Holy crap. I realize that’s not the most elegant or creative way to begin a blog post, but…..HOLY CRAP!!! As many of you know, this past weekend, my house was investigated by a crew of real-life ghost hunters. I’m hoping some of you were even able to listen and/or watch online during the live broadcast. To find out more about how/why that came about, refer to my initial post on the subject, which you can find HERE: Paranormal Activity- Army Edition. Long story short, the 1920’s farmhouse my family and I moved into less than six months ago has, on many occasions, given us cause to believe that it may be haunted. So we entered and won a contest through a local radio station to have our house investigated as part of their annual Halloween “Paranormal Investigation.”
I didn’t really know what to expect, going into it. And I still don’t know what I think about everything that’s happened over the past couple of weeks. It’s a lot to process. Within the next week or so, I’ll be going into the radio station to record the “reveal” session, during which the investigators will share their findings. But I don’t need to wait until the reveal to tell you some creepy stories about the whole thing. In fact, if I wait, I might forget a lot of it, because SO MUCH happened.
Traditionally, along with the DJs and the ghost hunters, celebrity psychic Maria Shaw takes part in the investigation. Maria’s schedule prevented her from being present this year, but she spoke with the lead DJ at the radio station and agreed to do some telepathic investigating of our property, a fact that the DJ announced on his popular morning radio show a couple weeks ago. That same night as I was tossing and turning, trying to fall asleep, my cell phone (which is a lightweight, late model smartphone) fell from my headboard (which is just a few inches higher than my pillow), hitting me in the face. I cried out as the crushing blow (which really should have felt more like a light tap) fractured my nose, right across the bridge. My entire face was simultaneously numb and throbbing with pain, as what felt like daggers shot through my nose, my eyes, my sinuses, and into my head. I knew it was broken before I even looked in the mirror. An x-ray the next day confirmed it.
At first, I chalked my accident up as just another one of my “only me” stories. I didn’t really question the physics involved. But others did. And the weight of my phone multiplied by the distance it fell simply did not equal the amount of force it takes to fracture a bone. At all. And those others (my friends, my mom, my husband) began to suspect that what happened to me wasn’t an accident at all, that it happened in response to me “opening a door” by allowing a psychic to try to communicate telepathically with whatever spirits might be in our house. I don’t necessarily believe that’s what happened, but it’s a possibility that will continue to haunt me. (No pun intended.)
Broken nose be darned, Maria Shaw contacted the radio station just a couple days after they sent her the information on the house, and she confirmed that it was “definitely haunted.” I had to wait almost an entire week for more specific information, but just that knowledge right there was enough to give me chills for days. Last Thursday, two days before the investigation, Maria shared the results from her “telepathic investigation.” She said that she feels there are definitely active spirits in the house, one of whom died on the property, and the spirit of a man in his 40’s or 50’s that had “very strong ties” to the house. On the plus side, she said that she felt the spirits were more mischievous than anything else, and that my family was in no danger.
So I was optimistic, going into Saturday night’s investigation, that things would go well. My biggest concern was whether or not I’d be able to stay awake until 2am, when the live broadcast was scheduled to end. As it turned out, that wouldn’t be a problem. Because, just like they did when we moved in, the “others” in my house wasted NO time making their presence known.
The ghost hunters showed up around 9pm. The company conducting the investigation was Hauntings Paranormal. In a strange turn of events, their entire team, except for the lead investigator and her assistant, came down with the flu in the few days before the investigation. Desperately short-handed, lead investigator Lorena reached out to the Michigan Paranormal Association (yes…that’s a real thing, apparently) for help. As a result, we wound up with three separate teams, all with their own equipment, specialties, and experience, conducting completely separate investigations on the property.
They carried in and unloaded box after box of equipment. Monitors, DVRs, night vision cameras, motion detectors, vibration sensors, EVP detectors, and a dozen or so devices I couldn’t pronounce the names of if I tried. The only one I do remember is the Ovilus, and that’s because it played a crucial role in the investigation. More on that in a minute. The Hubs stood in the corner of the dining room, or headquarters, as it was called, as the crews unloaded, tested, hooked up, and turned on all of their electronics. There were cords and wires taped to the floor, running up walls, stretched over chairs. And then the radio station crew showed up with their laptops and microphones and transmitters and giant antennae. (On their equipment, not on their heads. They’re people, not insects.) I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a little overwhelming.
