Friday, May 29, 2015

Our Eureka! moments - 12 months, 20 para investigations

This is the final in a four-part series featuring highlights of our past year's paranormal investigations. This week we share the sometimes unsettling but mostly Eureka! moments during our inquiries.

(If you missed Part 1 on anomalous photos, click here. If you missed Part 2 on ghostly voices, click here. If you missed Part 3 on video documentation, click here.)

We've always approached our investigations with optimistic skepticism, never expecting other worldly encounters -- in fact, always assuming the next site visit would prove uneventful. We've also tended to minimize pre-visit research so it wouldn't prejudice our own experiences.

To call the following moments unsettling might be a bit misleading since we've yet to encounter anything that frightened us. (Still waiting, of course, for that full-bodied apparition that whispers "Boo!" in our ear. That might elicit a scramble of retreat on our part.)

Nevertheless, the accounts below describe events that challenged our sense of reality -- even when we found ourselves at a loss at how to measure those experiences.

The Bross Hotel
Our first full-fledged investigation for the book took place in Paonia, Colorado, at the Bross Hotel.

All three above-ground floors as well as the basement have almost a century of paranormal accounts, including multiple and different full-bodied apparitions, mussed bedding, and even dramatic movements by physical objects before the eyes of surprised guests and owners. (Click here for our research into those paranormal accounts.)

We were nervous as we began -- not because we feared paranormal activity but because we doubted anything would occur. And we had a book to write!

We concentrated our initial investigation in the "English Room/Ghost Room," where the original early1900s  owner "Mother Bross" still makes appearances in the room where her son Otto died.  Otto also still makes regular appearances.

English Room/Ghost Room
We realized we were on to something when all the newly installed batteries for our equipment promptly drained and needed replacing.

We also received a series of contextual spirit box responses that described what we were doing and when -- as Mark set up the camcorder, we heard "Camera"; as Kym snapped shots of the room's interior furnishings, the box announced the several objects she photographed ("Bed," "Fan," and "Stairway," which was just beyond the open guestroom door). All promising, but none of it knocked our socks off.

The Eureka moment did arrive -- but after we'd packed up and re-straightened the room. The proprietor had just called up the stairs as we began to descend, suggesting we go back and pick up the tourist literature in that room.

So five seconds after leaving the English/Ghost Room, we walked back in ... and saw a perfect fanny print pressed into the bedding. Horrified we'd left the bedding mussed, Kym instinctively smoothed out the imprint -- and then realized the only impression should have been the rectangular pattern of our camera bag, but Mark had already flattened and erased those ruffles before we left.

A beginner's mistake on our part, to be sure, but it was still the first Eureka! moment we'd have, assuring us at least one chapter's worth of material for the book. (As you probably know by now, we eventually ended up with enough investigative material for 14 chapters!)

The Forest Queen Hotel
This one was also an early investigation, and perhaps the most unsettling, well, for Kym. Crested Butte, Colorado, was a violent frontier mining town, and most of the buildings on the original thoroughfare of Elk Avenue have reports of hauntings. The hotel is the one remaining building that comprised the one-block red-light district.

The saloon-below-and-brothel-above arrangement of the hotel still feels like the Old West -- even though the lower level is now a trendy bar and grill while the upstairs caters to winter skiers and summer bicyclists.

The premises still resonate with much of that by-gone era's drama through regular reports of paranormal goings-on. (Click here for our research into those other accounts.) We were fortunate to visit the hotel during off-season, and we had the solo run of the entire upstairs during our investigation.

We encountered a variety of phenomena on site, including invisible footfalls in the hallway as well as audio-only and spirit box EVPs. One was an EVP capture announcing Kym's name. That should have clued us in to what followed.

Note horizontal "pinch" striations
As soon as we reached the top of the steep, narrow, single-flight stairway to the second floor, Kym had the sensation her feet were shackled. With each step, she felt a tug on the opposite leg as though her feet connected through some sort of restraints. After the initial EMF sweep, we went back downstairs to interview staff and the shackled feeling disappeared. When we revisited the second floor, the feeling of restraints returned, persisting throughout our time on that floor -- but only on that floor. In fact, she pulled off her socks and boots to discover pinch marks on the inside of her left foot.

