Ghosts in the Gallery Investigation

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We never know what to expect when we walk into a location that has never been investigated before. Will it be active or will it be quiet? Sometimes it’s like rolling the dice. We are always surprised, but we never expected to be as shocked as we were during the Ghosts in the Gallery investigation. Something would happen during the night that would leave us shaken.

The Mason-Nordgauer Fine Arts Gallery in New Harmony, Indiana, is a treat for the eyes. When you first walk through the door,  you will notice the colorful art lining the walls, but soon your eyes are drawn to the architectural details of the nineteenth-century building. If you are a paranormal enthusiast, you might also wonder if it’s haunted.

It wouldn’t be surprising that ghosts might linger there. The building began its existence as the Centennial Saloon.  Old sepia-tinted photos depict men with bowler hats and long dark jackets lounging at the entrance while horse and buggies approach in the distance.

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(Above) The earliest photo I could find of the building. As you can see, of the buildings that now grace Main Street, it was the first one build on this block. Photo courtesy of Workingmen’s Institute

The building has endured many incarnations since its grandiose beginnings, many of them lost to time. We know the building, or at least half of it, was the location of Heckmann’s Drug Store. When I wrote Haunted New Harmony, I often fell down a rabbit hole during my research. It was difficult not to become enamoured with the characters from New Harmony’s past. Afterall, they were people just like us, living a life of their own creation in a town we still covet.

From Haunted New Harmony:

Louis Heckmann purchased the building in the early 1900’s and opened a successful drug store that operated for many years. The more I researched his life, the more obsessed I became.

Louis Heckman

(Above) Louis Heckman in front of his drug store. Photo courtesy of Workingmen’s Institute

I learned that he was born in 1870 and died in 1958 at the ripe old age of 88. In the years between, he married a woman named Ella and had several children, one of whom worked with him at the pharmacy. He was fond of travel and took several trips on airplanes to visit his grown children in Pennsylvania. Like me, he too was intrigued by the history of the people who lived there before him.

While renovating a Harmonist house, he discovered footprints in the dirt beneath the floorboards that belonged to the Harmonists who built it. Not only were there footprints of people, there were also footprints of cats and dogs, showing that the Harmonists kept indoor pets.

Louis’s store was once the site of a robbery, with the thieves making off with $300 worth of jewelry, watches, fountain pens and money.

We know Louis sold the business in the 1940’s to man named Clyde Ramsey. As I dug into the research, I learned that Clyde committed suicide in the building in 1946. The night before his death, he attended a Masonic Temple meeting in Evansville. When he returned to town, he discovered his soda fountain was broken. Instead of going to bed and worrying about it in the morning, he stayed up all night working on it, not stopping until 5pm the following day when he put a revolver to his head and ended his own life. We have to assume that Clyde had other troubles in his life besides a broken soda fountain, but that information is largely lost to time as well.

We also know that a funeral home existed in the store next-door to the gallery, with the embalming process occurring in the basement. Considering the sheer amount of lives that passed through those front doors, the possibilities for a haunting were endless.

Chelsie, the Gallery Director, told me they often find items moved or disturbed. Sometimes when she comes in, paintings that have been hung and puddied securely to the wall will be hanging eschew. Other times, common items they use in the office will disappear from where she put them and reappear in another location. This phenomena is called apporting. We had a personal experience with this ourselves as we checked out the building prior to the investigation.

As the owner of Haunted New Harmony and the coordinator of all the investigations, I need good people to help me. Because we often divide into two or three groups, I need trained, competent investigators to cover the areas where I can’t be. Two friends who often work my events are Crystal Folz and Traci Hoehn. Both are talented mediums, with Crystal being a full-fledged psychic medium. This allows her to connect with the ghosts of the building and to also tap into the energy that hangs in a space.

I decided to bring both Crystal and Traci to the gallery to see what they felt. I visited the building a few weeks earlier and picked up on an angry man in the back corner of the basement and a playful female who hung around upstairs in the gallery. I was curious to see if they would pick up on the same two ghosts I encountered. As soon as we came in to the gallery area, Crystal sat her bag down on a stool. She collects pins from interesting paranormal locations and pins them to her bag. Traci immediately noticed that one of Crystal’s pins was still missing. One had fallen off several weeks ago, something Crystal told us about over coffee one morning.

“Still haven’t found your pin?” Traci asked.

“Nope. It’s still missing. At this point, it’s probably gone for good,” she said. It was a shame too because it was her favorite and wasn’t easy to replace.

We headed down to the basement to walk the area. While we were down there, neither Crystal or Traci felt the presence of the male I felt there the first time I visited. They both picked up on female ghosts. Was it possible the angry male drifted away or was he hiding from them? We weren’t sure, but we would find out more during the night of our investigation.

After about fifteen minutes, we came back upstairs. Chelsie greeted us as we came into the gallery.

“Does this belong to any of you?” she asked, holding out a pin.

The three of us gasped. It was the pin Crystal lost several weeks ago. Did the gallery ghost, who Chelsie has nicknamed “Karen” retrieve the pin for Crystal? Just the mere thought made our heads spin. Crystal doesn’t live in New Harmony and almost never comes down Main Street. Chelsie found the pin on a piece of art that sat on the counter, something she had just moved there shortly before our arrival. She knew for  a fact the pin wasn’t there before we arrived.

From that experience alone, we knew we’d have an interesting investigation, but we had no idea how fully mind-blowing it would turn out to be.

Eleven guests had signed up for the event and arrived just before 7pm. I gave a brief presentation about the building and what we might encounter. Besides picking up female energy in the basement and in the gallery, Crystal also felt as though performers once spent time there. She saw them getting ready for a production. I don’t know if there were vaudeville acts at the saloon or not, but the information seemed to fit.

Chelsie shared a story with all of us about something strange that recently happened at the gallery. Several weeks prior, she  found a dead bird in the basement. There are no holes in the walls or ways a bird could have gotten down there. They found it to be we strange, but weren’t sure what to make of it.

We broke into two groups. One group headed down to the basement with Crystal and Traci, while the other group stayed upstairs in the gallery with me.

My group worked primarily with the Spirit Box. This is a modified radio that scans rapidly through the radio stations, allowing the ghosts to speak through the white noise. We’ve had amazing results with it at other investigations and would see that happen again at the gallery.

Gallery Investigation

IMG_20191213_193157First Group

Rick Schlegelmilch lives in New Harmony and often helps me with my investigations. When I told him that I didn’t need help this time, he quickly purchased a ticket, not wanting to miss out on the investigation.

Anyone who has investigated with Rick knows he’s going to ask several of the same questions he always asks. He wants to know if the ghosts see him walking past with his little dog Clutch and he also wants to know if they remember Town Marshall Scotty, who is Rick’s brother-in-law. For the first time ever, Rick got a response.  A male voice came through and said “I do.”

Mary Ann Michna, who is a local artist, asked if there was something we could do to help them and the same male voice said, “I’ll take it.”

The speaker for my Spirit Box kept shorting out. If I nudged it, it would start playing normally again. As I leaned down for the fourth time in a matter of minutes, I commented that I wasn’t sure why this was happening. We all thought we heard a response of “That’s nothing,” but on audio review, it sounded more like “Apache,” which makes no sense. As we were commenting on it, the same male said, “That’s nothing” for real this time, repeating what we said.

Mary Ann asked them if they had a favorite person at the gallery. She didn’t get a response, so I jumped in and told her she should ask if they had a favorite artist, knowing her art hangs on the wall there. She laughed and I added, “Hopefully they don’t say something rude,” knowing how ghosts can be sometimes and a male voice agreed with me, “I’m rude,” he said.

Some of my equipment is high tech, but I often use common household items too. For this investigation, I brought a small motion- activated cat ball that lights up when its moved. I put it on the floor in a quiet area that was far away from our investigation. If something nudged it, it would light up. We weren’t sitting for long before it suddenly lit up. It would continue lighting up for most of the night, letting us know we weren’t alone.

As soon as we got started, we began hearing the same male voice come across the Spirit Box. We would occasionally hear a woman’s voice as well, but the male answered most of the questions. He sounded friendly and somewhat intrigued by what we were doing.

Rick asked the male if he ever visits his neighbor in the basement and he told us, “He’s evil.”

I began asking questions about the pharmacy that once occupied the space next door. I knew two of the pharmacist’s names and asked if they remembered them. I didn’t get any clear responses, so I began asking if the pharmacy occupied both buildings instead of just the one. In looking at the old photos, it appears to be one business. I didn’t receive an answer so I asked if they were there when the building was a saloon. At that point, the male called me a “Freak.”

I was sending people back to the storage room, two at a time, to experiment with a pendulum. I realized the first group had been back there for nearly twenty minutes and I wanted others to have a chance to try it, so I went back to get them. While I was gone, Rick asked if they ever visited the doll shop across the street. After he asked his question, a female voice came through clearly and asked, “Who did you like?” It was so clear, it sounded like one of the people in the room speaking.

As Ben and Cheryl came back into the room and two others got up to take their place,  the same female voice asked, “What is your last name?” and then all hell broke loose. A large painting was wrenched off the wall high above us and crashed down, hitting Rick in the process. Ben saw it happening and yelled, “Watch out!” Rick moved just in time to avoid serious injury. His arm was scraped but he was otherwise unharmed. The art was undamaged, however, the wire on the back looked like it had been severed.

Here is the audio we recorded when the painting fell:

Dan Mason, the co-owner of the gallery watched it happen on his security system at home. He said he saw something swirling around on an empty chair and attempted to take pictures of it. Then, seconds later, the painting fell.

I’ve been on over 300 investigations and, trust me when I say this, things like this don’t often happen. It was astounding to me. The energy it took for them to sever through a heavy cord and knock it to the ground was monumental. Most ghosts aren’t capable of this.

We had no idea what caused it. All the voices coming through the Spirit Box were friendly and informational. No one had asked a question that could have been anger inducing. What caused the sudden fit of rage? Was it simply because we were there? We’d find out later that it might be connected to the investigation that was going on in the basement below us.

It took us a while to settle down after that incident. We switched groups at that time.

Second Group

2nd group gallery 2I started off by apologizing to the ghosts of the gallery for anything we might have said or done that angered them. I then asked if they knew who knocked it down. The same male voice we’d been hearing all night said, “From knowing.” That didn’t make any sense to us, so I asked if they knew why it was knocked down. He told us, “The printer was in there.” Neither response was crisp enough to include it here.

It did make me think though. Was the printer the man who hid in the basement? When I first visited the gallery basement, I found him to be angry and reclusive, someone who most definitely didn’t want people in his space. Did he lash out at us for invading the basement by knocking a painting off the wall upstairs? Was I actually the intended target for the painting to fall on? I was sitting next to Rick and the painting landed several feet away from me.

