Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Investigating with #ZakBagans at the Museum of the Mountain West

With at least six reported violent deaths in the various buildings on the premises, it's no wonder the Museum of the Mountain West (MMW) in Montrose, Colo., is one of the most haunted locations we've investigated.

Mark, Zak, and Kym
So it's little surprise it would draw the attention of the Travel Channel's most popular and continuously long-running reality ghosthunting show, #GhostAdventures, hosted by an investigator who could only be described as ghosthunting's most famous celebrity, #ZakBagans.

But we never anticipated we'd get to meet him -- let alone have an opportunity to investigate alongside him!

But we did both.

How did this happen?
Having the Ghost Adventures team focus on this faux frontier town one mile east of Montrose was not a matter of good fortune: MMW curator Bob DeQuinze and Hotchkiss Paranormal Investigators' (HPI) founder Hector Zeferino had courted execs at the Travel Channel for three years to make the visit a reality. (It didn't hurt that Hector had also conducted investigations at two other sites previously investigated by Ghost Adventures and had consulted with Zak about what to expect. We had the good fortune as well of teaming up with HPI for one of these investigations.)

By the time the Travel Channel and Ghost Adventures decided to visit the museum, our own team, Wild West Ghosts, had already conducted three investigations at the site as well, one as a joint initiative with HPI. We had our own findings and multiple documented encounters (see these links: MMW Investigation Part I and Part II) that became part of the television series' research into whether or not the museum was worth their time.

And then they invited us to be part of their on-site preliminary investigation.

Our small part
 Zak turned out to be a regular guy -- ya never know if fame will change someone's personality. But we found him friendly, a bit mischievous, and actually on the shy side. He interviewed Mark on camera about his ghosthunting class at the university (Mark's day job), the class that had participated during one of our earlier investigations. And then he offered a chance to help conduct a preliminary investigation inside the Carriage Works building at the museum.

Naturally, it was around midnight!

For those who follow our accounts, you may recall that the Carriage Works has a dark history that includes a vigilante lynching and a man kicked to death by a horse, plus a fair amount of current paranormal activity.

Zak invited us to conduct a prelim investigation in that building prior to their own team's lock-down. We hadn't placed such an opportunity on our bucket list but quickly penciled it in, so we could check it off.

After spending some time on the floor level inside the old livery building, we steered him to the stairs leading to the second floor. We'd previously obtained some intriguing responses by both KII and spirit boxes on the stair landing, so we suggested he give that area a try with his digital audio recorder.

When we encountered a cold spot on the landing, Zak called for one of the team's Mel meters, and we spent several minutes while Zak asked for interaction with whatever inhabited that area. At the point where we started to ascend the flight of stairs just above the landing, we all felt a tingling in front of us that seemed to pass through us, and Zak asked if someone (unseen, of course) was there.

Eventually, we climbed the steps up to the second level and stopped to see if we'd captured anything on the digital audio recorder. Reviewing the audio for the period of time we spent just above the landing, we listened to Zak's question asking if anyone was there, and the recorder immediately captured a clear EVP that responded, "Behind you." In other words, the landing directly behind us.

At that moment, Zak became dizzy and decided to go outside. After about ten minutes, he hadn't come back, so we returned to the first level and out the main doors, where we found Zak sitting on a bench, head in hands. He looked up and asked if we had felt anything strange while we were listening to the recording. Truth be told, guess the excitement of conducting an investigation with THE Zak Bagans made us giddy, but not dizzy, and we had to confess that we hadn't felt anything.

Later, when just the GA team returned to the Carriage Works, something more did happen and team captured a shadow figure on camera on the second floor. (See the episode for that documentation.)

Alas, it was a GA-team-only lock-down for that investigation, and we all had to wait for the airing of the episode to find out what happened to them.

Still, we did get a selfie with Zak that night, and a check-off on our bucket list. Plus they took a copy of our book and are considering some of the locales we include in our book for future investigations!


