(Above) Community House #2. Photo by Joni Mayhan
We returned to Community House #2 for the second time this month, hoping to connect with the souls who still linger there. We know there are many of them because we’ve communicated with them on previous investigations. We just didn’t know if they would be willing to talk to us or not.
During our first investigation of the season, we were treated to the sound of footsteps above us, but it wasn’t to be the case for this investigation. As we settled in for an EVP session on the first floor, the second floor hallways were quiet.
Amanda Bryden, who is in charge of the state buildings and is a well-versed historian, began telling the group about the supposed demise of Frenchman George Gerard. During the early 1800’s Mr. Gerard moved to town, but was having money issues. Money that was promised to him hadn’t arrived yet and his financial situation was growing bleaker by the day. In despair, he resorted to suicide, hanging himself from a ceiling rafter on the second floor of the dormitory building. Days later, the envelope containing the money he was awaiting was discovered on the floor of the post office, accidentally misplaced. Many feel that George Gerard still haunts the hallways.
One member of our group was fluent in French, so we asked her to ask a few questions, hoping Mr. Gerard would respond. We didn’t receive any responses, so we moved on with the investigation.
(Above) Several members of the group during an EVP session. Photo courtesy of Traci Hoehn
One of the craziest things that happened during that session was a response to a question. Someone asked how they got there. “Forty-three,” was the answer. In many areas, the Spirit Box will pick up random radio stations, but New Harmony is too far away for that to happen. The box went through the stations several times without making a peep. When it blurted out, “Forty-three,” it was as loud and clear as though someone standing in the room said it. Was it in reference to a year? Or miles traveled? We weren’t certain and couldn’t get the man to expand further. Then, moments later, someone asked if there was someone there besides George Gerard and the same male voice said, “The first half.” Sometimes the responses don’t make sense to us. The first half of what? We asked but didn’t get an answer.
Our time was up on the first floor, so we moved up to the second floor, setting up our session in a room that was formerly used as a dormitory room. I decided to give the Spirit Box a break and broke out my dowsing rods. Nineteenth century ghosts are often apprehensive of our modern electronic devices, but will speak freely through the rods. We’ve always had great responses with them at Community House #2. I had the group pass them around so they could experience them firsthand. Some people are better with the dowsing rods than others. I think it’s because some people tend to overthink them. They will feel them begin to move and will adjust them, thinking they are moving them themselves.
Dowsing rod responses:
- There was a woman and a girl there – no men
- They weren’t young
- They were happy there
- They don’t want to stay there
- It was confirmed that there weren’t any men there (we were probably on the women’s side of the hallway. Women and men would have been separated.)
- They didn’t live there, nor did they work there or were customers there.
- They like playing pranks on people
- They didn’t have any pets
Our time was up on the second floor, so we moved to the third floor.
We started in the large main room and continued with our dowsing rod session.
- There was someone with us
- It wasn’t Nick Slater, Charles Slater or Albert, the three printers who we often talk to
- (I was feeling a female, which Traci confirmed) They asked if it was Mrs. Murphy but didn’t get a response, so we moved onto Spirit Box
I asked if they knew any of our names and didn’t get a response, so I asked if they liked to mess with Amanda when she was working there. Immediately, someone said, “Amanda.”
Amanda then asked, “What about Meagan?” and they responded with, “Not a thing.” Amanda asked if his/her name was included on the exhibit panels and a male voice responded, “Not all of them.” Seconds later, another male voice said, “Maybe.”
Another male voice said, what sounded like, “Carol Duval.”
After another minute or two of no answers, I suggested that we move into the print shop. At that moment, a male voice said, “We’re in a trial.” I found this interesting. Did he feel he was on trial with all our questions?
We got settled in and began asking questions. I asked if they could tell us their names and a male responded with, “Ain’t sure.”
We continued with the session, picking up the same male voice over and over again, although we couldn’t always make out what he was saying. At one point, it sounded like he said, “I’m beautiful,” which didn’t make any sense. Then without warning, I began hearing male voices outside the room. The digital recorder caught it, but it’s hard to hear over the sound of the choppy Spirit Box.
Someone asked if they moved here for the Utopia. A male voice said, “I did.” She couldn’t understand what he said, so she asked if he could say it again. The same male voice said, “Hear the voice.” I’m not sure what that meant. Was he telling her to listen to the voice or was he talking to one of them, asking if they heard the voice? At the time, we thought he said something about a book.
