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2005 Archive

 

In recent weeks it has come to my attention that certain parties are using my ghost stories and those of my contributors as references for their own commercial enterprises.  If you or someone you know is writing a book on ghosts in the Pacific Northwest, PLEASE DO NOT!!! copy or use the following stories or any other materials within this website as references.  

Jefferson Davis (25 April 2003)

 

  

Here is a button which will take you to an archive copy of the last three years or so of the "What's New" section I began in 2001.

Pacific Northwest Ghost Hunter's Conference  Posted 21 November 2005

Eastern Illinois University Visit Posted 21 November 2005

Ball State University Visit  Posted 21 November 2005

Kutztown University Visit  Posted 21 November 2005

Thomas College Visit  Posted 21 November 2005

The Rose City Paranormal Conference, Portland Oregon, October 2005 posted 21 November 2005

 

 

Pacific Northwest Ghost Hunter's Conference

Posted 21 November 2005

 

On the 11th of November, my wife Janine and I traveled to Fort Worden, in Port Townsend, Washington for the 3rd Annual Pacific Northwest Ghost Hunter's Conference.  This conference was sponsored by AGHOST.  I volunteered to do a talk on some of the public haunts such as restaurants and parks in the Pacific Northwest, as well as a ghost walk at Fort Worden.  The latter was quite a chore, since I had not spent a lot of time at  Fort Worden since my childhood.  It took a week or so of studying, checking references and consulting with other paranormalists before I had the notes ready.  I took Friday afternoon to walk over the landscape.

Later that  night we went to the famous Manresa Castle hotel for a no host bar and mixer.  Things began a little slow, as people were a bit reluctant to mix, until we all introduced ourselves.  Many hotel guests who were not there for the conference were interested enough to attend the gathering.  Some of them came to Fort Worden the next day.

Fort Worden had its roots in the rivalry between the United States and Great Britain, dating back to the War of 1812.  It was briefly inflamed during the not-so-famous Pig War of the 1850s.  Construction began on the massive gun emplacements in the 1890s, and Fort Worden was officially commissioned in 1902.  It, along with two other forts (Flagler and Casey) formed a "Triangle of Death," protecting the Puget Sound from invaders.  The Forts must have done their jobs, since they were not attacked in World War I or World War II.  The fort was decomissioned in the 1950s, and later became a troubled youth center.  In the 1970s, Fort Worden became a Washington State Park, open to the public for events or just getting away.

My wife and I stayed at the Olympic Hostel, at Fort Worden.  I like Youth Hostels, and this one was staffed with friendly people, and was nice and clean.  The only downside was the couple who stayed in the private room next to ours.  They came with their young son, who they did not teach to use his "quiet voice" at 7 AM.  

The Conference on Saturday the 12th  was very interesting.  Like many professional conferences, it was a great opportunity to catch up with friends I had not seen in quite some time.  Many Puget Sound ghost hunting groups were represented there.  My talk on public haunts went well on Saturday.  And I enjoyed other talks on the technical aspects of ghost hunting equipment, and techniques.  There was quite a turn out, which I estimate was 50+ attendees.  This was impressive, given the distance people from Seattle and Tacoma had to travel to get there.  I spoke with one of the organizers and suggested the next conference be held in Centralia, Washington, in the hopes of getting more people from the Portland area to attend.

Saturday evening most of the conference attendees went on various ghost hunts, while I went out to dinner with some friends.  Then went home to prepare for my Fort Worden Ghost walk.  Before I gave my ghost walk, Joe Teeples from AGHOST gave a great talk on military cemeteries, and how to interpret military grave markers.  

 There were several different haunted buildings at Fort Worden.  They ranged from the Guard Station on Fort Worden proper, to Alexander's Castle, which predated the military, and the lighthouse at Wilson Point.  

This lighthouse and its outbuildings are still owned and maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard.

 

Thomas College

21 November 2005

Early in 2005, My friend, Ross Allison, the founder and president of A.G.H.O.S.T. introduced me to his talent agency, Power Performers.    Power Performers represents many different entertainers and public speakers, and book them at public events or in colleges.  Ross worked for them in 2004, going to colleges across the country.  He usually met with a group of students, and took them on a ghost hunt in a haunted University building, then gave a presentation on the history of the paranormal, with examples of different phenomena to a larger audience.  He was so successful in 2004, that he became overbooked in 2005.

Power Performers asked Ross if he knew of anyone else that might be able to take up the slack and the extra dates he could not meet.  Ross gave them my name, among others.  Even though  I was an unknown quantity, they sent me to  four colleges in late October, 2005.