Watch the episode online at http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x68uhuv.

Wild West Ghost Paranormal Investigators (that's us!) returned to the museum for an encore investigation the weekend before Halloween, armed with info the GA team shared with us about their findings not only in the Carriage Works, but also in the Empire House (the so-called Murder House) and Saloon. (Details to follow in the next post.)

***
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.

Until next time, happy hauntings and Happy Halloween!






Sunday, April 23, 2017

Investigation: Old Bank Building, Fruita, CO

In mid-April, we had the opportunity to investigate the Old Bank Building in downtown Fruita, Colo., at the invitation of the Lithic Gallery and Bookstore, which occupies half the second floor.

Old Bank Building today
Bookstore owners Danny Rosen and Kyle Harvey sponsored a presentation about our book on haunted hotels and also invited the public to observe our investigation of the premises following the reading. About a dozen stayed on and participated.

Fortunately, we'd invited our good friends at Hotchkiss Paranormal Investigators (HPI) to join us, so we were able to divide the observers into two groups.

We also had on our own team an additional seasoned guest investigator from the area, Deb Anderson. Were we ever glad she agreed to help out! Read on.

History of the Building
Postmaster Frederick S. Bruner in 1914
Courtesy of the Lower Valley Heritage Chapter, via Steve and Denise Hight, we learned that the building was erected in 1904. According to Steve and Denise, "It was designed as a business block, meaning it had three suites with their own entrances on [the ground floor], and some upstairs suites with one common entrance on South Park Square. 

"The Odd Fellows Lodge was upstairs for many years, and they shared their space with the Freemasons. The Bell Telephone switchboard was also upstairs for many years. Earlier tenants downstairs included the Fruita Post Office."

In 1905, robbers broke into the building, and dynamited the safe in the Fruita Mercantile Company downstairs. and then tried to dynamite the bank safe, Steve and Denise reported. A telephone operator in the building heard the uproar and contacted the police, but the culprits fled before getting into the safe. They were never caught.

The Investigation
Post Office in 1913
Our inquiries produced only one account of paranormal activity in the building, but it's an intriguing one. Juanita Marie Freeland writes, "My mom would always see an older lady go through our fridge and disappear. My dad moved the fridge one day and there was a small room behind a door. We would also hear a noise coming from upstairs that sounded like someone dragging something very heavy. This always happened at 3 a.m. Nobody lived directly above us. Our place was set up kind of weird and we had bars on some of our windows. This was in 1979-1981."

Her home would have been on the first floor, southeast corner of the building -- the former location of the Fruita Post Office (shown above as it looked in 1913). The dragging sounds coming from the second floor would have occurred in space now occupied by the Lithic Gallery.


Deb Anderson with sidekick "Oscar"
This account came to us after our investigation, alas. And since the location referenced in the above account is occupied by a current business, we didn't attempt to gain permission to investigate that area of the building. 

In the portions of the structure available to us (and that constituted some 5,000 square feet in six occupied and unoccupied office spaces), we didn't pick up any unexplained activity on our instruments through most of the evening. But then, at one point, Mark asked if any unseen presence could identify members of our team. The immediate responses were "Deb, "Debra," and "Debbie,"  two with a male voice and one time with a female voice. 

Deb announced she thought she heard the voice of her dead brother coming through. 

A walk-in to the investigation?

(Actually, it's not that uncommon to pick up voices that have some sort of a connection with those present during an investigation, whether or not they're connected to the premises where that  investigation occurs).

We invited Deb to take over the conversation. Below is the exchange that took place. (The stick figure you'll see on the video is our Kinect infrared camera mapping one of the other investigators -- not an entity!):


Deb's EVP conversation with deceased relatives

In the above exchange, the ghost box repeats the name, "Bub," which Deb later told us was her deceased brother's nickname. On a previous occasion, she told us she had heard him say, "Hi, Deb," but that came through only once using her own ghost box. This time we also heard someone call her "Debbie," which is what her mother called her before she died.

