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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We began doing a dowsing rod session:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Traci’s Attic Investigations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Haunted New Harmony Investigation Review – 10-12-18

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(Above: Community House #2 at dusk)

It’s always such an honor to investigate historic buildings. As we move through the rooms, we always keep that history in our minds, knowing that many others passed through this space before us. We also hope to learn something from the souls that still reside there, giving us a glimpse into the lives they once led.

We had a small group for our first investigation, which meant we could all stay together and not have to separate into two groups. It also gives us greater opportunity to communicate with the souls of the building. They are often less intimidated by smaller groups so we were hopeful to make contact with them.

We started in Community House #2, which was built in 1822 by the Harmonists, the Utopian society who founded the town. The building was originally used as a dormitory building for the younger members of the group, but over time has been used as a furniture store, school, print shop for the local newspaper and a rooming house. Many lives have passed through those doors, so we weren’t sure who we’d be talking to.

As we settled into our first EVP session on the first floor, we all began hearing footsteps and noises upstairs. We turned on the Spirit Box soon after and immediately began getting responses to our questions. We asked if they could talk to us and a male voice said, “Speak your tone.”

Someone else asked if that was his favorite room and the same male voice said, “It was mine.”

After thirty minutes, we moved to the second floor to a room that had once been used as a dormitory room. The room had a second room that branched off of it. I put my Mel Meter in the doorway and turned on the REM mode. If anything came close to it, it would light up. I’ve only had this go off several times over the five years that I’ve owned it, so I was surprised when it immediately began flashing.

Not long afterwards, we heard a door slam down at the end of the hallway, even though all the doors are closed and locked.

We then brought out the dowsing rods for everyone to try. Here’s what we learned:

  • There were four of them with us
  • They weren’t all women
  • When asked if they could make the pinwheel turn, they responded with “no”

 

Fleeing shadows are often seen in the hallway, so we put two people in the hallway at a time. I turned on my laser grid so they could watch for shadows. If something broke the grid, they would clearly see it.

43756792_10219036608045550_6180045634968485888_n(Above: The laser grid set up in the second floor hallway in Community House #2 )

The first two people didn’t hear or see anything, but the second two heard what sounded like a broom sweep right behind them

43951751_10219036602445410_6033660161539702784_n(Above: Amanda Bryden talking to the group on the third floor of Community House #2)

After a half hour, we moved to the third floor.

Because we’ve always had good luck with the Spirit Box up there, we turned it on immediately.

  • Say hi to us? “I do not.”
  • Any Civil War soldiers who want to say hi to us? “Hi.”
  • Do you like it that the floor hasn’t changed? “Down here.”

  • Did you have any actual furniture? “The chimney.”
  • Did you move back to PA? “Go home.”
  • Where is home? “Careful.”

  • What is your name? “Alfred Owen” (at the time, we thought it sounded like “Al Gore”, which caused a laugh)
  • What is your name? “Christina Werk”

The responses were interesting because two Civil War soldiers worked on the third floor in the printing office. The other responses were curious, but might make more sense later. Amanda Bryden, who is in charge of the buildings is going to research the names to see if they fit into the town’s history.

40592125_10218698293267892_5211552766241013760_n(Above: The Fauntleroy Home)

After a short break, we walked down the street to the Fauntleroy Home.

I’ve always said the Fauntleroy Home is the most haunted house in New Harmony. Many people have had terrifying experiences there, something we’ve witnessed firsthand. While no one in any of our groups has been pushed or scratched, several people have been touched and we’ve had many personal experiences we can’t explain.

The Fauntleroy Home was built by the Harmonists in 1820. It was the 53rd house built in town and has had a long history of people residing there. One of the primary ghosts that we’ve frequently interacted with is Mary Emily Fauntleroy. She purchased the home in the early 1900’s and turned it into New Harmony’s first tour site. The home was her entire life and she dedicated her life to preserving it and telling it’s history. Unfortunately, she wouldn’t get to live our her life there. After owning her home for a number of years, she had a difficult time making ends meet. The house eventually was turned over to the state and they promised her she could remain there until she died. When WWII broke out, the state ceased operations and kicked her out. She moved next door to live with her brother and his wife until she died. I’m fairly certain she returned to her beloved home as soon as she died.

