Ghosts aren’t always the scary phantoms you see in movies. Most of the time they are nothing more than people who decided to stay where they were instead of moving on to the afterlife. The reasons they stay are numerous. Sometimes they remain earthbound to watch over family members or homes they loved. Other times, they stick around to oversee their life’s work. Libraries nearly top this list.
I’ve visited many old libraries and haven’t seen one yet that didn’t have a ghost in residence. Over the years it’s become apparent to me that librarians are dedicated to their work and their libraries. The fact that some of them hang around in spirit form doesn’t surprise me.
Workingmen’s Institute has a rich history. It was established in 1838 by philanthropist William Maclure, who was Robert Owen’s business partner during the second communal experiment in New Harmony. Maclure wanted education to be available to everyone, regardless of their social status or wealth. It is the oldest continually operating library in the state of Indiana.
The library was originally housed in the Harmonists’ old church. When the building became old and unstable, they needed a new location. Dr. Edward Murphy donated the money to purchase the land and the building was soon built.
(Above) Dr. Edward Murphy on the stairs of WMI at the grand opening
Dr. Murphy was a tremendous influence in New Harmony’s early days. His name graces many of the buildings and the park due to his generosity. In his later years, he made several trips to Europe to commission the reproductions of famous works of art. He brought them back and framed them in beautiful gold frames and donated them to WMI so the people of New Harmony could see fine art. He and his wife Sofia died within days of one another and the bulk of his wealth was donated to the library. His and Sofia’s ashes are interred in an urn that is located in the gallery room, surrounded by all his beautiful art.
Was Dr. Murphy still lingering at the library? That was one of our questions for the night.
We know the library is haunted. Over the years, people have had many ghostly encounters. They’ve ranged from boxes falling from a shelf, containing the information the current librarian was looking for, to ghostly apparitions drifting up the staircase. We were excited to see what we would uncover.
After a brief presentation, we divided into four groups. Each group would spend a half hour in each room with a paranormal investigator. Helping me that night were psychic medium Crystal Folz, medium/paranormal investigator Traci Hoehn and paranormal investigator Jason Nelson.
(Above) The group, listening to Joni’s presentation in the Maclure Room
If you’ve been to Workingmen’s Institute, the Maclure Room is the large presentation room to the left of the main doorway. Over the years, it’s seen many presentations and research projects. It’s not difficult to imagine many of the tables being occupied by unseen readers. Jason Nelson led all the groups in this room.
Jason’s First Group (Group A)
Jason’s first group started their session by using the Spirit Box. They went around the room and introduced themselves, which is always a polite way to start a session. We have to realize that we are coming into their space. I’ve found that if we are polite, we often get more results, not to mention the fact that it’s the right thing to do.
As they were starting the session, a sound came through that Jason identified as a possible radio blurt. As soon as he mentioned that, another male voice came through and said, “That was fucked up.” They went around the room and asked more questions without getting a response, and then someone asked if they ever climbed trees. A male voice said, “Yeah, I did.”
The session was due to end soon, so Jason told everyone they could go around the room and ask one more question. They didn’t get a tangible response until someone asked if they were male or female. A female voice answered with, “I’m Betty.”
The best response from the session came towards the end. Someone asked if they played sports. A male voice said, “That’s more fun!”
Jason then turned off the Spirit Box and led the group through a dowsing rod session. Dowsing rods are usually fairly successful tools when investigating older buildings. Ghosts from the nineteenth century are often apprehensive about our electronic devices but are comfortable with dowsing rods.
He passed the rods around the room and gave everyone a chance to use them. As always, some people are very good with the dowsing rods and others are not. Here are the responses:
- One of the people they were talking to had children
- They were talking to a girl
- She is young
- She’s an only child
- She didn’t grow up in New Harmony
- She played with other children when she was a child
- Her name was Louise
- She had a favorite dress
- She is the woman in white they often see on the stairs
- She sometimes plays with the giraffe on the shelf
- She likes to sing
- Edward Murphy was also there
- The person they were talking to stays there all the time
Jason’s Second Group (Group B)
He started by having the group introduce themselves and they went directly to Spirit Box. This group started off asking questions too rapidly, not leaving ample amount of time between them. It almost sounded like an inquisition and the ghosts responded by staying quiet. As they eased into the session, they backed off a bit and started getting more responses. Most of the responses were either too faint to pick up or weren’t identifiable words, but they did finally get an intelligent response. Someone asked if they visit the building frequently and a female responded by asking him a question. “What do you think about?” she asked.