There was a printing press in town at one point, but it was located in Community House #2, a building we’ve investigated extensively. The two printers who primarily operated the press and printed the local newspaper will talk to us frequently when we investigate and are always congenial and chatty. This definitely wasn’t one of them.

I passed to the next person and she asked if he was friends with the lady in the basement. He said, “Tell me now.”

Someone asked if he was there when it was a pharmacy. He asked, “Was this one?” Apparently he didn’t know.

Someone asked if they like Chelsie and a different male voice said, “We like her now.”

John asked if there were more than one of them with us and the same voice from earlier said, “Nice and tall.”

“What happened on Monitor Corner,” I asked, wanting to pin down the time period they were in New Harmony. There were two fires on that corner, one causing a tremendous explosion, but the woman didn’t know or didn’t want to tell us. “Cannot say,” she told me. I went on to explain to the group about what had happened there and the same male voice chimed in. “You forgot the groceries.” This is interesting because Owen Market used to be right across the street, caddy-corner, from Monitor Corner. It’s now the location of Capers Emporium.

I was still trying to determine a timeline for the ghosts. I asked “What did the Harmonists use to insulate their buildings?” The correct answer is Dutch Biscuit, a technique of rolling mud and straw around a board. The woman told me, “They painted.”

We asked a few questions but couldn’t make out the responses. Then, out of the blue, a male asked what sounds like “Did you bring woman?”

John asked about “the gifts” (something they discussed in the basement session) and someone else asked why they hid them. “It’s hard for them,” the man said.

I asked if they’ve ever seen Heaven. As I explained in the session, if they’re there, answering us, they probably haven’t seen Heaven because they’re stuck in our dimension. The man answered us, “I wonder.”

I asked if they ever pull pranks on Chelsie. The response was “I try.”

Lynn asked if they like Dan again and the male said, Go D!” like he was rooting for him.

We went around the room and asked the pie question. I do this during most investigations to lighten the mood. I ask everyone to name their favorite pie. Sometimes the ghosts will pipe in and tell us theirs, but there wasn’t an answer this time.

Angie asked, “Where are you in this room,” and got perhaps the most chilling response of the evening. “Behind you,” the woman said. We all took a moment to look behind her, but didn’t see anything.

Lynn asked if they ever go to the basement and the male answered, “Not much.”

They call their lady ghost “Karen” so I asked if her name was indeed Karen and the male came through again. “I didn’t break it,” he said. Was he talking about the painting?

Someone asked, “How many in the basement?” and a male responded with, “They’re lost.”

The session ended at that point.

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Pendulum Room

We set up a small storage room as a dowsing area. Groups of two went back and asked questions with the pendulum. Ben & Cheryl went first:

  • They were talking to a female
  • She’s 70 years-old
  • She’s married
  • She has children – sons
  • Her name is Karen
  • She likes to sing
  • They got her to knock on the wall
  • She’s originally from New Harmony
  • She had a dog
  • She rode on a wagon for transportation
  • She was around automobiles, but didn’t know what a train was
  • She was once a slave
  • She is tired

I walked back to switch the group out, but the painting fell in the other room before the next group could come in.  After a few minutes, the Keith and his wife went back.

  • She isn’t going to hurt them
  • She’s mad that they’re there messing up her evening
  • She likes beer
  • She is the one who threw the painting
  • It will be safe for them to go into the basement
  • She likes Keith
  • It’s easier for them to talk to Keith
  • They didn’t bring any spirits with them to the investigation

The groups switched floors and the next two people came back to try the pendulum.

  • They were talking to a woman
  • She’s not friends with Erica (a name they learned in the basement session)
  • She’s glad they’re there talking to her
  • She died when she was young
  • She worked there
  • She worked there when it was saloon
  • She wasn’t treated poorly when she worked there. She enjoyed it
  • It wasn’t fun time to work there
  • The other ladies were not her friends
  • She wasn’t the boss
  • She wasn’t a bar maid
  • She wasn’t there when it was a pharmacy
  • Erica isn’t sad or angry

The next two people came back and tried it.

  • She’s not tired of them
  • She lived in New Harmony for a long time
  • Her family is from New Harmony
  • She went to church there
  • She liked New Harmony
  • She was there when it was a saloon
  • She wasn’t happy there
  • She worked – had a job
  • She worked as a prostitute at times at the saloon
  • It was difficult
  • They weren’t nice to her.
  • She doesn’t hate men
  • It wasn’t difficult work
  • She knows it’s no longer a saloon
  • She misses it being a saloon
  • Her name was Suzy
  • She likes being in the building
  • She’s not tired
  • She didn’t have any children
  • She wasn’t married
  • She knows who Joni is
  • She likes Joni
  • She came from somewhere nearby

It was interesting how each group picked up slightly different information. One group pinpointed the woman’s age as 70 years-old, while the other group felt they were talking to a younger woman. It’s possible they were talking to two different ghosts, but it’s also possible that they were getting misinformation from one of them or they were experiencing difficulties with the pendulum. It’s not a scientific device and we know that, but we’ve had a lot of luck uncovering verifiable information by using it.

It was interesting that they were finding some similarities though. None of the groups passed on information to the next group as they switched places. My guess is they were talking to “Karen,” the ghost who often moves items in the gallery.

IMG_20191213_193334Basement

Traci Hoehn and Crystal Folz led the investigation in the basement. For a portion of their allotted time, they conducted the Estes Method. In this experiment, Traci wore noise-cancelling headphones that were attached directly to a Spirit Box. She also wore a blindfold. People in the room asked questions, but Traci couldn’t hear them. Instead, she simply said what she heard come through the box. The importance of this experiment is the elimination of leading information. Sometimes we hear what we want to hear. When we ask a question and hear something that sounds like an appropriate answer, we often jump on it. With the Estes Method, we can’t do this.

Crystal assists Traci in this experiment, insuring the group is asking appropriate questions and isn’t firing them off in rapid-fire sequence. Ghosts need a bit of time to respond, so we always ask that they pause 15-20 seconds before asking the next question. Crystal also watches Traci to make sure she’s okay. While in the Estes Method, Traci often goes into almost a psychic trance. In past cases, she’s actually found herself seeing visions of what she’s also hearing. If she begins to look agitated or seems overwhelmed, Crystal will gently pull her out of the session.

No one had a chance to ask Traci a question before she was off and running.

T: Love it

Q: Did you grow up in New Harmony?

Q: Is your family here?

Q: What date did you last see on a newspaper?

Q: Can you see us?

T: Like you

T: some more then

Q: Are you glad to have us here? What do you like about us?

Q: Do you like that this building is being used as an art gallery?

Q: Did you work or live in this building?

Q: Were you here when they had the battered women’s display? (Several weeks prior to the investigation, the gallery had an exhibit in the basement that delved into Victorian era prostitution. Quite eerily, the story Traci would uncover with the Estes Method mirrored the story the exhibit told. We spent a lot of time discussing this. Chelsie actually wrote the story in the booklet they handed out, telling the story of two prostitutes. She wrote it at the gallery, making us wonder if she had supernatural assistance.)

Q: Do you like the people who come here every day?

(creaking from upstairs)

T: What’s that? No!

Q: If you don’t like the people who work here, what about them don’t you like?

Q: Did you like Christmas time?

Q: Did you work here or did your family own the business?

Q: Can you tell me some of the things this building was used for before?

T: Do it!

Q: Do what?

Q: Was it a bar? Did you perform here?

Q:  What do you want us to do?

Q: Do you have good memories here?

T: Tonight

Q: Good memories when people are here?

Q: What about tonight?

T: When

Q: Are you disturbed by us being here?

T: In general

Q: What makes you uncomfortable? Do you not like having us in your space?

Q: Can you tell me something personal about yourself?

T: Learn

(Joni came downstairs to take pictures)

T: Under

T: You

Q: Did you go to school here?

Q: Was the bridge built during your time?

Q: What was it you want us to learn?

T: One. Uh huh. Same thing. Don’t. Sad.

Q: What are you sad about?

T: I’m…

Q: Do you know about the bird that was found in the basement?

Q: Do you know how the bird got into the basement?

Q: Does this building make you feel sad?

T: Every

Q: Are we upsetting you?

(Crystal noted that the energy in the room was building. It felt as though they were growing agitated.)

Q: Do you need help with something?

Q: Are you okay?

T: Susie. Was here.

Q: Who was Susie?

T: Don’t. Hey.

Q: Hi. Is Susie here right now? Do you like Susie?

Q: Are you Susie? Or was Susie your friend?

Q: Is there a message we can pass on?

T: Hard

Q: What was hard?

T: Erica. (Traci noted that the voice was a woman who was sobbing)

Q: Are you Erica?

Q: Are Erica and Susie related?

Q: How long have Erica and Susie known each other?

T: Forest

Q: Is there a forest you’re thinking about?

Q: Did you like to hike in the forest or did you like to stay in the town?

Q: Did Susie get lost in the forest?

T: Hide!

Q: Susie was hiding in the forest?

Q: Is Erica afraid she lost Susie?

T: It’s not our problem (man’s voice)

Q: Susie hiding from the man?

T: In there

Q: Is Susie hiding in here from the man? Was the man mean?

T: Stay (Traci noted that something kept touching her left side.) Got you.

Q: Did someone take Susie from Erica?

T: Are you free tonight? (man’s voice)

Q: How old are Erica and Susie? Are they friends? Are they family?

Q: Are you scared of the man?

T: Waiting for you

Q: Are you waiting to go out tonight?

T: A man needs gifts. Hiding.

Q: It seems as though something happened in the woods. Can you tell us?

T: Someone.

Q: Did you hide gifts in the woods?

Q: Did this happen when this place was Mr. Heckman’s pharmacy?

T: Rotten

Q: Was Mr. Heckman rotten or was it someone who visited here?

Q: Did you like him?

T: There’s a bunch talking at once

Q: Are there too many voices around?

T: Get them

Q: Get who?

T: So? Great.

(painting fell upstairs at that point)

Q: Did you have anything to do with what happened upstairs just now?

(sound of the cat ball rolling across the floor)

T: Don’t. Famous last words.

Q: Are these multiple people’s stories or one person’s story tonight?

Q: Did you make the painting fall?

(Joni came downstairs at that point to tell them what happened)

T: My memory. It’s wrong. Inbred.

Q: Inbred? What does that mean? What memories are wrong?

T: Here with me

Q: Who’s here with you?

T: A man

Q: Does he make you fearful?

Q: We’re going to be stopping soon. Is there anything else you want to say?

