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!