They turned off the Spirit Box and moved to dowsing rods. They gave more space between questions with the dowsing rods and got more responses:
- The 8-legged calf upstairs was his/hers (doubtful this is true)
- Something in the collection upstairs in the museum belonged to them
- They smoked
- They liked bourbon
- They often hear Rick whistle as he walks past
- They wore glasses
- One of the pairs of glasses in the museum is his/hers
- There was a child in the room
- He/she was the one playing with Sophie’s hair during my presentation (Sophie also noted that she saw a shadow move across the back of the room)
- He/she contributed to the collection in the museum
- He/she has toys upstairs
Jason’s Third Group (Group C)
Jason’s third group needed to use the restroom, so there was a delay in getting started. It threw them off a bit because they forgot to go around the group and introduce themselves like Jason normally had them do. As they started the Spirit Box, one woman asked, “What’s your name?” There was a radio blurt, which Jason noted. As soon as he stopped speaking, a male voice threw the question right back at her. “What is your name?” he asked.
The same male voice came through shortly afterwards and did something I’ve never heard before. As the woman asked, “Did you have children?” he asked the same question over the top of her question.
Jason asked if they were male or female and a woman responded “female.” Then, directly afterwards two very faint voices came though. One said, “Desmond,” and the other said, “Alvin.” They were too faint to clip into shareable clips.
They then moved to dowsing rods:
- He/she has never had a dog
- He/she grew up in New Harmony
- They were talking to a man
- He was upstairs earlier
- He followed someone to the investigation
- He wasn’t clergy
- He wasn’t Dr. Murphy
- He never used the fire pump upstairs in the Gallery room
- No one else was in the room besides him
- He’s been following their group from room to room
- He liked to travel
- He was a student in New Harmony
- He doesn’t know anyone in the room
- Not female (confirms the earlier response)
- He’s not able to move around town
Jason’s Fourth Group (Group D)
Jason’s last group went around and introduced themselves before starting the session. They started with the Spirit Box. While they asked great questions, none of the responses were clear or relevant. They then moved onto dowsing rods and got a lot of great answers:
- There was a little girl in the room
- There were many of them there
- William Maclure wasn’t there
- No members of the Owen family were there
- Alexander Maclure was there
- John Eaton was there
- They answered yes to “Have you read any good books lately?”
- They have something in the archives
- The little girl followed them from the other room
- She had a pet
- The little girl had a dog
- She lived there and then moved away
- Thomas Say wasn’t there
- One of them was a Rappite
- George Rapp was not there
(Above) The library as it looked when we investigated. It was under construction, which enhanced the haunting.
When I first mentioned the WMI investigation, Traci Hoehn was quick to claim the library. Having worked in a library before, she understood the commitment librarians have for their libraries. She also knew the activity level would be high in this room because it was undergoing construction to repair the ceilings and replace the aging light fixtures. Ghosts typically don’t like construction and become far more active, which proved to be the case.
Traci’s First Group (Group B)
Traci welcomed everyone into the library and explained the equipment she was using. She used a KII meter, which measures spikes in the electromagnetic field. She also used a Maglite flashlight they could use for communication, as well as a Static Electricity REM pod, which detects when ghosts are nearby. It will trigger when there is static electricity is present, something that ghosts might be able to utilize. She also used dowsing rods and gave them a demonstration.
Traci’s guests were also able to experiment with the Psychomanteum chamber. The room is equipped with a tall mirror and a dim light. People sit in front of the mirror and watch their reflection. I’ll include a section at the end of this review regarding what people experienced when they tried it.