My first school, Thomas College was located in Maine.  I was responsible for making my own travel arrangements, and found the first leg of my tour a bit of a challenge.  Flying from Portland, Oregon to Portland, Maine was a trip of about 13 hours, plus time zone changes.  I could have flown out a 7 AM, and conducted my ghost hunt at 2 AM, that night.  Somehow I did not think that the college would have appreciated that move.  Instead I flew out the day before, and slept overnight in Portland before driving to Thomas College.

It was a bit of a shock, since we do not have toll roads or many toll bridges in the Pacific Northwest.  There are tollgates all over Maine.  It was a good thing that I had plenty of change with me.  It was nice driving in the New England area in October.  The maple trees were just starting to turn brown, and I had a chance to see the gray Atlantic as I drove along the coast.

Thomas College is a private business school, located in Waterville.  Although the college dates to 1894, the campus moved in the late 1960s, and most of the buildings are very modern.  Their haunted building was their main administrative and classroom building.  There were a few rumors of a female student committing suicide there...

I met up with my students in the early afternoon.  There were a dozen or so.  We had to fit the ghost hunt in with class schedules, etc.  I gave a quick talk to the students, showing them various investigation tools, such as a tri-field, electromagnetic radiation detector, digital audio recorder, and digital camera.  I explained the various ways each were used, as well as common, natural phenomenon that have been mis-interpreted as being paranormal in origin.

One of the ways to involve the students in the ghost hunting process was to divide them into two teams, assigning each team to a different part of the college building.   

One group went to a utility stairway, behind the gym.  

Sometimes things go a trifle wrong when you start trying to get EVPs.  Sometimes people come across bugs, or background noise, or whatever:

Downstairs EVP attempt number 2

The other group went to an empty classroom.

We did have what sounded like someone answering us as we all asked questions of the empty air.  Unfortunately, it was not on my tape recorder, but someone else's so you will have to listen to some of the other sound bytes on this page.

Although we were not as successful as at the other universities, the folks at Thomas College were fun, and enthusiastic.  I hope that they continue searching for the paranormal.

 

Kutztown University

Posted 21 November 2005

My stop was at a place called Kutztown University, in Kutztown, Pennsylvania.  I do not have very good luck flying.  I have been involved in three or four helicopter accidents with the military.  Fortunately I guess, my bad luck with civilian flying usually limits itself to late flights and missing luggage.  This trip was no different.   My airplane was overbooked, and running late.  Fortunately I called the college and they rescheduled the start time for the ghost hunt.  As the saga continued, there was a wreck on the highway from Philadelphia to Kutztown, and we were delayed for another hour.

We arrived at last, and the ghost hunt began.  The hunt took place in the main dorm and classroom at the University.  It also happened to be the oldest building  on campus.  Originally, the building was a series of classrooms, but over time the university administration added more floors and wings.  They also divided the building, adding walls dividing the classrooms from the dormitory rooms.

One of the haunts surrounds the ghost of a former student, called Mary, who was reputed to have hung herself in, or thrown herself down an elevator shaft.  She did this because she was unhappy at school, or had an affair with a student, or one of the professors; which ended when she became pregnant.  Or she had been raped by one of the janitors.  The stories surrounding Mary had many variations.

Who was Mary?

We tried dividing into groups, one group set up around the elevator shaft, where we tried gathering some EVPs.  Listen to the following question/answer, especially when one student askes Mary where she was born.

Where were you born?

A second group stayed in one of the dorms, where they also tried gathering EVPs, and sharing their stories:

One female student had just broken up with her boyfriend, and things started moving about her room.  In particular her phone, right after she hung up with him.

Breakup

A second person, another female student had some kind of rivalry with Mary, which involved crosses and burn marks

Feminine rivalry?

Many other interesting things happened to us.  The lecture hall where I spoke was more than half full.  This was about 300 students.  The student committee which hosted me were pleased.  One of them confided that the most popular speaker they had was actor Ron Jeremy, who packed the lecture hall to overflowing.  Oh well, you can be too popular...

Ball State University

Posted 21 November 2005

After about three hours sleep, I hopped another airplane, enroute to Indianapolis, Indiana.  I drove from Indianapolis to Ball State University, in Muncie, Indiana.  The university has a couple of claims to fame.  Most popularly with my wife, it was endowed by the  Ball family, whose company makes canning jars.  If you do not like Jay Leno on Late Night, you may have heard David Letterman talk about his Alma Mater, Ball State University.