Kym subsequently "tested" her well-worn footwear, wearing the same socks, at home and on other investigations but never again experienced those sensations in both feet or any pinch marks.

Hotel Norwood
This establishment proved a hotbed of paranormal activity, examples of which we included in earlier articles in this series. We also encountered three further anomalies harder to document while we investigated.

Our first experience occurred before we'd taken three steps into guestroom No. 2 on the second-floor east wing of the hotel: A coffee cup flew off the table and hit the wall behind it. Kym’s EMF meter jumped from 300mG to 3,000mG, and two team members' spirit boxes began spitting out in rapid succession the words “Follow,” “Instinct,” “Dining room,” “Kitchen,” and “Cook.” Who were we to argue? We repacked our gear and headed downstairs to the dining room and kitchen.

The cold spot occurred
between the wardrobe
and the bed in Rm 12
During our third team member's scan for EMF baseline readings in the dining room, she stopped and asked us each to stand in front of the corner bookcase. We did, and we all three reported the same sensation -- an inexplicable heavy feeling that gave each of us goosebumps. Ironically, the EMF meter registered no elevated readings in that corner at all. (We did record an EVP that said, "Help me." Alas, we didn't hear the whisper in real time but only in later analysis.)

In our initial sweep of the building, we'd encountered a cold spot in the guestroom directly above the kitchen, so we moved there next. The cold spot was still present, a column of air three feet in diameter and extending from floorboards to ceiling, and several degrees colder than the ambient air temperature outside the column. Positioning spirit boxes both inside and outside the column, we conducted a two-way conversation with a spirit identifying herself as "Leah." (Click here for a fuller account of that ghost hunt.)

That investigation provided a whole sequence of cascading Eureka! moments.

The portal is reportedly under
the redstone building on the left.
Linda Goodman's Miracle Inn
The final Eureka! moment we'll share occurred in a follow-up investigation in Cripple Creek, Colorado, and after midnight in the basement of the Miracle Inn B&B.

We'd teamed up with paranormal investigator Shaun Crusha, who has a lot cooler equipment than we do, to check out a reported spirit portal in the substructure of the building. Shaun set up an array of devices, including a laser grid pattern that aimed a hundreds of points of light into the portal, which ran the length of the basement under the house but  beginning just beyond the stairs.

Accompanying us during this investigation were the owners, Sofia Balas and Jason Barton.

In front of the portal with Shaun Crusha's
array of paranormal detection equipment
Stationed along the array of equipment, Shaun and Mark noticed several of the laser points temporarily wink out in a sequence that seemed to approach our position. Shortly afterward, both Jason and Kym felt decisive tugs on strands of hair at the tops of their heads. (The basement didn't have much clearance, but Kym was at least a foot shorter than the beams above her.)

It felt as though something had passed through the space in front of our position and joined us on "this side."

Sofia told us a psychic had described the portal as shaped like a pentagram that originated in the basement but extended up into the main levels of the B&B. Guests often report prankish hair tugs from invisible agents, so maybe those entities use the portal to pass from the Other Side to tease the residents on this side. (Click here for our research into some of those accounts.)

The tangible encounters of that evening found a place on our accumulating list of Eureka! moments over the past year, and the cumulative effects of all the events we experienced have left us with more questions than answers.

If "Eureka!" means "I found it!", we're still not sure exactly what the "it" is that we've discovered during these moments. If anything, such experiences have strengthened the resolve to continue our paranormal journey and our investigations.

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WILD WEST GHOSTS: an amateur ghost hunting guide to southwest Colorado, available now as a trade paperback from Amazon and Barnes&Noble. Also available as a Kindle e-book..

We also invite you to LIKE our new Facebook page for the book, where we're providing updates on readings and events as well as notices of our continuing paranormal journey and investigations.

Happy hauntings, all!