Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Museum of Mountain West prelim para investigation

The West is full of violent history -- a fair share of it paranormal -- and the Museum of the Mountain West is an active contributor to the phenomenon. The location contains two documented murders (one by lynching and one by gunshot) and two additional deaths (one by heart attack and one from a kick by a horse!) within various buildings on the premises. But that's not all. Read on.

Museum of the Mountain West
In anticipation of a full investigation scheduled right before Halloween, we visited this recreated frontier town just outside Montrose, CO, reconnoitering reported paranormal hot spots and collecting accounts of paranormal encounters by museum staff and visitors.

The site is home to multiple relocated historical buildings and over a half million artifacts and antiques. And if ever there was a case to be made for magical contagion, the  Museum of the Mountain West ranks near the top.

The museum is brain child to former Colorado state archaeologist Richard Fike, who has collected Old West memorabilia all his life. (For an interview with Fike and a non-paranormal video tour of the museum, see this TouristTrekker YouTube feature.) Founded in 2002, the museum focuses on restored buildings and objects from the 1880s to the 1930s, some artifacts even dating to the 1400s.

Museum curator Bob DeQuinze gave us a private tour of the paranormal side of things at the faux frontier town. (He also serves as the facility's wedding planner -- the museum offers weddings in a historic, relocated Lutheran church.)

Here are a few candidate hot spots for our upcoming investigation:

"Ghost" clock
The Saloon
Along one wall next to the billiard table, an antique clock sits atop an upright piano. But the clock has never worked -- except for the three days after a visitor died of a heart attack in front of the piano. The clock ran until her burial.

Bob also once saw an apparition walk past the saloon window one night after the facility was closed. He ran outside to look for a trespasser, but no one was there.

And investigators from our good friends at Hotchkiss Paranormal Investigators carried on intelligent conversations in the saloon by asking the light fixtures to blink on and off. (See archival videos of HPI's investigation of the museum here.)

The Dry Goods Store
Bob recounted that the Dry Goods Store one time developed an unsettling aroma near the display of antique clothing. Searches to identify the source of the smell proved fruitless, but when Bob and his wife were on a trip to the Denver area, they visited a psychic who told them the museum was displaying undergarments owned by a very proper Victorian woman who felt unhappy at having her private clothing publicly on view. The psychic told him the spirit had created the aroma to discourage visitors from invading her privacy. Once those garments were hidden, the odor disappeared. Bob also related one couple captured in real time as he observed a picture of the spirit, dressed in Victorian garb. (We had no such luck on the afternoon we were there.)

The 1895 Carriage House Works
Site of an early-day lynching
One hot spot of particular interest to us is the Carriage House Works. Richard Fike had this building moved to the site in the early 2000s, preserving and restoring the building to resemble its original design. In the early days, enraged townsfolk had lynched a Tabagauche Ute from the rafters of the building after he had mistreated a local prostitute. In that same buildng, another man died after a horse kicked him while unhitching a team. Modern-day restorers have installed electric illumination inside the Carriage Works, and these lights often come on in the middle of the night, which staff have to routinely return after hours to switch off.

And during their investigation, HPI captured a remarkable video on the second floor of this building, where an amorphous shape half emerges from an antique mirror (see the aforementioned link to HPI.)

 Definitely a building high on our own list when we visit for our own investigation!

Railroad Section House
Wraiths team member Egan had visited the museum on another occasion and told us to check out the Railroad Section House, where she had sensed an unfriendly energy near a certain antique lantern. (Egan has proven to be a bit of a "ghost magnate" on some of our earlier investigations, notably the one to Norwood. See that account here.)

When we received our paranormal tour, Bob pointed out the same lantern and recounted how another visitor had seen an apparition hovering near this lantern, an unfriendly sort who told him the lantern was his!

The "Empire" House
The Empire House
This recent addition to the museum is a home built in Empire architecture style and was site to a gun-related homicide. HPI had investigated this building before it was moved, and we'll be interested to see if the house brings with it any remnants of that former violence.

Certainly, many locations and objects on the premises seem to have retained some sense of magical contagion.

Bob pointed out spots where three different "lady ghosts" have manifested to visitors in various locations at the museum, as well as the recurring pull of a slot machine after hours.

Should prove an interesting investigation.

Why the delay until October for our own inquiry? Wraiths team members Mark and Chris will  offer an Honors course this fall at Western State Colorado University entitled "Are Ghosts Real?" It'll be a chance to train the next generation of ghost hunters in how to think critically and conduct careful investigations as they document and learn to conservatively interpret their findings. Plus, what a great way to spend the weekend before Halloween! (But more on this Wraiths course project in a later article.)