Traci also explained that the library area will probably be an active area in the library. I agree with her. Librarians tend to be very protective over their libraries. When they die, many of them stick around to watch over their beloved space.
Dowsing Rod session:
- There was someone with them
- There were more than one (flashlight came on too)
- There was a man in the room
- There was a woman in the room as well
- The woman worked there
- The woman wasn’t a librarian (slow no)
- The man worked in the library
- The man was born in New Harmony
- They like playing with the flashlight
- She likes coming to the library to get away from distractions
- The woman liked working at the library (slow yes)
- The man had pets at home
- The woman wasn’t the one who took care of Will (not sure who Will was)
- The man was an archivist
- His name is Arthur (referring to Arthur Dransfield, who was a librarian there)
- The woman is approximately 30 years old (slow yes)
- She had animals at home she took care of (fast yes)
- The man took care of horses
- The man was approximately 30 years old
Traci’s Second Group (Group A)
Traci explained her equipment to the new group and also explained that the library would probably be fairly active due to the construction. As a medium, she could feel them coming in and out of the room.
Dowsing Rod Session:
- The woman was married
- She had children (slow yes)
- One of them (a child?) liked to play outside with other children
- The man did not grow up in New Harmony
- One of them followed this group from the other room
- The woman is the white lady they’ve been seeing on the stairs
- Her last name is Golden
- Her first name was Francis (not sure this is accurate. Grace is who we think is there)
- She worked there (she didn’t. Neither of the Golden sisters worked there) This was a Control Question. Traci explained that sometimes we get a ghost who likes to mess with people, sometimes pretending to be someone else. This was probably the case, since Francis Golden probably wasn’t at the library. As far as we know, she didn’t have a real connection to WMI, but her sister Grace’s hat is stored there.
- The woman worked in New Harmony
- The little girl from the other room was there
- Traci was trying to encourage her to play with the light or the pinwheel and she kept moving the rods to “no.” She would play with the giraffe though, if it was in the room. They asked if the giraffe was supposed to be in this room and she said “yes.” Traci confirmed that with the library construction, the giraffe was usually kept in the library. She asked them to point to where the giraffe is supposed to be and it pointed to the right place. She asked the little girl to point to where she was in the room and it pointed towards one of the pillars. Someone asked where the children’s area was (question directed to Traci) and the rods pointed to the area where the children normally sit, making everyone laugh.
Traci’s Third Group (Group D)
Traci’s third group consisted of the former librarian, Margret Sherzinger, and Linda Warrum, who is a New Harmony historian. They were able to ask pertinent questions about the history. After explaining the equipment and the reason why the library might be more active, she sent the first person into the Psychomanteum. They then moved into a dowsing rod session.
Before they could get started with the dowsing rods, they started hearing footsteps on the other side of the library. Traci asked about it with the dowsing rods.
- One of them was walking over on the other side
- There was still a man in the room
- There was still a woman in the room
- The little girl was still in the room
- There was a librarian there (she used this to demonstrate the importance of directing the questions to a specific person)
- Traci asked for them to point to where the giraffe is supposed to be and it pointed to the same area it did before. She also asked if it would point to where the little girl is and it pointed to the same area as before.
- All three of them are a family (woman, man and child)
- Someone asked if any of them ever ran the library. The rods pointed towards the vault.
- They are the Elliot family
- Claudia was there. (Josephine’s daughter)
- Margaret (who was the librarian at WMI for five years) was asking questions. She and her daughter helped make the giraffe. As she was saying that, the rods said yes. Margaret took a moment and thanked Josephine for all the help she gave her over the years when she was the librarian.
- At that point the plastic that separated the rooms to keep construction dust down began swaying. They asked if they could move it again.
- There is another librarian there besides Josephine
- Alline was there
- She grew up in New Harmony
Traci’s Fourth Group (Group C)
After a review of the equipment, Traci sent the first person off to the Psychomanteum and the rest of the group used the dowsing rods.
- The little girl was still with them (slow yes)
- The group had a laugh as everyone’s stomachs began growling at the same time
- The little girl lived there (in New Harmony?) They started to pass the rods to the next person, but the rods kept pointing back to the previous person who was using them. Traci explained that the little girl was particular in who she wanted to hold the rods.