43691959_10219037768594563_6349744513002504192_n(Above: Amanda Bryden talking to the group on the first floor of The Fauntleroy Home)
We usually communicate with Mary Emily on the first floor, but it was unnaturally quiet. Amanda was talking about the renovations that were done there years ago and without warning, the pinwheel in the middle of the floor slammed to the ground. It didn’t fall over. It was thrust over to the point where the cup that was holding it was bent. We all jumped when it happened because there was no logical explanation for it. It was as though someone slammed it down in anger.Mary Emily.jpg(Above: A historic photo of Mary Emily Fauntleroy sitting in the same spot where we did our first EVP session at The Fauntleroy Home)

After a few minutes, we moved up to the second floor.

43952014_10219037769314581_5306829864014184448_n(Above: Our group on the second floor of The Fauntleroy Home with the pinwheel in the middle of the group. The red light is from a flashlight)

The second floor bedroom is always active and it didn’t disappoint us this time either. We used a variety of equipment, including a Spirit Box, the Mel Meter, a KII meter and a flashlight. During our first session, we employed the flashlight. If it is set in between the on and off position, the ghosts can easily utilize it to respond to our questions.

Flashlight responses:

  • Do you miss your kitchen. Yes
  • Do you still have family here? Yes
  • Did you come here voluntarily? Yes
  • Are there two spirits here? Yes

We turned on the Spirit Box and got a few interesting responses:

  • Randomly, someone said, “The Ghost Walk” on the Spirit Box. This was interesting because I do Ghost Walks past the house weekly and stop to talk about the house and it’s hauntings. Have they been listening?

  • We also heard it say “Amanda” but it’s not as clear across speakers as it is on headphones.
  • I asked if  anyone wanted to tell us anything and a male voice said “hey”.

  • In August, we investigated the Culbertson Mansion in New Albany, Indiana, which is two hours away from New Harmony. During one of our sessions, I asked them what town they lived in. One of the ghosts responded, “New Harmony,” which intrigued me. Had a ghost from New Harmony followed us to New Albany? During this investigation at the Fauntleroy Home, I asked if any of them followed us to the Culbertson Mansion. The response to my question this time was, “I couldn’t walk.”

  • Someone asked if this was home and a male voice said, “No.”

I can’t handle listening to the Spirit Box for long periods of time, so I turned it off. I asked if it annoyed them too and the flashlight immediately came on.

Shortly after that, the alarm started blaring. It was apparent they were done with us. I always find it astounding when the ghosts turn on the house alarm. It has an on and off button. Someone has to switch it over manually. Apparently one of the ghosts in the house is fairly high tech. When Amanda went downstairs to turn off the alarm, one of the ghosts followed her. I could feel it, but also asked and the flashlight came on immediately, giving us confirmation.

Crystal and I both felt like there was a new ghost there. We identified him as a young male who died recently. Crystal thought he died from drugs. I felt he died from a car accident. As it turns out, we were either both wrong or we were picking up on different ghosts.

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(Above: Joni and Crystal Folz)

Crystal felt that he was pacing, agitated and anxious. At that moment, we recorded an EVP that said, “Kill.” It’s very faint and you can only hear it with headphones, so I didn’t upload it. Still though, hearing it gave me chills. What did this mean?

We began using the dowsing rods to attempt to get more information, but I’m not certain we were getting the right story:

  • He just came there recently
  • He was in a car crash
  • He was driving the car.
  • Drugs were not involved. I received a faint EVP that said “No,” at the same time
  • He lived in the Chadwick house next door.

