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Ghosts of Fort George – Definitive Proof (Part 2)

Buoyed by the success documenting proof of spectral presences inside the tunnel and Octagonal Blockhouse at Fort George the summer before (please see http://www.thesearchergroup.ca/ghosts-of-fort-george/ ), I was more eager than ever to return the following summer (2012) to try again.

Over the year leading up to my return, I figured, “If I can get that much proof within a thirteen-minute period, think of the possibilities within a threehour period..!” So I did just that, the night of August 17th. I entered the tunnel and left the same digital recorder on the overturned barrel for just over 2 ½ hours. Unfortunately the session was cut short and interrupted by some thrill-seeking teenage fort volunteers showing up en mass to inhabit the tunnel themselves, looking for a good scare, so I was unable to continue recording without the data being compromised.

Being fully aware I would not enjoy similar uninterrupted access the following night (Saturday), I decided to try something new – a recording of the tunnel environment early the following morning, instead.

Analyzing all the files later, I was bewildered that nothing but cricket song was recorded during the first night – no wooden thumps, no footfalls, no knocking. It was a valuable lesson on just how unpredictable the paranormal can truly be.

So you might imagine it was with very low expectations that I proceeded to listen to the recording made the next morning when some of the most frightening, intriguing sounds startled me to tears (literally) almost 45 minutes into it.

You see, my eyes tend to water in reaction to something truly frightening, so suddenly hearing a sound that reminded me of a spooky childhood noise jarred me, instantly.

(The sound I allude to from my childhood was the slow, death rattle-like deep “breathing” of an industrial-sized coffee percolator that operated whenever my parents hosted meetings of our local amateur theatre group. You may laugh, but to me, listening to that from my darkened bedroom at night, it easily conjured images of some unspeakable menacing creature lurking just outside my door.)

This recording, also made public for the first time, is also up for peer review and any suggestions regarding the source of these sounds are very welcome.

Whatever made them (and by what method) certainly raises more questions than the dime-a-dozen disembodied footfall-kind of recordings that are out there (including mine), but then, these too may never be truly answered adequately.

Ghosts of Fort George – Definitive Proof (Part 1)

For decades, staff and visitors to Fort George (Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada) have encountered ghostly phenomena of varying degrees. Paranormally-speaking, this is quite understandable (given the purpose and bloody history of the once-active military fortification), but one particular location on the grounds piques the interest of The Searcher Group.

A 70-foot long tunnel of stone and wood stretches from inside the walls of the fort to a dual-level Octagonal Blockhouse erected outside the tall, spiked palisades, overlooking the Niagara River. While a similar lookout tower once stood where the present-day structure is, the tunnel itself did not exist until the 1960s, when someone decided the fort would benefit by having one connected to the base of the tower (“Historical accuracy be damned!”).

Due to numerous reports of unexplainable phenomena originating from inside this tunnel, the age-old theory that the movement of ghosts is limited to revisiting places they were familiar with during their physical lifetimes has been quietly shattered.

This revelation inspired Richard to formulate and publish his groundbreaking Memory Matrix/Bubble hypothesis in Journeys into the Unknown [Dundurn Press, 2006.

People from all walks of life have experienced visual, physical, auditory and olfactory paranormal phenomenon inside this claustrophobic passageway, both day (during open hours) and night (while partaking of the renowned Ghost Tours of Niagara), but no-one has successfully captured indisputable visual or audible proof that some sort of presence continues to frequent the tunnel and utilize the Octagonal Blockhouse at the end of it.

Until now.

After many years of sitting on this audio evidence (digitally recorded the night of Aug. 13, 2011), I decided to share it in a format designed to appeal to fellow paranormal evidence-seeking investigators and the curious public, alike.

Rather than extract highlights, the entire uncut, unenhanced 13-minute audio file is presented here, accompanied by photographs of the location and investigator commentary appearing as subtitles, for public consumption and peer review.

The inclusion of nighttime ambient sound is to aid the listener in differentiating between “natural” and “supernatural” sounds – noise I am confident constitutes evidence of paranormal activity.

Investigation on Vacation – Inside a Former Train Station

Chester Train Station, Nova Scotia, May 2015

 
Nova Scotia is a storied province – please do not say that I did not warn you.

