchildren? (Paula’s daughter is pregnant, but she doesn’t have any other grandchildren) No response
  • Do you startle Paula’s cat (she doesn’t have a cat)? No response
  • Are you from Paula’s property from before her house was built? Yes
  • Can you point to Paula? The rods pointed to Paula after a few moments
  • Do you understand personal boundaries? No
  • Do I have a pet bird (Crystal asked)? No response (Crystal does have a bird, so she deducted that the ghost wasn’t familiar with her)

They tried to get the ghost to move the pinwheel, but weren’t successful. Crystal began wondering if it was too difficult for them to move, so Crystal had them ask if they could make the lights blink. The lights immediately blinked. The group was astounded.

They tried to determine the time era of the ghost they were talking to, so they began asking questions about music. The ghost didn’t know who the Bee Gees or Elvis Pressley was. They asked about the Andrew Sisters and they didn’t know.

  • Do you know who the Gershwin Brothers are? Yes (this put it at the 40’s)
  • Are you Kenneth Dale Owen? No
  • Are you related to the Owens? No
  • Are you an actor? Yes

They deducted that they were speaking with a male actor from the 1940’s based on their responses. Carijuan knew that John Wilkes Booth performed as an actor in the 1940’s and performed with the Golden Troupe in New Harmony. They switched out the group and continued with the same line of questioning.

  • Is John Wilkes Booth here? Yes

22815594_10215836848773568_2603836466937496190_n(Above) Carijuan Shafer chatting with Amanda Bryden during break

Crystal wasn’t convinced they were actually talking to John Wilkes Booth, knowing they often have a trickster respond.

  • Do you not like me? No
  • Did you perform with the Golden Troupe? Yes
  • Did you know Dr. Mudd? Yes (this was a performer who broke his leg after he jumped off the stage)
  • Are you pretending to be John Wilkes Booth? Yes. The group began laughing, thinking they might be talking to Nick Slater again.
  • Are you Nick Slater? Yes

Despite the interesting responses with the dowsing rods, the group did not record a single EVP. The ghosts in this building were obviously more interested in non-technical communication.

22814266_10215836845133477_6574295955175872187_nFauntleroy Home

The energy is decisively different at the Fauntleroy Home. Instead of being light and playful, the ghosts there are intense and somewhat aggressive. The minute you walk in, you can feel it. Some of them don’t want us there, but others are more forthcoming with communication.

Carijuan told the group some of her stories from her years acting as a tour guide in New Harmony. The Fauntleroy Home was her home base when she worked for the state. She would spend many hours a day there, documenting the historical artifacts.

We spent some time in the foyer area, attempting to communicate with the resident ghosts. We did several rounds of straight EVP, where we only spoke questions and recorded dead space, hoping to receive an EVP. We didn’t get anything so we moved to Spirit Box.

I put four people in the room that was once the location of the original kitchen in the home. They had dowsing rods to use to see if they could get anyone to communicate with them and felt as though they were getting valid responses.

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(Above) Emily Nix and her mother Judy using dowsing rods

In the foyer, we did receive a few spirit box responses. Someone asked if they could ask if there were any educators there. A voice responded, “You can.”

We asked how long they lived here and a voice said, “ten years.”

We asked if they traveled anywhere and a female voice said what sounded like, “Urika.”

22853004_10215836851133627_5923575658371844360_n.jpg(Above) The first group in an EVP session in the entry room

After a half hour in the foyer area, we moved the group upstairs. I put another group in the smaller bedroom just off the master bedroom to use the dowsing rods. The rest of the group stayed in the master bedroom, which is one of the most active spots in the house.

We asked them to tell us their names and someone said, “Lori.” We heard another male voice come through, but couldn’t understand what he said.

As we were sitting there, both Amanda and I heard a door slam. It sounded like a door in the house, so we leaped up and raced downstairs. Nothing was amiss, so we returned back to the group.

We had placed a flashlight on the mantle to see if the ghosts would turn it on. I always use a “cold” flashlight, one that hasn’t been used during the evening because flashlights that have been used can easily arc and cause the light to intermittently go on and off, making everyone believe they’re getting ghost responses. Someone asked if they could turn the flashlight on and I recorded perhaps the best EVP of my career. A woman’s voice said, “It’s hard for me.” The voice sounded exactly like Mary Emily Fauntleroy’s voice. I was astounded. And then the flashlight came on! I probably learned more through this one response than I’ve learned in years of investigating the paranormal. What it told me was that not all of them are capable of manipulating our equipment, but they are able to turn the flashlight on and off.

Carijuan began talking with Mary Emily, reminding her that her mother used to bring her to church every Sunday. She asked if Mary remembered that and the flashlight came on instantly.

I looked down and realized that my Mel Meter was at 2.5. Normally, it stays at zero and never budges, but it was recording EMF spikes the last investigation and was doing it again now. I asked if they could make it go to 2.5 and received a message on the Spirit Box. The same voice as before, which we believe is Mary Emily, said, “I’m going to tap it.” It was obvious that she was trying to communicate with us.

It went back down again, so I thought I’d use it as a communication device. I asked if the person who was communicating with us was female to make it rise to 2.5 again. A male voice said, “people.” I’m not sure if he was being sarcastic because we were exhausting them or if he was telling us that there were both male and females there.

I told them, “You’re making my day. Thank you!” and received a Spirit Box response of “I did it.” It was the same voice as before. I truly believe that Mary Emily was attempting to communicate with us as best as possible.

“Are you glad Carijuan is here tonight?” someone asked.

“I am,” was the response. The flashlight flickered at the same exact moment.

We asked a few more questions without getting any clear responses. Someone said, “We’re going to have to be leaving soon. Is that okay?” A voice came through and asked, “Where are you going?” She told him we were going to Community House #2 and asked if he’s been there.”

“I have,” a female responded.

This was getting crazy. We were having full blown conversations with the ghosts!