T: That’s it

Crystal then pulled Traci out of the session.  Traci then explained everything she heard and saw. She got really hot and her chest got very tight during the session. She said that women were in the woods hiding from men, trying to get away. She felt they were being used as prostitutes and they were the gifts the men were seeking. It so closely resembled the story Chelsie wrote, it gave us chills. In her story, Chelsie discussed the lives of two women who were forced into prostitution and were abused. Was the energy from this discussion what caused the painting to fall upstairs? We weren’t sure.

2nd group baement 6.jpgThey decided to do a dowsing rod session while Traci recovered from the Estes Method.

Q; Are you still hiding from someone? A: Yes

Q: Does it scare you? A: Yes

Q; Is it a male? A: Yes

Q: Do you feel safe with us? A: no answer

Q: Did you have anything to do with the picture falling upstairs? A: Yes

Q: Is your name Erica? A: Yes

Q: Did a man hurt you in the woods?  No answer

Q; Did you work at the saloon? No answer

Q: Was Susie your friend? No answer.

Q: Did you make the picture fall on a man to hurt him? A: Yes

(Joni came down to get them, but they asked for a few more minutes)

Q: Where are you standing in the room? Rods pointed towards Traci

Q: Were you rubbing Traci’s arm earlier? A: Yes

2nd group basement

Second Session

The guests in the second group were still shaken up by the experience they had in the gallery. During the entire session, Ben kept hearing sounds in the back corner of the room.

T: Hello (female voice that was kind of creepy)

Q: Hi!

T: Ben (male voice)

Q: I’m right here (Ben said)

T: Possibly

Q: Possibly what? (Ben asked) Is this Karen?

Q: Are you alone here?

T: Over there. Sure!

Q: sure, what?

Q: Did you talk to us earlier or are you someone new?

(could hear walking upstairs from the other group)

Q: Do you hear the people walking upstairs?

Q: Are you female?

T: I did it

Q: What did you do?

Q: Do you regret it? Would you do it again?

Q: I’m looking over there. What should I see?

Q: Did you knock the picture off?

T: Read

Q: Read what?

T: My name’s Doreen (different female voice)

Q: Pleased to meet you Doreen

T: Say it

Q: Doreen. Say what?

Q: Doreen’s a pretty name. What’s your last name?

T: Like that

T: The father

Q: What about the father?

Q: Doreen’s father?

Q: Were you here when they had the visiting art display down here in the basement? Did you relate to it?

Q: Did you like everybody coming in here?

Q: Is your father here, Doreen?

Q: Does someone keep all the other spirits here separated? The one who dominates the rest of you? (Crystal asked)

Q: Do you have a sister or brother?

(Ben was seeing something block out the light in the corner)

T: Most people

Q: What do most people do?

Q: is there a domineering man? (Crystal asked)

(Crystal noted that it felt like someone was holding them back from answering)

T: Teamwork

Q: How many of them are you?

Q: Can you tell us how many of you are down here with us?

Q: Someone left and now someone new is here with us. Who is that (Crystal asked)

T: Who are these people?

Q: We are visitors here, talking to you.

Q: Cheryl introduced herself. Can you tell us your name, please? Are you a leader?

(Joni came down to take pictures)

Q: Can anyone do anything to help you?

T: Weird

Q: What’s so weird?

Q: Is it weird that people want to help?

T: Christmas

Q: Are you ready for Christmas?

Q: Do you celebrate Christmas?

Q: To whoever came down, is there anything you want to tell us? (Crystal asked)

Q: What year is it right now?

T: Get out!

Q: I don’t want to get out. (Ben said this, almost in a hurt voice)

Q: Are you asking for us to get out or are you talking to the other spirits who are here? (Crystal asked)

(Rick noted that Traci had someone standing right behind her)

T: Seven

Q: Did you feel something, Rick? He explained that he was hearing someone clairaudiently.

T: I just saw a black shadow cross in front of me.

(Everyone felt the room grow substantially colder)

Q: Are there more with you?

T: Oooooh! (sounded kind of provocative)

Q: Ooooh, what?

Q: Did you come here with anyone or were you here? (Crystal asked)

Traci then took off the headphones. She’d had enough. She said she felt constrictive breathing and felt it was connected to a woman wearing a corset.  She said it was different this time than it was the last time. A lot of people kept popping in, but she didn’t feel she was connecting with the same two women from the first session.

They started a dowsing rod session at that point.

Q: Is there just one person down here right now? A: Yes

Q: Are you a young child? A: No

Q: Are you a teenager? A: Yes

Q: Are you female? A: Yes

Q: Did you used to work in this building? A: Yes

Q: Did you enjoy your job? A: Yes (slow Yes)

Q: Did you work anywhere else in New Harmony besides here? A: Yes

Q: Do you ever want to leave New Harmony and go somewhere else? A: Yes

Q: Do you enjoy us being here? A: Yes

Q: Do you like dogs? A: Yes

Q: Are there any dogs in this building? (they thought they heard a bark) A: No answer

Q: Do you wish you had a dog? A: Yes

Q: Were you here when the bird showed up in the basement? A: No

Q: Did you hear the painting fall off the wall? A: Yes

Q: Did that surprise you as much as it surprised me? (Rick asked) A: Yes

Q: That means you had nothing to do with it, right? A: Yes

Q: Do you know who did it? A: No answer

Q: Are you afraid to say? A: Yes

Q: Will you tell me if I guess right? A: No answer

Q: Is it the man who stays down here in the basement? A: No answer

Q: Is it a child? A: No answer (They started hearing more sounds in the back corner)

Q: Is the woman we talked to in the first session the one who knocked the picture off onto Rick? (Crystal asked) A: No answer

Q: Did you come here with someone this evening? A: No answer

Q: Is the lady from our first session still here? (Traci asked) A: Yes

Q: Can you point to where you are right now? Rods pointed towards the same area where Rick felt someone, which happened to be directly behind Traci.

Q: Is there a man down here? A: Yes

Q: Does he stay in the back corner? A: No

Q: Is he back there right now? A: Yes

Q: Does he keep walking in front of the light? A: Yes?

Q: Do you like him? A: Yes ( The group was surprised by this)

Q: Is his name Mr. Heckmann? A: No

Q: Is his name Clyde Ramsey? A: No

Q: Were you an actress here? A: No

Q: Do you remember when they had productions here? A: No

Q: Did girls perform at the saloon? A: No answer

Q: Did girls dance at the saloon? A: No answer

Q: Did girls sing at the saloon? A: No answer

Q: Are you feeling confused right now? A: Yes

Q: Was this a pool hall at one time? A: no answer

(They heard another noise)

Q: Are you back in the basement right now? A: Yes

(Cheryl mentioned that she saw a flash of light)

Q: Did you ever use a carriage outside of this building? A: No answer

Q: Are you having a hard time breathing? A: Yes

Q: Are you listening to the people upstairs too? A: Yes

The session ended and we wrapped up for the night, walking away shaking our heads at the events that had transpired.

It was an intense investigation, one we wouldn’t soon forget. It’s easy to connect the dots and say that we were honing in on two women who worked at the saloon. We know from history that barmaids and servants were often forced into prostitution in saloons like this, but we have no documentation that this happened at the Centennial Saloon.

And who was the man who hid in the corner? Was he also connected to the saloon or did he come in during another time period? And why was he hiding? Was he Clyde Ramsey, the pharmacist who committed suicide in the building? These were all questions we didn’t get answers to. This is part of the mystery involved with communicating with the dead. Sometimes they only give us enough information to intrigue us. We often need to revisit the location several times to pull more of the information.

Despite the falling painting, the owners of the gallery would like to have us back for another investigation in the near future. We hope to uncover more of the story about Susie and Erica and possibly help free them from the torment they are reliving.

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(Above) Joni, Crystal and Traci

I’d like to thank Dan Mason and John Nordgauer for opening up their lovely gallery for us to investigate. I’d also like to thank Chelsie for letting us in the building to check it out and for hanging out with us for the duration of the night. And of course, I am indebted to my team, Crystal Folz and Traci Hoehn for making this an incredible event.

Thank you to everyone who attended!

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Joni Mayhan
December 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Haunting of The Ribeyre Gymnasium

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

One of the stories he heard about involved the gymnasium.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Click HERE to learn about Joni Mayhan’s books

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

 

 

 

 

A Different Kind of Paranormal Investigation

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When I first started doing paranormal investigation, I stuck with the current trend of conducting a “scientific investigation.” My friends and I spent tremendous amounts of money on paranormal equipment and used them for every investigation. We set up cameras in all the known hot-spots and used meters and devices to measure and record the energy in the room in the hopes of capturing evidence of paranormal activity.

As I became more experienced, the traditional investigations began to bore me. I was so tired of the concept, of asking all the same old questions and then listening to hours of recorded audio in my hopes of capturing a ghostly voice. I was also worried. While we were capturing evidence, we weren’t doing anything to solve the issue. This especially bothered me with private investigations.

When a homeowner asked us to come in because they were experiencing something they couldn’t explain, they were often frightened by the activity. When footsteps are heard in the middle of the night or voices drifted through the house when no one was home, they often thought the worst. And who can blame them?

Most people’s perception of ghosts is based on what they see in the media. Nice ghosts exist, but they don’t sell out movie theaters. Instead, Hollywood invests in the darker side of the paranormal world, largely excluding the majority of the paranormal arena. I have probably contributed to this personification as well by writing about my horrific experiences in dealing with darker entities. The fact is: the paranormal world is far more complicated.

There are a mixture of good and bad ghosts, along with entities that were never human. In some cases, they already have a system set up, one that doesn’t require human involvement to keep it continuing. It’s the humans who need to be schooled, not the ghosts.

As my abilities as an intuitive medium expanded, I found that I was able to connect directly with the ghosts in residence. I no longer needed a digital recorder to hear their voices. I could now go directly to the source. This changed everything for me.

Now, when I go on a private investigation, I don’t bother with most of my equipment.I bring a high quality electromagnetic frequency (EMF) meter that I use to rule out high levels of energy that might be impacting the living. Sometimes, a malfunctioning electrical device can emit high levels of EMF, which can cause people to react in the same way they might if a ghost were present.

To explain this further, high EMF often makes people feel as though they are being watched. An example would be a house we investigated where the owners felt as though they were being watched while they sat in their living room. A quick sweep with the EMF meter revealed two air purifiers that were situated at opposite ends of the room. They were both old and outdated and were pouring high levels of EMF into the room. Once they were removed, the feelings of being watched disappeared altogether. To read more about the effects of high EMF, click HERE to read a previous blog post.

When I investigate private homes now, my most valuable tools are my friends and teammates. I bring like-minded people with mediumistic abilities. Together we’re able to identify what is causing (or not causing in some cases) the haunting and put together a plan to resolve the issues.