“Ted” R. Hennigar, Scotian Spooks, Mystery and Violence (1978)

 

Aerial View of Chester Train Station in Nova Scotia

Chester Train Station, Nova Scotia
Photo credit to Peter Morrison

An opportunity to revisit the south shore of Nova Scotia presented itself this past May, so I packed up our daughter and the two of us went to visit Mom for an extended long weekend getaway.

In addition to quality family time, I had another agenda in mind.

A few years previous, I had been invited to conduct an investigation of the former Chester Train Station, now serving as a tourist facility and home to a Visitor Information Centre as well as the renowned Explore Oak Island display – likely the closest thing most people will get to experience a taste of the legendary local isle, free of charge.

The Searcher Group accomplishes some truly amazing feats, but the ability to stuff the team into a carry-on bag to help conduct the investigation was/is not one of them, so I contacted a local team four months in advance, requesting some field assistance.

The members of the Chester Area Paranormal Society (CAPS) were very friendly and accommodating and before long, plans to meet and spend the night exploring the former train station were arranged.

Best Laid Plans

Ongoing experience as a Case Manager (part of my duties as AD for our team) includes handling disappointment when even the most solid-seeming plans fall apart. Such was the case a few days before the investigation when CAPS wrote me saying no-one on their team was available, owing to unforeseen circumstances. C’est la vie.

Not to be discouraged, I deputized my closest allies – namely my daughter, Libby and mother, Linda – and decided to proceed with the investigation.

Have Equipment, Will Travel

Having winged our way from Toronto to Halifax, I was wary of the kind of equipment I could bring on board a domestic flight without any of it A) being damaged and B) being confiscated by airport security. Since I had counted on CAPS to provide camera systems, I opted to pack lightly and included a pair of digital recorders, a pendulum, a compass, a Spirit Box, a pair of mini LED flashlights, an external speaker and a laptop.
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Book cover for Marcus F Griffin book Extreme Paranormal

Books detailing the experiences of ghost hunters and paranormal investigators alike are numerous these days and the publishing market continues to be bombarded with dozens of new titles every year.

Most investigative teams’ adventures focus on the thrill of the hunt, the lore behind a haunting, a little bit of factual history and finally, some evidence captured via technical means as a result of their efforts.

Surprisingly – or not, depending on who you speak to – there aren’t many books that reflect serious investigation teams’ use of the esoteric in an attempt to garner results. Of course, I refer to those blessed with the gift of second sight: intuitives, sensitives, clairvoyance, clairaudiance, psychics and mediums.

No doubt the sting of the profit-seeking charlatans bilking the hopeful and gullible during the Spiritualist movement (and beyond) is why many investigative teams invest most of their faith in the latest technological gadgets, rather than trust the ramblings of a “crazy person” sharing what they’re perceiving at any given location.

It’s no secret that the Searcher Group employs some very talented clairvoyants when conducting its long-term investigations (and the benefits of doing so will be covered in a separate article). So as an avid reader of non-fiction accounts of ghost encounters, imagine my delight when I happened upon Marcus F. Griffin’s Extreme Paranormal Investigations (Llewellyn, 2011) a book documenting some of the most hair-raising experiences of WISP – Witches in Search of the Paranormal – a former Indiana-based team comprised entirely of practicing Wiccans!

SPOILER ALERT: Because WISP founder and ordained Wiccan Priest Mr. Griffin answers all the standard questions a layperson generally has about ghost teams (ie. their origins, philosophies, techniques, etc.) in his book, we dive straight into the heart of his work and finer points of the book in the following interview. As such, if you haven’t read Extreme Paranormal Investigations yet, stop reading now (but please return when you have).

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photo of Toronto Queens Park with scaffolding in front Under Construction

Toronto Queen’s Park Under Construction 1891

 

One of the perks of doing what we do as serious paranormal investigators is that we are often invited to visit places most people don’t normally get a chance to see for themselves. Though true enough in this case, on October 29, 2013, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario buildings of Queen’s Park, Toronto were treated to their first formal psychic reading by medium Amanda Keays of The Searcher Group.

