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

My Window Nemesis – A Non-Paranormal Post

kitchen window.jpgI wasn’t exactly thrilled to be moving into a mobile home. I know I should count my blessings, and this was a big one, but just the mere thought of moving into a trailer made my stomach curl up on the edges.

I didn’t have a lot of choices though. After losing my house to foreclosure, I needed a place to live. My credit was pretty crappy and my resources ranked in the slim-to-none category. When my step-father offered to purchase this little treasure for me, I was relieved. It was a place to go, somewhere to bring my houseful of cats and my collected treasures. Even more so, it was a place to heal.

I knew that complaining about the fireballs that life throws at us doesn’t change anything, so I made the best with what I was given. I read somewhere that if you have food in your fridge, clothes on your back and a roof over your head, you’re richer than 75% of the world’s population. I had all those things, I just needed to stop comparing myself to all the people on Facebook who were living in mansions and vacationing in Europe. I made this choice, along with the mistakes and decisions that brought me to this point. This was what I had to work with, so I got busy.

I hired a contractor to fix all the rotten floors. I power-washed the exterior to make it a bit brighter (and less trailer-y), stained the porch and painted all the walls with colors that soothed my soul. I tossed out all the cast-off possessions the last owners so lovingly left me, even the old sample bottles of shampoo and used toothbrushes. The last thing I needed to work on was the windows.

Typical of trailers built in the 1980’s the windows left something to be desired. Every ounce of heat from the sun managed to seep through them in the summer. When the weather turned colder, the drafts were like artic blasts. I pulled out my handy ladder and caulk gun and set to work trying to stop the drafts, but there wasn’t much I could do about the sun.

I tried to hang blinds, but bear in mind that I also have cats. They look at those plastic strips that hang from tiny screws and see them as a gymnasium. They went to work on them quickly. It wasn’t long before every blind in my house had gaps along the sides where the cats pushed through to get a gander at the world outside, if they didn’t pull them down entirely. This presented several problems: privacy and sunlight.

Every time I turned on my kitchen light, I broadcasted my activities to the world outside. Granted, my town is small and the street isn’t busy, but I still didn’t want to stumble into the kitchen in the middle of the night for a drink of water and show my neighbors my ratty old pajamas. I remedied this by simply not turning on the light, but it didn’t help me with the sunlight issue.

During the morning, the sunlight streams through my kitchen window like a mega-watt head lamp. The house quickly heats up, which requires my aging air conditioning unit to summon up its strength to punch the time clock, providing me with some wonderful $200 electric bills.

After nearly killing myself by balancing precariously on a kitchen chair to measure the window width, I ran off to Walmart, which is a half-hour drive in itself, to purchase a mini-blind. That lasted three days.

My cats nearly cheered in unison as I balanced on the kitchen chair again and hung it up. Predictably, it was pooled up in a pile on the windowsill soon afterwards. I attempted to hang it again, but the soggy wood around the window cried “uncle” and wouldn’t support another screw. I moved onto Plan B.

I would hang a curtain over the window. I scurried back off to Walmart and quickly discovered that they don’t carry curtains to fit my window. After some serious hemming and hawing, while listening to the melodious sounds of a child screaming in the next aisle, I grabbed a cafe curtain, hoping to make it fit. I didn’t measure and I didn’t plan it out accordingly. I just grabbed it and attempted to put as much distance between me and the screaming child as possible. When I got home, I discovered my error. It was too short to cover the entire window, but too long to hang it from the center. Onto Plan C.

I pulled out my ancient sewing machine and blew off the years of dust. My cats were quite excited by this venture. As I attempted to shorten the curtains, I had my own personal cheering squad to root me on. They pawed at the material as it zipped under the needle and attempted to thwart my progresses at every turn. By the time I finished, I was too worn out to actually hang the curtain, so I saved it for the next morning.

cats sewing.jpgAs I balanced on the kitchen chair again, attempting to hang the brackets that would hold the curtain, I began to wonder if the window was out to get me. The bracket set that I purchased only came with one bracket, which meant I needed to dig through several boxes to find another set, which were actually meant for a much bigger window. The screw gun slipped several times, resulting in several very sore fingers and I had to fight off five curious cats in the process.

All in all, the process of simply blocking out the light took me far longer than I imagined, but I was determined. I might not have accomplished anything major in most people’s eyes, but to me it was monumental.

I conquered my window nemesis.

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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Transitions

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I feel as though I’ve lived a thousand lives.

I’ve been someone’s mother, someone’s daughter, a teacher and an author. I’ve been someone’s best friend and a stranger to others. I’ve been an aunt, a mentor, a boss and an employee. I’ve been a celebrity and I’ve been nobody. I’ve been someone’s almost-love and someone else’s almost-enemy. I say almost because I ran from both.

I’ve laughed and I’ve cried. I’ve been angry and I’ve angered. I’ve loved and I’ve hated, but I’m still the same person in the same body, which is little worst for the wear.

I’ve moved a thousand miles away, running from a me I no longer recognized. I thought I saw her here, in the place where I left her thirty years ago, but I was mistaken. When they say you can never go back home, they are right. Not even if you leave and come right back again.

My problem lies in knowing where home is. I’ve never had a home I was allowed to keep. I look at the pictures hanging on my new walls and remember them hanging on other walls in other lives. These homes were just resting places until the next home came around.

I’m also not allowed to keep people. The closest I’ve come to having people I could keep was with my children, but now they’re grown and gone away too. People, homes, emotions and roles all flash by my eyes like spectators at a carousel ride. I’m not on the horse I wanted because it was already taken, but I’ve learned to settle for what I’ve been granted. Getting to actually choose always goes to other people, people who are somehow better or maybe just luckier. People who don’t know what it’s like to pretend to be happy. People who always knew what they wanted to be when they grew up. People who don’t know sorrow, at least not on a first name basis.

I know I’ll settle into this new life like sand sifting through stones until it finds a bottom, but the sifting part is always hard for me. I’ll reinvent myself as someone else, someone new people will get to know without knowing the other me’s who lived before this one. We’ll laugh, love, hate and cry like I’ve done with the other lives, with the other people, but somewhere deep inside me lies all the other lives, piled one upon another like dead bodies in a receiving vault, waiting for the frozen ground to thaw so the bodies can be buried. Unfortunately, it appears that winter will be long and agonizing. Sleet will pelt the windows with a fury that seems to last forever before the first thaw of the season. Until then, I’ll wait and I’ll live the life I’ve found myself in while I’m enduring this new transition.

 

Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator and the author of 15 paranormal books. She currently resides in southern Indiana with her menagerie of pets.