We couldn’t seem to get them to tell us their names though. Someone asked if they were afraid to tell us their names and the flashlight came on. Someone else asked again why they wouldn’t tell us their names and a voice said, “Again?” This was perplexing. Had they already told us, but we hadn’t heard it? We didn’t understand what we were hearing at the time. I only figured this out after listening to the audio recording during my review days later. We thought she said, “Annie” or something similar. We didn’t get anything else after that and headed back to Community House #2 for our break.

My second group through Fauntleroy Home was a different experience. The energy felt very agitated and angry the minute we got back in. I repeated my process with the second group and moved a small group of people into the kitchen area to work with the dowsing rods.

The group in the smaller room was having a great experience as they connected to loved ones. They began getting relevant responses to questions and learned a great deal about their loved ones.

It grew very quiet on the Spirit Box. Unlike the first group, this group didn’t even receive a single response to the questions they asked. It was apparent the ghosts were getting tired of us. I began watching the shadows at the edges of the room and began seeing movement, but it wasn’t anything I could document as paranormal.

The group thought they heard the sound of music, but it could have just been the Spirit Box briefly landing on a radio station. Meagan and I began to see the bells hanging from the doorway moving back and forth. They were swaying so slightly, it took a few minutes to really determine whether it was just our eyes playing tricks with us or actual movement.

We moved upstairs, hoping for more activity. While we were upstairs several people felt pressure in their ears or developed headaches, me included. It felt like being underwater and needing to pop your ears.

Unlike the first group, we hardly had any reaction with the flashlight. Perhaps it was too difficult for them to use. We did continue to have more reactions on the Spirit Box though.

We went around the group to introduce ourselves. The last person to say his name was Rick. Immediately after he said his name, a ghost said, “Rick” on the Spirit Box.

Not much later, Rick asked if he could talk “man to man” with the ghost. Apparently, the female ghosts took offence with this. “Women,” a female voice said.

I asked if we had someone new to the house with us and a voice came across and said, “Not tonight.” I wasn’t sure what that meant, but it was an interesting and very clear response.

The group thought they heard a response about gin and took the conversation in that direction. Upon review, they didn’t say gin. The response was something else that wasn’t a clear enough response to make out. They asked if they made their own gin and a male voice responded with “no.”

Rick asked if they knew his dog’s name, but we didn’t receive a valid response. A female voice told us, “That’s freaking me out.”

I played several old songs from my iTunes for them but didn’t really get a response. I think the ghosts were getting tired at that point. We called it a night not long afterwards and returned to Community House #2 for a group review of the night’s events. Everyone agreed that Fauntleroy Home was the more active of the two buildings but still had an enjoyable time experimenting with dowsing rods at Community House #2.

It was a great investigation and nearly everyone had a personal experience they couldn’t explain. I am thankful to the ghosts in the house for communicating with me and hope they have a nice break. This was our last investigation of the season, so I’m thankful to give them the break they need.

Thank you to everyone who came out to the event and to those who helped make it great!

Haunted New Harmony Evidence Review – 10-21-17 Investigation

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Having great groups truly makes a difference in public investigations. People who are eager and open-minded often have better overall experiences than people who come in with an air of skepticism. Over the course of our Haunted New Harmony investigations, we’ve had both kinds of groups and can easily say that the ghosts prefer the eager types more than the skeptics too.

After a presentation on the paranormal and history of the buildings and town, we divided into two groups, led by Amanda Bryden and Meagan Patterson, who both work for the State of Indiana Museum Division and oversee the buildings we investigated. Helping us were Paula Bundy, who stayed with Amanda’s group and Shannon DeLap, who remained with Meagan.

Billy Miller, who is the founder of Southern Indiana Paranormal Investigations, was in charge of Community House #2, while I stayed at the Fauntleroy Home.

 

Community House #2

Meagan’s group started out at Community House #2. They began their investigation on the first floor with a standard EVP session. The group asked some very compelling questions but didn’t get any responses, so Billy moved to the Spirit Box.

The Spirit Box is a paranormal tool that scans rapidly through the radio stations, allowing the ghosts to use the white noise to communicate. The Spirit Box was quiet as well so they moved onto dowsing rods.

We’ve found that many of the nineteenth-century ghosts in the building are apprehensive of our electronic devices. They are more comfortable with low tech items, such as dowsing rods and pinwheels. After a thirty minute session on the first floor with very little communication, they decided to move to the second floor.

Meagan commanded the dowsing rods for the first go around. They asked if the souls were happy there and got an immediate “yes” response from the dowsing rods. When they asked if he was a printer, the response was “no.”  He said he was a Harmonist. She passed off the dowsing rods to another member to try them.

They asked if the ghost was a male and there was no response, but when they asked if the ghost was a female, they got a positive response.

During that session, Billy had a smaller group out in the hallway to watch for shadows and heard the sound of footsteps in the hallway. He came into the room and asked them if anyone had been walking, but no one had.

Through their questioning, they learned that they were speaking to a female who wasn’t married, which made sense if she was a Harmonist. The group practiced celibacy and lived as brothers and sisters. She didn’t enjoy swimming. She couldn’t leave the building.

Perhaps the most profound experience this group experienced came from an experience Billy had while he was in the bathroom. He began hearing the sound of a child crying. It was so loud, he looked around, fully expecting to see a child in the corner crying, but the room was empty.

When he relayed this information to the group during the break, he learned from Amanda that the building was used as a school for young children. During the Owen Community period, children would be removed from their parent’s home at the age of two to begin schooling. They would live in the Community House with their teachers. Parents would only see their children during special occasions. The thought was that parents “ruined” their children. If they stayed with their teachers day and night, they would have consistent schooling. Was the sound of a child crying coming from one of those children? It’s hard to say, but it was an interesting experience.

According to legend, a Frenchman named George Gerard committed suicide on the second floor back in the mid-1800’s. When someone asked if he regretted taking  his own life,respondednsed with a very clear, “Yes.”

During another session, they asked if they were speaking to a Harmonist, the first Utopian group who lived in New Harmony. The response was, “No.”