This was interesting to us because Crystal and I visited the Chadwick house last year. While we were there, Crystal picked up on a young man who hung himself, which was something I later confirmed. We began wondering if that was who we were talking to. I began talking to him about crossing over. As if in confirmation, the light came on. At that moment, I immediately began feeling a tingle in my ankles that is a sign that someone wants to cross over. I felt it move through me and out the crown of my head. Someone crossed over. I wasn’t sure if it was him or someone else, but one of them moved on.

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(Above: Crystal Folz and Duanne Wittmayer sitting in the small bedroom at The Fauntleroy Home)

We moved to the basement. It was the first time we’ve actively investigated the basement. I kept feeling a strong sense of slaves in the basement, something that Crystal had picked up on last year when we visited the basement. We then began talking about how New Harmony was formerly a sundown community. People of color weren’t always welcome in town. Amanda shared a story from the turn of the previous century when a group of African-American musicians were in town to perform and missed their train out of town due to weather. Fearful for their safety, some kind people locked them inside Thralls Opera House for the night to keep them safe. The fact that Crystal was feeling slaves in the basement wasn’t completely out of context. Robert Henry Fauntleroy, who moved into the house in 1839 formerly owned a plantation in Virginia and sold/freed his slaves in order to come to New Harmony. At least one of the freed slaves came with him because she’s referenced in the book The Old Fauntleroy Home.  It was possible they roomed in the basement.

The night’s investigation was interesting, but it left us with more questions than answers. Who had we been talking to all night?

We will continue to investigate these historic buildings and will hopefully learn more about their history as time progresses. I was thankful, as always, for the opportunity.

 

Thank you to Amanda Bryden for your tireless hours, to Crystal Folz for stopping by after conducting a rainy Ghost Walk, and for everyone who attended.

 

 

 

Haunted New Harmony – Investigation Review for 8-12-17

 

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Is it possible to train the dead to communicate?

That was the question I was asking myself as I decided to conduct public investigations at several of New Harmony’s more haunted locations. To my knowledge, our investigations marked the first time anyone has attempted communication of this magnitude. The ghosts there have never seen paranormal equipment and weren’t sure what to make of us during our first few attempts.

In my years investigating, it’s rare for me to leave an investigation with less than a dozen EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomena). For whatever reason, ghosts will talk to me and allow me to record their voices. Perhaps it’s the fact that they know I can feel them or maybe they just like my energy. Either way, I’ve collected hundreds upon hundreds of EVPs over time. This wasn’t the case with the Fauntleroy Home and Community House #2. I walked away from our test run investigation with two very faint EVPs.

During our first public ghost hunt last month, they seemed to be warming up to us. Not only was I able to capture several EVPs, the groups had far more interactions with the souls that linger at the locations. This month’s event blew the last event away.

After an hour long presentation, I brought my first group to the Fauntleroy Home, while Billy Miller, the founder of Southern Indiana Paranormal Investigations (SIPI), brought his first group to Community House #2.

Both of these locations are important in New Harmony’s history. The Fauntleroy Home was built in 1822 by the Harmonists, the first Utopian community who founded the town. Notable residents include inventor, Oliver Evans, Junior, and Robert Henry and Jane Dale Owen Fauntleroy, whose daughter Constance created the Minerva Society, one of the nation’s first women’s clubs.

Community House has an equally interesting history. Completed in 1822 by the Harmonists, it was the place where some of their followers resided. When the Owen community bought the town, they used it for multiple purposes. While the second and third floors were still primarily used for dormitory space, the first floor was used as a school, community activities and housed various businesses.

Fauntleroy Home Investigation

Fauntleroy House portraitThe Fauntleroy Home is far different from Community House #2. In fact, the two are nearly polar opposites. The energy at Community House #2 is almost playful and engaging, but the Fauntleroy Home is something else altogether. You can feel it the minute you walk through the door. Most of the ghosts don’t want us there.

The foyer near the front door and the upstairs bedroom are the most active. There were times during the night that it felt as though we were completely surrounded by the dead. It was enough to send chills down many of our spines.