- She had a dollhouse
- She thinks they’re too noisy upstairs (Crystal’s group)
- She likes it quiet in the library
- She has a sibling – she has a half-brother and several sisters. Every time Traci would ask about the number of sisters she had, the rods would respond yes. Traci asked if she had 20 sisters and it said yes, making them all laugh. Traci then asked, “Are you lying?” and the rods went to yes. It was obvious she was toying with the group.
- The man enjoys looking at nature and knows the little girl they were talking to
- He enjoys reading with the little girl
- Traci then demonstrated how to use the rods to locate things in the room. She asked them to point to the ladder in the room. They did. She then asked if the man would point them towards where he was standing in the room. The rods pointed in a specific direction. She then asked if the woman would point them towards herself and the rods pointed directly behind Traci. For the little girl, the rods pointed towards the same area she was standing before. Traci then asked if one of the guests would ask the question while she held the rods but closed her eyes. Someone asked if they would point to several items in the room and it did.
(Above) The Psychomanteum Chamber is nothing more than a full length mirror with a chair in front of it. Participants sit in front of the mirror with a dim light and watch their imagine change.
Most people had some sort of experience in the psychomanteum chamber. In order to give the majority of the group a chance to try it, they only had a maximum of five minutes. Most people found that they didn’t need the full five minutes. Many of them came out after two or three minutes with fear on their faces.
- Several people in the first group saw their faces grow beards.
- Several people said the light went out and then came back on (it’s supposed to flicker but would actually go off)
- Shannon saw her face morph into a man’s face
- Several others saw their faces melting and then transform into something else.
- Felt like someone was touching the back of her neck.
- Felt like his head was moving even though it wasn’t
- Saw her face with glasses on and then the entire room went dark
- Saw her face become oblong and then back to normal
- Her face went light and then dark
- Felt like something was behind her, watching her
- Saw a light up above her – looked like a silhouette
- Two people saw a mist materialize behind them
Natural History Room
The Natural History Room is located on the second floor of the building and contains a portion of the museum. Glass cases wrap around the room, showcasing everything from old Civil War weapons to old shoes. It also houses quite a few taxidermy animals, including an 8-legged calf, and the skeleton of a Civil War hero horse named Old Fly.
During my visits there, I always felt the strongest energy in this room, which was why I assigned it to Crystal Folz. Being a psychic medium, I knew she would be able to hone in on the energy better than any of the rest of us. This proved to be true.
Crystal’s First Group (Group C)
Crystal held court in the Natural History Room. She demonstrated how to use the rods to the group and then they started the session.
- There were more than two of them
- They could see the group sitting there
- There was something of theirs in the room
- They have shoes there
- The children’s shoes aren’t theirs
- One of them is a child who likes to read books
Crystal’s Second Group (Group D)
(Above) The Natural History Room in the early 1900’s
Crystal had the disadvantage of sharing her group with the Gansfeld Experiment. As soon as the group started getting results, the group switched and half went out into the hallway to try the Gansfeld.
The Gansfeld Experiment is a sensory deprivation experiment. Participants wear headphones connected to a laptop playing white noise and wear white goggles as they sit around a red lamp.
As soon as her new group settled in, she started another dowsing rod session while the other half of the group was out in the hallway.
- It wasn’t a man named John
- One of them has an item in the room
- One of them came there as a child
- They enjoy being there
- There is more than one of them
- They weren’t talking to a male
- She doesn’t like science
- She doesn’t like history
- She’s an artist
- Her art is displayed in New Harmony
- She’s an Owen descendant
- She’s a female
- She’s Rosamond Dale Owen Oliphant.
From my book Haunted New Harmony:
“Rosamond was born in New Harmony in 1846 and was the granddaughter of Robert Owen. She was known to many as being eccentric.
Apparently, Rosamond was prone to having visions. One day while she was in the Fauntleroy garden, she had a vision of a strange land, along with the knowledge that her life would be forever changed. When she awoke the next morning, the words “prepare” were on her lips, so she swiftly began making plans to travel to England.