When asked how many years they worked there, a male voice said “Quite a few.” It was very faint though. Directly after that, a child’s voice came through with the most heartbreaking question I’ve ever heard. We didn’t hear it at the time because it happened so fast, but she said, “Can I go home?”
We’ve known there were children there, but seldom hear from them during our sessions. Was she trapped and needed permission to go home? Someone asked if this was their favorite room and in the middle of it, you can hear a woman saying, “Go into the light.” This was astounding to me and really validated what I’ve always thought. If she was telling the child to go into the light, which is the pathway to Heaven. I hope she listened to the woman.
Amanda followed up on an earlier response that we thought we heard about a book. She asked if the book was in the building right now and the same male voice with the slight southern twang said, “That’s kind a tough.” Someone else asked what the last date they remembered printing on a newspaper. “I didn’t,” was the response, which makes sense if the person wasn’t a part of the printing offices.
Our time was up at Community House #2, so we moved on to the Fauntleroy Home.
(Above) The Fauntleroy Home. Photo by Joni Mayhan
The Fauntleroy Home was built in 1820 and was the fifty-third house built by the Harmonists. It is best known as the birthplace of the Minerva Society, one of the first women’s groups in the nation. The house is named after Robert Henry Fauntleroy and his wife, Jane Dale Owen Fauntleroy who lived there in the early to mid-1800’s. The house has been prone to ghost stories since 1848, when the first ghost was reported being seen on the staircase. By my estimation, it is the most haunted house in New Harmony.
(Above) An old photo of Mary Emily Fauntleroy sitting in the same area we investigated
As we sat in the entry room by the stairs, I explained to the group about the primary ghost who haunts the house. Mary Emily Fauntleroy purchased the house in the early 1900’s and turned it into New Harmony’s first tour site. She put her blood, sweat and tears into the house but couldn’t make ends meet during the Great Depression. The house ended up in possession of the state with the promise that she could continue to live in the house until she died. She lived there for many years, but when WWII broke out, the state ceased operations and booted her out, despite the promises. She moved next door to live with her brother Homer until she died.
The haunting accelerated about ten years ago when the house underwent a major renovation. The state wanted to return the house to a specific period and all of Mary Emily’s modifications and collection didn’t fit the 1850’s time period they were shooting for. They ended up removing most of her collection and tore down the additions she had made to the house. The haunting became angry after that and for good reason. Mary Emily was angry.
Amanda Bryden, who is in charge of the buildings, was one of the people who made the decision to restore and renovate the house.
I asked Amanda if there was anything she wanted to add and as she started to speak, the pinwheel that we placed in the middle of the floor suddenly was crushed to the ground. It didn’t merely fall over; it was pushed so hard that the plastic cup that was holding it became dented. “I’ll just shut up now,” Amanda said with a chuckle. She’s always felt that Mary Emily doesn’t like her because of the renovations and this might have been confirmation.
As I listened to the audio we recorded during this session, there was a strange crackly voice that came through just after she said that. We did a Spirit Box session for twenty minutes and got a few responses that weren’t clear, but nothing from Mary Emily. We moved up to the second floor.
Everyone agreed that the second floor feels far different from the first floor. It feels heavy and not necessarily welcoming. We always feel as though we’re being watched and possibly judged. It’s not a friendly space. As soon as we turned on the Spirit Box, a male voice asked, “Who you talking to?” I just went with the flow and answered him. “We’re talking to you,” I said.
I told them that I was doing a presentation at Workingmen’s Institute, New Harmony’s library, and asked if they wanted me to tell the people anything. “Go home,” the male voice said.
I followed up my question by asking if they’ve ever been there before. “Do I do everything?” he responded in a sarcastic tone. The man was very vocal during the session. Someone asked, “Were you happy in life?” He responded with, “This says buy me.” I’m not sure what it meant.
Someone asked who the president was and there was no response until a full minute later when someone asked if there were more than one ghost in the room. “Johnson!” a male voice blurted out, which was followed by another male voice that said, “You didn’t!”
Sometimes I wonder if they can hear us clearly or not. This was apparent when Mary Emily’s voice came through and answered a question. Someone asked, “Are you male?” and she said, “I am healthy.”