One of the ghosts we feel we were communicating with was Mary Emily Fauntleroy. She spent many years renovating the home and turning it into a museum. When Amanda asked if anyone there ever played the harp, the response I got on my Spirit Box was, “Don’t Break it.”

Some people in the paranormal community scoff at the Spirit Box, so I always ask a few test questions. I held up three fingers and asked them how many fingers I was holding up. The response was correct: three.

Someone in the group asked what their favorite color was. The response came quickly. “Red,” it said.

Several other responses seemed more like pleas for help. One of the EVPs that were captured on Billy Miller’s recorder that he loaned to Meagan said, “Wait for me” and “I need help.”

Possibly the craziest EVP I recorded all night was an actual ghost voice. It didn’t come through the Spirit Box. It was spoken aloud in a frequency that none of us were able to hear. Thankfully, my recorder caught it.

The upstairs master bedroom at the Fauntleroy Home is incredibly active. I have a difficult time spending more than a few minutes there before wanting to leave. I believe the soul lingering there who affects me so profoundly is Oliver Evans, Junior. As we were in the middle of an EVP session, I asked Jason Nelson to take a photo of me. As he attempted to take it, the camera malfunctioned. During this moment, we caught an intelligent voice responding. “Give me that…thing!” it said.

Nothing was captured in the photograph, but the ghostly voice was proof enough that we weren’t alone.

Both groups were again treated to the alarming of the building’s alarm system. It has gone off during every investigation we’ve conducted there and it went off again twice that night. A technician looked at the system and found no issues with it. Perhaps one of the ghosts is trying to chase us off?

Towards the end of one session, we were promptly dismissed. “I’m going to bed,” said one voice on the Spirit Box. “We’re sleepy,” said a second, moments later.

After we finished our EVP sessions, I brought the groups out to the Harmonist Cemetery. The graves are unmarked and sit alongside the burial mounds of the Woodland Indians. The Harmonists believed that everyone was equal, both in life and in death, which is why they didn’t mark the graves. While many graveyards are spooky, this one had a very calm, serene vibe to it. We all found it to be a nice break after the heaviness of the Fauntleroy Home.

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The Fauntleroy Home is a better location for mediums and people who are sensitive to the energy. The ghosts there aren’t shy about getting close to people and talking to them. Various members of both groups felt overwhelmed with emotion at times, nearly breaking down into tears for no reason. Over the years, many people have had paranormal experiences there. Several tour guides have been pushed on the stairs and have heard voices talking in other rooms. Thankfully, no one in either group was pushed, but we did hear the sound of a group of people talking. We raced to the windows and looked outside to make sure it wasn’t pedestrians on the sidewalk, but no one was there.

 

Community House #2

Community House #2I always pull the group together at the end of the night so we can share our experiences. Because I’m at the Fauntleroy Home all night, I don’t get to see what happened at Community House #2. When I asked them which location was the most active for them, they all agreed. Community House #2.

They heard doorknobs jiggle, as though someone was trying to get in the door. They heard thumps and taps. At one point, Jason felt the floor beneath him begin to vibrate. Billy moved so he was near Jason and felt it too.

20840543_10210139629995734_1271728566_nPerhaps the most interesting part of the evening involved a dollar store item that I picked up for the last investigation. I was worried that the 19th century ghosts would be afraid of our technology, so I bought a pinwheel and put it in a cup. The group placed it in the middle of the floor. To their amazement, it began moving after they asked questions.

Can you train the dead to communicate? Apparently so because the pinwheel didn’t move once during our last investigation, but it fluttered to life many times during this event. Billy insured that no air vents were pointed at it and the group remained stationary during the session.

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Here is a brief clip of the interaction.

Meagan discovered that every time she tried to video it, the pinwheel would stop moving. She was only able to capture it for several seconds, but the entire group witnessed it multiple times.

Another curious thing happened to the second group. The ghosts have largely ignored our EMF detectors. An EMF detector measures Electromagnetic Energy, something ghosts can manipulate. During every investigation I’ve ever conducted, our meters have registered ghostly energy. This wasn’t the case in either location during our Haunted New Harmony investigations. This all changed on Saturday night.

