The second most common question I get asked (after the initial “what made you leave California and move to a small town in Indiana?”) is:
“Is the building haunted?’
The short answer is, yes.
*Warning*- this post will get a bit long as I talk all about the activity we have encountered in the building since moving in.
Let me back up a bit. I am a paranormal investigator, or ghost hunter. I have been ghost bustin’ for a little over 10 years now and professionally for the past 6. Growing up the thought of ghosts absolutely scared the crap out of me. I was always one who had to be sure that no part of my body other than my head were sticking out from under the covers.
A little over 10 years ago we went on a road trip and one of our stops was Tombstone. My favorite time period in history is the wild west 1800s so I was eager to check it out. I guess you could say that trip was what sparked my research into the paranormal. I didn’t have my first paranormal experience that trip, but I was definitely bitten by the “ghost bug” and when we returned from that trip I joined a local paranormal meetup group. I knew nothing about the paranormal when I first joined that group (shoutout to SDGAP!) but very quickly learned the ins & outs of investigating and all about the field and made some of my now very best friends. I especially enjoy the science behind investigating. It is absolutely fascinating! Eventually I was made one of the admins of the group and a small group of us that met through the group started going on investigations. We met up with another amazing group (OC Soulsearchers!!) and I was going on investigations several times a month.
A few years later SDGAP hosted a Maritime Ghost Conference and I was asked to be one of the speakers and tell tales of ghost ships throughout history. The conference took place on the beautiful Steam Ferry Berkeley in the San Diego harbor. It was truly a fantastic day! That evening there was an overnight investigation that was held on the ship, and boy the ship did not disappoint! I had investigated the Star of India ship that was docked next to the Berkeley numerous times but this was my first time investigating the Berkeley itself. I was unaware until the end of the night that a really cool trio of guys on the investigation that night were with TAPS. For those who are unaware, TAPS is the group that had the TV show “Ghost Hunters.” These fellas were on one of TAPS’ family teams (Pacific Paranormal Investigations or PPI) which is a network of paranormal teams around the nation and help field investigation requests from both the main TAPS headquarters as well as their own that come in through their specific website. I was approached after the investigation the following morning when we were wrapping up and asked to meet them and the rest of the team for dinner in the near future. I met with them and the rest is history. I was offered a spot on their team and literally jumped at the chance to go “pro.”
This incredibly talented group of people have become like family to me and we are all (& still are even with me being 2100 miles away) so very close. The knowledge I have learned from them and experience has been invaluable and I am extremely thankful for their unwavering friendship!!
I have been on hundreds of investigations over the past 10+ years and they have all been different. There have been places that I have investigated multiple times and one night the activity is so high that you walk out of there in the morning and ask yourself “what the heck just happened?!” while other nights it’s literally dead (pun totally intended.) I have met some really awesome people along the way as well. I got to hang out with the Ghost Adventures crew when they were filming an overnight investigation in San Diego many years ago. Here I am with Billy Tolley, Jay Wasley and their producer. Zak, Aaron & Nick we’re inside the building next to us doing an investigation when these photos were taken.
Ok so back to the building. When we first looked at the building when it was for sale not once did I ever get any “negative feelings” while inside. You know sometimes if you are somewhere and you get that feeling that you just don’t like the energy and want to leave? Never felt that. We researched records and still as of now haven’t found any deaths that actually occurred on the property. Which really doesn’t matter because a past death on site doesn’t mean it’s automatically haunted and just because there weren’t any recorded deaths doesn’t mean it isn’t haunted. Also old buildings or houses aren’t all haunted. Some of the most intense investigations I have ever been on were of modern homes. I will stop to mention that I am a woman of strong faith, a christ follower and I know there can be a great deal of controversy surrounding paranormal investigating and different religious beliefs. If anything, having absolutely undeniable personal paranormal experiences has only strengthened my faith even more.
While we have all had numerous experiences since purchasing the building, I’ll highlight just some of them in this post.
My first paranormal experience with the building came the very first night Atom and I spent the night when the two of us flew from San Diego to Indiana to get the keys and winterize the building after we closed escrow in September of 2016. It was just us in the big empty building. We slept on an air mattress that we bought in what is now the master bedroom. The building is deafeningly silent at night. The kind of silence that hurts your ears. I was woken up with first time by what sounded like boot steps or heavy shoes going up and down the stairs & it didn’t last long. Early in the wee hours of the morning Atom woke me up and told me he heard whistling.
Not long after we all moved in one night Atom and I were walking up from the basement to the second floor late one night when we heard what sounded like moaning or crying. Initially we thought it was our daughter crying from her room but as we walked up the stairs we realized the sound was definitely not coming from her room. This particular instance I’m still not convinced it’s actually a ghost because sounds and whatnot can easily echo up or down the stairwell from other places in the building. Ghost hunting 101: 95% of what people perceive as paranormal activity can be easily explained. We live in a really OLD building. Naturally it will shift and make noises at night and during the day that are NOT paranormal at all. The things I am talking about in this post are things that even I can’t come up with an explanation for.
Also not long after we moved in I found a tie tack in a drawer in the desk that is now the glitter desk. It’s a really neat one and was in a little plastic box. I had set the box on the windowsill in the second floor foyer one afternoon. The next morning the box was on the ground a good 3-4 feet away. What is worth noting here is that the window where it was originally laying was sealed shut as Atom hadn’t yet busted the windows free (for the first time in who knows how many decades) after we first moved in so there wasn’t any kind of draft. Our cats were also not allowed in this part of the building at this time so they couldn’t have knocked it off. I drew an arrow in this photo so you can see where the box landed vs where it was sitting.