We're still having as much fun documenting current and ongoing investigations as we did conducting the investigations for our book, WILD WEST GHOSTS.

There are puzzling experiences and encounters aplenty out there, and you just may want to pick up a copy of that book for either armchair musings or else as a guide for your own expeditions into the fascinating world of the paranormal.

You can buy the book as either an e-read or a trade paperback. Visit our Website for links.

In the meantime, happy hunting!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Gunnison Arts Center Investigation

After hearing all the first-person accounts of paranormal activity at the Gunnison Arts Center (GAC), our on-site investigation did not disappoint.

IR of second-floor hallway, where a previous GAC
director chased a darting shadow figure one night.
(If you missed the report on the staff and volunteer accounts we collected, click here.)

Team Wraiths brought seven investigators to the building and broke into three teams to rotate through reported hotspots on all three levels: the storage basement (affectionately called "the crypt" by GAC staff  -- and not without good reason); the first-floor theater and art gallery; and the second-floor art galleries, staff offices, and dance studio.

We'll focus on hotspots where our separate teams each reported recurring anomalous activity.

The Basement "Crypt"
The Crypt
Everyone wanted to investigate this area, particularly after the recent report of a shadow figure. But Team A (Yvonne and Toni) went down first -- and got results with both K-II light-flicker responses and Mel-meter spikes from zero up to 4.7 mG when requesting communication.

But somebody -- or something -- didn't want them around: Yvonne (our guest team member from sister investigative group Hotchkiss Paranormal) asked if the presence there wanted them to leave and got a solid K-II response in the affirmative, twice!

When Team B (Chris and Doug) settled in with the Crypt inhabitant(s), they noticed the strongest activity centered in the vicinity of a small black table with three tiers of shelving at the bottom of the stairs. Chris obtained repeated results asking unseen presences to flicker specific colored lights at his request. See for yourself:

On-command light flickers using a K-II meter

By the time Team C (Kym, Mark, and Marisa) got to the basement, the party was over and the local inhabitants weren't talking. However, the absence of interactivity at this point served as a good control, suggesting the area wasn't always active -- which would have been suspicious. On the plus side, Team A later collected information that the black table was a donation from a house in town reputed to be haunted! (Wraiths will report on that location as a forthcoming, separate investigation.)

The First Floor
The theater stage on the first floor
But Team C had better luck getting responses on the theater stage and in particular in the public women's restroom on the first floor. Turns out there seems to be a vertical concentration of paranormal activity running through all three floors that includes the restroom -- a possible indication of a spirit portal in the building.

Using an EchoVox spirit box, Team C picked up several intriguing EVP in both first-floor locations, including a request for Mark to "Please stop talking!" Guess they thought it should be their turn.

But the strongest activity occurred in the women's restroom, where the spirit box wouldn't shut up:

Intelligent haunting EVP responses

Both Teams A and B also reported the most active responses on the first floor to experiments in the women's restroom, and both captured additional EVP, EMF spikes, on-command light flickers, and anomalous streaking lights.

The Second Floor
The Rock Room
The two strongest hotspots on the top level of the building centered in the Rock Room (so named because of its preserved, exposed rock-masonry inner walls) and the Dance Studio Foyer.

As reported in our previous article, the second floor of the building originally served as the "European Hotel" -- code for one of the town's early-day brothels. That might explain the EVP response we captured, assuring us that (early day) prostitution in the building only operated as "legal sex."

Equally intriguing were our findings in the Dance Foyer (as well as at certain other locales in the building), where we captured on both camcorder and full-spectrum camera a number of light anomalies that often coincided with our K-II communications:

Light anomalies captured during the investigation

The staff report the distinct feeling they're unwelcome after about 10 p.m., so we determined to spend time on the second floor during that "witching hour." But we never did feel any urging to vacate the building premises. In fact, we felt instead our investigation confirmed there's something going on in the Gunnison Arts Center that wants to be recognized. 

One of our most "haunting" findings was the EVP assertion there are hundreds of spirits in the basement (see the "Intelligent Hauntings EVP" vid clip above), perhaps referring to the possibility of a portal connecting seen and unseen worlds. And perhaps such goings-on reflect a combination of residual and intelligent hauntings that will always make this building an active paranormal site.
We're still having as much fun documenting current and ongoing investigations as we did conducting the investigations for our book, WILD WEST GHOSTS.