All night, the Mel Meter stayed stubbornly at zero. During the second session in the print shop, it started spiking up. It appeared to be responding to their questions. When a favorable question was asked, it would spike up to as high as 13.4, then drop down to zero again until another question was asked. This was astounding for all of us.

It struck me as interesting that the ghosts in the print shop would be the first ones to play with our equipment. Considering they would have used the best technology of their day to print their papers, perhaps they weren’t as afraid of our modern day gadgets.

No EVPS were captured at Community House #2, but the experiences the groups had were more than enough proof of the paranormal.

I want to thank everyone who came out to join us. I also want to thank Billy Miller for his expertise in overseeing Community House #2. Thanks also to Amanda Bryden and Meagan Patterson, who oversee both locations, and to Crystal Folz and Jason Nelson for acting as group assistants. It was an amazing night. I can’t wait for the next one!

Haunted New Harmony Investigation Review 6-15-17

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Haunted New Harmony Investigation Evidence 6-15-17

Conducting a paranormal investigation at locations that have never been investigated before is a nerve-wracking experience. As a sensitive, I knew there were ghosts at both locations, but could I get them to interact with us? What if I invited twenty people and nothing happened. As it turns out, I didn’t need to worry.

20031632_10214841008158175_4867157879746608634_nThe night was interesting, to say the least. After a paranormal and history presentation, we divided up into two teams. One team went with me to the Fauntleroy Home, while the other team stayed with Billy Miller, the founder of Southern Indiana Paranormal Investigations (SIPI), at Community House #2. After two hours, I returned to Community House #2 and brought Billy’s group back to the Fauntleroy Home for round two.

When I divided up the teams, I inadvertently put all the people with mediumship abilities into one group and all the people without abilities into the other group. As can be expected, the group full of sensitives had far more experiences than the group without.

Fauntleroy Home Investigation

20046422_10214841005958120_6661832202055746457_nThe Fauntleroy Home has a long history of paranormal activity, beginning with the first ghost sighting in 1848. Over the years, tour guides and visitors have experienced strange happenings. Full body apparitions have been seen, doors have opened and closed on their own and people have been pushed on the stairs.

I could feel the ghosts coming in closer as we sat down for our first session. It wasn’t long before things began happening .

About halfway through one of our EVP sessions, we began hearing a beeping sound. Amanda Bryden, who oversees both locations, got up to investigate and learned that the alarm had turned itself on, even though it was disabled.  She had to turn it back off and call the alarm company. They have tours in this building frequently and this isn’t something that normally happens. She was puzzled by the experience.

DSCN5714.JPGDuring our first session at the base of the staircase, we got some responses on my Spirit Box as we reached out to Mary Emily Fauntleroy. She lived in the house for a number of years, putting her heart and soul into collecting family artifacts and furnishings. After her death, the building was fully restored, returning it back to the 1850’s time period and her collection was removed. Some feel Mary Emily isn’t happy with the renovations. This is something we confirmed during our investigation.

I asked Mary Emily what she thought about the renovations. “I hate them,” was the response. If you listen to both Spirit Box responses (the one above this one and this one) you’ll hear the same voice.

We moved the group upstairs to the second floor. I’ve always felt a heavy presence up there. People who are sensitive often have a difficult time spending any length of time in that room.

We were only in the room a few minutes before I captured the first EVP. We asked if they were happy that people came to visit them in their home. The response was “no more.” We didn’t hear this at the time, but was caught by my digital recorder.

When my second group came to investigate at the Fauntleroy House, it was a completely different experience from the first group. We received far less responses on the Spirit Box, but started getting more actual evps. Interestingly enough, the voice was different from anything I’d heard there in the past. It made me wonder if a member of the group had brought his own ghost to the ghost hunt.

Here’s another EVP that is similar to the last one. I discovered two more that are a bit harder to hear, so I didn’t post them.