During a recent investigation, I was invited to the home of a friend who had just purchased a house. He hadn’t necessarily experienced any activity that would put him on Paranormal Witness, but he was uncomfortable in his home all the same. It had a bad vibe. It didn’t feel right. It was as though he wasn’t welcomed there. I stopped him before he could go into more details that might impact our walk-through of the property.

I brought two people along with me who I knew could help me get to the bottom of the haunting: Ken Murray and Barbara Niles. Sandy MacLeod often joins us, but was unable to attend this time.

Ken Murray is a talented psychic medium who has blown me away with his abilities and Barbara Niles is far more talented than she gives herself credit for. I met both of them through the Paranormal 101 classes I used to teach in the town of Gardner, Massachusetts. Sandy’s abilities are similar to mine. We are somewhere between Ken and Barbara. We both get distinct impressions when a ghost is nearby.

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(Above) My Dream Team L-R: Joni Mayhan, Sandy MacLeod, Ken Murray and Barbara Niles

As we came into the house, I warned the homeowner to stay silent about the activity he had been experiencing. We wanted to go in completely cold, not knowing anything about the haunting or the history of the house that might taint our impressions. As a medium, this is very important. We are filtering any messages we might receive through our human bodies. If our brains are already thinking about the dark shadow he often sees at the end of the bed, we’ll be looking for dark energy. It might even lead us to mix our own impressions with the information we’ve been told, changing it completely.

We started on the third floor in an area that we later learned had once been servant’s quarters in the massive Craftman-styled house. Armed with notepads and writing utensils, we split up into separate rooms and allowed the energy to speak to us.

Being clairaudient, I alway hear tones that are similar to ear ringing. Once I tune into the sound, I am able to connect with the soul attached to it. In the first room, I picked up a tone that I identified as a young female. As I allowed the connection to grow, I saw her in my mind’s eye and began to hear her words. The first thing I saw was long light-brown hair that trailed down her back. As she turned, I saw a bit of her face. She was young, probably in her late teens or early twenties, and she was sad. As I studied her, I learned that she was an Irish immigrant, brought to this country to work for an American family, possibly as a nanny or housekeeper. “I just want to go home,” she told me.

Knowing we still had a lot of house to cover, I moved into another room on the third floor. I then connected in similar fashion with a heavy-set older woman with dark hair that was pulled into a knot on the back of her head. She struck me as motherly and matronly. She felt like a housekeeper to me, someone who took care of the family, as well as the rest of the staff. I saw her folding laundry, humming while she worked.

I moved onto a third room as Ken and Barbara switched rooms too. During this time, we didn’t say any more to one another than deciding on what to call the rooms so we could discuss them later. We decided on Room 1, Room 2, Room 3 and Room 4. Room 1 was where I felt the girl. Room 3 was where I felt the older woman. In Room 4 I got an impression of children and saw a child’s sailboat. I didn’t connect with any energy, except for the younger woman who was following me. I quickly moved onto Room 2 and discovered the reason for the haunting.

I didn’t need to listen for the tone. The impression came to me immediately. I saw a tall man with ramrod straight posture and dark hair. He had an air about him of importance, but the word that rose in my mind was “butler.” He felt he was better than everybody else. We were all beneath him. I saw him actively trying to disturb the living, making them as uncomfortable as possible.

Once everyone was finished, we moved through the rest of the house, feeling the energy and quietly writing down our impressions. By the time we made our way to the basement, I had also connected with a woman from the 1920’s. I saw her as tall and fashionably thin, wearing a pale beige silk dress with fringe along the hem. She was worried about something, but I couldn’t pick up on the source of her discontent until we got to the basement.

Basements are often my favorite places in haunted location. Not because they are creepy and dark, but because they seem to be the place where ghosts go to hide when the living impede upon their space. This basement was different though.

It was brightly lit and freshly painted. If you saw a photo of it, you wouldn’t immediately think it was creepy, but the energy said otherwise. It felt as though the air itself was sizzling with electricity. It was hard to breath, feeling like the air was thick and heavy. I did a quick sweep with the EMF detector, not finding anything amiss.

Soon, an image rose in my mind of wooden cases filled with glass bottles. I felt myself being drawn to a far corner of the room that had been sectioned off in a closet to house the well pump. “This is where they hid it,” a voice said in my mind. I identified the source of the voice as coming from the fashionable 1920’s woman and realized that this was the reason behind her anxiety. “Flowers cover up the scent,” she told me.

Scent? I looked around, trying to make sense of what I was being told and then it dawned on me. Alcohol. Instinctively, I knew that the house was used during the prohibition days to hide alcohol. While she was worried about it, her husband was almost glib. “Don’t worry about it. We won’t get caught,” he told her.

Once Ken and Barbara were finished writing down their own impressions, we reconvened outside on the porch steps to discuss our findings.

This is always a worrisome moment for me. I often doubt the impressions that I feel, wondering if my highly active imagination was simply manufacturing all the information. It made sense that I would identify the third floor as servant’s quarters. Most old houses were set up in that fashion and the staff I saw were traditional roles that were often employed in wealthy households. The 1920’s woman fit the time period that I had established in my mind, which also fit the style of the house. Was this nothing more than a nice story?

“Ken, why don’t you start,” I suggested, waiting with baited breath to hear what he was going to say. Ken has impressed me over the past year with his findings. He’s almost alway dead-on in his impressions, helping us solve many cases.

“I felt an older woman on the third floor, who I feel was a maid or a nanny,” he said and went onto describe her exactly as I saw her myself. Being a far better medium than I’ll ever be, he also added details, such as the color of her dress and the jewelry she was wearing.

He also picked up on the younger woman and the butler, adding in more layers. He thought the young woman’s name was Anna and saw her with her hair pulled up in a bun. Barbara’s notes revealed similar impressions.Because she is still in the beginning stages of her spiritual advancements, her encounters were less detailed. She identified the older woman, the younger woman and the man. Neither of them picked up on the 1920’s woman, but they both felt children present, which went along with my feelings about the bedroom with the sailboat.

Our only disagreement came in the basement. Ken saw a fight between two men that led to one of the men being stabbed. He also felt that the younger woman was having an affair with the former male owner of the house, something that might have contributed to the fight. He didn’t get any impressions about alcohol, but thought it made sense as he listened to me talk. Barbara also felt alcohol was involved, but felt like it was stolen.

All three of us agreed that the source of the haunting was the male butler. Ken felt as though he probably stood at the end of the homeowner’s bed and presented himself in shadows.He also thought the homeowner might feel as though someone was watching him while he was in the shower and that the bathroom door might occasionally pop open on it’s own.

We also all agreed that while the butler was an angry soul, he wasn’t powerful enough to do anything more than rattle doorknobs and create shadows. The older maid kept him in check, preventing him from attempting anything truly frightening or dangerous. Ken also felt that she liked the current homeowner and would work to keep him protected.

At that point, we took our findings to the homeowner and learned more history of the house. As it turns out, the house across the street had a hidden tunnel that led from the basement to the garage, something that the current owners suspected was created during the prohibition days. Was this connected?

As we thought about it, it began to make sense. Even though we were all different in our findings, they fit an overall story. If the people across the street had an illegal still or were bringing in alcohol for the sake of reselling it, it would make sense that the man in the house we investigated might have been a part of it, perhaps even breaking into his house to steal it and then hide it in his basement. If he were caught by his neighbor, a fight could have broken out. Even though we were forcing the pieces together, they fit.

In the end, we decided not to do anything about the haunting. Sometimes this is the best method. The dead have worked out a system of checks and balances. Often, we join hands and create a sacred circle where we envision a white light above our heads. We then encourage any lost souls to go through it, bringing them to a place most people call Heaven. While this is usually successful for us, it wasn’t the right thing to do in this case. If we attempted to cross over one or more of them, we might end up doing more harm than good. The heavy-set maid might have crossed over, leaving the angry butler there alone without anyone to prevent him from going after the living. It wasn’t worth taking the chance. It was better to leave it as we found it.

The only one I felt bad about was the younger Irish immigrant woman. She had been following me all night and was nearby as we spoke to the homeowner.

Mentally, I connected with her and told her about the white light, showing her an image of her floating towards it and finding her way to Heaven, where her family was waiting for her. I felt her acknowledgement and knew that she would go when she was ready.

Once we explained our findings to the homeowner, he felt better about the situation. Being a person who is involved in paranormal events, he was well-versed in the ways that ghosts often function. The reason why his house didn’t feel warm and welcoming was because the butler was impacting his emotions.

“Ask the maid to help you. Ask her if she will keep him away from you,” I suggested.

“You might also make an offering to the male butler, to appease him in a sense,” Ken said. “I see a decanter of liquor, possibly bourbon. Put it on a shelf in the dining room and tell him that it’s for him,” he said.

“And flowers for the maid,” I added, somehow knowing that she’d enjoy them.

Ken also gave the homeowner a stick of palo santos wood, which we often use in place of sage to “cleanse” the air to make the energy more positive and instructed him on how to use it. “Light it and then let it smolder in a small fire-proof bowl and then allow the smoke to fill the air in the rooms,” he told him. “When you finish, it will feel much lighter in here.”

After we said our goodbyes to the homeowner, we gathered by our cars and chatted about the evening. All in all, we felt good about what we did. We didn’t remove any energy or cross over any weary souls, but sometimes that’s the best thing to do. We simply went in, evaluated the situation and made a decision. I know that some mediums will disagree with what we did, but that’s to be expected. Everyone has differing opinions and we did what we felt was best for this case. If the activity picks up or becomes threatening in any way, we can always go back and do something different. Sometimes it’s better to just leave things as you found them.

 

Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigation and the author of 15 paranormal books. She also teaches a popular online Paranormal 101 class.  For more information about Joni or her books or classes, click HERE .

 

 

 

Keeping Yourself Protected in the Paranormal World

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Like many others, I dove into the paranormal world head first. Like a foolish cliff diver leaping off a ledge, I didn’t look before I jumped. I just  took the plunge and paid dearly for it later by picking up a negative attachment.

Paranormal investigating isn’t a fun hobby, something you do with the same irrelevance as bowling or playing a round of golf. In many ways, it should be considered more like social work in a very bad neighborhood.

When we go into haunted locations, we are dealing with an assortment of invisible entities. Some could be elderly ladies trapped in a world they can’t escape, while others might be pedophiles and rapists looking for their next victims. The problem is: you can’t immediately tell the difference. This is why it’s so important to keep yourself protected. You wouldn’t skydive without a parachute, so why would you tackle unseen entities without some sort of protection?

Beyond picking up a paranormal hitchhiker, there are other factors you might face. Entities often use our energy like fuel. If you aren’t protected, you might find yourself with a Paranormal Hangover, (click the title to read more about this) which could leave you drained for days.