This tour was one of those last-minute situations: Three days before Hallowe’en, Amanda contacted me to say she was invited by CTV Toronto’s Queen’s Park Reporter Paul Bliss, to be the subject of a news article depicting a clairvoyant’s take on the haunted hallways of the Legislative Assembly. To make a long story short, I accepted the assignment to accompany her the following evening. While Amanda and her psychic impressions would be the focus of the film piece, I would be on-hand to make some impromptu audio recordings and answer questions about The Searcher Group.

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Banner for Sault Ste Marie Paranormal Research Group

Investigating Under Opposition: 

One of the first facets people discover when they are introduced to the work of The Searcher Group is our stellar reputation regarding the issue of trustworthiness. For over three decades, we have assured and made good on our promises to clients from safety procedures to anonymity concerns.

Most groups with a professional mindset share this approach to their work and those are the teams TSG wishes to associate with, especially since there may come a time when we’ll need to confidently refer a client to that other team for reasons of logistics (ie. when TSG is too far to be able to aid a client calling for help).

In our ongoing efforts to establish credibility to ourselves, the work that we do and the field we are exploring and researching, we prefer to share our real names and images in a gesture of openness, honesty and that all-important trust. As such, TSG does not endorse or associate with groups that opt to hide behind anonymous hashtags or e-mail handles. After all, if you had a problem and decided to call in a paranormal investigations team, would you contact a faceless stranger at dust.bunny67@hotmail.com to handle your personal woes?

That being said, how does a team of earnest, hard-working and multi-talented investigators even manage to exist when they’re based in the centre of an entire community populated by a majority who vehemently deny and outright oppose anything remotely associated with the paranormal? Well, as you may guess, in order for them to do their work, their members must remain anonymous.

Introducing the Sault Ste. Marie Paranormal Research Group (SSMPRG), a team of female investigator/researchers established in 2006. The backgrounds of its current membership range from knowledge of quantum physics and Wiccan/Occult symbols to real estate, pharmaceuticals and police services. You will not find surnames or photos of the SSMPRG online, due to the dense Catholic and Aboriginal populous surrounding them; to avoid persecution and keep their day jobs, this is an unfortunate but necessary policy they uphold. 

Still, the collective skills the team applies to those occasional cases (when a member of the community genuinely requires answers) intrigued me enough that we conducted an interview for our and your reading pleasure. Continue Reading

Colorado Paratech banner

Based out of Colorado Springs – Colorado Para-Tech Investigations, is an organization comprised of seasoned paranormal investigators whose mission is to provide factual and realistic answers based on hard evidence to businesses, families, and individuals in Colorado. They are also Colorado Paranormal Technology, dba Colorado Para-Tech, a paranormal investigation equipment manufacturing division that was born from the creation of the Ghost Light. To visit their website please click on the photo above.

Rich Horn - CO Para-tech

Rich Horn

 

Interview with Rich Horn,

Investigator -Tech & Video Specialist

 

 

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You’re a manager, a security personnel-head or a property-owner going about your usual business, when one fateful day you receive an e-mail or a phone call from someone representing a paranormal research group.

The person on the other end of the line tells you they have learned that you own (or are responsible for) a piece of property that is rumoured to boast some sort of mysterious, perhaps even ghostly activity. They ask if you would be willing to grant their team free access to investigate the property-in-question in an attempt to verify the tales that are associated with that area.

 

BEFORE YOU SAY ‘NO’

Your first instinct is to brush this person off. You’ve seen or heard about “those ghost shows” on TV and in the media and they’re hard to believe. You have better things to worry about than letting some thrill seekers into your building to prove to themselves and to the Internet how brave they are by tramping around your place in the dark. Half of them startle at the sound of a floorboard creaking and turn-tail anyway, right? What do you stand to gain if you let these people in?

Your demeanour suddenly stiffens. Your voice drops an octave and adopts a stern, take-no-guff tone. Your forefinger hovers over the ‘Delete’ key.

But wait.

Please.

Before you delete that e-mail; before you tell this person “No,” outright, please take a moment to consider this: What can you stand to gain if you let these people in?

It depends entirely on the kind of people we’re talking about, here.

The team that has just reached out to you may very well be a respectful, responsible and reputable one. Incredibly, some groups won’t think twice but to trespass and break-and-enter to see their nocturnal thrills realized. (And if the location is furnished or is awaiting renovations, how will these same people treat those components?) The group getting in touch with you is making a good start by asking permission, alone! Continue Reading