On the second floor, we didn’t receive very many responses from the master bedroom, so I moved the group into another room. It was becoming clear that they’d had enough of us. After we received this response, we moved outdoors.

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(Above) Joni with the glow sticks hanging behind her

I hung bells on long strings with glow sticks hanging from the bottoms in the doorway. During the first group, the strings never moved, but during the second group, we could see the glow sticks moving in a slow circle. At one point, they appeared to be pushed forward into the room. I also had a pinwheel mounted into a plastic cup. I wanted to provide two “low tech” methods of communication for the ghosts to manipulate. The pinwheel never moved with the first group, but began spinning for the second group. Both low-tech devices were placed in the same exact locations for both groups and weren’t impacted by drafts or AC vents.

Community House #2 Investigation

19990582_10214841007278153_669740488870365916_n.jpgWhile I was at the Fauntleroy Home with my groups, Billy Miller led groups through Community House #2. Like me, he immediately noticed a tremendous difference in the paranormal activity between the two groups.

His first group contained the group full of sensitives and mediums and the building was nearly explosive with activity. They heard music playing, doors slamming and phantom footsteps. As I listened to the audio they recorded, I too could hear the music. It was too faint to post, but I could make it out with my headphones on.

They felt that the first floor and second floors were the hotspots for activity. Billy placed a laser grid in the second floor hallway to see if any shadows crossed the beams. Several people sat and watched the hallway, while the rest of the group conducted an EVP session in a dormitory room. During one of their sessions, they watched as several of the lights blacked out momentarily as though someone passed through them.

DSCN5731.JPGWhile in the second floor dormitory room, one group member suddenly felt a lot of physical pressure wash over her. Then she became cold, with goosebumps popping up on her arms before she unexpectedly became overwhelmed with a sense of sadness and began crying. This was strange for her, because as she said, “I’m not someone who’s easily subjected to crying and having fits.” Shortly afterwards, she started feeling increasingly hot before she felt better. Seconds after she began feeling better, another group member jumped as she felt someone touch her.

Another member had two strange experiences at Community House #2. When he sat in a corner of the third floor where Billy feels there is a portal (doorway to the other side), he felt as though thousands of fingers ran down his body. The sensation was so strong, he was forced to get up and move to another area of the room. It wasn’t his only experience though. Earlier in the evening, he also reported seeing a little boy with a white shirt and hat standing in the doorway. He could only see him from the waist up. He appeared to be very sad. “I could feel his sadness too,” he said.

The Community House was quiet for the second group. They didn’t hear the same sounds the first group experienced. I had both groups carry one of my digital recorders with them and I listened to the investigations, looking for ghostly responses. Surprisingly, the first group filled with mediums didn’t receive any EVPS, but the second group received one that made me very sad.

They were attempting to communicate with a Frenchman named George Gerand who supposedly committed suicide on the second floor of the community house in the 1800’s. He was having a difficult time making ends meet and was waiting for a letter to arrive with funds to clear his debt. When the letter didn’t arrive as expected, he hung himself. Sadly, shortly after his death, the letter was found at the post office. It had fallen off a table and was lost on the floor until it was later discovered.

As they were leaving the area, they said, “Bonjour,” and received the response, “Help me.”

 

All in all, it was a successful event. Everyone had the opportunity to experience a true paranormal investigation and quite a few of them had personal experiences they couldn’t explain.

My hope is that as time goes on, the ghosts at both buildings become more comfortable with us and our equipment and provide more responses. Hopefully, through continued communication, I will be able to earn their trust and provide them with the help that they need to find their way over to the other side, where they’re supposed to be.

We’ll be hosting more investigations there in August, September and October of this year. These events fill up quickly, so reserve your spot before they’re all sold out.

 

Haunted New Harmony

Haunted New Harmony LogoNew Harmony is famous for its two Utopian experiments and its diverse beauty. It is also incredibly haunted. Join us as we investigate the paranormal side of this quaint Southern Indiana town and communicate with the souls who dwell here.