Below are some of the methods of keeping yourself protected:

A Strong Mindset

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We are made of vibrations. In fact, everything in our world vibrates. Some things vibrate at a high speed, while others vibrate much slower. When you are feeling down, your vibration is low and your resistance is diminished. This completely jeopardizes your entire defense system. Make sure you are at the top of your game before you take on the paranormal world. You might be coming in contact with something quite powerful, so be prepared.

As a sensitive, I am prone to getting paranormal hitchhikers. They see me and understand in an instant that I can sense them too, so they follow me. Sometimes, I think they just want to experience the comfort of human companionship, but other times they have darker agendas in mind.

My journey into the paranormal world started in 2009 when I began working on my mediumistic abilities. I knew I could communicate with the dead and began working on it in earnest. By 2011, I was advancing in my abilities and became even more visible in the paranormal world. After a heartbreaking break-up, I found myself in a depressed state of mind. Someone invited me to go on a ghost hunt and I went, thinking it would improve my mood. As a result, I picked up the worst attachment I’ve ever encountered, which I document in my book The Soul Collector. When I tell you to have a strong mindset, I’m talking from experience.

A Healthy Body

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Since we are vibrational creatures, it’s important that we maintain our physical bodies. Eating healthy foods, getting enough exercise and rest are important for us. If your body isn’t strong, it often affects your mindset, weakening your defenses. If you’ve come into contact with a negative entity that follows you home, the first thing it does is isolate you from other people. This often diminishes your access to sunlight, lowering your defenses even further. Taking Vitamin D supplements helps, as well as insuring you are getting outside for ample periods of time. Vitamin B complexes often helps with mood and attitude too, but can’t compare to eating a diet filled with plenty of leafy greens.

Grounding

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Have you ever been around someone who simply radiates negativity? After you walk away, you might feel a residue of that hostility clinging to you, dragging you down too. The truth is: we often absorb other people’s energy. Whether they mean to or not, they spread their discontent around like someone scattering seeds. If some of it lands on you, you begin sprouting the same bad emotions. The best way to get rid of this unwanted energy is to learn how to ground yourself.

How to Ground:

There are many methods for grounding, but my favorite way is to imagine myself as a tree. I close my eyes and envision a pure white light radiating above me. With every breath, I pull this white light into my body through the top of my head. As I exhale, I push the black negative energy downward into the ground where it can be reclaimed and recycled by the earth. In the beginning, it might take you a few minutes to master this technique, but after a while it will become second nature.

Other methods of grounding: take a shower and imagine the water washing away all traces of the negative emotion or hug a tree and allow the powerful energy of nature to cleanse you.

Shielding

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Most paranormal protection practices rely heavily on visualization. Most people don’t find this to be easy to do. It takes a lot of practice. If you don’t succeed the first time, don’t give up. For many of us, this ability takes weeks, if not months to master.

The principal of shielding involves using your own body’s energy to form a protective barrier around you. Make this shield so strong that nothing can penetrate it, keeping you cocooned inside, safe and sound.

How to Shield

Methods vary from person to person, but this is how I create a shield. I envision a warm golden ball of light that burns with the intensity of the sun. I hold it between my hands and allow it to grow larger and larger until it encapsulates my entire body. Once it is large enough, I say a prayer, asking that this shield keeps me protected for the next twenty-four hours. Some people have better success with this by watching a Guided Meditation. You can find many of these online.

The video below takes a slightly different approach, but I’ve found it to be helpful:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17uTmUBxhnU

Talismans

Some people carry religious medallions or gemstones with them when they encounter the paranormal world. While they do carry metaphysical properties that can assist in your protection, they also act as “touchstones.” When you touch them, it gives you a sense of comfort, often activating the abilities you already possess. You think, “I am protected,” and the intent of your thought sends a message out into the Universe, making it happen.

Gemstones for Protection

I often carry a combination of gemstones, depending on what I feel I will need. Any of the stones listed above act as protection stones. You might also combine them with healing stones, such as Amethyst or Rose Quartz to extend their abilities.

Being safe while delving into the paranormal world could change your life. All it takes to ruin everything is one bad situation, one moment when your guard is down.

This is just a sampling of paranormal protection. More methods can be found in my book, Dark and Scary Things – A Sensitive’s Guide to the Paranormal World.

Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator and the author of 17 paranormal books. To learn more about her, visit her website http://jonimayhan.com

Click on the cover to learn more about each book.

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The Power of Thoughts in the Paranormal World

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Julie was intuitive and could feel the energy long before she walked into the haunted building. Someone told her that the entity might be demonic, so she steeled herself, trying to work up the nerve to go inside. She knew that demons weren’t something she should mess with, but she was excited to experience it firsthand. She just hoped it wouldn’t hurt her.

Does this scenario sound familiar? As more and more people delve into the world of the paranormal, they often find themselves in situations they aren’t prepared to handle. I experienced this first hand when I investigated a location that was known to have negative energy. I ended up with a negative attachment that stuck with me for months and was the subject of my book The Soul Collector.

Most people aren’t aware of how powerful their thoughts are. Just thinking something fuels it with power and gives it the momentum to become a reality.

Think about it in regards to your everyday life. When you roll out of bed on a Monday morning, do you groan, dreading the day ahead of you? If you do, you will probably have the day you envisioned. Your mind latches onto this conception and turns a thought into reality. You will probably have a rotten day.

If you roll out of bed and see the day as a blank canvas, filled with opportunities, looking past the obligations and requirements you must fulfill, your day will go much better. Much of this is due to the Law of Vibration and the Law of Attraction. Everything in this world is made of vibrations.The chair you sit in, the floor you stand on, even the thoughts that ramble through your mind all vibrate. When you put a negative thought out into the Universe, it acts like a blueprint. Everything else will be built on top of it and you will draw in more negative things. If you aren’t grateful for everything the Universe has given you, why would it give you more?

In the paranormal world, thoughts are compounded by the fact that the entities often know what you are thinking. Yes, they can hear your thoughts. That’s how they communicate with one another and, often, with us as well.

Imagine walking up to a school yard bully and telling him that he is strong and unbeatable. It will pump him up and make him feel even stronger than he actually is. This is the same concept as walking into a haunted location and believing it is infested with demonic activity. Chances are, the entity inside is just a human soul who has a bad attitude. When you give him the title of “demon” you infuse him with power. You give him ideas and the free will to do what he would like. If you fear that he might follow you home, it acts like an invitation.

Fear is a tremendous motivator in the paranormal world. It feeds them, acting like super-powered rocket fuel. Allow yourself to be afraid and you are giving them the ability to scare you even more. Promote them with a higher ranking title, like “Demon” and you are empowering them to be stronger. Give them ideas, like following you home or hurting you, and you are giving them a to-do list of things to accomplish.

Most of the strongest methods of paranormal protection revolve around your thoughts and intent. You can carry as many crucifixes and gemstones as you want, but if you don’t believe they are protecting you, you are doing nothing more than carrying useless objects. Protection items, if fully empowered by your beliefs, act like touch stones. You touch them and it reminds you that you are safe, which means that the real catalyst behind the protection comes from inside you. The stones and medallions don’t protect you, YOU protect you.

In Julie’s case, if she is fearful of the location and believes demons loom inside the haunted location, she shouldn’t go inside. She should start with some locations that aren’t as volatile, places where she can learn slowly. Jumping into the fire will only get her burned. In addition, her fear will fuel the entity inside and could make it a dangerous situation for everyone else on the investigation. It will act like a snowball rolling down a hill. As soon as the entity understands that it has so much power, it will get stronger and stronger until someone ends up getting hurt.

Paranormal protection isn’t something anyone should take lightly, especially if you are sensitive to their energy. They know this too. They see you shining brightly. Your energy is like nectar to them. They will do anything for a sample. They might even follow you home.

Keep this in mind during the October season especially. The veil is thinner this time of the year, giving the dead a freer range to inhibit our world. Be safe, be smart, and keep your thoughts positive. It will make a difference. Trust me.

You can find more information about paranormal protection in my book Dark and Scary Things – A Sensitive’s Guide to the Paranormal World.

Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator and the author of 17 paranormal books. Click on the cover to learn more about each book.

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Debunking Paranormal Evidence

My blood boiled as I saw the photo being passed around social media. It came with a caption, “My friends were taking pictures of their house that they just bought  – look what ghost appwas captured in the picture….” In the picture is the figure of a ghost. It’s so obviously a fake, I was surprised anyone would fall for it. When I clicked on the photo, I was flabbergasted at the plethora of comments, most of them congratulating the photographer for the capture.

As technology increases, so does the capacity to provide false information. As a paranormal investigator, I see it time and time again in photos. With the invention of “ghost apps” anyone with a cell phone can create a seemingly paranormal photo in minutes.

Beyond the obvious faked photos are the photos that aren’t altered, but probably aren’t paranormal either. Many people fall for these as well.

As humans, we are programmed to find faces. We see them in clouds and in reflections on windows. The truth is: some people want to find something in a photo. Every time I post a picture of the Haunted Victorian Mansion online, someone finds a face in the window. Chances are, it’s just a reflection. Clouds and bushes have a tendency to look like faces. Everything isn’t a ghost. In fact, most things aren’t paranormal. If you look hard enough, you’ll find the explanation.

Another huge topic regarding ghost photos is the subject of orbs. Are they true ghost pictures or just dust or moisture? This is quite a controversial topic that I plan to handle as gingerly as possible. People are either “orb believers” or they aren’t. There truly isn’t much grey area when it comes to people’s opinion about orbs.

My opinion is that the majority of the orb pictures you see are nothing more than dust or moisture that is catching the light from the flash and making it reflective. The bigger the orb, the closer it was to the camera when the photo was taken. If the orb is a different color, it’s reflecting something nearby that is the same shade. All you need to do to test this yourself is to walk across a room and then snap a picture with the flash on. You’ll see all the orbs you care to capture.

My first experience with orb photography came during a haunted walking tour in Nashville, Tennessee. The guide guaranteed that we would capture a ghost on film. It was even printed in the brochure.

I was intrigued by this, being a brand new investigator. I wasn’t sure how they could guarantee I’d get a paranormal picture, but I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt to see what happened.

They brought us to the street across from the haunted State House building. The guide waited until the light turned red and then instructed everybody to start snapping pictures. Even as a newbie, this was enough to make me roll my eyes. You could see the dust swirling in the air, kicked up from all the traffic. As it settled, people were getting hundreds of orbs in every picture. The guide congratulated them and they walked away thinking they actually captured something paranormal.