Soon after arriving in Europe, she married Laurence Oliphant, who was a known mystic and author. He died four months after they married. After his death, she told friends that she was still in contact with him. Her sense of spiritualism was something she embraced and often spoke about.”
Rosamond was a prolific author and worked for reform in women’s restrictive clothing. She was also involved in the Suffrage Movement and Peace Movement before setting up her own utopian colony in Palestine. If the group was, in fact, in contact with Rosamond, this is very fascinating and is something we will pursue in the future.
(Above) Rosamond Dale Owen Oliphant
Continuing the dowsing rod session:
- She doesn’t have artwork in the building
- There is a male there with her
- He is trying to prevent her from speaking
- He is a scientist
- He has artifacts in the building
- He has a connection with Old Fly (the horse skeleton in the room)
- Answered yes to “Was he your horse?” (Control question. The horse was a female)
- He’s telling tales to get attention
- He’s an Owen
- He’s Richard Owen
- William Owen is there also
- David Owen is there
- Robert Dale Owen is not there
- They are all there together (slow yes)
(Above) Some of the old shoes in the museum’s collection
They switched groups and the other half came into the room. They began a dowsing rod session with no knowledge of the group before there’s findings:
- They were talking to a female
- She is in her early twenties
- She’s from New Harmony
- She’s not attached to the building
- Her work is in the building
- They heard a noise in the other side of the room and asked if she made the noise. They got a “no” response.
- They were sitting close to something she was associated with
- William Maclure was there
- He’s not happy with the changes they’ve made
- There is a child there
- The child is over the age of five
Crystal’s Third Group (Group A)
Crystal’s group started with a dowsing rod session:
- There was someone there
- It was a female
- Her shoes were in the case
As Crystal’s group settled in, one male participant said that he felt like a girl was following him during the night. He had quite a few encounters with her during the evening and was curious. When it was his turn, he began asking questions.
- The little girl was still with him
- She likes coming into the room to look at the animals
- She sometimes plays with the Old Fly skeleton
- He began testing the girl and asked if the horse’s name was Sea Biscuit. He got a “no.” He asked if the horse’s name was Old Fly. He got a “yes.”
- He asked the rods to point to the horse and it pointed to a woman in the group, making everyone laugh.
- She doesn’t play the piano in the room
- There was also a male there
- They shouldn’t ask about the war
The other half of the group came in, fresh from the Gansfeld Experiment, and the rest of the group went out to take their place.
(Above) Old Fly’s skeleton
One of the group members knew of a man who used to maintain the building and built a lot of the cabinets. She directed questions to him.
- He was there and confirmed he built a lot of the cabinets
- The little girl was still there
- They don’t like the changes being made to the building
- The little girl likes to run and play up there
- She likes to run up the stairs
- She is afraid of some of the taxidermied animals
- One of the ghosts came with one of the guests
- They don’t live there all the time
- One of the ghosts came from Evansville that night (very slow yes)
Crystal’s Fourth Group (Group B)
The last group came in and Crystal gave them some basic information about the items in the room, including military items, old shoes, taxidermied animals. She also told them how the previous group felt that a ghost came with one of the investigators.
- One of them liked to play chess
- He/she know the little girl who was downstairs with their group
- He/she don’t drink alcohol
- He/she aren’t the ghost from the previous rooms they investigated
- He/she don’t like seeing the dead animals
- He/she come into the Natural History room to get away from everyone
- He/she don’t have a favorite animal in the room
- He/she didn’t work in the building
- He/she is from New Harmony
- He/she came from the New Albany area (several people from the group were from New Albany) and has been following them all night
- He/she knew they were coming there that night
- He/she knows them from the Culbertson Mansion (several people investigated the mansion with me previously)
The group began talking about how the dowsing rods pull strongly on their own and were amazed by the reaction. None of them liked the room and felt creeped out there. One of the participants felt that something was in the area where the war artifacts were kept.