When Deb shared the above video clip a few days later with her two nieces (Bub's daughters), they both confirmed that the male voice sounded like their dad.

During our session using the EchoVox in the Old Bank Building, Deb was also able to successfully use our K-II electromagnetic (EMF) meter to elicit on-command responses using lights on the K-II that correspond to increased EMF. (Most paranormal investigators report that EMF disturbances accompany paranormal activity, and that's been our own experience as well.)

It's so nice when multiple instruments reinforce one another during our experiments!

After the Deb's exchange using the EchoVox and K-II, one of our observers asked if we ever got responses in other languages. Actually, we had documented responses in German at a hotel in Cripple Creek, where frontier mining operations had included immigrant German miners.

Then the guest observer at the Fruita investigation, whose name was "Cristal," asked a question in Spanish. We didn't realize it at the time, but in later analysis of the audio recording, we were surprised -- and pleased -- to discover that we captured on the EchoVox several responses to her in Spanish. [We'll add those findings to this account at a later date. Stay tuned!]

On another note, while we were conducting our investigation in one part of the bank building, our sister investigators from HPI also experienced their own activity. Using an entirely different kind of ghost box, an SB-7, that team did manage to have an entirely different interaction: They captured rude responses involving a lot of cursing. When we investigated that same space later in the evening, however, we got nothing. (Be sure to check out their findings on the
HPI Facebook page.)

***
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!



Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Halloween Investigation: Museum of the Mountain West, Pt 2

This is the second of our two-part account of the investigation on Halloween weekend October 2016 at the Museum of the Mountain West (MMW) -- a collaboration of three paranormal research groups that conducted round-robin investigations at six locations within the museum's sprawling grounds near Montrose, Colo.

Museum of the Mountain West
(Click here to see Part 1 of this two-part account.) 

The investigation included 18 researchers consisting of Wraiths in the Thick of Things, Hotchkiss Paranormal Investigators (HPI), and a group of university students that Mark and Chris have been training as part of the next generation of critical paranormal investigators. (We'll publish more on this project in a forthcoming article for the National Paranormal Society's Focus Magazine.)



A note on our methodology
Mel on the left and K-II on
the right, with investigator's
finger pointing at the device
You'll notice for the following video clips that each team employed a combination of K-II and Mel meters. Both meters used in these experiments are designed to register EMF (Electromagnetic Field energy), and increased EMF is a phenomenon often reported during paranormal activity.

Key to the experiments, however, is using two meters, where investigators ask for interaction with one meter (generally the K-II) but not the other. This helps us, as investigators, to eliminate the variable of random EMF emissions from the surrounding environment that could affect both instruments during each session.

We're also careful not to actually touch the K-II unit when pointing to it (cautious about contamination due to a possible grounding effect).


THE INVESTIGATIONS

The Main Building Dry Goods Store
The team Mark led with student trainees first swept this one-room store to establish baseline EMF readings and then preceded to ask a set of agreed-upon questions that both Wraiths teams asked in each locale. In the following clip, you'll hear some of those scripted questions. At one point, however, a team member asked about attachment to particular garments in the store (see our earlier article on paranormal accounts by museum staff and visitors), and that question prompted an unexpected conversation via K-II responses. Here's that exchange:

Our K-II conversation in the Dry Goods Store

This Dry Goods Store interaction was one of the most surprising of the evening since that session suggested an intelligent haunting through a conversation with an entity well aware of our presence, and the respondent was willing to help us locate not only the particular dress but also a particular pair of shoes.

The Louise House
At one point during the night, Wraiths investigator Chris led another set of student trainees in a session conducted in the so-called Louise House, an early-day Montgomery Ward mail-order home that was later relocated to the MMW. In this session, Chris's team used not only the K-II/Mel meter combo but also consecutive sessions first with the Spiritus and then with the EchoVox spirit boxes. See their results in this clip:

Coordinated K-II and spirit box responses

What really got our attention is how the two separate spirit boxes both produced the name of "Annette" and how the K-II responded when Chris repeated that name later on in the session. Listen carefully to the spirit box recordings to hear what additional responses you think the team may have captured.