The campus was beautiful in what some people may have called an Indian Summer.  The day was sunny and warm, and the leaves were just turning golden.  The night was pretty cold though, if only to remind me that it was nearly winter.

The campus at Ball State was very haunted.  There were stories of encounters in their older, main building, the library, and another administrative building.  We were given access to the top floor of the original buildings, which was used for lectures, a law library and at that time, the annual Halloween Horror House.  

We started with an explanation of the tools of the trade, and an attempt to gather EVPs.  I had a very hands on group of investigators.  One of them took charge of the tri-field meter, and actively searched for unexplained changes in electromagnetic radiation.  I loaned another student, who was an amateur photographer my brand new Pentax ist-D digital camera.  A third student took charge of the digital audio recorder.  

 

 

 

We moved three or four times, trying to get EVPs in different locations, depending on where the Tri-field meter started spiking.  We finally ended up in the back part of the building, where the haunted house was set up.  We had a lot of activity, starting with my new camera.  Usually I do not use a flash when I am on a ghost hunt.  However, the room was so dark that it was necessary.  Unfortunately, it did not work right, and started strobing, even though it was not set on red-eye reduction.  

So we decided to try and get some EVPs.  In the first one, you  might be able to hear things during the silent intervals after asking questions.

Dining Room Questions

As we listened to this question and after session, the Tri-field meter started spiking, and we hurriedly turned the recorder back on.

Panicked EVP? 

We went to the University Library, but it we did not get much of a response from any of the spirits there.  We ended late, but my talk was scheduled for late in the evening, just before the Rocky Horror Picture Show.  If I had time to prepare I would have brought my tights and spike heels.  As usually happens after one of these talks, I do not get many audience questions as I end the talk.  However, I was surrounded by people with questions and shared experiences as soon as I officially finished.  Because we had to make room for the movie, we moved out to a lobby alcove, where I answered many questions.  Unfortunately, I missed the end of the show, and left late to get to Indianapolis to catch my early morning plane.

 

Eastern Illinois University

Posted 21 November 2005

 My final stop was at Eastern Illinois University, in Charleston, Illinois.  To get there I had to fly about, with two stops before arriving in Decatur, Illinois.  This is important, because it relates to my bad luck in flying.  When I stopped in Maine, I bought three vacuum sealed jugs of maple syrup for family members.  To someone living on the west coast, it was unbelievable cheap, so I bought quart and a half sized jugs.  Somewhere along my trip from Indianapolis to Decatur, someone in airline baggage service set something very sharp or heavy on my bags.  In my shaving kit, I had a tube of toothpaste and another of aspercreme split open.  And you guessed it; one jub of maple syrup broke open. It took about an hour and a half to clean the syrup out of my luggage.  I guess I was lucky that I had a long layover. 

I was also lucky that I had time to buy some new clothes for the investigation and talk at Eastern Illinois.  We went to Eastern's Old Main building, which was its first combination class room and dormitory building.  The top floor was closed off and used for storage.  We were allowed in for part of the afternoon.

Using a Tri-field meter, we tried locating some anomalous Electronic Magnetic Radiation (EMR) to use as a focus in attempts to get some kind of ghost photograph or Electronic Voice Phenomena.  This was not easy to do, since there were two or three generations of wiring spanning the attic spaces, or was located under our floor, and the ceiling below us.  One interesting  place was by a stack of cast iron stove fittings.  All those years of fires inside had magnetized the metal.

We looked everywhere

One of the spirits we tried to contact was Mary.  This Mary had been an older student at the university, and was appointed as a kind of dormitory monitor while she lived at Old Main.  According to the stories, Mary used to practice on her piano every day.  One day, Mary was so taken away by her music, that she did not hear the cries of another female student who had been attacked in the dormitory.  When Mary found out what happened, she became distraught and left, to go to a sanitarium, where she may have died.

We located one old room, and settled on the floor, and began trying to get an EVP.  There was some EMR in the room.  We did not have any success in our first attempt.  We sat in a circle, asking questions of Mary, pausing for any ghostly answer.  After a few minutes one student noticed something unusual.  The floor below here vibrated under her, as if someone was tapping on the ceiling below.

A gentle tapping...

While we recorded another EVP session, our EMR person took readings in the room.   He noticed that there was an increase in the Electromagnetic Radiation around the student who felt the tapping.  After a few minutes with no more luck, we moved to another room, where the EMR was even  higher.