- The ghost is with Joni (followed me to the event – one of the participants has read my books and knows that I am often a ghost magnet)
- Some of the mineral specimens belong to him/her
- Some of his/her work is there (stones)
They had a discussion about the stones in the room. As we know, crystals and gemstones can retain energy and can often affect an investigation. Crystal confirmed this.
The group switched and the other half of the group came in.
- He/she wasn’t a hunter
- He/she has pets (slow yes)
- They were talking to a female (slow yes – Crystal noted that almost all the “yes” responses were that way, yet the “no” responses were quick)
- She’s not old
- The dishes in the cupboard weren’t hers
- Someone noted that the rods weren’t responding, but were vibrating instead. She said it felt almost like electricity moving through the rods. Someone else mentioned feeling a tightness in his chest.
- They can move the pinwheel (but didn’t)
- She doesn’t have a dog
- The horse skeleton doesn’t belong to him/her
- The rods were vibrating again and weren’t answering any questions. Crystal did an experiment of holding her hand above the rods. She could feel the energy coming off them. Others in the room could feel the energy too.
Gansfeld Experiment Results
The Gansfeld Experiment was an interesting addition to our investigations. It provided our guests with a chance to try something new. They weren’t given any details about what they should expect, which gave them a clean slate to experiment with.
They sat around a small table wearing headphones that played white noise and wore white goggles that prevented them from seeing anything other than the red light in front of them. My good friend Paula Bundy oversaw this experiment. She timed them for ten minutes and then asked them to write down what they experienced. Not everyone had an experience. Some people felt nothing, while others had phenomenal experiences. When we tested it prior to the event, Crystal Folz saw a vision of a woman painting pictures of seashells in books. It’s very possible she was picking up on Lucy Way Sistare Say. She was the wife of famed scientist Thomas Say. Thomas was an entomologist, conchologist, and herpetologist who spend many years in New Harmony identifying insects and shells. His wife Lucy would paint the illustrations after he drew them.
(Above) Lucy Say
Here is what others experienced:
- Felt a tap on the top of my headphones
- Saw wrinkled eyes
- Dark shadows and forms were checking me out
- Saw two dark shadows – one from each side that moved into a light that became brighter. Then, heard a moan that started out saying “Mine” and went to “no.”
- Something touched my necklace. My eyes and body went numb.
- Heard a loud noise and someone walked by. I felt a touch on my left arm.
- I felt someone kick my chair. It made it shake.
- I felt someone touch my arm
- Someone squeezed my shoulder. My heart was racing and my hands were sweaty. The red light kept turning black.
- I got very hot and then very cold.
- I felt tingling on my left side on the back of my head. The air seemed heavy.
- I heard a soft tinkling of bells. Peaceful feeling.
- I felt as if I was floating. I heard a high female voice in my left ear.
- I felt like my face was bloating and then constricting. I heard a whole crowd of people who instantly started talking.
- I heard a high-pitched little girl laughing.
- I felt very cold but relaxing.
- I felt like I was on a jetliner
- I had three things happen. First, I heard a Native American Chant. Then I heard a man talking/moaning. Lastly, I heard multiple voices all mixed together.
- I heard some voices. Time went by really fast. Right was pulsating or flickering.
The Gallery Room is across the hallway from the Natural History Room. It houses some of the larger historic artifacts in the museum, including a Harmonist wagon, fire engine and Father Rapp’s desk. All around the room are huge paintings in gilded gold frames. The photos were provided by Dr. Edward Murphy.
Joni’s First Group (Group D)
I started out by explaining how to use the dowsing rods. My “yes” is different from the rest of my group. For me, it’s always wide open for “yes” and crossed for “no.” We always start out the session by asking what “yes” and “no” looks like for the room. I then did a baseline reading for the room and identified that we had a male with us. I then passed the rods to see what others could get.
The first dowsing rod session for a group is usually fairly quiet as the participants get used to using them. My first group included New Harmony residents with a lot of knowledge about the town, so they asked excellent questions. It wasn’t until we’d passed them to the fourth person before someone got responses.
- He worked there.