There are puzzling experiences and encounters aplenty out there, and you just may want to pick up a copy of that book for either armchair musings or else as a guide for your own expeditions into the fascinating world of the paranormal.

You can buy the book as either an e-read or a trade paperback. Visit our Website for links.

In the meantime, happy hunting!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Haunted History of the Gunnison Arts Center

The 134-year-old building housing the current Gunnison Arts Center has long held a reputation for unexplained occurrences. In anticipation of our investigation, we interviewed a dozen first-hand witnesses to the building's haunted history. According to the Arts Center current staff -- even the former skeptics on staff -- this place is haunted.

Following are highlights of what we learned:

 One woman related that, as a child, she and her little sister were playing in the basement in the early 1990s while the parents worked as volunteers building sets upstairs on the theater stage. The children repeatedly heard an unseen woman's voice in the room giggling at their antics. Only the parents were also in the building.

A community play director was in the basement in the 1990s where costumes were then stored and had the three lights (each with independent switches) all go off simultaneously. As she stumbled toward and reached for the light switch, she felt "a weird cold, thick air sensation" just as all the lights turned back on. No one else was downstairs at the time.
The basement "crypt"

In the early 2000s, a theater tech heard noises in the basement and went down to investigate. Although he saw no one, he had the distinct impression he wasn't alone and called out, "Who's here?" He received the clear reply of "Sheila." On another occasion while working in the theater, he heard running water and found the source in the nearby women's restroom. The faucets in all three sinks were flowing. He shut them off and returned to work, but heard the sound of water again. He found all three faucets running again.

An interim GAC director during the 2000s used the second-floor Rock Room as his office. One night around 10 p.m. while he caught up on paperwork, he caught a blur of motion pass the door, heading down the connecting east hall with the sound of running footsteps. The director gave chase, fearing an intruder in the locked-up building. He checked out the building but found no one.

On another occasion, that same director was copying documents in the basement -- once again late at night -- and heard the clopping of footsteps overhead. He went up stairs but found no one. When he returned to finish making copies, once again he heard clopping footsteps overhead.

Where's the "party"?
Oh, in the Gallery!
While closing up in the evening, one staffer stood at the first-floor front door and reported hearing the distinctive sound of footsteps coming from the second floor. That same staffer recently went down into the basement (which current staff have dubbed "the crypt") and immediately saw a "slight, short" shadow with the clear outline of head and shoulders dart out the far end of the room and through the entrance into the crypt.

Multiple staffers and volunteers have reported hearing the noises and voices of a party going on in the first-floor gallery -- when no such activities were occurring.

Rock Room door
The current Director of Operations has her office on the second floor. She recently passed by a second-floor gallery, only to have it fling wide open. And this past February while she worked late, the eye-hook latch closing the door connecting to the adjacent Rock Room snapped open and the door swung open 180 degrees. [Wraiths note: The eye-hook latch is stubborn to open -- we tried it ourselves.] She left immediately but returned an hour later to turn off the radiator heater in her office, and she smelled the distinctive aroma of freshly lit pipe tobacco in the Rock Room. Many staffers have smelled that same aroma intermittently through the years and during varying seasons as well as at varying times of day in both the Rock Room and on the first-floor theater stage.

The security motion detectors in the building go off frequently at night and the service elevator changes floors without hitting the call button. Different inspectors have checked out both the detectors and the elevator but found them in perfect working order. They have no explanation for this anomalous behavior. Nor can anyone explain the regular occurrence of various lights going on and off throughout the building, which has gone through thorough renovations in recent years.

Neither do two staffers have an explanation for the recent appearance on the second floor of a "chalky, crumbly" white powder sprinkled on furniture and tracking along one hallway. The staffers had crossed that area only five minutes before and only found the disturbance on their return.

All the staffers report separately that they feel something or someone wants them to leave the premises after ten o'clock at night. "It's just a feeling that we're no longer welcome that late," the director told us.

The next article will share our own investigative findings, with video clips documenting the Wraiths team experiences. Is the building haunted? Uh, yeah!

[Update, 4-21-2016: We've already started posting clips from the investigation on our YouTube channel. Click here for a preview of some of our startling findings.]

We're still having as much fun documenting current and ongoing investigations as we did conducting the investigations for our book, WILD WEST GHOSTS.

There are puzzling experiences and encounters aplenty out there, and you just may want to pick up a copy of that book for either armchair musings or else as a guide for your own expeditions into the fascinating world of the paranormal.