The Empire House
We've saved sharing the most intriguing investigation for last, one that took place in a building only recently moved to MMW, and so named because of its Empire-style architecture. However, this former home has a darker name applied to it by locals: "The Murder House."

The structure once stood near the middle of town in Montrose, and it was the site of a murder-suicide.in the 1940s. HPI investigated the location before its removal to MMW and reported a number of chilling experiences, including invisible scampering footsteps of children and a dark energy that menaced their team. (See HPI's Facebook page for those accounts.)

Wraiths team member Egan (our resident sensitive) also scouted out the building prior to its move to MMW, and she reported that the Murder House also contained a dark presence as well as the persistence of the woman who was murdered there. During our Halloween weekend investigation at MMW, Wraiths student-trainee Trenton saw from outside the house the shadow figure of a woman cross the bay windows of the living room. (At the time, no one was inside the building.)

Once we entered the house, Wraiths student trainees conducted a session on their own in the stairway where the woman was murdered on the third step and may have interacted with that murder victim:

 A K-II conversation with a murder victim

While the above session took place, in another part of the house Egan reported that she no longer sensed the dark energy she'd felt before the building was moved to MMW. But of equal interest was her impression that the woman was still in the house, and now content. It was an intriguing corroboration to what the student trainees captured in the above clip.

Further corroboration of that finding occurred when HPI conducted their separate investigation of the Murder House later that same evening (shared here with HPI's permission):

HPI's EVP capture in the Murder House

This extraordinary EVP, which HPI captured on the audio track of their video recording, seems to confirm our own findings that the dark energy was no longer in the Empire House. (EVP stands for Electronic Voice Phenomenon.)

Our joint investigations at the Museum of the Mountain West were ambitious, but it was also very fruitful. We want to return on a future date, of course, to see if we can replicate not only the responses we obtained but also the same kinds of interactions we recorded.

***
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!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Halloween Investigation: Museum of the Mountain West, Pt 1

Our investigation on Halloween weekend October 2016 at the Museum of the Mountain West (MMW) was perhaps our most ambitious: a collaboration of three paranormal research groups that conducted round-robin investigations at six locations within the museum's sprawling grounds near Montrose, Colo.

Museum of the Mountain West
(Click here to see the history of this reconstructed and assembled frontier town as well as the paranormal accounts we previously collected from staff and visitors.) 

The investigation included 18 researchers consisting of Wraiths in the Thick of Things, Hotchkiss Paranormal Investigators (HPI), and a group of university students that Mark and Chris have been training as part of the next generation of conscientious and critical investigators. (We'll publish more on this project in a forthcoming article for the National Paranormal Society's Focus Magazine.)

Our para team collaborators

Before we go into details, a shout-out to museum curator Bob DeQuinze, MMW board member Carolyn Bellavance, the whole MMW volunteers and staff (who made us so welcome, and even fed us!), and HPI co-founder/lead investigator Hector Zeferino as well as his dedicated team.

What a pleasure this whole experience was.

THE INVESTIGATIONS
Student investigators Chrissie and Doug
during our MMW investigation
(photo by Paul Hurschmann,
Montrose Daily Press 10-30-2016)
After preliminary sweeps of the MMW grounds on previous, independent dates by both Wraiths and HPI, the collaborating teams decided we had an unprecedented opportunity  to break participants into four coordinated sub-teams. Each group could then rotate sessions round-robin through agreed-upon locations. And we each used the same methodologies, asked the same initial questions, and performed the same experiments -- all while carefully logging findings and recording time-stamps for every procedure, response, and encounter.

We also agreed not to share findings in between our musical chairs relocations, so we wouldn't bias one another on what occurred during the ongoing investigations.