It was growing apparent that the ghosts were getting tired of us. Towards the end of the last group’s session, they received to clear requests for us to leave.

When someone asked them if they liked to have fun or cause trouble, they said, “Go Home.”

When someone else asked if they got to watch their kids grow up, it was a similar message. “Go home” Thankfully, this was towards the end of the session, so we were nearly on our way already.

 

Fauntleroy Home

I always station myself at the Fauntleroy Home during the investigation. The energy there has a tendency to be fairly strong and negative and many people with abilities feel it.

Amanda’s group started out at the Fauntleroy Home with me. Three of my friends from New England traveled to Indiana for the event and were in her group. Also joining them was my mother and her husband, Steve. I was thrilled to have my mother join us. After years of listening to me talk about my experiences, she was eager to investigate with me.

It was quiet in the beginning. We went around the room and asked questions, but didn’t record any ghost voices. I decided to move three people into a smaller room alone to see if they could get the pinwheel to move. As I was moving them, my Mel Meter suddenly started registering.

A Mel Meter measures the electromagnetic energy in the area. During every other investigation we’ve had at the Fauntleroy Home, the meter has remained stubbornly at zero milligauss. As I watched in awe, it climbed all the way up to 2.8 and continued to fluctuate between 2.4 to 2.8. They began using it to ask questions.

“Are you a male?” someone asked. The meter climbed back up to 2.8 again.

It moved back down to 2.5 and stayed there for a while.

“Are you on the staircase?” The meter rose up again to 2.8.

It continued to fluctuate between 2.4 and 2.8, but stopped responding directly to questions, so we moved onto another tool. One member of our group had an Ovilus, so we attempted to give it a try, but didn’t receive any responses. It appeared as though the Fauntleroy Home was going to be quiet.

As soon as that thought ran through my mind, the alarm began sounding.

Amanda and I laughed. “There’s Mary Emily,” I said as she went to the back of the house to disable the alarm.

Every time we investigate the Fauntleroy Home, the alarm is set off. This isn’t something anyone can explain, not even the alarm company technicians. I always wonder if this is Mary Emily telling us that she’d like us to leave.

Soon after that, we moved to the upstairs of the house.

I moved several people into a smaller room to see if they experienced anything in a smaller group. Sometimes smaller groups have more experiences. The ghosts in the building might retreat away from larger groups and attempt to communicate with the smaller group. We’ve seen shadows move across the wall in the smaller room too.

In the meantime, the group in the master bedroom began doing a Spirit Box Session. We went around the room and asked questions. We seemed to get several responses, but couldn’t make out what they were saying. It was frustrating to me because I could clearly feel them with us. It was as though they were lingering in the doorways, but they wouldn’t come close and engage with us.

I decided to switch the groups. When I came back into the room, I smelled the strong aroma of bread baking. I asked the group what they smelled without telling them what I smelled and they confirmed it. “Bread baking,” they told me. Eager to have this validated by more people, I ushered them back into the room with the rest of the group and brought in four more people, including my mother.

“What do you smell?” I asked them.

“It smells like a pastry shop,” one person said.

“Bread baking,” my mother said.

This was interesting to me because this isn’t a smell that might be caught in the wind and carried into the building. There aren’t any private homes within at least 500 feet of the building and the windows were all firmly closed. The smell was so strong, it was as though someone was baking bread right in the room with us.

I ran into the other room and asked Amanda to come in so she could smell it too. As soon as she walked into the room, the smell instantly evaporated. We didn’t smell it again the rest of the night.

Phantom scents are frequent in the paranormal realm but are often dismissed because it’s easy to find a reason for them. The smell of cigar or cigarette smoke can be blamed on the street outside and perfume can often be attributed to a member of the group, but bread baking? We could find no logical reason for the scent.

We ended our investigation at Fauntleroy Home by walking around the Harmonist Cemetery for a few minutes. The energy there is very serene and calming, something we all needed after the somewhat intense emotions we felt at the Fauntleroy Home.

My second group at the Fauntleroy Home had more experiences. Almost immediately, Shannon DeLap began feeling someone touching her hand. Her hand was resting on her thigh and the sensation was strong. She told us about it and then shortly afterward, the sensation abated.

We then decided to do a Spirit Box session. I was worried that we would have another quiet session, but we began getting responses right away. I asked the ghosts what I smelled during the first session. If I got the response of “baking bread” or even just “bread,” it would be amazing proof that they were paying attention to us. I did get a response, but it wasn’t what I was expecting. “I did,” a male voice said very clearly.

Someone else asked if we were welcome there. A male voice said, “no,” which didn’t surprise me.

I separated the group again but moved this group into the former kitchen area to see what they would experience in that room. While I was moving them, someone smelled something sweet drift into the room. It evaporated quickly. When I returned, they asked me if that was what I smelled (I hadn’t told them what I smelled at this point). They said it almost smelled like floral perfume. While it wasn’t what I smelled, many other people have caught the drift of perfume in the Fauntleroy Home.

When I returned to the room, I used the dowsing rods to see if I could get any responses. I asked if Mary Emily was there and got a lukewarm response. The dowsing rods began to open but stopped. I then asked if Oliver Evans Junior was still there and the rods crossed quickly, giving me a “no” response.

This wasn’t surprising to me. I haven’t felt his overwhelmingly hostile energy in a while. The past two investigations the room upstairs where we normally feel him has been unusually quiet. Was it possible that he heeded my advice to cross over into the light? I’m beginning to believe he did. We continued asking questions, learning thing like the fact that they liked the new upholstery on the chairs in the parlor, but didn’t like the carpeting. All questions regarding who is turning on the alarm went unanswered. During our last investigation there, we received a response of “Marsha” but we have no idea who this might be. There isn’t a Marsha in the documented history of the house.

The group who had been in the former kitchen area reported seeing ripples move across the green laser grid that I had set up in the room for them to watch. We weren’t sure what it was or what it meant, but it was interesting.