- It wasn’t a male she was talking to.
- There weren’t more than two of them.
- They don’t use any of the equipment behind him (fire engine, desk, wagon, etc.)
- He didn’t catalog anything there
- He/she doesn’t have a connection with the building
With minimal responses, we decided to use the Spirit Box. I explained what it was and how it works and then turned it on to see what we could get.
I then told the group about our test run investigation there the previous week. Traci Hoehn and I did ten minute sessions in several rooms to get an idea of how the ghosts would react to us. In the Gallery, we connected with a male and a female. The female talked to us a lot in the beginning before the male came through strongly. We both felt that he was preventing her from communicating. Was this the case here as well? As I was closing the session, I asked if they were going to talk to us at all during the night and a male voice said, “Get off it.” The response wasn’t as clean as I wanted, so I’m not sharing it, but it was an indicator of where the evening might go.
Joni’s Second Group (Group C)
My second group arrived after being in the Natural History room. Several of them told me they had experiences with the Ganzfeld Experiment.
I shared some information I’d just received about the room we were investigating. According to Circulations Manager, Shannon DeLap, the room might have been used to conduct séances back in its early days. We do know that spiritualism was alive and well across the country, especially among the wealthy set. Considering that Robert Dale Owen wrote two books about his experiences with the Fox sister mediums during the Spiritual Revolution, it wasn’t a stretch to believe that New Harmony was swept up in the movement as well.
What does this mean for a building? Often, when séances are conducted, they open portals in an area, allowing easier passage for other ghosts to come through. It gives the room/and or building a certain spiritual buzz. The energy that fills the space makes it easier for ghosts to communicate.
After going around the group and introducing ourselves, we did a dowsing rod session.
Dowsing rod session:
- The male wasn’t there with us (but I could feel him)
- The female was there
- Not from Indiana
- She doesn’t have children
- She wasn’t an outdoor person
- She’s not a student
- She’s not more than 30 years old
- She’s not a mother
- She’s not a teacher
- She doesn’t work in the service of others
- She doesn’t enjoy the indoors
- She doesn’t enjoy the building
- She wants to leave
- She enjoys the sunshine
- She was outside a lot in life
The woman holding the rods was getting more responses than anyone else, so I appointed her our group dowser. We began asking questions and she held the rods.
- She is a female
- She wasn’t the one who was there before
- I started to ask if she came with someone and the rods pointed towards me
- After we all laughed, and then I asked the question again. This time the rods pointed to the woman beside me.
- I asked if the woman was related to Brenda and they said “no”
- She didn’t know Brenda from before the event, making me wonder if the rods were pointing to Brenda or to me
We then moved to Spirit Box. We went around the group, not getting any responses. I could hear the group outside in the hall, so I got up to make sure the door was closed. As I walked away, a faint male voice said, “Don’t stop.” Did he think I was leaving and was trying to stop me?
We went around the group and asked more questions. While we got a few responses, none of them were clear. I did comment that the group got a lot more responses than the last group. I asked, “What is it about the group you like the best?” An older woman answered, “You are pretty.” It’s not as clear as I’d like, but I’m including a link so you can hear it.
Joni’s Third Group (Group B)
My third group was primarily composed of people I know from other investigations or from around New Harmony. I decided to go right to Spirit Box since we were starting to get some reactions during the last group. We introduced ourselves and then went around the room, asking questions.
I asked if the female was still with us and got a faint response that sounded like, “I’m with you.”
My friend Rick Schlegelmilch, who often helps me with investigations, asked if they ever helped with the fire engine. A faint male voice said, “I got to.”
Rick’s wife Donna was next and asked, “How tall are you?” The same male voice answered, “I can’t hit.” I’m not sure what he meant by this, but the response came directly after the question. Did he mean that he was too short to fight or did this refer to something else entirely?
All evening, people kept hearing noises coming from the dark corner near the attic staircase. This is also the area where Dr. and Mrs. Murphy’s ashes are interred. Halfway through our session, we decided to move down to the dark corner and I’m glad we did.