It does make sense that a ghost would take the most conservative shape, which would be an orb-shape. It’s aerodynamic and can move easily around the room. As someone who is sensitive to ghostly energy, I can tell you that ghosts don’t simply walk through the doorway and stand in a corner. They move around the room rapidly, something my cats track as they watch them zipping around. However, with that said, the only way I will believe that an orb photo might be a legitimate ghost is if the photo is taken without use of a flash or if it is captured on video maneuvering around in a manner that separates it from dust and moisture.

mosquito

I have dozens of photos that look ghostly. Case in point is the photograph above. I once investigated with a team who had a similar photo. They proudly displayed it on their website as proof of fairies. I nearly laughed when I saw it, because it is clearly a mosquito caught in the flash.

Don’t believe it because you want to believe it. Only believe it after you’ve ruled out everything else it could be.

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The photo shown above was taken in at the Haunted Victorian Mansion, the subject of my 2014 book Bones in the Basement – Surviving the S.K. Pierce Haunted Victorian Mansion. It was snapped by an investigator from Conscious Spirit Paranormal. I know these ladies personally and know they wouldn’t fudge a photo, which gives it more validity in my eyes.

The photo supposedly shows a portal in the Copper Room. I’ve been in this room many times. In fact, I’ve slept there several times. I can assure you, there’s nothing physical at the foot of the bed that would cause a photo to look like that.

My first thought about the photo was that it was a camera strap hanging down into the photo. Below is a photo of a camera strap in a photo. You can see the ridges of the straps. The images, while not exactly the same, are similar. The only real difference is the fact that the Victorian photo’s vortex image ends before the top of the photo. If it were a camera strap, it would continue through the top of the photo. Just always bear in mind that photos can be misleading. Always take a series of three photos when you’re in a haunted location. That way you can rule out a reasonable explanation.

camera strap

I think most of us want to find something paranormal in our photos from investigations. After all, that’s the primary reason why we’re taking them, besides to document the investigation. In the photo below, a fellow investigator, Pam Howell, took this photo of us standing near my car during a break. There appears to be a strange mist above us. I was quite excited when I saw it, until I realized that I was holding my E-cigarette in the picture. Many argued that an E-cigarette couldn’t produce enough smoke to create that mist, but I still had to throw it out as possible evidence. If there is a possible explanation, then it can’t be used.

Pam's picture of me

Paranormal audio captures, also known as EVPs also have room for debunking, as well. Modern digital recorders are very sensitive. Even the smallest of noises will be recorded and could be misconstrued as a ghostly response.

When I conduct an EVP session, I employ the utmost care. I keep the group small (under 5 people, if possible) and everyone remains seated. I can be quite a dictator during these sessions, but it’s important to monitor the session as closely as possible. No one is allowed to drink beverages, chew gum, snap photos or, God forbid, whisper during one my sessions. If someone’s stomach inadvertently growls or a car drives past, one of us always says aloud “stomach” or “car” so we’ll know later when we review the audio. If you aren’t careful during a session, you might come across something that seems to be paranormal but isn’t. Below is a good example of someone whispering during a session.

https://soundcloud.com/jonimayhan/kitchenette-example-of-whispering

When you listen to it, you’ll hear the faint sound of a voice speaking over mine. What you won’t hear is me saying “whispering” afterwards, while giving the investigator a hard look.

I have a rule that I always follow: when in doubt, throw it out.

I believe that we owe it to the field to only submit the most valid evidence possible. This means keeping the EVPs that might or might not be another investigator burping, and the photos of smudged mirrors to ourselves. We don’t grasp for straws, we just keep trying until we find something worth sharing. I truly wish all investigators followed this rule as well.

For more information about EVPs, please check out my new book Ghost Voices, available on Amazon.com for Kindle or paperback.

Ghost Voices cover

Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator and the author of 13 books. Click on any of the covers to learn more about each book.

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The Dangers of Ghost Hunting

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It looks like fun, something entertaining to do on a boring Saturday night. You imagine calling a few friends and heading out to the closest graveyard to see what it’s all about. The truth is: paranormal investigating can be dangerous.

I know this firsthand. After making several beginner’s mistakes, I encountered several low vibrational entities that followed me home and made my life a living hell for months on end. Had I known what I know now, I would have done things much differently.

A paranormal investigation shouldn’t be treated like a fun night out. It should be planned with the same care and respect that you’d use if you decided to start cave diving. You certainly wouldn’t just go out and purchase scuba equipment and head to your nearest cave. You’d spend months, if not years, learning how to dive first to prevent yourself from getting lost and drowning inside a cave. You’d then research and train with someone who knew how to cave dive. You would also bring a map, as well as a companion who knew the cave well.

The biggest danger with paranormal investigating is the unknown factor. Ghosts come in many varieties. Like people, there are harmless ones and there are dangerous ones. Unlike people, ghosts are invisible and you might not be able to tell the difference until it’s too late.

People who are sensitive to spiritual energy have far more to worry about than non-sensitives. Not only do ghosts see us and recognize the fact that we can also detect them, they might grow curious enough to follow you home. Once they’ve attached to you, they will attempt to get your attention. This could include moving items around your house or making sounds that you can detect. If the entity is negative in nature, they will probably attempt to pull your energy, something they will use to grow stronger. The footsteps and misplaced items will quickly escalate to more serious dangers. They might turn on burners on your gas stove, something I’ve had happen before, or they might push you when you walk down a steep flight of stairs. If they think they can get away with it, they might even attempt to take you over.

We often think demonic entities are the only entities that can possess a person, but this isn’t necessarily true. There are some very high-powered human ghosts who have the same capabilities. Beyond even demonic or earth-bound ghosts is the possibility of entities from other dimensions. The problem is, when they cause your EMF meter to spike at an investigation, they all look the same.

Sensitives should be well-versed in paranormal protection before they actively put themselves in harm’s way. They need to study the various protection methods until they find one that works for them. As they start out, they should always investigate with a mentor who can help keep them safe.  Here are some tips to help you stay protected:

Grounding and Shielding

Learn how to ground and shield yourself. Grounding is the process of removing all negative energy from your body. My favorite technique for this is to imagine a ball of pure white light above my head. As I inhale, I visualize this white light filling my body, while simultaneously pushing the negative energy down through me, where it can sink deeply into the ground. Some people visualize themselves as trees with deep roots as they do this. To shield, you build a bubble of white light around you, and then set a time limit on it. I usually set my shield daily, infusing it with the intent that it will keep me safe from any energies that aren’t mine for 24 hours, the maximum time amount. If you don’t set a time, your shield will only last for several hours.

Protection Touch-stones

Many people carry gemstones in their pocket, such as black tourmaline or tiger’s eye, which have protective properties. Other people wear crucifixes or religious medallions. While these items will help you stay protected, they also serve as a reminder. Many people believe that you already have everything you need to keep yourself protected inside you. By touching the stone or wearing the cross, you reinforce your internal belief that you are protected.

External Assistance

Whether you are praying to a higher power or calling in your Spirit Guides, you should always utilize this extra assistance. It’s like having a posse of warriors who will run defense for you. Without them, you are vulnerable to attack.

Keep Your Vibration High

Everyone and everything vibrates with frequency. When people are feeling good and everything in their lives are running smoothly, they vibrate at a high rate. When they are feeling depressed or are physically ill, they’re vibration decreases. Ghosts vibrate at different rates too. A positive entity will vibrate at a much higher rate than a negative one. They can only attach to you if your frequencies are similar. If you don’t feel well or have had a horrible fight with a friend, don’t go on the investigation, especially if you are a sensitive. You will be much more vulnerable to picking up an attachment.

Some other tips:

  1. Never antagonize the dead. Provoking comes with a heavy price considering you don’t know what you’re truly dealing with. You could be screaming at a lost child who has been trapped in our world for centuries or you could be taunting something inhuman, who considers your insults an invitation. Tread lightly and be polite.
  2. Unless you have several years in the field, always investigate with a mentor, someone who can help keep you protected. If you are a sensitive, find an experienced medium who is willing to take you under his or her wing. They can not only alert you to possible dangers, but they can help you advance your own abilities.
  3. Stay away from unknown factors. This includes cemeteries, old prisons, old hospitals and location where humans have suffered. Start out with public events at locations that have been fully investigated before. It might initially seem like driving with training wheels, but you should always learn in a somewhat safe environment. With that said, still employ caution. Ghosts often come in with other investigators and decide to camp out at new locations.
  4. Don’t attempt private investigations at people’s homes until you have several years of experience under your belt. Yes, you do need to learn the craft of investigating sometime, but don’t learn at the expense of a homeowner. Any mistakes you make will be left for someone else to deal with. Private events are also risky because you don’t know what you’re dealing with until you investigate the location, which puts you at risk, as well.
  5. NEVER investigate your own home. If you have a ghost in residence, call in someone else to help, preferably a medium who can communicate directly with the entity. If you do EVP sessions and frequently try to capture the ghost on a camera, you are giving it more fuel to stay. The attention you provide it with acts as an invitation, which will make it much harder to remove later.
  6. Do not give ghosts permission to touch you or use your energy. Essentially, what you’re doing is inviting them inside the shield you’ve carefully constructed, giving them an opportunity to connect to you. If they use your energy, you will probably find yourself on the brink of exhaustion the next morning, making you more prone to illness.
  7. When you leave the location, I recommend doing a closing ceremony. Basically, this entails telling the ghosts that they must remain at the location and cannot follow you home. We will often burn sage and do a smudging of each participant before they leave, as an extra measure. You should also cut your cords. Entities, and even people, connect to one another with invisible energy cords. Cut these with your non-dominant hand, envisioning the ethereal cords breaking in half. Then imagine white light filling all the holes where the cords were once located. Once you’ve done this, leave. Don’t stand by your car and talk. This gives the dead more opportunities to attach to you.
  8. Cleanse yourself when you get home. I recommend taking a bath infused with sea salt and lavender. This cleanses the spiritual energy off you and also serves to relax you after an eventful investigation. Eat something healthy, as well. It’s recommended to eat foods that will help you ground. Nourishment that comes from the earth is usually the best. Nuts, grains, root vegetables and even chocolate are good for grounding.
  9. Ground and shield yourself before you begin reviewing your evidence the next day. If you didn’t fully cut your cords to the entities at the investigation, you will re-attach yourself to them when you begin listening to your audio recordings or combing through your photos or video captures.
  10. Never cut corners. Even if you are in a rush, always take the time to protect yourself before, during and after an investigation. The investment could end up saving you a lot of pain and suffering after the fact.

As an author and investigator, I’ve encountered dozens of scenarios that you will not want to experience. Ghost hunting is not fun and games. Sometimes it can be deadly. If you would like to learn more about the ins and outs of being a sensitive or would like to explore other avenues for paranormal protection, please check out my book Dark and Scary Things – A Sensitive’s Guide to the Paranormal World.

Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator and the author of 13 books, including Dark and Scary Things – A Sensitive’s Guide to the Paranormal World,  Devil’s Toy Box, The Soul Collector and Bones in the Basement, all available on Amazon.com, as well as Barnesandnoble.com and Smashwords. Click on any of the covers below to learn more about the book.

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Ghost of the Week Club

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Sometimes I feel as though somebody enrolled me into the Ghost of the Week Club.

I am what they call a Beacon. For whatever reason, ghosts are drawn to me like a moth to a bug light. Many of them follow me home, hoping for a number of things. Some just want the human companionship, while others are hoping for help. Still others just want to draw my energy, like they do with many of the living.

As a sensitive, I always know when a ghost is present. I was blessed/cursed with an ability called Clairaudience. I hear them. They make a sound that is similar to ear ringing. They swoop around the room and the sound goes in and out, growing fainter as they move away from me and closer as they approach me. If there are several ghosts in the room, I can hear their unique tones move in and out of one another. At times, my room feels like it’s in the middle of spiritual warfare.

Three weeks ago, I picked up one of the worst entities I’ve ever experienced at an investigation. I knew there were several dark entities present the moment I stepped onto the property. I should have turned around and walked away, but I didn’t want to ruin everyone else’s evening since I was the driver. We drove nearly two hours for a fundraising ghost event and everyone was excited to be there. For many of them, it was their first investigation. I put my energies behind keeping them protected.

When we first arrived, I gathered my group in a circle and said a prayer to Saint Michael the Arch Angel, asking for protection. We were respectful and left areas when we received a response of “Go away!” on the Spirit Box. One ghost in particular seemed to be following me throughout the evening. I could feel his distinct energy and hear a tone that was deeper in pitch that helped me identify him. We called him “The Bad Guy in the Basement.” He was grumpy and angry, answering our questions with roars, while getting so close to us we could feel the hairs rising on the backs of our necks. As it turns out, it wasn’t the Bad Guy in the Basement I should have been worried about. It was the Ancient One down the lane.

I didn’t encounter him until right before I left. I walked outside with another group to conduct a quick EVP session near an old lane. Jeff, the caretaker of the property and an old friend, told us there were several powerful entities lingering on the property. He felt they were ancient, possibly not even human. I never even felt it drift close to us.

Some of the older, more advanced entities can mask their appearance, making them not only invisible, but undetectable. It wasn’t until I got home later that I realized something had come home with me.

As I slipped into bed, weary from a long night and an equally long drive, I felt him come near. He didn’t make a sound like the others do. Instead, I felt a deep vibration rumble through me. I felt as though I were lying on a metal grate with a train roaring past me overhead. It was so strong, it made the bed rattle with the vibration. My cats took one look at me and fled the bedroom with pinned ears and arched backs. As the night progressed, I began feeling electric fingers grasp onto my head, pushing and pushing as though my head would explode. In my mind, I got a picture of a watermelon exploding and knew this was what he was trying to do to me, as well.

I felt the same dismay I always feel when this happens. Why me? I am a experienced student of paranormal protection. I’ve even written a book about it. I had protective stones in my pocket, a Saint Benedict’s medal around my neck, and had built a shield of energy around me that felt strong and sturdy. Still, he got through my defenses.

The last time I experienced one this strong was when I came in contact with the Soul Collector. Not having any viable resources at the time, I had to endure his wraith for several months before someone could pull him off of me before he could claim me as one of his own. This time things were different. I had Michael.

Michael Robishaw is a Shaman from Alexandria, Virginia. I met him at an investigation at the Haunted Victorian Mansion in Gardner, Massachusetts, several years ago and maintained a friendship. I didn’t realize he had amazing abilities until later when something followed me home and he offered to help me. He said he would send in his guides to pull the entity out of my space and he did.

The results were so outstanding, I wanted to praise his abilities, but he was hesitant to allow the information to become public knowledge. People would talk. They would roll their eyes, thinking he was nothing more than a snake oil salesman, pretending to have magical powers. Reluctantly, I kept the information to myself, but I still called on him when I needed him.

After spending an entire night riveted to my bed, afraid to even close my eyes, I contacted him the next morning. He promised to send his guides in that evening at 11pm. As the time grew near, I sat in my bed reading, hoping to experience the extermination of this entity. I wasn’t disappointed. At 11pm on the mark, I heard a high-pitched tone sweep into the room. Soon, it was joined by others. They swirled around my room like a chorus of angels, their tones so pure in pitch, they sounded like the ringing of bells, but the vibration of my bed continued.

Several hours later, I heard another tone come in. It was so loud, I nearly had to cover my ears. It almost sounded like lasers zapping through my room. The high-pitched sounds retreated to the edges of the room as though they were watching something so spectacular, they wanted a front row seat. The laser sounds continued for nearly an hour before the room grew silent and the bed stopped vibrating.

Gone was the feeling of someone lumbering over me, sending angry energy though every cell in my body. The room was silent. As a Clairaudient, the sound of silence is amazing. It meant there weren’t any ghosts in my room.

I followed up the next morning by lining my doorways and windowsills with sea salt and spraying Holy Water onto every wall and window. When Michael contacted me later in the day to deliver the news, I wasn’t surprised. He told me it was an Ancient One. He said it was so strong his guides couldn’t budge it so he called in Arch Angels Michael and Raphael to assist. They bound and banished it, sending it to a place where it could never bother another human soul.

As can be expected, I was curious about this. I told Michael that at times, I could feel electric fingers digging into my head as if it was trying to get inside of me or possibly make my head explode. Michael confirmed this.”He was trying to get inside of you. He had been weakened and was trying to draw enough energy from you to take you over. It’s a good thing you contacted me when you did,” he said.

I felt as though I had dodged a bullet. I was so thankful that Michael had been there to help me. After going through what I did with the Soul Collector, I wasn’t keen on experiencing another more powerful entity. While it might have made a great book, I wasn’t sure I could have survived this one.

I left shortly afterwards for a trip to Indiana. I had a nice visit with my friends and family over Thanksgiving, but was eager to get back home to get back to my life and my writing. I always break the sixteen-hour drive into two days, since I’m the only one driving. By the eighth hour of my first day’s drive, I was getting tired. My back was hurting from the confinement of the seat and my eyes were growing road weary. I had just started looking for a hotel to stop at when I felt something swoop into the car.

Great. I tried to gather my energy to push it away. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn’t. Stronger mediums are able to do this without batting an eye, but I can’t always get a good grasp on it, especially at the end of an eight-hour drive. By the time I finally found a hotel, I was beyond beat. I logged onto Facebook and saw I had a message from Michael. “You picked up a hitchhiker along your way,” he said. “But, I’ll have my guides pull it off of you later.”

At 11pm, I heard the high-pitch sound swoop into my room, pushing away the deeper rumble of the unknown entity. The spiritual battle continued long into the night and into the morning. By 3am, my room was quiet again. While Michael’s guides were able to handle this one without the aid of Arch Angels, they had a difficult time. Negotiations had been dismal. The entity refused to leave me. I saw him in my mind as a young man with sandy brown hair and a cocky sneer on his face. Wanting to confirm my visions, I asked Michael what he looked like and he confirmed it, down to the smirky sneer on his face. The battle wasn’t easy and the entity wouldn’t move on, so his guides had to bind and banish another one for me, sending him to a place where he couldn’t cause more havoc.

I’ve always wondered what the reason for my gift/curse was. Surely there was a deeper meaning for it or at least a purpose. After working with Michael over the years, I’ve began to wonder if this is it. Am I the beacon who calls them in so that Michael can attend to them? It seems like a pretty small mission, compared to all the meandering ghosts out there in the world. It will take us an eternity to move through all of them. I tucked the thought away in my mind, not having any clear answers, as usual.

I only had a few days of respite before the next ghost found me. Michael cautioned me to stop ghost hunting for a while and work on clearing my aura, so I did. I turned down several investigations in favor of sitting at home with my cats, watching TV and writing. I only left the house to shop for groceries and to teach my weekly Paranormal 101 class. I became aware of Ghost #3 as I was getting ready to retire for bed.

This one was different. I felt the energy immediately. I could hear an actual tone with her, identifying her as a female. Since the tone wasn’t pure and bell-like, it also identified her as an Earth-bound soul, someone who wanted help. I tried to talk to her, counselling her like I sometimes do to find the white light and cross over, but my words fell on deaf ears. She hovered over my bed all night, keeping me awake with her frantic energy.

Michael sent his guides in the next night and she was gone by 1am. When I contacted him the next morning, he told me she was a lost soul. She was frightened and confused. He couldn’t get much information from her, but he was able to cross her over into the light, bringing her where she needed, and wanted, to be.

For months now, Michael has been my secret weapon. I’ve wanted to talk about his amazing gift and how profoundly he has helped me, but he’s been hesitant to let the news get out. I was thrilled when he finally gave me permission.

In February of next year, I plan to travel down to Alexandria, Virginia. We are going to write a book together about his amazing experiences as a Shaman. If nothing else, I am excited to learn more about the things he’s seen. I’m also hoping he can help me figure out how to help myself.

In the meantime, I’m hoping to be unenrolled from the Ghost of the Week Club. But, if another ghost shows up, I am beyond relieved to know I have a savior to rescue me one more time.

Joni Mayhan

Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator, as well as a free-lance writer. Please check out her paranormal thrillers on Amazon.com and BarnesandNobles.com. For more information about the author, please see her website: Jonimayhan.com

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The Haunting of Slater Mill

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I love investigating historic locations, especially places that nearly vibrate with residual energy. The buildings at the Slater Mill campus in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, fall soundly in this category. The minute I stepped onto the five-acre property, I could feel the layers of history piled upon one another.

Built in 1793, Slater Mill was the brainchild of Englishman, Samuel Slater. At the age of 25, he immigrated to America and recreated the Arkwright system, which used a water-powered mill to spin cotton yarn, turning Slater Mill into the country’s first textile mill. President Andrew Jackson deemed him “The Father of American Industry.” The English call him Slater the Traitor for bringing their English ingenuity to America.

The evening’s events included a tour and ghost hunt of the three buildings on the property, led by Carl Johnson, with assistance from his brother Keith. Most people recognize the brothers from their years on the hit paranormal series Ghost Hunters. Others know them from their vast contribution to the paranormal field. While their presentation of the property’s history and hauntings was educational, their personable delivery made it even more intriguing.

10155900_10203924977064220_8327710243247541266_nSlater Mill

The Slater Mill building stands two stories tall, casting an ominous shadow on the raging Blackstone River behind it. Painted a sunny yellow, the architecture speaks volumes of colonial times, when purpose was more monumental than appearance, especially for a mill that was first of its kind in our country.

Stepping inside the building is like time traveling to another era. Thanks to the efforts of the Old Slater Mill Associate, which purchased, restored, and preserved the building back in 1921, the mill looks like it did in the 1800’s. It’s not a stretch of the imagination to visualize the machinery roaring to life and the room filling with workers bustling around the various machinery.