We then moved to the second floor. I moved a group of four into the smaller room to see what they experienced. In the master bedroom, I began playing old music to see if it would trigger any activity. What happened was interesting. I only have two old songs loaded onto my iTunes. After the second song played, another song that I didn’t have on my phone began playing. The song was “It’s a Grand Old Name.”  Here are some of the lyrics.

For it is Mary, Mary
Plain as any name can be
But with propriety, society will say Marie
But it was Mary, Mary
Long before the fashions came
And there is something there that sounds so square
It’s a grand old name

This was interesting to me because we had been talking to Mary Emily all evening. Was she using my phone to convey a message?

I didn’t have long to pursue the thought because at that moment the alarm was triggered again. This time it began blaring loudly. Normally, it beeps at a lower volume until finally escalating to the louder alarm tone. It appeared to have skipped right to the blaring volume without bothering with the lower beeps first. When Meagan called the alarm company, they said they were two seconds away from dispatching the police. Thankfully, we caught them in time.

We played around with the dowsing rods again, giving everyone a chance to use them before we moved to the Spirit Box again. I asked if they liked the music we played, a voice said, “no,” which made me laugh.

When I asked if they liked someone who comes into the house, the response was “Meagan.” This didn’t surprise me because Meagan is a genuinely nice person.

After that response, the Spirit Box grew quiet. I asked them if they were upset that we were there. While they weren’t as forthcoming as they were at Community House #2, the message was clear. They were finished with us.

I do worry that we are aggravating the souls that linger at these two buildings. While some of them seem to enjoy the interaction, others aren’t happy with our presence there. Thankfully, we only have one more event left for the season. After that, they can have some peace and quiet.

Thank you to everyone who came to the Haunted New Harmony event, including guests and the people who made it happen!

Haunted New Harmony Evidence Review 9-23-17

 

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We had a record amount of people attend our September event. The group was a mixture of experienced paranormal investigators, family members, neighbors and people experiencing their first ghost hunt. It wouldn’t be a night anyone would forget anytime soon.

IMG_9154.JPGAmanda and I gave a presentation about the history and hauntings. Before we even finished, we experienced our first paranormal encounter. The entire group heard the distinct sound of footsteps on the floor above us. It sounded like more than one person walking. My two assistants for the night, Paula Bundy and Crystal Folz, ran upstairs to check it out. As can be expected from this haunted house, they didn’t find any explanation for the sounds.  We then split up into two groups. One group came with me to the Fauntleroy Home and the other group stayed at Community House #2 with Billy Miller from Southern Indiana Paranormal Investigations (SIPI).

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The Fauntleroy Home Investigation

I spent the duration of the night, leading both groups through this fabulously haunted building.

The first group to the Fauntleroy Home was led by Megan Patterson and assisted by Crystal Folz. Because the group was larger than normal, I split them up. I had four people go into another room with Crystal to see if they could get the pinwheel to move. As we were getting ready to divide up, someone noticed that the Mel Meter was showing signs of activity.

The Mel Meter is an electronic device that measures the Electromagnetic Energy in an area. It will pick up on electrical devices and can sometimes detect the presence of ghosts. Every time we’ve investigated the Fauntleroy Home, the Mel Meter has stayed firmly at zero, but now it was moving upwards. When it was brought to my attention, it was at 1.4 milligauss and swiftly climbed to 2.7. For the remainder of our session, it varied between 2.4 and 2.7. This was odd to me because we knew there was nothing electrical in the area that would normally set it off. Was it a ghost? And why now, all of a sudden?

As we settled in, I decided to do a quick EVP session to see what we could get. Someone asked Mary Emily what her favorite color was. The response was “Chancy,” which didn’t really make any sense.

We decided to do a Spirit Box session because I’ve always had good luck with it there. We began hearing what we thought were responses, but weren’t clear enough to make out.

Someone asked how many children she had. The response was “ten.” This was odd because Mary Emily never had children. Were we speaking with someone else?

When someone asked what they did for fun, the response was “dinner.” This would make sense if we were speaking to a Harmonist. They worked from sunup to sundown, so meals were their one of their few sources of enjoyment.

Someone asked what her favorite time of the year was and we received a clear response of “June.”

When asked if she played the piano, the response was “no.” This was something that was resonated with Meagan. While Mary Emily often played the harp, she didn’t think she played the piano, even though she had one that was passed down in her family.

I asked about the allegations regarding Mary Emily’s brother Homer. According to the stories, he was known to be a bit too fond of children, to the point where people knew to not leave their kids alone with him. A male’s voice responded, “it’s true.”

Several people in our group began feeling ill. One man reported feeling nauseated, while two others experienced strong headaches. One woman’s headache was so strong, she left shortly after we ended our session at the Fauntleroy Home.

After a while, we went upstairs, but the energy felt much different than it has before. It felt lighter. I turned on my Ovilus and we kept getting the words “shoes” and “strange.” It came through twice, but I couldn’t make any sense of it until one member of the group told us that he had on toe shoes, the kind that encapsulates each of his toes separately. It was enough to make us all laugh. The ghosts probably couldn’t understand the strange shoes the man had on.

As usual, the alarm was set off again. This has happened every time we’ve investigated there but never happens at any other time. We think that this is Mary Emily, telling us to leave.

The second group, led by Amanda Bryden, was a bit larger than the first. In Community House #2 it’s not an issue because the rooms are oversized and can accommodate a larger group. This isn’t the case in the Fauntleroy Home. I decided to do a Spirit Box session with everyone in attendance before I split them into two groups.

People began asking questions and we really didn’t get relevant responses. When someone asked if the ghost was male or female, the response was “heavy.” What did that mean? I wasn’t sure.

When someone asked Mary Emily, one of the known ghosts, if she decorated her home, the response was, “That was one.” That didn’t make any sense to me either.

I didn’t feel as though we were getting any responses that were worth pursuing further, so we divided into two groups. I brought 8 people upstairs and left 7 people downstairs with Amanda. I gave Amanda my Spirit Box and digital recorder.