You can buy the book as either an e-read or a trade paperback. Visit our Website for links.

In the meantime, happy hunting!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Our follow-up lockdown in Taylor Hall, Pt 2

We knew that Taylor Hall Auditorium was haunted -- too many first-person accounts of paranormal activity to be otherwise.

Central Hall of Taylor
(the Auditorium is
right up those steps!)
But our prelim sweep of the building a few months back confirmed we had to find out more. And that's why we invited Hotchkiss Paranormal Investigators (HPI) to join us -- more boots on the ground and more para tech to document what was going on.

(This is the second of a two-part account of our overnight lockdown investigation inside Taylor Hall. To read the first half of this  investigation, click here. And if you want to know more about the building's haunted history and the earlier interviews we collected of witness sightings and experiences, click here. To check out HPI's separate account and vids of this current lockdown investigation, see the HPI Facebook page.)

Team Wraiths and Team HPI broke into three commingled teams, giving each team the opportunity to rotate and spend an hour at each of the three paranormal hot spots we had identified during our prelim investigation. By the time we all compared notes at the end of the night, everyone walked away convinced the Auditorium was the (haunted) heart of Taylor Hall.

The Taylor Auditorium Investigation
The first team in the Auditorium encountered a shadow figure even before they could set up. (See the earlier prelim account for stories involving earlier sightings of a shadow figure in the Auditorium.) It appeared near the south stairs leading onto the main stage. And they soon saw a second figure, this time near the north steps leading to the stage. Chris from Wraiths captured on film a bluish orb near the location of the (second?) shadow figure. The team also noted two unconfirmed cold spots in the north backstage wings but concluded these might be the result of uneven heat distribution in this large space.

The second team, arriving an hour later, began setting up recorders and mapping the Auditorium with thermal imagers. That's when they heard scuffing steps (like the sound made on carpet) that traveled behind the curtains at one end of the proscenium stage. Team members found the carpet, but nothing or no one else. They then heard footsteps at the other end on the wooden part of the stage. The rest of the team was accounted for at the time. Who was this" The team requested some form of communication and next heard sequential rapping on a series of metal-backed theater seats.

When the team went to investigate, they saw a shadow figure standing almost front-row-center below the stage. The figure ducked and scrambled back toward the north aisle. Team members raced down the aisle to meet it, but by the time they arrived adjacent to the row, the figure had disappeared.

By then, their camera started malfunctioning anyway. (It worked perfectly as soon as they left the Auditorium, of course!)

The third team conducted the final phase in the theater space and set up a full-spectrum camera pointed in the vicinity of the earlier rapping noises from the auditorium seats. The following video clip captures anomalous light sources in that vicinity.

Anomalous Auditorium Lights

While it's possible that these lights are environmental contaminants lit by infrared lighting, their anomalous presence is consistent with the location of the observations made by the previous team. This vid footage is inconclusive, but interesting as a correlating finding.

Although two consecutive teams separately witnessed one (or more?) shadow figures in the theater space, it seems this entity or entities weren't willing to pose for close-ups. But the multiple sightings during the investigation, together with the orb-capture, vid lights capture, and anomalous sounds -- all occurring in the same portion of the theater -- seem to add collaborative weight that something is, indeed, going on in the Auditorium.

When we packed up our gear around 3 a.m., one HPI team member, who is a sensitive, said she felt a presence escorting us down the hallway as we headed for the exit.

Both the Wraiths and HPI teams were ready to get some sleep, but no one felt like the time had been wasted in Taylor Hall that night.

Be sure to check out our new Facebook page,, for updates on our ongoing investigations.

* * *
We're still having as much fun documenting current and ongoing investigations as we did conducting the investigations for our book, WILD WEST GHOSTS.

There are puzzling experiences and encounters aplenty out there, and you just may want to pick up a copy of that book for either armchair musings or else as a guide for your own expeditions into the fascinating world of the paranormal.

You can buy the book as either an e-read or a trade paperback. Visit our Website for links.

In the meantime, happy hunting!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

A follow-up lockdown investigation in Taylor Hall, Pt 1

After our prelim investigation of Taylor Hall back in December 2015, we decided to return for a full-blown overnight lockdown -- this time collaborating with the folks at Hotchkiss Paranormal Investigators (HPI) so we had enough boots on the ground (and high-tech equipment) to do it right.