Before the radio station broadcast began, before the lights were even turned off, (Did I forget to mention that part? The entire investigation took place in PITCH black!) the fun began. One of the investigators picked up a device called an Ovilus, and was explaining to us “common folk” what it does. Basically, it is an electronic speech synthesis device that utters words depending on environmental readings, including electromagnetic waves. The belief is that this device allows “the others” to manipulate its vast dictionary and communicate words without speaking. When a word is selected by one of these “others,” a creepy mechanical voice that lives inside the Ovilus speaks the word aloud. I likened it to a speak and spell for ghosts, and that’s exactly what it sounded like. Lorena explained that the device doesn’t always produce results, as it won’t speak words unless a spirit manipulates it and starts communicating through it. She was explaining that in some investigations, the Ovilus shows no activity whatsoever as she turned on the device in her hand. Immediately (IMMEDIATELY!) the creepy robot voice started talking. I thought it was in “test mode,” but Lorena’s eyes said otherwise. “Is it…?” I whispered. She nodded, putting her finger up to her lips to shush me. The room went silent as we all stared at the little talking box. “Woods. Trail. Marsh,” it said. “Trees. Stones. Marsh.” Again with marsh. “Woods. Adultery. Trees. Murder. Marsh. Cheat. Trail. Path. Moat.”
I couldn’t breathe. Couldn’t speak. The voices of the other people in the room sounded very far away as I listened to them talk about the fact that while our yard was surrounded with trees and woods, there was no marsh, no path, and certainly no moat. We weren’t in a castle, after all. I had to tell them. I swallowed hard and cleared my very dry throat. “There is a marsh,” I whispered. “Marsh,” the Ovilus repeated. Everyone’s eyes widened. “Where?” Lorena asked, already zipping up her jacket. “The barn. Out by the old barn. It’s dry because of the drought, but when we moved in, there was a marsh out there so big it was almost a mini-lake,” I explained. The other investigators, who had been camped out in different “rooms of interest” (the rooms where we’d experienced most of our strange experiences) converged on our headquarters, switching out gear and pulling on their jackets. My haunted house was no longer the focus of their investigation. They were going outside. The lead DJ, Josh, joked about the “moat” word the Ovilus had said. (More than once.) “Hey, let me know if you find a castle out there!” he laughed. I cleared my throat. “Actually,” I interjected quietly. Again, all eyes focused on me. “The marsh, when there is a marsh, completely surrounds the barn. So it kind of is like a moat, I guess.” The investigators didn’t need to hear any more. They hurried outside, letting a rush of cold October air in through the door as they left. And we were alone- myself, my husband, the two DJs, and their “tech guy.” The house was pitch black aside from the glow of the monitor that displayed the surveillance camera shots. Everything had happened so quickly, we hadn’t even gotten the chat room for viewers up and running yet.
Not twenty minutes after they left, one of the investigators came back in. Outside must have been a bust. They had wasted valuable ghost hunting time on bad advice from a speak and spell. Josh and Alabama were live on the air at this point, and the video chat room was online, so she came and crouched down next to me and started to whisper. I thought she was going to ask me where the bathroom was or if she could get something to drink. But no. “I got something,” she breathed quickly. I looked at her, confused, and then realized that I recognized the tiny electronic device she was clutching in her hand. It wasn’t an EVP detector or an EMF monitor or an Ovilus or any other fancy thing I’d never before seen in real life (or even heard of.) It was a camera. “I got something,” she said again. Holy crap. She explained that when they take pictures, they take two right in a row, because a lot of times one will show something that the other doesn’t. She first showed me a photo of our tire swing out back, hanging just a few inches above a gigantic pile of leaves. She then showed me the next photo, of the same tire swing, only this time there was a very defined white mist encircling the entire swing. I looked at it, and then looked at her. “Do you see the apparition?” she asked. I definitely saw it, whatever “it” was. But an apparition?
As we were all gawking over the strange photo, the investigator shared with us that she felt the spirit was that of a young boy, about ten years old. I got chills. I was careful not to mention this to anyone who was a part of the investigation beforehand because I wanted to see if they would come up with it on their own, but I have always felt like our “ghost” is a little boy. I was shaking when I shared my secret. Still reeling from this revelation, (and still doing a live radio broadcast and interacting with the video chatroom) we were all already on edge when the rest of the investigators came excitedly bounding back into the house. “We got some good stuff,” Lorena said with a smile.