I brought dowsing rods and my K2 meter upstairs. My group had fun experimenting with the dowsing rods and seemed to get some relevant responses from the resident ghosts.

Amanda’s group used the Spirit Box downstairs. Her group asked questions with few responses until someone asked if she had any children. “Yes,” came the response, which was actually an EVP. It didn’t come through the Spirit Box but was spoken close to the recorder. Additional follow-up questions regarding the names of her children went unanswered.

Someone else asked if they had social gatherings in the home. “I did,” was the response.

Perhaps the best EVP response of the night came when someone asked if they had a garden out back. “I grow lettuce,” was the response. The way it was phrased was interesting to me. He didn’t say, “I GREW lettuce,” he said, “I GROW lettuce.” Does this mean he still lives in his former reality? It was also interesting to me how relevant the response was. It wasn’t a random word or phrase like we sometimes get. It was an intelligent response to a question.

They switched from the Spirit Box to dowsing rods with varying degrees of success. When someone asked if someone was there with them, the rods responded with a “yes” response.

My group upstairs wasn’t having the same sort of responses. It felt as though the room had grown flat. A ghost would drift into the doorway and then walk away again. I tried playing nineteenth-century music on my phone for them and we used the dowsing rods with varying degrees of success.

Amanda and I switched groups and I brought the second group upstairs. I asked a few questions, trying to get the flashlight to respond. Nothing happened until I asked if they wanted us to leave. The flashlight on the mantle came on immediately.

I am always skeptical of using flashlights during investigations, so I always use a cold flashlight, one that hasn’t been used during the night. This way, I can eliminate false-positive responses from when a warmed up flashlight’s battery arcs, causing it to turn on randomly.

I then turned on the Spirit Box. I was explaining one of my EMF meters to the ghosts, telling them it wasn’t hot or cold and that it wouldn’t hurt them. I got a response of, “I hear you.”

Someone asked if she was the mean looking lady in the picture that I showed at the presentation. The response was appropriate for the question. “Demon,” the female voice said. Was she calling him a demon for asking the question in that manner? I think she was. The question was a bit on the aggressive side and I don’t blame her for her response.

I often like to test them to see if they can actually see me, so I held up three fingers. “How many fingers am I holding up?” I asked. “One, two, three,” was the answer.

I then asked if any of them remembered my name. A different voice came through and said, “Joni,” very faintly. It was a female voice that I hadn’t heard before. She sounded young.

I was curious about the alarm situation, so I asked who keeps turning on the alarm. One voice came through and said, “Martha,” and then another voice said, “I do.” I didn’t know at the time that at that exact moment, the alarm went off.

Someone asked if they were happy there. A male replied, “Yes.”

The same man who asked if she was the mean looking lady in the picture asked if she was a mean person. A female responded (different voice from before) and said, “The devil.”

I turned off the Spirit Box and said, “I can only handle so much of that.” As soon as I said it, the flashlight came on.

I played music for them. I played the song “Rock of Ages.” I asked if they liked that song and the flashlight came on.

My recorder cut out and completely stopped at that point.

Afterwards, I brought each group out to the Harmonist Cemetery to walk around. I always suggest that they turn their flashlights off and allow their eyes to adjust to the darkness. Since the cemetery is relatively flat and there aren’t any headstones to trip over, this provides them with a better chance of actually seeing something, if something paranormal were to happen.

My friend Duane, who drove down from Iowa for the event, had a strange encounter. As he was coming back to the gate, he saw someone walk past him as though he was walking further into the cemetery. When he got to the gate, he told me that we needed to wait for the othe person. After a quick head count, we realized that everyone was accounted for. Who was the extra person? Had Duane witnessed his first actual ghost sighting? We weren’t sure but it was enough to make us scratch our heads.

Community House #2

The Community House #2 Investigation

Billly Miller’s group started with an EVP session on the first floor. They received zero responses despite asking some very good questions about the history and lifestyles of the former inhabitants. Halfway through their session, they heard the distinct sound of the door opening. They got up and checked it out, but the door was locked and no one was anywhere near it. According to Amanda, the locks on the doors are older styled locks and make a distinctive sound when they are opened or closed.

For most of the night, they experienced another strange happening. The elevator kept moving from floor to floor. This isn’t something that happens frequently. Amanda got up and sent the elevator to another floor. It usually stays there, but this time it didn’t. It kept moving from floor to floor.

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(Above) Crystal Folz talking with several group members

Strange things have been happening with the elevator since it was installed years ago during the renovations. The lights inside the elevator burn out much more frequently than they should. Amanda has talked to the elevator technicians who come to inspect the elevator and they don’t understand why it’s happening. According to Amanda, they have to replace the bulbs monthly, if not sooner, which is odd for an elevator that isn’t in operation very frequently. When the elevator isn’t in use, the lights turn off, so there is no reason for the bulbs to burn out so quickly. One of our theories is that the ghosts in the building are using the energy from the lights to be able to become so active.

The group moved to the second floor and began talking with George Gerard, the man who supposedly killed himself in the mid-1800’s after expected money didn’t arrive. Amanda asked if George was waiting for money and we received an EVP that sounds like it says “Micah.”

They used the dowsing rods to ask questions on the second floor with some measure of success. Everyone had a chance to use the rods to see how they work. They received confirmation that George hung himself and which room he did it in.

As the session continued, they stopped getting responses from George and began getting answers from a child who went to school there.

During the session, two of the women were watching a paper flyer that was hanging on the wall move back and forth. They told Amanda about it but no one couldn’t find an explanation for the movement.

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(Above) Billy Miller with two of his SIPI teammates, Katie McGregor (left) and Natalie Doris-O’Daniel (right). This photo was unabashedly lifted from Katie’s Facebook page 🙂

During one of the sessions, Billy felt as though his muscle was being squeezed. Another person thought he saw a light move from left to right across the doorway. Billy also saw a shadow move. During the last EVP session, they were hearing small sounds in the corner of the room.

