|Haunting, Off the Beaten Track|
How did we come to investigate this particular house? It started the day some friends that Al hadn't seen for a while mentioned they bought an old farm house that goes back to the 1800"s.
Hummmm! Old farm house? Why, yes....they are known to harbor spirits sometimes. Later that week Jo and Al made a quick visit for a quick tour of the house and property. It had potential: that sense it may have a spirit or two.
Al took this photo on the first visit and, sure enough, an orb was present. He then proceeded to take some digital outdoors pictures. He showed them at the time to the owner, using the camera's LCD screen, and later downloaded them on his computer at home. The series taken outside were missing! The inside photos were fine-but ALL had been viewed by several of us.
This of course, seemed odd and when Al later talked to Jon about the house he mentioned the missing outdoors photos, it wasn't long before both planned further investigating. As you will see, we found some evidence of a haunting, but whether it is "residual" or "active" is still undetermined. It may be both, but we feel safe saying it's not anything to be feared. The present owners may never even notice they have a visitor...or should we say: maybe the old occupants won't mind the new residents?
Investigations of private residences have a quality that's all their own. A family is either frightened or intrigued about anomalous events - and it's often hard to identify the circumstances that precipitate a haunting. Too often we've looked back and wondered if we've happened across a ghost with Performance Anxiety!Indeed, where a fairly benign haunting is reported, we end a first investigation with a few clues and a sense "someone" was watching us from a distance.
Such was the case with a fascinating, very remote farmhouse occupied until recently by an older woman and her deceased husband. Once the center of acres of farmland and orchards, the house is in disrepair. It sits at the end of a dirt lane, more than a quarter mile off the road connecting the villages of Cramer and Gas Center in Indiana County. The words "remote and isolated" do not do justice to how difficult this place is to find! Fortunately, Al Brindza has a long friendship with a couple that recently bought the two-story wood building and found things to be odd.
Four of us arrived on a seasonable May evening and got acquainted with the new owners. We learned that deeds seem to date the building to 1850, and there was evidence of decades of paint and wallpapering. Several early Americana painted advertising signs are scattered about the house's eight rooms - the most intriguing an old cigar advertisement that's bright colors contrast with the room in which it sits.
The second-floor "mystery room" (as dubbed by the new owners) is an odd place. It can only be accessed by a narrow back stairway, or climbing the main steps to the hall, entering first a bedroom and then a bathroom...and finding the apparent afterthought room off that. The north wall of the room has only a small window that is nearly chest-high on a man and of little practical use. What most interested us in the dark was the discovery of a string dangling from a light fixture. One could plainly see the string swaying when illuminated by an IR camera. But there was no breeze. Jon McClintock was camera operator and second into the room - more than five feet away - when the discovery was made.
But there is another question that begs an answer, whether or not one is a ghosthunter. Why do the doors to no less than two rooms have a lock assembly on the outside? The doors don't drift open or close on their own, so the obvious conclusion is that some one or thing was detained in the room.
Would these curiosities add up to a haunting? The answer was fairly quick in coming. Here are the raw field notes logged by Joann Brindza with some additional commentary in brackets.
8:40 - Several orbs were photographed in the room to the right of the front door which was used as a bedroom. Al felt a tug on his pant leg.
[The orb activity was most apparent in the Sony Digital IR camcorder. Of the more than half dozen artifacts that moved in an unusual manner, several seemed to come or leave Al's body, thus justifying the routine sage cleansing and smudging ritual before an investigation.] The owner of the house commented that the house seemed colder than usual, (they did have the heat on)
9:00 Upstairs doorway to the first bedroom at the left of the hall, Marty was getting an EMF reading between 4 and 8 after no reading at all.
Simultaneously, in another upstairs bedroom Al saw a mist
9:10 Marty smelled a foul odor in the bedroom with the spot on the wall.
10:30 Al was alone in an upstairs bedroom and noticed a drop in temperature, within a few minutes the thermal scanner read a drop in temperature from 62 degrees to 60.
10:40 the door slammed in the bedroom with the horse fireplace. Al sensed an old woman in the hallway.
10:40 Jon got an orb picture in the kitchen.Owners of the house said lights and batteries go dead in the attic. END LOG
Attics (and basements) can be the most tantalizing places to visit. They not only feel more mysterious, they sometimes are.
In the case of this home, the new owners were already experiencing battery-draining phenomena that often accompanies the paranormal.
That's what led Al to poke around during a solo visit a month earlier. He returned with several likely orb pictures and the sense that something was going on. The attic was our last stop on this night. We didn't have much luck in capturing anything on IR or using digital still cameras. Some shots would look very promising until we discovered the bright white object was an old porcelain electricity insulator.
That's what we thought we captured in the two photos above, until a flashlight revealed nothing of explanation on the attic wall. The first shot is most of the original picture. The second is an actual-size detail of the same photo (thanks to shooting in high resolution). Well most of us would call it an orb. What it isn't is any object visible to the eye in the attic at that time.
Will we go back? Probably so. We forgot to activate a motion detector, there is definitely some kind of entity that makes itself shown - and we are eager to see if, as at the U.S. Hotel, an entity becomes "comfortable" with us and acts less shy.