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.

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!

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