Amanda had to go downstairs to let someone back into the building. While she was walking with the digital recorder in her hand, it captured a strange EVP. It sounds like it’s saying, “He’s bad as a rule,” to me, but I’m curious what other people will hear.

During a session on the third floor, Meagan was asking if they knew the Golden family. The Golden’s were a famous acting troupe who performed at Thrall’s Opera House. The response she received didn’t make any sense. A male voice said, “I’m not ready to go, lady!” This response was not heard at the time it was recorded, making it a true EVP.

Everyone was a bit disappointed that the pinwheel didn’t spin on its own accord like it did for the last investigation, but the other experiences made up for it. They enjoyed getting full access to the historic buildings and the overall adventure of being a part of a paranormal investigation.

We have two more sold-out investigations for the season and are looking forward to seeing what the ghosts have planned for us. Although the night seemed fairly quiet on the surface, the ghosts hadn’t gone anywhere. They were chatting with us on our devices, becoming more comfortable sharing their secrets. I can’t wait to see what happens next!

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(Above) Me with a ghost. Thank you Katie McGregor for thinking of this and not getting mad when I completely stole your idea and took my own ghost selfie :)Thank you to Amanda Bryden and Meagan Patterson for being such great hostesses and team members. Thanks also to group assistants, Crystal Folz and Paula Bundy for helping out. And of course, immense thanks to Billy Miller for leading the groups through Community House #2 and sharing your decades of paranormal investigation experience with everyone.

Thank you to Amanda Bryden and Meagan Patterson for being such great hostesses and team members. Thanks also to group assistants, Crystal Folz and Paula Bundy for helping out. And of course, immense thanks to Billy Miller for leading the groups through Community House #2 and sharing your decades of paranormal investigation experience with everyone.

And thank you to everyone who joined us! I’m so glad everyone had a good time and am looking forward to the next adventure!

Body Vibrations in the Paranormal Realm

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As someone who is sensitive to the paranormal world, I knew something was in my room with me. I climbed into my bed, hoping it would just leave me alone and allow me to sleep, but that wouldn’t be the case.

Shortly after I pulled the covers up to my chin, I could feel it grow closer. Without warning, my body began to vibrate from the inside out.

The feeling was unlike anything I’d ever encountered before. It felt as though I was lying on a vibrating mattress, unable to stop the madness. I tried shifting positions, but the internal vibrations wouldn’t cease. I somehow managed to fall asleep and woke the next morning feeling drained and exhausted. What had happened to me?

I began feeling this sensation more frequently as the days passed. Every morning when I awoke, I felt the same way: as though I’d been depleted of energy while I slept. Over the course of the next few months, I began experimenting and researching the phenomena. What I found was startling. A ghost was pulling energy from me.

While there are actual medical conditions where people feel internal tremors, such as Parkinson’s Disease and Multiple Sclerosis, this wasn’t my situation. I was otherwise very healthy. I was just exhausted from my nightly visits from the other side.

I soon began discovering that I didn’t need to be in bed in order for it to happen. Once while I was at my doctor’s office getting a checkup, my ears began ringing. Since I am clairaudient, having the ability to hear the sounds ghosts make, I knew something paranormal was in the room with me. As the nurse put the blood pressure cuff on me, the entity came even closer, causing my body to begin vibrating. The nurse put a stethoscope to my chest and looked at me with a bit of concern.

“Your heart rate just went up. Are you nervous?” she asked.

I smiled, knowing that if I told her the truth of the matter, I might find myself wearing a straightjacket before the visit ended.

“No. I just had too much coffee today,” I told her instead.

After the latest occurance, I decided to work in earnest on finding a way to stop the body vibrations. As a devout student of the paranormal world, as well as an author, I knew that one of the best ways to protect myself in the paranormal realm involved using my own body’s energy as a shield.

The process is commonly called Shielding. To accomplish it, I started out by grounding myself. Grounding is the method of removing excess energy from your body. While there are many ways to accomplish this, including walking barefoot on the ground outside or hugging a tree, my favorite method can be done anywhere. I imagine a bright white light above me and then I close my eyes. With every breath, I pull white light in through the crown of my head and push the excess energy out through my feet. After several moments of this, I feel physically lighter.

I’ve never had an easy time with visualizations. When I first began attempting grounding myself, I couldn’t hold the image of the white light inside my head. I found that by simply turning on an overhead light, I could actually see the light through my eyelids, something that helped me with the visualization process.

To shield myself, I took that same white light and envisioned it surrounding my body in a bubble. Once my bubble was complete, I followed up by pushing my energy outwards until the bubble was taut. I knew the process was effective because the body vibrations eased up and then stopped completely.

The act of grounding and shielding isn’t something I learned overnight. I had to utilize many of the videos available on Youtube to get me started. Then, I had to practice until I was able to push the ghosts off at will.

If you find yourself exhibiting frequent body vibrations and you are certain it isn’t a medical condition, try my process of grounding and shielding. It can’t hurt and actually might help you fend off the paranormal world around you.

 

Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator and the author of 16 paranormal books. To learn more about her, check out her website Jonimayhan.com.

Sample of Ghost Magnet

Excerpt from Ghost Magnet – coming October 15th

 

A Ghost in My House

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I didn’t notice the ghost for several days. I was so caught up with my busy work schedule, it took some time for the reality to sink in, but the truth was undeniable. Something had followed me home from the cemetery.

Several days after our cemetery excursion, I came home from visiting stores in Rhode Island, my mind filled with work issues. One store didn’t have enough pet groomers and was using a cashier to bathe all the groomer’s dogs, which was a company violation. Another store wasn’t offering dog training classes, something I was getting beat up by my supervisors about. It was as though I was expected to wave a magic wand around and make all the issues disappear. All I wanted to do at that point was to change into my sweat pants and t-shirt and plop down on the couch for several hours of thought-free TV and allow my mind to unwind.