Taylor Hall
(If you want to read about the building's haunted history and the earlier interviews we collected of witness sightings and experiences, click here. To check out HPI's separate accounts and vids of this lockdown investigation, see the HPI Facebook page.)

Our eight combined investigators -- four from HPI and four from Wraiths -- broke into three commingled teams that rotated sequentially through the three sites we identified as most promising during the prelim investigation:

  • The second-floor main entry hallway in front of the Auditorium, site of multiple reports of shadow figures
  • The Auditorium itself, site of even more shadow reports, plus unexplained electrical and sound disturbances
  • A second-floor faculty office, site of repeated, presumed poltergeist activity
The beauty of the current investigation was that each of the three sites got the full attention of three consecutive teams for an hour each. And then we met up to debrief and compare notes. And notes aplenty did we have to share. Read on!

The second-floor main entry hallway
The first team, consisting of Mark & Doug  from Wraiths and Hector from HPI, began in the entryway hall in front of the Auditorium theater. That hallway has been the site of witnessed full-bodied apparitions on several previous occasions.

The hallway investigation illuminated by infrared lighting.
The team decided to conduct an EVP session using Wraiths' EchoVox spirit box. During our earlier prelim investigation, we had received several EVP identifying the name of "Em" (M?) -- the only place we'd encountered this persistent and repeated reference -- so we determined to see if we could reestablish communication.

Almost immediately, "Em" announced herself and then gave us new information -- multiple tragic mentions of the word "rape" followed by Em's name. We asked for more information and the voice of Em said, "I'll try." Another voice told us Em was "Thea's friend" and that second voice seemed to tell her, "Don't cry."  Watch the following vid for that thread of conversation:

Taylor Hall EVP conversation

Shortly after the EchoVox session, Hector captured on camera the fleeting appearance of a mist that  manifested just outside the Auditorium doors (see HPI's Facebook page), where a late-night facilities worker had previously reported witnessing a full-bodied apparition. Hector also reported smelling the aroma of something resembling the menthol of muscle rubbing cream in that area.

When the second team (Tessa from Wraiths and DJ from HPI) conducted their subsequent investigation in the entryway, both also detected an intermittent aroma of what they described as a sort of aftershave. (All teams members refrained from wearing any fragrance for the investigation.)

But perhaps their most intriguing finding came when using their SB-7 spirit box, which produced the clear name of "Malcolm."  

The second-floor faculty office
The above SB-7 recording became significant because Chris (Wraiths), Chris (HPI), and Yvonne (HPI) were in the faculty office where recurring poltergeist activity of an electrical nature (see our prelim account) had taken place over the previous six months. Of particular interest to us was an antique electroshock box sitting on top of a bookshelf in that office.

The team placed a KII meter on top of the box in an attempt at communication. (A KII meter lights a series of colored lights in progression as the unit senses increasing levels of elecromagnetic field charge -- such field a commonly reported phenomena when paranormal activity is involved).

Investigators asked any paranormal presence in the office to illuminate a yellow light for "No" or an orange light for "Yes."  Eventually, the team began getting responses to their questions, and determined the presence wanted them to leave.

The team proposed they would leave the office if the spirit gave its name on the SB-7 spirit box currently being used outside the office by DJ and Tessa, near the Auditorium entryway. At that moment, Tessa and DJ heard a male voice announce on the SJ-7 the name "Malcolm."

Location of intermittent aroma
The two teams switched investigative locations, with DJ and Tessa entering the faculty office while Chris, Chris, and Yvonne moved to the Auditorium entryway (and who later also confirmed detecting the intermittent aroma of aftershave at the previously mentioned hallway location.)

DJ and Tessa continued their interview with "Malcolm." (Both teams listened to the voice of Malcolm and the subsequent male voice in the office, and all agreed that the two voices seemed to match.) DJ placed the SB-7 directly on top of the electroshock box.

The ensuing conversation was remarkable, with investigators learning that Malcolm was attached to the antique box, had died at the age of 25, and that he would now have been in his early 90s. (A subsequent interview with the faculty member who had inherited the antique from an uncle revealed that the device was indeed in use in an asylum in Upstate New York around 1950, which would match the time-frame reported by the SB-7 voice.)

The antique electroshock box
DJ asked Malcolm if he could tell them how many spirits were in Taylor Hall. No response. But when he asked if there were too many to count, the voice immediately said, "Yes." (The building is constructed on bedrock, with a flow of subterranean water underneath. Such a geological feature is believed to facilitate the passage of spirits from one dimension to another -- i.e., a portal.)