We started our tour in this building. Being a sensitive, I immediately detected several ghosts in the building. I felt them lingering at the edges of the room, casually watching us. It almost reminded me of going to the zoo, but in this instance, we were the captive occupants being observed, instead of the other way around. It made for an interesting experience.

As the group paused near the middle of the building, Carl plugged in a plasma ball, which produces a lightning-like current of electricity inside a plastic globe, to increase the energy in the room. He also turned on a black light, explaining that ghosts are often more visible in ultra-violet lighting. He then told us about the children who haunt the building.

Attitudes regarding child labor were far different in the1800’s than they are today. Children were expected to work, whether it was on the family farm or in a factory environment. When Slater Mill first opened, the primary employees compris10246772_10203925068306501_8809772713773532553_ned of entire families, including children as young as seven. They worked long hours, typically from dawn until dusk, for as little as a dollar a week in a hostile environment that was freezing during the winter and sweltering during the summer. While the machines were simple to use, accidents still happened and children were frequently injured, if not killed. The photo to the right was taken at Slater Mills during its heyday.

During our tour, one of the women asked if the little boy was still there. Apparently, she took a tour years ago and saw a small boy run across the second floor. He appeared as real as a live boy. She didn’t think much of it until she realized there weren’t any children on the tour. The staff searched for the illusive boy but never found him. Had she seen a ghost? It’s highly probable. The disembodied voices of children have been heard time and time again at the mill.

Carl asked if anyone would be willing to give the ghost child a hug. In the past, people who have entertained this gesture have felt the distinct sensation of a cold, tingling presence returning the hug. When no one volunteered, he asked if I would try it. I was happy to comply.

At first, I was focused on the people surrounding me, watching me foolishly hug the air, but as I relaxed, I began to feel something else. The air inside my arms grew cooler, and I began getting the sensation of pressure. I had my mouth open to tell them that I was indeed feeling something when someone put a K2 meter near me, which immediately began flashing. K2 meters record high electro-magnetic pulses, often signaling the presence of a ghost. Unfortunately for us, they can also triggered by smart phones or walkie-talkies. I’m normally diligent about turning off my phone prior to investigations, but had forgotten, resulting in the false positive response. By the time I turned my phone off, the moment was lost.

A man is often seen walking through the building as well, by both staff and visitors. People frequently witness him moving through the rooms. Could this be Samuel Slater, overseeing the property that bears his name? Or is it a worker who spent time at the mill? Theories abound, but no one is certain of his identification. It’s one of the mysteries that keep investigators returning to the mill. We spent a few minutes walking around the building before moving to the next building, the Wilkinson Mill.

10155822_10203924977464230_430008164393097845_nThe Wilkinson Mill

After the success of the Slater Mill, the Wilkinson Mill was added in 1810, increasing the factory’s production and improving upon the design. Built of stone to prevent fire, which plagued Slater Mill twice in its history, the Wilkinson Mill is an impressive presence on the banks of the Blackstone River. Substantially larger than its sister mill, the Wilkinson Mill looms over the river as a testament to the once prosperous industry that dominated the area.

The main floor contains a machine shop, stocked with many of the machines used during the era. We were treated to a tour of the basement, where the massive ten-ton waterwheel is located. The room is cavernous, with sounds echoing freely around the granite walls and water pool. Since stone and water are known to absorb energy, It wasn’t difficult to imagine the spirits drifting among us. The ghost of a small boy is often seen here, as well as a mysterious shadow person.DSCN3291

During the tour, Carl invited several people to experience the area at the base of the stone stairs, where the shadow person is often seen. I offered to accompany two groups. As I descended the stairs, I could feel a heaviness in the air. The young women who went with me also felt it, one of them claiming to see the shadow of a person. Using my digital recorder, I invited them to ask questions of the entity, but no responses were captured.

DSCN3223Sylvanus Brown House

If you stare at the windows of the Sylvanus Brown house long enough, you might find a small face in an upstairs window staring back at you. This happened to several observers years ago. Upon notification, the caretakers of the property searched the building, finding the door firmly locked and the building vacant.

Being the smallest building on the property, it was the also the most fascinating for my friend Sandy and me. We immediately felt the presence of several ghostly inhabitants. While we both felt there was a male and a female entity, Sandy also thought there was a female child in residence. Little did we know how accurate we were. Investigators over the years have determined that the property is haunted by a woman, a man, and a girl, reportedly named Becca.

The Brown House, which is the second oldest house in Pawtucket, was built in another area of town, but was relocated to its current location when the highway project threatened its existence. Since Samuel Slater was a guest at the Brown house during his first few days in Rhode Island, moving the house to the Slater Mill property was a logical choice.

The parlor room had a peaceful feeling to it, which is no surprise since it was a room typically used for happy events, like entertaining guests, celebrations, and weddings. Befitting the period, it was probably also used for funerals and wakes, lending it a slight sense of sorrow. After playing haunting music on a music box, to pull Becca into the room, Carl demonstrated the use of dowsing rods. Several of the guests experienced responses to their questions and were delighted with the results.

The evening quickly ended and the property was left to itself once more. As we drove away, I could almost imagine the ghosts drifting to the windows to watch us leave, entertained by our foolish endeavors.

While I didn’t experience any paranormal phenomena or capture any evidence on my audio recorder, I found the three-building location resonating with history as well as a sense of intrigue. I plan to return at some point and rent the facility for a private investigation to uncover more of the property’s hidden past.

Slater Mill offers museum tours, while also offering a gift shop and exhibition gallery space. The Jenks Educational Conference Center and rental hall provides rental space for corporate conferences, special events, and even weddings. The next Mills and Mysteries: A Ghostly Experience paranormal investigation/tour will be held May 17th. For more information, please visit their website at http://www.slatermill.org/

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(L-R) Joni Mayhan, Carl Johnson, Keith Johnson, Sandy MacLeod

 

Joni Mayhan

Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator, as well as a free-lance writer. Please check out her paranormal thrillers on Amazon.com and BarnesandNobles.com. For more information about the author, please see her website: Jonimayhan.com

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Can Pets See Ghosts?

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The dogs knew the house was haunted long before the owners did. Wendy and Nina, two tiny white Maltese dogs, would stand at the bottom of the grand staircase at the Victorian mansion and growl.

Edwin Gonazalez and Lillian Otero had purchased the gothic looking Second Empire Victorian mansion, also known as the S.K. Pierce House, months earlier and were eager to move into their beautiful home. Reports that it was haunted didn’t bother them, because they weren’t believers. This would change in a matter of months, but the dogs were one of the first indicators.

“They would wake up in the middle of the night, growling at the hallway, absolutely fixated on something I couldn’t see,” Edwin said. He’d open his eyes to scan the dark hallway, afraid of what he might find. On several occasions, he saw a black shadow mass move across the doorway, blocking out the lights in the hallway.

Can our pets actually see ghosts?

Christina Tregger Achilles, co-founder of New England Paranormal Observation Science Technology (NE POST), had a similar experience at the S.K. Pierce House with her dog Sierra, a tiny fawn-colored pug.

“Our friend Ben caught her on camera, reacting to things that were happening upstairs. She would be sleeping soundly, then would wake up and stare at the third floor stairs just before something would bang or bump,” she said after touring the mansion with co-founder, Chris Cox.

“She continues to sense things. I catch her watching something as if she’s watching a tennis match,” she added.

Are they seeing or hearing something we can’t? While there aren’t any hard facts to support the concept that dogs and cats can see ghosts, it has been documented that they do have much keener senses, making one wonder what they are capable of picking up on.

While it’s not proof, their vision is very different from ours. It is geared towards movement to assist them in hunting, also allowing them to see better in low light situations. Cats also have a better grasp on colors at the red end of the spectrum, allowing them to differentiate between blues and violets better than we can.

Also consider the use of full spectrum cameras on paranormal investigations. Researchers using these cameras, which photograph a broader array of the color spectrum than what can be seen with human eyes, often capture strange shapes and anomalies in the photos. Is this what our pets are seeing?

And they can also hear better than we can, lending more truth to the concept.

A dog can detect sounds that are well beyond the spectrum of human hearing. While humans typically hear sounds from 12Hz to 20,000 Hz, a dog can hear nearly four times greater, in the 40Hz to 60,000 Hz range. If you don’t believe this, just blow on a dog whistle or download an app for your smart phone and test it yourself.

When I tried this, I was dismayed to discover that I could only hear up to 12,000 Hz. But when I pressed the button at the 20,000 Hz range, every pet in my house sat up to look at me. Is it possible that spirit communication transpires in a frequency that is either above or below the range we can hear?

It has long been speculated that ghostly phenomena exists at a different plane of existence. Researchers collecting EVP’s (Electronic Voice Phenomena) will often record spirit responses on digital recorders that cannot be heard by human ears at the time they are recorded. A true EVP response will not be heard at the time the question is asked, but will be captured on a digital recorder, suggesting that spirit communication is conducted at a higher or lower range of the audible spectrum, something we as humans cannot hear, but our pets might be able to.

People have been reporting this occurrence for years.  Nick Mantello, co-founder of the Berkshire Paranormal team, is one of the caretakers for The Houghton Mansion. Located in North Adams, Massachusetts, the three-story mansion has been featured on many paranormal shows, such as the SciFi Channel’s Ghost Hunters, as well as the Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures. When he visits the mansion for routine visits, he often brings his dog Kronk with him.

Kronk often stares at the corner in the Masonic Temple, a building that is still used by Freemasons of the Layfayete-Greylock Lodge. Kronk often stares and then barks in areas of the mansion where paranormal activity has been captured. One of his least favorite areas is a corner of the Lodge in the Masonic Temple.

“I’ve told people this story about the corner of the Lodge. The dog just don’t like it,” he said. He captured Kronk’s reaction on the video link below.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151817479741042

The stories are endless. Sandra Chase, an avid paranormal enthusiast had an experience she recently shared with me. Her husband passed away in 2007. He was fond of playing computer games and would often pet their dog while he was playing.

“About three months after he passed, the dogs and I were in the living room. Rags was sleeping on the rug. All of a sudden, she got up and went over to the computer chair, put her head under the arm, and started wagging her tail,” she said.

Is this proof of paranormal activity?

Unfortunately it’s not, but it’s something pet owners will continue to pay attention to. Until dogs and cats are able to tell us what they’re seeing, we’ll always be left guessing. Some of us don’t need proof to understand what is happening.

“They just know,” Lillian Ortero said.

I have a tendency to agree with her.

Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator and the author of The Soul Collector, which is an account of her most terrifying paranormal experience.  Find this book and her others on Amazon.com