My dog Ripley met me at the door with other ideas. She was a mix of so many breeds, it was difficult to determine her parentage, but she looked and acted much like a border collie. With her high energy level and adept motivating skills, she had me well trained. Part of our evening ritual involved a long walk after dinner and she wasn’t letting me get out of it.  I held her at bay until I could scarf down a quick bowl of cereal and then grabbed her leash.

Our normal walk took us down a two-lane blacktop road near my house. Traffic was fairly steady, so I kept her on a leash for the duration. She always stuck close to my side, only veering off track when something especially smelly caught her attention and she needed a minute or two to investigate it.

By the time we got home, I had worked up a good sweat and had purged away most of my work stress. I loved the therapeutic benefits of walking. It gave me time to process my thoughts. I didn’t necessarily solve all my problems, but I usually found a way to deal with them by the end of the walk.

As I came through the door, ghosts were the last thing on my mind, but I heard the tone immediately. It was almost as though he was waiting at the threshold for me. I let Ripley off her leash and closed the door behind me, feeling a sense of discomfort wash over me like a cold bucket of water.

For once, I was thankful I didn’t have my 14 year-old son that night. He stayed with me four days out of the week and spent the remainder of the week with his father. Given the circumstances, I was glad he wasn’t there.

How would I explain these things to him?

He wasn’t the kind of kid who was even remotely interested in the paranormal world. If he came into the room while I was watching a creepy show, he would pivot on his heels and walk back out again unless I changed the channel. I wasn’t sure if it scared him or if he just wasn’t interested, but I wasn’t going to let it interfere with our time together.

I took a deep breath to steady myself. I needed to handle this now.

“If someone is here, you are not welcome. You need to leave immediately and go back to where you came from!” I said in a strong voice, knowing it sometimes worked for other people.

The tone didn’t falter. If nothing else, it grew louder. I could almost feel him laughing at me. Unlike the other ghosts that were in my house, this one was strong. If I was able to ignore the others and pretend they weren’t there, he wouldn’t give me that option. I could all but see him.

As I walked down the long hallway to my bedroom, I could hear him right on my heels. I paused when I got to my bedroom, uncertain what to do. Normally, I would shower and then put on comfortable night clothes, but this didn’t seem like a smart decision. Having an invisible intruder beside me in my own home, a place where I should feel safe, made me feel violated.

Could I really just undress and shower knowing that someone was watching me?

“Don’t show any fear,” I reminded myself, not wanting to give this monster any more ammunition to use against me.

I took a deep breath and tried to slough off the anxiety.

I turned on the shower, fully aware that the hitchhiker was still following me. If he had been a living person, I could have called the police to have him arrested, but they couldn’t do anything about a ghost. I’d have to try something different.

I read somewhere that if you ignored them, they sometimes grew bored and went away. Even though he completely creeped me out, I decided to give it a shot. I undressed quickly and took the fastest shower known to man and then put on my night clothes.

I plopped down on the couch and turned on the television. I found that if I cranked the volume up to a high setting, I couldn’t hear his tone. Despite the overwhelming sensation of being watched, I was able to get through the evening. Bedtime was another matter though.

After nearly twenty years of marriage with a partner who preferred to sleep in total darkness, I had grown out of my need for a nightlight. I kept the room as dark as the inside of a tomb, even going as far as hanging light-blocking curtains and blinds over the windows so I didn’t wake with the first blush of dawn. Things were different now though.

As soon as I turned off the light, I could feel him closing in on me. He drifted beside my bed and hovered close to my body. I could see him in my mind’s eye, grinning with rotten teeth, savoring the impact he was having on me.

I could sense his energy beside me as though he was made of skin and bones. He took a deep breath and let it out directly in my face, making my hair move with the current. The smell of rotting flesh filled my nose.

I couldn’t prevent the terror that spiked through me.

“Oh God!’

I reached out and snapped on the nightstand lamp, fully expecting to see him standing there.

Nothing.

The room was empty.

I let my arm fall back to my side. Why was this happening to me? Hadn’t I been through enough over the course of the past few years with the divorce and the move?

There was no way I could just close my eyes and fall asleep. That would be like sleeping beside a knife-wielding serial killer. What was he capable of? Could he kill me in my sleep?

I retreated to the living room where my two cats were stretched out on the sofa. They gave me slow, sleepy blinks as I turned on the lamp.

“Why are you guys hanging out here?” I asked them, as if expecting a response. I actually already knew the answer. If I was aware of the dead guy in my bedroom, they probably were too. They were just smarter than me and didn’t even try going into the room.

I turned on the television and was a bit horrified to find it already tuned into a paranormal show. I gasped and hurriedly switched  it to something a bit less frightening.

As I mindlessly watched an old sitcom, I thought about all the paranormal shows I had watched over the years. Being sensitive to the energy of the dead often left me yearning for more information. Unlike true psychic mediums, I didn’t get the full picture. I only got bits and parts.

I read as many books as I could find and watched the shows as though hoping for a road map. Unfortunately, the information I was getting was only serving to make me more apprehensive. I began to wonder if I was making things worse for myself.

Was it possible that I was igniting some sort of internal beacon when I watched paranormal shows? I had to wonder.  I often sensed them drift into the room while I was watching something spooky. There was so much I needed to know.

Somehow, I managed to fall asleep on the couch and woke up several hours later, feeling as though I had slept on  bare concrete. Every joint in my body was stiff and sore.

“This is ridiculous.”

I pulled myself off my couch and marched back to my bedroom. I wasn’t going to let some invisible dead guy ruin my day tomorrow because I was too groggy and sore to function.

I climbed into bed and yanked the covers up to my neck, trying desperately to ignore the buzzing sound. Instead of turning the room into its normal dark cave, I left the nightstand lamp on and rolled over onto my side.

Sleep must have found me because the next thing I remember was a thump at my bedroom door. I opened my eyes in time to see a dark shadow person dart across my room and disappear into my closet.