We will investigate not one, but TWO of New Harmony’s most haunted buildings from 6pm until midnight.

Community House #2Community House #2

First, we will visit Community House #2. This three-story brick building was completed in 1822 and housed members of the Harmonist group. After the town was sold to the Owen society in 1824, the building was used for a variety of functions, including a print shop, a school for children on the first floor, housing on the second and third floors, as well as a variety of businesses throughout.

Over the years, visitors and tour guides have experienced phantom footsteps and voices in empty rooms. One tour guide reported seeing a woman dressed in 1800’s period apparel walk up a staircase. On another occasion, a caterer inadvertently snapped a photo with an apparition sitting beside a brick fireplace.

This building is handicapped accessible and has an elevator.

Fauntleroy House portraitThe Fauntleroy Home

The second location we will investigate is The Fauntleroy Home. Built in 1822 by the Harmonists, this house has undergone many incarnations in its 193 year existence. It was first used by the Franz Pheil family during the Harmonist period and later became home to various members of the Owen society. In 1840, it was purchased by Robert Fauntleroy and his wife Jane Dale Owen Fauntleroy. The home is known as the birthplace of The Minerva Society, the nation’s first women’s club.

This house is considered by many to be the most haunted building in New Harmony. Visitors and tour guides have experienced a variety of paranormal encounters, dating back to the first documented ghost sighting in 1848. Shadows have been seen flitting across walls, doors open and close on their own accord and many have had unsettling experiences near the staircase.

The first floor of this two-story home is handicap-accessible, but the second floor must be reached by a flight of stairs.

The Investigation

The event will begin at 6pm with a meet-and-greet, followed by a presentation on the history of the locations, as well as instructions for the investigation. Experienced paranormal investigators will lead each team through both buildings, using a variety of paranormal equipment to communicate with the souls who inhabit the space. We will conclude the evening with a group discussion on our findings.

This is the first time buildings in New Harmony have been available for public paranormal investigations. We are limiting each investigation to a maximum of 20 people, who will be broken into teams of ten. This event includes physical activities, such as climbing stairs and walking several blocks to the second location. We ask that you bring a small flashlight, which will help you navigate through the darkness.

Breakdown of the Event

6:00 – 7:00           Meet & Greet/Orientation Presentation

7:00 – 9:00           Investigation

9:00 – 9:30           Break

9:30 –11:30          Investigation

11:30- 12am        Sharing Information

Breakdown of the Investigations

Community House #2 (30 minute sessions):

  • First floor Kitchen
  • Second floor (Shadow Hallway & Dormitory Rooms –divide group)
  • Third Floor Main Room
  • Third Floor Printer’s Shop

Fauntleroy House (30 minute sessions):

  • Base of staircase
  • First Floor
  • Second Floor Master Bedroom
  • Outside building near Rappite Cemetery

The price for this event is $50 per person. Half of all proceeds go directly to the historic locations we’re investigating. Tickets must be purchased in advance by clicking the links below. If you have issues with PayPal, you can also mail a check to Joni Mayhan at PO Box 363, New Harmony, IN 47631. If, by chance, we need to cancel the event, full refunds will be distributed; however, no other refunds will be honored within two weeks of the scheduled event.

Click the date below to purchase your ticket.

Saturday, July 15
Saturday, August 12
Saturday, September 23
Saturday, October 21
Saturday, October 28

 

Haunted New Harmony

 

I moved to New Harmony in May of 2016. Like many others before me, I felt drawn to the town, almost as though the move was part of a greater plan, not one of my making.

New Harmony isn’t a normal, everyday kind of town. While it’s rich with a colorful history and embedded with a creative culture, there is something underlaid beneath the façade, something many people feel but can’t explain. It’s a town with a pulse.

I felt this pulse as I walked down the streets after first moving here. The sensation is elusive and fleeting, here then gone again before you can properly latch onto it. It’s as though every footstep you take is layered atop a thousand other footsteps as your DNA becomes mixed with the DNA of those who were there before you.