The onsite experience is over, and the real work of analyzing what evidence we collected is now underway. However, we can already share a few striking moments from the investigation.

The D&RG Railroad Section House
The 1882 Section House was dismantled and moved from Olathe, Colo., to MMW in 2006, and the structure originally served as a bunkhouse for Denver & Rio Grande Railroad workers. At least one of those workers may still be present. (See our earlier article.)

A haunted brake light?
Wraiths investigator Egan, who's a sensitive, had previously visited this building and encountered a strong presence that seemed possessive and protective of one brake-light lantern displayed on the south wall inside the section house. Curator Bob DeQuinze had earlier related to us that a museum visitor reported seeing a figure in that building who announced the lantern was his and demanded the visitor get out.

On the Halloween weekend night investigation, Team Mark (consisting also of Wraiths team member Egan as well as students Frances, Kane, Lily, Marlida, and Trenton) approached the section house, but the unlocked door wouldn't open at first. Egan later reported she'd felt intense negativity both outside the door and when we entered. In fact, it almost overpowered her.

We checked the door afterwards, and it both opened and closed freely, and had done so earlier in the evening for the previous team.

We set up our instruments (camcorder, K-II and Mel meters, and spirit box) and began asking the scripted questions. While the team conducted the interview and monitored equipment, Trent felt an undeniable touch on his left side under his arm. And as our questions became more insistent with regards to the brake-light lantern, Egan became nauseous and both Egan and Trent felt simultaneous sharp spikes of pain to the right back side of their heads.

Here's what we captured on K-II and Mel meters as well as on the EchoVox spirit box at that time:



The K-II and Mel meters used in this experiment both register EMF (Electromagnetic Field energy), a phenomenon often reported during paranormal activity. Key to the experiment, however, is using two meters, where investigators ask for interaction with one meter but not the other. This helps us, as investigators, eliminate the variable of random EMF emissions from the surrounding environment that could affect both instruments since investigators request interaction through only one of the devices.

You'll notice in the above experiment, and the one below, that the Mel meter remained constant while the K-II meter registered changes repeatedly upon request.

The Main Building Saloon
Pool table at the center of the saloon
While the above experiment progressed, Team Chris (including students Caitlyn, Doug, Chrissy, Emma, and Sam) investigated the saloon inside the main building. (Again, see our earlier article for paranormal accounts in this locale.) The team decided to focus their investigation at the center of the room on top of the antique pool table.

The investigators followed the agreed-upon scripted questions, using an EchoVox spirit box first and then repeating questions  using a Spiritus spirit box. They also simultaneously incorporated both K-II and Mel meters.

But their interviews soon took a different turn when both boxes produced references to the pool table. See the following video for results from their session:


Note in the above clip a number of intelligent-response EVP that correspond to playing pool, including the term "rookie" to taunt Chris as well as the term "break." (EVP stands for Electronic Voice Phenomena -- voices generated by the spirit boxes.) The team also twice received the clear response of "Faye" when asking for the name of the entity.

Earlier in this session, they had heard "black ... white" on the spirit box and subsequently, whenever team members brought up those words immediately prior to the above clip, the K-II would light enthusiastically once the team figured out the EVP referred to the white cue ball and black eight-ball on the table. Notice how the K-II in the above clip continues to respond to their mentions of black and white.

The night was just beginning, and with many encounters yet to come.

And in the next article ...
Click here to continue to Part 2, where we share additional on-the-ground interactions and encounters the teams experienced that night and then turn to insights we gained about the haunted Museum of the Mountain West when we compare experiences and findings with the other investigative teams.

***
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, 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 from Delta, CO, 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 building, 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
The 1882 Section House was dismantled and moved in from Olathe, CO, in 2006, and had originally served as a bunkhouse for Denver & Rio Grande Railroad workers. 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 brake-light lantern. (Egan has proven to be a bit of a "ghost magnet" 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!