Malcolm then clammed up and would answer no more questions until DJ asked if the spirit wanted them to leave, which provoked the immediate response of "Please, please leave" -- twice! So they did.

When Mark, Doug, and Hector next rotated into the office, Malcolm wasn't talking. But the full batteries of HPI's second -- and up until then, unused -- SB-7 drained in less than 60 seconds in that office. A clear enough signal that Malcolm had had enough of everyone's company.

[Update: On 3-23-2016, Wraiths revisited this faculty office and conducted an additional session by placing our EchoVox spirit box on top of the electroshock box and captured the following EVP:

Eletroschock Box EVP captures

What intrigues us most is that this box has been moved 2,000 miles and hasn't been used since the 1950s. Does that mean that objects can retain both intelligent and residual hauntings even when displaced in space and time? Food for thought...]

Click here to continue to Part 2, where we describe what happened in the Auditorium -- the most haunted location in the building. And be sure to check out our new Facebook page (, dedicated entirely to our on-going investigations.

In the meantime, also be sure to check out Hotchkiss Paranormal's Facebook page for additional video and audio clips from this investigation.

* * *
We're still having as much fun documenting current and ongoing investigations as we did conducting the investigations over the past year and a half for our book, WILD WEST GHOSTS.

There are puzzling experiences and encounters aplenty out there, and you just may want to pick up a copy of that book for either armchair musings or else as a guide for your own expeditions into the fascinating world of the paranormal.

You can buy the book as either an e-read or a trade paperback. Visit our Website for links.

In the meantime, happy hunting!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Haunted Taylor Hall, Part 2

The 114-year-old Taylor Hall on the campus of Western State Colorado University in Gunnison, Colo., has a multi-generational tradition of paranormal goings-on.

(If you missed Part 1 of this investigation, click here.)

Taylor Hall in 1937
But perhaps the most persistent accounts center around Taylor Auditorium, which occupies much of the space inside Central Hall -- the final center addition to the three-part Taylor complex, completed in the 1930s.

That Auditorium can house over 800 attendees and has a full stage with a thrust proscenium. and a warren of passageways and connected rooms.

Our collected interviews uncovered recurring reports of shadow figures and mischievous pranks both in the larger auditorium and backstage.

Looking into Auditorium's vaulted
spaces 50 feet up, near catwalk
We collected one story about a janitor who, in the early days of theater operation, had fallen to his death from the catwalk, housed some 50 or 60 feet above the main stage. So far, we haven't been able to confirm this story, but it may explain some of the activity staff and students related.

One alum shared with us an event from the early 2000s, when she and two other students were painting sets on stage after midnight. They saw a shadow figure pass across the light booth window (no one else was in the building) and then the lights flickered off. At the same time, they both felt a sudden drop in temperature as though someone had opened all the outside doors. They decided it was time to leave -- and watched as the main doors opened for them. When they darted out, the door slammed shut behind them.

Another account we collected was from a long-time theater prof who told us he was working late one night in his nearby office and heard a racket in the theater. Like the previous account, he was alone in the building at the time -- or so he thought. He found the main corridor theater doors locked but opened them anyway and went in to find all the stage lights inexplicably on. He checked the small locked light booth and found it empty, and then entered the main Auditorium again to call out if anyone was there. At that moment, all the lights went out (which could only be performed from the "empty" light booth.)

We couldn't wait to explore the Auditorium for ourselves.

Auditorium from center stage, light
& sound booth beyond seating
While Wraiths team members Kym and Chris explored the main stage and theater seating, taking EMF readings and a series of pics, the rest of the group headed backstage beneath the catwalk to conduct both audio-only and ghost box EVP sessions.

Chris captured on camera several orb-like anomalies near the north wall of the theater seating, and then the two joined the rest of the team for the EVP sessions. Although we recorded nothing through the digital recorder, we did manage to record what seemed like intelligent responses with our ghost box.

That recording yielded several Class A EVP (words and phrases clear to everyone) as well as Class B (not everyone agreed) and Class C (sounded like words but little agreement on interpretation):

EVP in the Auditorium by ghost box

When we asked for the names of those with us, early on we got "Pearl" and "Tom" (this latter name twice, once as a whisper). And both names also occurred later in the session. Listen for "Pearl" again during the Burst Mode.

