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Despite the weather conditions, Al and Jo Brindza, and Marty and Jon McClintock ventured out to a sight that was reported to have "things that go bump in the night"-literally. A friend of Al's and his father had found this place and made the arrangements for us to do a preliminary investigation.
Let me say first that the people involved with the sight could not have been more hospitable. They had arranged for many of the people with stories to be on hand for interviews, and they opened their establishment to us with great hospitality.
Al's friends accompanied us, and were very professional in their "internship". Both were eager to learn to use the equipment and did an excellent job of carrying out instructions and giving feedback.
As this was the initial contact, we had no idea what to expect. I will just say that we were pleasantly surprised. The stories that had originally perked up Al's ears were told by the actual observers of the events and seemed to be consistent. The evidence that was recorded on all of the equipment seems to hold promise, but of course will have to be evaluated. There were orbs throughout the entire building, and some EVP. Because we could set up the video cameras on tripods, the believers, and skeptics could watch the activity through the viewer. More than 1 person said "I don't believe in that stuff" and then stood watching the activity saying "what is that? I see those things and can't understand what they are." .If we accomplished nothing else that night, we did make "questioners" out of skeptics. Not bad for an evenings work!
At this time we are gathering more historical facts together. But we will go back! It seems that much of the action takes place late in the evening so it will be an overnight. Our thanks to those who participated!
The Metropolitan Hotel, Manns Choice, PA
By Jon McClintock and Jo Brindza
An AMG team marked New Years 2003 by looking 140 years into the past. Word of strange happenings in the wee hours at the Metropolitan Hotel brought six of us to Manns Choice, Bedford County.
Manns Choice was a crossroads and tannery town during and after the Civil War. It got its odd name after Congressman Job Mann petitioned to have a post office located in the village just off the Glade Road (routes 96 & 31) in Bedford County. The town's sponsor had the unofficial right to name the village - but when postal maps were first issued they showed that the Congressman hadn't exercised his option. Instead, the map simply noted it was Mann's choice to name it; the non-name stuck.
We were alerted to the possibility of paranormal goings-on by the father and son team of Bill and Bill Caramano, of New Paris. Bill Sr. and Jo Brindza spoke with Jenny, who with her husband has restored the old landmark. When we arrived late on January 4, 2003, we found a delightful and enthusiastic host in Jenny's niece, Kerry Lesoine.
Jenny has heard noises outside her door during the night and found no one there. She has also seen a man in a flannel shirt walking down the carpeted hallway. Jenny and her husband reopened the hotel in 2000 and it is still being remodeled. The first floor dining room is reportedly a registered historic site. Civil war soldiers stayed there, but it's unclear whether the building was complete at this time.
Physical layout: Rough basement with ground-level first floor that houses bar and dance floor. Finished 2nd floor with rented rooms, 3rd floor with unimproved Ballroom and unoccupied rental rooms.
In 2003, one accesses each floor by following two sequential staircases from the ground to the third. But before the remodeling, the staircase went directly from the 3rd floor to the first.
From those stairs, an occupant reported seeing a young woman falling down the steps.
By far, the majority of anomalies appearing in Nightshot video and on digital camera pictures were in the vicinity of the steps. The most startling picture captures a pair of orbs in apparent downward motion, with something distorting the area of Al Brindza's face. A hint of ecto cloud is apparent on the door to an outside balcony behind Al.
The second floor hallway - looking more 21st Century than 19th after remodeling - seems quite active as well. Al caught orb activity on his camcorder in normal light. An employee, Heather, was going to her room on the 2nd floor when she saw an attractive young woman walk halfway down the stairs and then fall, hit her head and disappear. Her brown hair was swept up in a bun and she was wearing a long full-skirted dress. The bodice was dark red and the skirt was dark blue or black. She also was wearing button shoes.
Oral history tells us a baby died in a 3rd floor cubbyhole of one of the bedrooms, (Al's camera would not take a picture in the cubbyhole). Sounds are often heard in 2nd floor rooms coming from the ballroom above, and several residents and employees said the noise was remarkably loud. No one was there.
Kerrie, her grandmother and brother stayed a night at the hotel shortly after it opened. They spent the night in the front 3rd floor bedroom. Before going to bed they closed all the doors of the other bedrooms including the ballroom. During the night the water started to run in the sink in the bathroom. They heard rapping coming from the other bedrooms when no one was there. Shuffling noises were heard in the ballroom.
When they woke up the next morning, the doors in the other rooms were open. Heather would often hear banging and bed springs moving in the room above hers and also heard shuffling noises from the ballroom.
Another employee, Kelly, and Jenny were on the first floor looking into the dining room/dance area when they saw "two big white blobs" in the center of the room. She also sensed someone standing behind her and would a cold feeling. She also so a man in a flannel shirt and then disappear behind a post. When decorating for Christmas, thumbtacks would appear and disappear.
During a break in the downstairs area we were surprised to get one of our brightest orbs in the brightly-lit multi-purpose room. There's little doubt the entities of this old stage stop roam wherever they like!
We have visited "The Metro" twice, now. Our June excursion included "sensitives" who were students from a class that Al and Jon taught in the winter. Several, including Al, reported the presence of Civil War-era entities, including that of a woman who was loud and unhappy with our presence. Could it be, some thought, that the Union Army "U.S." belt buckle of Al's resurrected hard feelings from a century and a half ago?