As soon as we moved, everyone felt immediately spooked. They kept looking up the staircase, feeling like something was watching them. I asked if they remembered one of our names and a very faint voice said, “Mary.” There wasn’t a “Mary” in our group, but it was an intelligent response to our question, which made it amazing.
I then asked if they could ask anyone of us to leave, who it would be. It sounded like it said, “You,” but it wasn’t clear. I then went around the room and asked everyone to tell us their favorite kind of pie. Sometimes this discussion will generate a response and it did. A voice responded with “Apple.” Seconds later, after we laughed over the clear response, another voice chimed in with, “Cake!”
The group kept feeling something at the top of the stairs and even saw a shadow move. Melissa Goforth noted that her phone app had spit out three words over the course of the night. The first word was “tease.” She asked if they were teasing us and a voice said, “Yep.” She also noted that earlier in the evening when her cousin Tony asked if they smoked, the word “lung” popped up.
One of the members of our group had mediumship abilities and felt that it was a man with salt and pepper hair.
Several members of the group also felt there was someone standing behind me. I had put myself in the corner, so there wasn’t much room, but they snapped a few photos, just in case we caught something. As we were talking about it, a male voice came through the Spirit Box and said, “we’re near you.’
The session was coming to an end so I thanked them for allowing us in our space. A male voice came through very clearly and said, “You’re welcome.” I was almost giddy as I uploaded the file online. I’ve gotten this response before, but it’s very rare. After uploading it, I listened to it again and the male voice was suddenly gone. It its place was a female voice that sounded like she was saying, “You think.” I have had EVPs disappear before. It’s usually a sign that the message was just for me and not for me to share with others.
Joni’s Fourth Group (Group A)
The last group came in buzzing about the Gansfeld Experiment. Several people had amazing results and others didn’t feel anything but thought it was a fun experiment. They all felt the library was the most active room in the building.
As we got going on the session, someone else mentioned a little girl who’d been following them around all night. This wasn’t the first time I heard about her. Every group seemed to mention her but I’d yet to feel her in my area. “Are you the little girl who’s been following us around, playing with us?” a woman asked. A male voice responded with “I haven’t.” It made all of us laugh.
This group was also feeling as though someone was standing on the stairs watching us. Someone asked if there was anyone in the attic and a male voice responded, “too much.” Did this mean they were tiring of us? Or did his question somehow offend them? Either way, it was interesting to me because it was the same voice that had been talking to us all night. It sounded like a very old man or an old woman with a deep voice. Could this be the male who was answering our dowsing rod questions earlier? Or someone else altogether?
I always try to ask relevant questions that could only have one answer. I asked what town they were from and was immediately rewarded by the kind of response I was hoping for. “Harmony,” a woman’s voice said. This was astounding on several levels. First, it was an intelligent response. Second, it gave us a time period for the ghost. The town was only called Harmony from 1814 through 1824. It’s been known as New Harmony ever since.
My group began talking about hearing noises at the top of the stairs. They snapped a few pictures, hoping to capture something but they didn’t get anything. We returned to the investigation and asked a few questions, but didn’t get a response, so I told them the story about the ghostly picture Rick Schlegelmilch took of me at Thrall’s Opera House. I was telling them the story about how I showed it to a psychic medium friend, who identified the man as Eugene Thrall, the man the opera house is named after. As I was telling the story, a male voice came through and said, “I don’t believe you.” He said it while I was still talking so it’s not clear enough to share, but still very relevant. A ghost is telling us he doesn’t believe my ghost story. How interesting is that?
We ended up chatting about ghost stories for the rest of the session. Several voices popped through, but weren’t clear enough to understand.
All in all, it was an interesting evening. We didn’t answer any definitive questions about who lurks at Workingmen’s Institute, but we did get a lot closer in understanding the haunting.
(Above L-R) Front row: Joni Mayhan, Traci Hoehn, Rick Schlegelmilch. Back row: Crystal Folz, Paula Bundy and Jason Nelson.
Thank you to Shannon and Ryan from Workingmen’s Institute for hosting us! Thank you also to my amazing team and to all the people who came to the event!