I will recount a genuine ghost hunt. For ghost enthusiasts the chance to investigate a true haunting is very rare. It really is a privilege. Most famous, publicly known hauntings have ceased being haunted long ago. Nearly every haunting is a private affair and rarely attracts any attention outside of the individuals involved. I got a chance at a combination of both. I think these are important stories and need to be recorded.
It was March of 2002. Jamie was a ghost enthusiast, and he invited me on what we loosely call an investigation. I use the term “enthusiast” instead of “ghost hunter” because ghost hunting suggests a professional enterprise, and there is no such thing. I believe there are no experts concerning the topic of ghosts. We can only hope to be at the right place at the right time.
In Jamie’s words, “Well the tentative ghost hunt I mentioned is on. We have a location. It’s at a private location with the owner’s permission near the former site of Victorian house antique shop. Victorian house is a well known haunted spot with lots of activity. I am going to contact the owners of the Victorian house and see if I can get permission to get in there too. The house now is standing vacant. If anyone is interested in going. I require an rsvp on this one and a debriefing as it is at a private site. Jamie”
This supposedly haunted location was a Victorian style building near downtown Chicago, an antique shop that has long since been closed. It had a reputation for being haunted. The facts are hearsay. It was built around 1880. The story was four people died in an attic fire. Another story concerned a woman murdered at this shop in the late 1800s. Customers have reported hearing strange sounds and witnessed apparitions in this shop.
I met Jamie and Jason (another ghost enthusiast) and two ladies who I did not know outside the closed Victorian Antique shop. We were not entering the actual store. It was closed and the owners had no interest in entertaining visitors. But the apartments opposite to this shop were a different story, and Jamie got an invitation to investigate from one of these renters.
We were invited in. The residents of the apartment were interested in discovering what was happening. They were experiencing a haunting phenomenon. At first they looked at us with some skepticism. But Jamie had a friendly, unpretentious southern demeanor that was disarming. Right away we wanted to know their stories. Why did they invite us here? What was going on?
A young man and woman lived in this apartment. Outside of their stories of odd sounds, footsteps and doors that closed by its self, I vividly recall the young lady’s story. Late one night the lady of the apartment got up from her bed and went into the kitchen, and she was absolutely startled to see a man sitting at her kitchen table. She was stunned. He was smoking a cigarette, and he seemed very depressed, with his head was laid low. He looked up at her sadly…and vanished. She was unnerved by this experience, seeing a stranger in her apartment. Except she had experienced other unseen people existing in this apartment. She called him the “sad one”. There were others. She said that this spirit was not associated with the others…not popular. The other spirits hanged together.
Intrigued, we took out our cameras. Jason had an EMP device. Myself I preferred a film camera figuring a film’s negative offered physical evidence. Jamie had his digital camera and right way he caught orbs. Orbs are frowned on, and properly so. Most orbs are nothing, yet they are not easy to get…random chance. But when we are in a haunting situation and orbs are photographed left and right, it is time for a serious heads up. Jamie showed the tenants the orbs on his digital. The guy started off skeptical, but when he was saw these orbs on Jamie’s camera he became immediately interested in what we were doing. Maybe his girlfriend’s experiences were not only in her imagination?
Above is a photo I took of their entrance door. There are obvious orbs by the door. However, what I think is remarkable about this film photo is the tiny orb by the floor. There is a small glob of light and below it is a ring of light, as if the orb actually reflected the camera’s flash on the shiny floor. I include a picture of their cat for perspective on the reflective nature of the floor, and what I imagine was captured. Could a flash capture the actual physical reflection of an orb?
We wandered around their apartment, with their permission, taking pictures and listening to more stories. I was attentive to the details of our “investigation”. I did not know the two ladies who joined us. They were of the pagan faith and suggested they could talk to the dead. Mediums. I thought to myself…uh-huh. Yeah right, ok whatever. On the other hand I had an open mind.
Jason and myself both experienced cold spots. There was no breeze whatsoever. I looked at him and he looked at he and me said,”did you feel that?” It was truly a physical coldness…as if something cold passed through you. Contact. We were in the real thing…this lady’s story was not only her imagination.
I did my usual tarot card layout as a means to attract the attention of any spirits. In this place it was not necessary. The layout is still interesting. What do the cards say about this haunting? The final card is…Death.
While the mediums were talking to the spirits us guys were doing our “scientific” guy-thing, taking pictures and measurements with EMF meters (electromagnetic radiation detectors) and recordings for EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena). Science? Not really.
Everybody gathered in the living room as the mediums began to talk with the lost haunted souls. I listened carefully. Were they the real deal or only pretenders? The ladies said there was a terrible tragedy in the past. And there were a number of spirits here; it was not a solitary haunting. They also thought that not all the tragedies happened in the antique shop. They just congregated here, and there was an anchor spirit that drew them here.
They said there were maybe five spirits present. Three women and two men. One of the spirits did not associate with the others. He was in the grip of a deep personal darkness and could not move on. Another was a young woman who was deeply in love and died. They spoke of one of the girl ghosts. This ghost thought Jason was cute. They said this ghost was sitting on Jason’s lap at this very minute! As Jason was sitting in a chair both Jamie and I caught these photos.
Jamie took a photo of an orb buy Jason’s left leg. Jamie’s photo is remarkable. This orb seems to have physicality, like a blob. My picture taken a few minutes afterwards shows another orb hovering by Jason. Notice that the wall’s shadow is cast on the orb. What the @%#@! An orb photo becomes more then an orb photo depending on the context.
The two ladies said we needed to free these lost souls. They began using smudge sticks. They lit the smudge sticks and let the smoke flow…and spoke to the lost souls…go home…go home and “Be free.” They talked directly to these souls asking them to let go of any hurt or tragedy. Whatever tragedies held them, don’t let any other spirit hold you back. They went room to room with their smudging.
We left, and I considered our ghost investigation as one of the most unique experiences I’ve ever had. It really sparked my interest in the paranormal to a new level.
Here is what Jason wrote us afterwards:
“Hi. This is Jason. From the Victorian house. Just wanted to thank all of you for coming out to this place and sharing the knowledge and helping. That picture from the living room is amazing!!! There can be no other explanation for those orbs! And they are exactly where she said they would be. Thanks ladies too, for sending them home.”
We have many other intriguing photos from this visit, but since they include people in them and we need to protect people’s privacy, I can’t post them.
Here is Jamie’s ghost website, Jamie’s Chicago Gangsterland Ghost Page at http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Shadowlands/2007/ and he has a Yahoo Group for local Chicago ghost fans, ChicagolandGhostClub