That “good stuff,” as it turns out, included an EVP recording of what was unmistakably a child’s voice. One of the investigators was out in the back shed (I call it the chicken coop to distinguish it from our other shed, because it looks as if it might have been some sort of makeshift chicken coop at one point.) We listened to the recording. The investigator called out, “Hello? Is there anybody here?” A few seconds later, there was a crash as something fell to the ground. “Did you throw that?” the investigator asked. Silence. After a few seconds, the sound of the investigator’s feet shuffling as he started to leave the shed was interrupted by a very faint, very sweet sounding, very unmistakable voice. The voice of a child. “Hello…” it said. Ho. Lee. Crap.
In addition to “the other” being captured on film and on audio, the investigators claimed it made physical contact as well. They took outside with them a device that I called the Zack Morris phone. It was big, clunky, and had a long, thick antenna attached to it. I can’t remember its official name, but its purpose is to detect physical interaction. According to the investigators, it only goes off if someone (or some thing) physically grabs hold of the antenna. After the EVP recording was captured, the investigators asked “the other” to touch the Zack Morris phone. (Hellooo, what little ghost boy wouldn’t want to call Kelly Kapowski?) After receiving no response, the investigators headed back toward the house. Just before they came inside, the machine started going off, and continued to go off, as if “it” had grabbed onto the antenna and wouldn’t let go. Crazy.
I was completely overwhelmed. My head was spinning. People in the chat rooms were not only asking questions, but also talking about all of these crazy things they were apparently seeing on the surveillance monitors while we were focused on the investigators. Mark, one of the investigators, was packing away the video camera he had set up in the basement, because he’d gone through all three of his brand new, fully charged batteries for it in less than an hour. Creepy. Apparently, my basement was a black hole for ghost hunting devices. Almost every piece of equipment that was taken down there went dead within just a couple of minutes. Except for one.
The same investigator who caught the EVP of the little boy went into the basement with his digital voice recorder. This time, he recorded what he said was not an EVP, but an AVP, which means that he audibly heard a voice with his own ears, and captured it in a recording, as well. Sensing that he was not alone, he asked “Is that you?” (I’m assuming he thought the little boy had followed him into the basement.) After about two seconds, the very loud, very stern voice of a man responded, “NO.” Upon hearing it played back on the recording device, everyone in the entire room screamed. (Including my big, tough husband.) Holy crap. Holy crap. Holy crap.
The investigators switched out their equipment again, wrote some things down, talked to the radio listeners for a few minutes, and then set out again to separate parts of the house. While they were outside, all of the sensors and monitors they’d set up inside had been going off like crazy. And according to the people watching via the chat room, some strange things were happening on camera. The Hubs went in the kitchen to get something to drink, Alabama stepped outside for some fresh air, Josh went to refill his taco plate, and their tech guy went to the bathroom. And I. Was. Alone. ALONE. “I’m alone,” I said aloud, totally forgetting for a second that the people in the video chat room could still hear me. “Oh….that ain’t happenin’!” The chat room filled with smiley faces and “LOL”s as I jumped up from my chair so fast, I tripped over half a dozen cords and almost fell to the ground. Geez. I carefully made my way through the pitch black into the kitchen, where I found my husband. “Do NOT leave me alone again,” I whispered.
A few minutes later, we were all settled back at the table and Josh and Alabama were back on the air. Half of the investigators were outside again, a couple were upstairs, and the rest were down in the basement. But nobody was in the kitchen. Nobody. And all of a sudden, there was a very loud crash from that very room. We all jumped. And the investigators came running. It was a Halloween decoration that I’d had hanging on the kitchen wall. It was on one of those Command hooks…you know, the ones that stick themselves to your wall like glue and don’t come off unless you pull that little piece of tape juuuuust right? Yeah. Not only did the decoration fall, but the hook was no longer fastened to the wall, either. It was no longer anywhere, actually. Three days later, there’s still no sign of it. If the decoration had fallen off of the hook, that would have been one thing. But for the hook to not only come unattached from a piece of heavy duty double sided tape, but completely disappear? Too weird.