As someone who is highly intuitive, I also felt the presence of the dead lingering heavily in this small town. Every store and building I walked into had a ghost or two. Many of them were reclusive, not wanting to give away their hiding spots, but others were more forthcoming. They greeted me at the door like welcoming hosts.

I have felt this sensation once before, at a haunted mansion in Massachusetts. It was a place that called to me and many others, drawing us in like moths to a candle. It collected people like some people collected stamps. Once you visited there, you felt the overwhelming urge to return, over and over again. The pull was so strong; I eventually wrote a book, telling the story of the house and all who lived there. In some ways, I feel the house pulled me in for that very purpose because once the book was written, the urge diminished. I was able to walk away and start anew. I felt this same sensation when I visited New Harmony in 2015, a year before I decided to move here.

New Harmony wasn’t a stranger to me. I grew up in Posey County and graduated from high school in the next town over. As a child, I sat in the backseat of my parent’s car and marveled at the town as we passed through. I begged my parents to let me run through the Harmonist Labyrinth. I remember buying trinkets at the old Five & Dime store that is no longer in existence. My mind spun over the stories about the angel’s footprint that is embedded in stone and I attended weddings at the Roofless Church. My great-grandparents had a house here decades ago and I have fond memories of visiting them as a young child. In some ways, it’s always been a part of my history, of my genetic makeup, but it didn’t call to me until I was ready to truly embrace it.

I felt the initial pull in 2015 during a visit to my home state to visit my family. My father and my step-mother brought me on a historical tour of the town. Even though I already knew some of the history, I suddenly became more interested in it. I bought several books to bring back home with me, along with a labyrinth necklace that I couldn’t seem to remove. Something clicked during that trip. After roaming the northeast, making temporary homes in a dozen different towns, I felt as though I had finally found a place where I could be content. It felt like home.

A year later, I would find myself packing my multitude of pets and possessions into my car and making the thousand-mile trek, leaving behind my grown children and close friends to start anew.

I settled in quietly, wanting to get a grasp on what I was feeling before allowing anyone to know who I was. I didn’t want people to immediately begin associating me with my paranormal background. I wanted them to see me more as a long-lost daughter who had returned to her roots. In some ways, I fantasied about putting the paranormal world behind me and returning to conventional fiction. I would write normal books, ones my parents could proudly pass along to their friends, ones that wouldn’t set me apart so dramatically. Unfortunately, the dead wouldn’t let me.

As I explored the town and immersed myself in the history, I became aware of the undertone that swirls around New Harmony. I came to realize that the entire town was haunted and that my purpose here was already set in stone. I needed to write a book about it.

As I began researching, I came to realize there was nothing scary in New Harmony. Even though it is filled with spirits, most of them are former residents, many from the 1800’s when the town was part of two separate Utopian societies. Some of them simply want their story told and others feel the need to communicate with the living. Through their voices, I began learning more about the town’s fascinating history.

My book won’t be filled with chills and thrills. It will be about the personal accounts the living have experienced with the dead, as well as my quest to learn more about the souls who are haunting the buildings. Through this, I’ve learned intriguing details about the lives that transpired here, something that makes me want to dig deeper. Who better to ask about the history than the people who once lived here?

As I walked into places like the Arbor House on Main Street and the famously haunted Fauntleroy House on West Street, I had personal experiences right away. As I explored old basements and places that tourists don’t have access to, I began to understand more about why the town was haunted.

The veil is definitely thinner here in this small gem of a town. The dead walk side by side with the living, something most people aren’t aware of. I will dig until I uncover as many of the stories and secrets as I can. Then, I will share it with you.

My newest book Haunted New Harmony will be coming out by September 2017 and I hope to have several public paranormal investigations and ghost walks ready for this summer.

Stay tuned…

 

Joni Mayhan is the author of 16 books, most of them dedicated the the paranormal world. After living in Massachusetts for 30 years, she recently returned to her home state of Indiana. 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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