Other seemingly intelligent responses came when Elizabyth asked if anyone had a message ("Best not"), when Kym asked for how many joined us ("Three" repeated twice in succession), and when Chris asked for the date ("May 10" -- which it wasn't for us but might have been significant for the voice that replied). Listen also for the response to Mark's question about why they remain there ("For help") and a Class A EVP from the Burst of "Don't be terrified." We weren't -- but then, the message might have been for another unseen presence.

We next moved to the costume shop below the main Auditorium, where cast and crew have reported tapping noises from an old electric typewriter stashed in the hallway next to the shop. (Before the investigation, Wraiths team member Doug had placed a sheet of paper in the typewriter even though the machine was unplugged and the ribbon didn't work.) We checked the machine during the investigation for elevated EMF -- and for typed words -- but no joy in either case.

We conducted an EVP session in the costume shop and captured EMF spikes as we recorded an exchange between two voices that seemed largely oblivious to our presence (except for one early mention of "Hey, Kym" -- EVP often acknowledge her!) That exchange was brief:
           MALE VOICE: What's up?
           FEMALE VOICE: Zach?
           MALE VOICE: Yes, ma'am. Zach.

When Mark later asked the names of spirits present, a different male voice clearly said, "Zach."

Our final stop was in the Taylor South Hall, where a faculty member had given us permission to investigate his office. The prof's room was situated in a suite of faculty offices, and on more than one occasion, he had heard commotion in two unoccupied empty offices directly across the hall when he worked after hours.

Only three days before our current investigation, he had been working at his desk and noticed his analog watch's minute hand had began to spin around the face. Almost immediately, a book firmly lying on the desk toppled off the edge to the floor. These events occurred later on the same afternoon Wraiths team members Mark and Doug had conducted a preliminary sweep of the building, taking readings and announcing to any unseen presences that we'd return in a few days.

In that prof's office, we conducted an EVP session via ghost box and captured a response of "Five" to the number of spirits present and, once again, the announcement that "Em" was there. (See our previous account of the session in the Taylor Hall main corridor, where "Em" spoke to us several times.)

To Mark's query of why they were there, we recorded responses of "Ask, we can help." When Kym asked if the spirits present were okay with that particular prof sharing their space, the answer was immediate: "We shall see." We all remarked on the grammatically correct modal verb of "shall" for first person rather than the more common "will" these days. A response from an earlier, more proper era? Perhaps just a spirit mindful of the halls of higher learning.

[We'll soon insert a portion of that EVP session in the office, once we've had the opportunity to refine the raw audio file. Check back!]

When we'd first entered the office for the investigation, we noticed an antique wooden cabinet that was once an electroshock unit. The device sat adjacent to the toppled book event reported above, and we wondered if it might be related to possible poltergeist activity in that and the nearby offices.

We couldn't help but muse that perhaps not just the walls but even the furnishings *do* sometimes "talk."

The Taylor Hall investigation was a success, in our opinion, and we plan to revisit to see what further evidence we can gather at a future date.

* * *
Our next posting will recount our recent adventure in an isolated rural 1880s ranch house, which current owners had asked us to investigate. Seemed that unhappy spirits had driven off previous tenants and the new owners wanted to make peace with the long-term "caretakers." We were joined by a psychic, and boy, was that place ever haunted!

* * *
We're still having as much fun documenting current and ongoing investigations as we did conducting the investigations over the past year and a half for our book, WILD WEST GHOSTS.

There are puzzling experiences and encounters aplenty out there, and you just may want to pick up a copy of that book for either armchair musings or else as a guide for your own expeditions into the fascinating world of the paranormal.

You can buy the book as either an e-read or a trade paperback. Visit our Website for links.

In the meantime, happy hunting!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Haunted Taylor Hall, Part I

Old buildings seem ripe for paranormal investigation, and several of the structures on the campus of Western State Colorado University in Gunnison have legends and stories to support that hunch. Some structures even have recurring sightings and unexplained activity that sustain the ghostly traditions of this 114-year-old institution right up to the present.

Taylor Hall in 1911
Take the original Taylor Hall, built in 1911 as a preparatory college for teachers, a so-called Normal School.

But the goings-on in this facility can be anything but normal, to talk to alums, current students, faculty, and facilities staff.

Savage Library's West Wing
Western State has recurring reports of hauntings in at least four campus buildings. Generations of students continue to report sightings on the third floor of Roubidoux Hall of the ghost of a man who died of smoke inhalation in the 1970s. Some students say they’ve seen his apparition at their bedside at night.

Nearby Ute Hall harbors accounts of a shadow figure in the basement known to pass through the wall of an off-limits storage and boiler room, harmless if a bit unnerving to those who’ve witnessed the apparition.