 

 

 

When we moved to this new location, we tried another recording.  While everyone was listening to the playback, I stood up and tried to take a few pictures.  I stopped, looking at everyone intent on the recorder.  I heard a loud, high pitched whining near and behind me.  I looked around, and everyone looked at me.  I asked them if they heard the noise.  They replied that they had, but assumed it was my camera flash.  The EMR person noted that there were radiation spikes.  I told them to restart the recorder, and try again.

We got something.  We think.

The question we thought was answered came from Erin, when she asked Mary if she (Mary) could continue doing things for us.

 

 

Because of Mary's affinity for music, we found a VERY out of tune piano on the top floor of old main.  One of the investigators knew how to play the piano SORT-OF.  She actually did very well, and we recorded the two or three minute concert.  Nothing definite happened on the audio recording, but there were a few EMR spikes while she played.

After the mini-concert, we noticed that some  students had walked along the locked double doors behind the piano.  The probably did not know that we were on a ghost hunt inside the blocked off rooms.  Perhaps they wondered if Mary was haunting the attic space?

 Next we went to one of the dorm rooms, followed by a trip down to the sub-basement, where people had reported paranormal events.  We did not have enough time to spend getting definite results.  But as far as I am concerned Old Main is one of the most haunted places I have visited in a long time.

 

 

 

 

Rose City Paranormal Conference

Posted 21 November 2005

 On the weekend of the 14-16 October 2005, the Trails End Paranormal Group organized and put on the First (ever) Rose City Paranormal Conference in Portland Oregon.  

Even though my website does not reflect it, I was very busy in the first part of 2005.  So busy that I did not have time to make entries here on this website.  In 2005 I began writing and editing my fifth book on ghosts and the paranormal in the Pacific Northwest.  I did not argue with success, I named it:  Ghosts, Critters and Sacred Places of Washington and Oregon III.  While writing my book, I fended off four more offers to have me volunteer to go back to Southwest Asia with the U.S. Army.  I had not even been home for a whole year, when I accepted a short Army tour at Fort Lewis, supporting ROTC, the Army Officer's education program.  

My Colonel did not know me very well at that time.  He appointed me as a sort of Protocol Officer, greeting dignitaries and senior officers who visited my unit's operations area.  I asked him if I was really suited for that kind of job.  Despite my frankness (loud mouth,) I did my duty without too much trouble.  I also acted as a kind of investigating officer, when some of the soldiers were hurt during training accidents.  Fortunately everyone at Fort Lewis was pretty safe, and I did not have to make too many recommendations.  Unfortunately, over the year another five soldiers of my acquaintances died in Afghanistan.  God Bless you all and keep you.

I worked on my military job lasted six days a week, from May through the end of September.  On my days off I usually slept in.  So I worked on producing my book in the evenings.  Because my tour ended in late September, I was able to confirm a few commitments, such as the Rose City Conference.  I agreed to put together a presentation for Catherine Duncan on ghost photographs.  More specifically, I talked about the way digital cameras can sometimes create false orbs of light in photographs.  I also talked about why I believe tuning a radio antennae to a white noise frequency does not reliably produce electronic voice phenomena.

I was happy with the nature of the conference and its attendees.  This was the first time Catherine and her people had put on  an event of this size.  She made good use of volunteers from many of the other paranormal groups in the area.  Her son Jacob and cousin Robert represented their groups, set up educational displays and gave talks.  My friends Martina and Todd talked about psychic vampires.  Not the kind with fangs.  I am afraid that I cannot remember all of groups who came.  Ghost hunters from as far north as Seattle, and south past Salem attended, making presentations and setting up their own displays.   To get maximum attendance, Catherine made all of the educational seminars free, counting on contributions and sales of vendor tables to pay for the rental of meeting rooms at the Days Inn in downtown Portland, Oregon.

The conference almost ended with a bang.  As the lady who ran the oxygen bar broke down her equipment, she noticed an odd shape inside a large audio speaker in the meeting room.  She reached into the speaker and pulled out an old military issue Pineapple Grenade.  After looking at it for a few minutes, she put it down and got the motel security, who called the police.  They also sent us out of harms way.  We all waited about an hour to collect our things, as the police investigated.  I was not worried, since the U.S. Army dropped that style of grenade from the inventory in the early 1960s.  So, if it had been a real hand grenade, the explosive would have become unstable.  It would have blown us all up when the woman picked it up.  It turned out that some time before, there had been a dinner theater in the same meeting room, and the grenade was a prop from the play.

 

 

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