Immediately upon the loud crash, which even the people watching the video stream had heard, the chat room exploded with comments about how, at the exact moment of the crash, there was a flash of light on the refrigerator- more specifically, on one of the pictures on the refrigerator. A picture of me and one of my very best friends. Yikes. (Sorry for cursing you, Tori! You’ve been marked!)
After a few minutes, the commotion died down and things were quiet again. It was then that we noticed that the camera at the bottom of the stairs, a camera that was taped to the floor with about a pound of duct tape, was moving. At the beginning of the night, it was positioned so that you could see all the way up the stairs, to the landing. By the time the investigators came back to headquarters and we told them it needed to be repositioned, it had moved so much that only about one and a half stairs were visible. Shudder.
So now I’ve told you about the voices, the picture, the falling thing, the battery draining basement, the sensors and detectors going off like crazy, and the moving camera. I think I’ve covered most of the “big things” that happened during the investigation. But it wasn’t until after the investigation was over and everyone was gone that things really got scary.
It was about 2:45 am by the time the last of the investigators had packed up their boxes and headed out. Overall, even though I’d had my moments, I felt good. I was excited. I’d had so much fun! Really, how many people get to experience something like that first hand? I was a little spooked, but who wouldn’t be? The Hubs…well…he was mostly just tired. As we were turning off lights and locking doors, I kept hearing noises. Banging, scraping, shuffling, noisy noises. I tried to ignore them.
Leaving a few lights on throughout the house so that it wasn’t completely dark, we climbed into bed right around 3:00, also known as the dead hour. I tried to ignore that fact as I watched The Hubs fall asleep. (Which happened almost immediately.) I was exhausted, too, so I closed my eyes. I opened them when I felt something brush my cheek lightly. Now, I know that it was most likely just my imagination, but every time I tried to fall asleep, I felt something touch me. After my cheek it was my arm, then my leg, then my cheek again. And then it felt like someone was very lightly tugging at the sheets from the end of the bed. I was so scared, I could hear my heart beating in my ears. But I was mad, too. Because I knew (I hoped) that it was all just in my head.
I finally drifted off to sleep around 4am, but was awoken by what felt like someone hitting me in the mouth. I opened my eyes, figuring that The Hubs’ tossing and turning had resulted in me being inadvertently backhanded. But he was sound asleep with his back to me and his arms securely covered by blankets. It definitely wasn’t him.
I laid there for the next half hour trying not to panic, trying to convince myself that I’d just had a dream about getting hit in the mouth and it wasn’t real pain. But…IT WAS REAL PAIN. Crap. I eventually drifted off again, but wasn’t even fully asleep when I woke up feeling like I was choking, with a horrible taste in my mouth and throat, one that I still can’t really describe. By this time, it was just before 6 am. The sun would be coming up soon. I only had to make it a little bit longer. Once daylight hit, everything would be fine. The house would feel a zillion times safer, and I’d finally be able to sleep. I dozed off a little here and there, and then, just as the sky started to lighten, I fell asleep. Finally. Less than an hour later, I was awake again. This time it was my head. It was killing me. I had a MONSTER migraine. As I pulled myself out of bed to go hunt down the bottle of Motrin, I was hit with a wave of nausea that sent me running to the bathroom. I was violently ill for the rest of the day. Troubling, right?
Fast forward to today, three days after the investigation. I’m still not sleeping well, but with my new night time routine of leaving half the lights and the TV in my bedroom on, it’s getting easier. (I also may or may not maintain a death grip on my husband’s arm all night long, just for good measure.) Nothing too notable has happened since that first night after the investigation. We’re still waiting to find out when we will go to the radio station to do the “reveal” broadcast. Amateur ghost hunters are coming out of the woodwork, wanting to investigate the house and the property. And I’m still trying to reconcile everything that’s happened in the past few weeks with my lifelong belief that “there’s no such thing as ghosts.”
I don’t know if I believe everything the investigators “found” that night, but I definitely can’t just dismiss it, either. I don’t know if there’s really a lonely little boy haunting my back yard or a sad old man haunting my basement like one of the investigators seems to think. I don’t know how I’m going to hide my fear from my kids next time the dogs start barking in the middle of the night or another unexplainable “event” occurs. And I really don’t know how I’m ever going to get used to the idea that we might not be the only ones living in our home- that there might be “others.”
I will be sure to share the date/time that the reveal broadcast will air as soon as I get that information.
The tentative date is Halloween.