Staff and students have reported additional paranormal activity in Savage Library inside the oldest and original building, now called the West Wing, designed by Denver architect Temple Buell as a WPA project during the Depression Era.

Taylor's North, Central, & South Halls in 1937
By the time the original Taylor Hall had become North Hall (so delineated because of the chronological additions of South Hall and the connecting Central Hall), campus residents had noted  accumulating paranormal happenings aplenty -- full-bodied apparitions on the second floor of North Hall, ghostly voices and moving objects in South Hall, and shadow people playing havoc with the lighting inside the auditorium in Central Hall.

We had to find out for ourselves what all the paranormal fuss was about.

With so much ground to cover for even a preliminary investigation, we called in the full complement of our six-member team, consisting of the two of us (Kym-n-Mark), plus Chris, Elizabyth, Douglas, and Doug. Hey, it gave us more more boots on the ground -- not to mention more eyes to cover everyone's back.

West Wing Interior
First stop, Savage Library's West Wing. We visited during the building's rare closed hours, assisted by a longtime librarian who pointed us to alleged hot spots. With his help, we debunked a  number of reports, determining reported tapping sounds were caused by the expansion and contraction of heat flow in the building's vast array of ventilation shafts, which produced sounds that sounded like wall rapping at intermittent intervals. We also determined unexpected toilet bowl flushes in the bathrooms were triggered by quirky motion sensors.

Undaunted, we recorded EMF readings. (For readers who haven't followed our earlier accounts, EMF stands for Electromagnetic Field, and ghosts are said to draw on this energy to manifest their presence.)  Not surprisingly, we recorded EMF spikes near all the mechanicals and electrical hardware equipping even this oldest portion of the library, but natural causes explained all our readings.

Our audio-only digital recordings produced no EVP. (EVP stands for Electronic Voice Phenomena, or disembodied voices captured by electronic means). Nor did our flashlight and ghost box sessions produce results in the building. Despite staff reports to the contrary, we found nothing amiss or remotely paranormal during our investigation.

Then again, sometimes ghosts just don't come out to play!

A late-night tech saw a full-bodied
apparition at the end of this hall.
We moved our investigation to Taylor Hall during closed hours for that building as well. We decided to start on the second-floor where a late-night-working tech saw a full-bodied apparition standing in the North Hall main corridor, a figure that had disappeared moments later. (During an earlier interview, she confessed she's refused to work in the building alone late at night ever since.)

We set up our equipment, started recording baseline EMF readings, and conducted both audio-only and ghost box sessions, including an invitation to communicate with us using our flashlight. (Click here if you're unfamiliar with ghost box tech and want to learn more.)

Although we captured no audio-only EVP during this session, we had much better luck with the ghost box and, concurrent with the EVP, recorded corresponding spikes in EMF readings at this location.

Ghost Box EVP captured in the North Hall corridor

Many investigators classify hauntings as either residual and intelligent. Residual hauntings play out scenes or verbal exchanges that seem oblivious to the presence of witnesses. Intelligent hauntings include communication that recognizes and interacts with the presence of others. The excerpt from our investigation included above falls into the second category.

We expected a male voice from the ghost box because most apparition-sighting witnesses report seeing a male ghost, but the ghost box first captured two women's voices followed by a man's. The immediate greetings we captured during the session let us know we were welcome, nonetheless. And all electronically vocal entities seemed talkative and receptive to our efforts to communicate with them. 

We've yet to track down any meaningful correlations to the names "Em" (Emily?), "Coffey" (a last name?), and "Anne," but we were pleased to confirm recognition of two of our attending team members, a confirmation that our unseen hosts were aware of the team's presence at that time.

One response was a plea for help, which dismays us a bit. Often we don't fully understand all the responses we captured. Maybe we can do more during a subsequent follow-up investigation.

But the current investigation wasn't over. We had hot spots to check out in the Central Hall auditorium and one South Hall office, where a faculty member had experienced possible poltergeist activity only a few days earlier.

Click here to continue on to Part 2.

* * *
We're still having as much fun documenting current and ongoing investigations as we did conducting the investigations over the past year and a half for our book, WILD WEST GHOSTS.

There are puzzling experiences and encounters aplenty out there, and you just may want to pick up a copy of that book for either armchair musings or else as a guide for your own expeditions into the fascinating world of the paranormal.

You can buy the book as either an e-read or a trade paperback. Visit our Website for links.

In the meantime, happy hunting!