With a shriek, I sprang out of bed and ran into the hallway. I slammed the bedroom door behind me, ready to race out of the house in my night clothes. My heart pounded in my chest as my mind filled with pure panic.

I paused in the hallway and looked back at my bedroom door, expecting to watch it open.

“Oh my God,” I whispered to myself.

What would I do?

Who would I call?

I wanted to jump in my car and drive as far as I could, but where would I go? I didn’t have any friends or family nearby and couldn’t afford a hotel.

My mind raced as I stood there, not knowing what to do.

Was it a ghost, a real intruder or just a dream?

If I called the police and they didn’t find anything, I’d be embarrassed. With my heartbeat thumping in my temples, I edged back to the bedroom door.

If someone was in my bedroom, they had nowhere to go. There wasn’t another doorway and the only windows were blocked by furniture.

I pressed my ear to the door to listen.

It was quiet.

As I was pulling away, something scratched on the inside of the door. I nearly came unglued and let out another shriek, only to hear the scratching followed by my dog’s woeful whine.

“Oh, Ripley…” I had forgotten that she was in the bedroom with me. If someone was in there, she would have been barking and growling. That left two other possibilities. It was either a dream or a ghost.

Ripley whined again, pulling me out of my indecisiveness. Either way, I couldn’t leave her in there alone.

I dug deep and gathered every ounce of courage. I had to be brave. I yanked the door open and flipped on the overhead light.

The room was empty.

My body trembling, I looked in the closet and under the bed, finding nothing. I wasn’t sure what to do, but one thing was certain. I wasn’t sleeping in that room.

I spent the rest of the night on the couch, not even daring to close my eyes for a second. I watched one cheesy sitcom after another until it was time to get ready for work.

I left the house by 9am and visited some of my local Massachusetts stores, not having the energy to venture very far away. By the time I made it back home, my head was spinning with work related issues. As I put my key in the keyhole, I was greeted by the buzzing sound.

I should have been terrified, but anger took the lead instead.

This was the last thing I wanted to deal with after having a day from hell. It was intrusive and disruptive, almost like having a homeless person move in and take over my house.

I’d like to say that I am brave, and maybe I am to some extent, but this was a case where I was pushed to become braver than I felt.

Without even changing out of my work clothes, I stomped into my bedroom and dug through my dresser until I found a stick of sage. I wasn’t sure if it was going to be any more effective than the smudging that Sandy and I did at the cemetery, but I wasn’t putting up with this any longer.

I lit the sage and proceeded to walk around all the rooms in my house, filling it with light and love.

“I fill this space with light and love. I ask for my angels and spirit guides to remove any negative energy that lingers here. This is my house and I take it back!” I said in each of the rooms. By the time I finished, the house felt a bit better.

The ringing sound had faded to a point where I wasn’t certain who was still there. The tone was similar to what I had been hearing before the new ghost made his arrival, so I took some measure of comfort in that.

That night, my cats joined me in the bedroom again, which made me feel immensely better. I did make one change to my nighttime routine though. Instead of sleeping in pitch darkness, I dug out an old nightlight from a box in the closet and plugged it into the wall.

If I was going to live with the possibility of having ghosts in my house, I wasn’t going to do it in the dark.

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A Different Kind of Paranormal Investigation

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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.

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(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 .

 

 

 

Exploring Your Sixth Sense

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People often ask me how they can develop their sixth sense and it’s not an easy question to answer. Everyone’s abilities are unique. Not everyone feels it the same way.

When I was a child, I had frequent ear ringing. Instinctively, I knew I was hearing the sound of a ghost. When I would hear the random ringing, I would feel as though someone was standing beside me. It wasn’t something I could easily explain. I just knew.

It wasn’t until I was much older that I decided to embrace my abilities instead of run from them. After a lifetime of having paranormal experiences, I knew there wasn’t anywhere I could possibly run that they couldn’t follow me.

I started by researching all the possible types of mediumistic gifts. I learned about the “clairs.” There were clairvoyants – people who had clear seeing and would see mind images. Some people were claircognizant. They simply knew things they shouldn’t have had access to. Others were clairsentient and felt physical symptoms when a ghost was nearby. My gift was clairaudience. I had clear hearing.

I quickly learned that most people with my ability don’t hear ear ringing. They hear voices or music or sounds. At the time, I didn’t have a mentor to work with so I had to figure it all out on my own. Thankfully, a friend of mine was also embracing her sixth sense, so we helped each other through it.

Sandy is clairsentient. While some people with this ability feel nauseated when a ghost is nearby, others feel a tightening in their chest or feel the hairs on the back of their neck stand at attention. For Sandy, her ability also didn’t follow the norm. She felt a tingling on her head, as though her scalp was crawling.

Together, we worked on our abilities. If I heard a ringing, I asked her if she felt a tingling. Using each other for validation was a tremendous bonus. We were able to eliminate all sense of doubt when we both felt our sixth senses come to life at the same time.

Like all muscles, the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets. Soon, we both began getting other signs that the dead were nearby. As soon as my ears would ring, if I honed in on it, I got a “mind picture” that popped into my head. Sandy soon began getting the same thing. Then, I simply began knowing information that I shouldn’t have known. Was it possible that my clairaudience led to clairvoyance and claircognizance as well?

In the years since I began working on my abilities, I’ve learned that this is something that happens to most sensitives. Once you master one ability, it’s as though you were given an upgrade. I can now read energy from photographs or from talking to someone on the phone. Information floods my mind in ways I couldn’t imagine.

If you feel that you have a six sense you’d like to develop, begin searching for others who are in the same boat. They aren’t actually hard to find. Just start talking about it to the people you know. People often hide their gifts because they’re afraid people will think they’re crazy. If you can’t find it there, look for mediums in your area who are willing to work with you. And most of all, read everything you can get your hands on. Knowledge is power in the paranormal world. You can never know too much.

For more information on exploring your sixth sense, check out my book Dark and Scary Things – A Senstive’s Guide to the Paranormal World

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