Then, the investigation got very interesting. Elizabeth Stowers attended the investigation and offered to take a few photos. As she took a photo, we heard a very loud “hello!” come across the Spirit Box. It was so loud, I thought it came from inside the room instead of across the box.
When Elizabeth looked at the photo, the lights streamed up from the Spirit Box to the ceiling.
I asked who said hi to us and a voice clearly said, “Edith.”
She took another photo and asked if they’d jump into it and the same female voice said, “Again?” In this photo, the lights were absolutely crazy. They buzzed out from all the devices and spun around the room. There has been some discussion about the photos. Several people feel they’re due to slow shutter speeds, but Elizabeth was using a flash. I don’t know enough about photography in low light situations to know if this can be explainable or not, but she took an additional dozen photos and couldn’t duplicate what she captured in the strange two.
(Above) The room was completely dark when Elizabeth Stowers took this photo. Several people have stated that a slow shutter speed will produce these results, but I find it interesting because a flash was used for the shot. Is it paranormal or just a slow shutter speed? You be the judge.
As she was attempting to duplicate the photos, we caught a male voice on the Spirit Box attempting to help her. He said, “Don’t move it.”
We finally gave up on the photos and sat back down to continue our session. Amanda asked if they used to live next door. The same female voice said, “No.”
We went around the room for several more turns and didn’t get anything, so we moved to dowsing rods.
- He was a male
- As I asked if he used to live next door, I heard a disembodied voice. Upon play back, it is very faint, but sounds like it says, “Joni.” Most of the group heard it and we went to the windows to see if someone was walking past, but the streets were empty.
- He didn’t live at the Chadwick House next door
- He lived in New Harmony
- He lived across the street in the Neef-Lesseur house
- He lived there in the 1800’s
- He didn’t come over on the Boatload of Knowledge
- He didn’t know any of the Owens, Fretageots
- He worked in New Harmony
- I passed the rods and as I did, I felt a female behind me. We asked the rods.
- It was a female
- She was behind me
- She enjoys the company
- She wasn’t the one who manipulated the photo
I began feeling a very strong female behind me. We tried to communicate with her with the rods, but no one responded. Then, out of the blue, the house alarm went off. It goes off without fail every single investigation. We tried to find out who turned it on, but no one would take the credit.
Traci Hoehn, who often helps me with investigations, took over the dowsing rods. She explained to the group how she locks her elbows in tight and a ghost seemed to be listening too. We caught a female voice on the recorder saying, “Look.”
Continuing on with the dowsing rods:
- This room was her favorite place
- She didn’t have children
- She often travels to other buildings
- We were talking to Mary Emily
- She wished she could have had children
- We had a discussion about how Mary Emily was really married to her house and someone asked if she had suitors. No response on the rods.
- She was the one who knocked the pinwheel over earlier.
I suddenly saw the shape of a man appear in the doorway across from me. It stood there for two to three seconds and then disappeared. We asked the dowsing rods, but didn’t get a response. We continue for a few more minutes but didn’t get any further responses, so we moved onto the basement.
We settled in for an evp session. As we went around the room, I heard a humming sound, but no one else heard it. I heard it a second time and several others heard it too, but it wasn’t caught on the digital recorder. After we’d gone around the room several times, we moved onto Spirit Box. Someone asked what their names were and there was a faint response. It said, “Edward.” That was the only response we got. I could feel them in the basement, but they weren’t interested in communicating with us. We ended the session and walked back, taking our time to talk about the Harmonist Cemetery and the Scholars Retreat, which is the house Mary Emily moved to after being evicted from her home.
On the surface, it seemed like a fairly quiet night. We didn’t hear the loud door slamming or footsteps that we sometimes witness. Once I dived into the audio review, I quickly realized that this investigation was one of the most monumental encounters in my years of investigating the paranormal.
Some of the ghosts in New Harmony are eager to talk to us and we’re equally happy to listen. Thank you to everyone who attended and to Amanda Bryden, the State Historic Site Collections Manager, for hosting this event. Much appreciation to Traci Hoehn for her assistance and photographs and to Crystal Folz for joining us after her Ghost Walk. Thank you Elizabeth Stowers for sharing your amazing photos with us too!