Late spring/early summer last year (2017) we did some heavy sweeping of the stairwells to get rid of falling plaster and dust that had accumulated, especially the debris that had been caught between the railing and the wall. The next morning as I was walking down the stairs to go to work I see a random piece of plaster on the landing between the second and first floors. At first I thought nothing of it because plaster has randomly fallen and drifted down from the very top. But when I got down to it and actually looked at it, there was a definite large mans boot print in it. No one in our family was wearing boots at all for weeks prior to this nor had anyone else been in the building.
I love Disney, and have since I was a child. We went on annual trips to Disneyland as a child and loved taking our children there many times before we moved to Indiana. On our last Disney trip I purchased a Lumiere candlestick and a Cogsworth clock because I knew they would be the most perfect additions to the library when we moved. I had initially put batteries in the clock but they ran out and the clock didn’t work for many months before we moved. I didn’t put new batteries in it because I figured it would be in a box in the move and take awhile to be unpacked so I figured I would wait until I unpacked it before replacing them. Cogsworth was unpacked and placed on the shelf in the library but I didn’t replace the batteries because at the time I wasn’t sure where they were as a lot of our things were still in boxes and when we finally got everything finally put away I had forgotten all about it. Not too long ago I was sitting at my desk in the library and happened to look up and Cogsworth was working. It was ticking away like someone had put brand new batteries in it. I checked the back and they were still the old ones. I asked Atom and all the kids if they had changed them and they all said no. Not only was the clock working, it was set to the correct time! It only worked for a period of a few hours and then stopped again when I went back to look at it.
Our hutch in the dining room seems to be a hotbed of activity. Things are flying off of it all the time. Our neighbors witnessed this one night when they were over for dinner and a box of cereal fell off the shelf onto the floor. A soap dispenser flew off another day when we were sitting at the table eating lunch. The hutch isn’t near any windows or vents and the things that have fallen were not close to the edge. Here are a few photos of where the soap was before it fell and then where it landed. Excuse the dust on the wood around it- this happened the day after Atom was sanding the wood kitchen floors so dust got everywhere.
A common occurrence that I have is hearing jingling keys (like a janitor) in the basement specifically. I will hear it almost off in the distance at times and others I will hear it like someone is standing next to me. Sometimes I will also hear whistling while it’s going on.
Probably 6 months ago or so when I would walk down the stairs to leave for work, I would have an uneasy feeling when I would go down the last set of stairs to the first floor entryway. Specifically when it came to looking across into the former small office room. We hang our winter jackets on hooks on the door frame and the door was about half way open. It was dark in there and our jackets were dark as well so it gave the illusion that someone was standing there. The first time I looked that way my heart dropped because I thought it was a person but quickly realized it was just the jackets hanging. The next morning I had the same feeling as I was walking down the stairs and I looked across into the office. Same silhouette. Although this time it MOVED. It was as if someone was standing behind the half way open door peering around to look at me and then went back. I’ll be completely honest here I gasped and darted out the front door. It takes A LOT to get me to jump on an investigation. I’ll be the first to sit in a pitch black room by myself for hours to investigate. I have seen countless shadow apparitions (a dark or black and sometimes white shadow figure that has a human shape) so I knew instantly what it was. I guess it was something about it happening IN MY HOUSE that made me jump out of my skin. If I wasn’t on my way to work in a hurry that morning I more than likely would have ran into the office and flipped the light on.
Last but not least I will tell you about my most profound paranormal experience to date inside the building. The time I saw my first ever full bodied apparition. I have experienced just about every other ghostly encounter (I have been touched, pushed, scratched, had ghosts follow me home and the list goes on and on) and captured a ton of evidence both in print, video and audio but never a full bodied apparition. Most even seasoned veteran ghost hunters never see one in their lifetime. A full bodied apparition is the holy grail of ghost hunting. It is where you see a person, clear as day, and then they are gone. It is an undeniable, soul shaking, awesome, life changing experience. A couple months ago I got home from work one evening and the lights were on in the basement which meant Atom was down in the kitchen making dinner. I opened the double french doors from the first floor that went down the set of stairs into the basement. As I was walking down the stairs, I saw a man standing across the basement diagonally from where I was in the doorway that led to the back hall and boiler room. Initially I thought it was Atom. It was a man, probably late 30s or 40s wearing blue pants and a white t-shirt with short dark blonde hair. When I turned to look again after I got to the bottom of the stairs he was gone. Here’s a photo of the basement taken long before we moved in (it definitely doesn’t look like this now) with the arrow pointing to the doorway where I saw the man.
Keep in mind our basement is 6,000 sq ft so the man wasn’t super close to me. I didn’t hear any footsteps going back to the kitchen which had me scratching my head. When I got to the kitchen myself, Atom was sitting on the stool stirring the soup he was making. He said hi to me and I asked what he was doing in the hallway by the far door near the boiler room. This area in the hallway had a bunch of furniture stacked on that side because Atom was still in the process of tearing down the basement ceiling and we had to move the furniture out of the main part of the basement so it would be protected. So there really wasn’t a way for anyone to walk through there without significant difficulty. We always walk along the other side of the basement through the door on the other side of the back hallway to get into the kitchen. When I asked him why he was standing in the doorway looking at me like a total creeper he looked at me like I had 2 heads and said he has been sitting on the same stool for the past 30 min tending to the soup. He said he couldn’t even get to that doorway if he wanted to. That’s when it totally hit me. What I saw was a full bodied apparition. Holy crap. I think my entire body went numb and I was white as a ghost (again, total pun intended.) I had to go upstairs and process what had just happened. It was pretty freaking awesome. I had just witnessed what many ghost hunters spend their entire life searching for. I haven’t seen the man again since that night nor have I experienced the uneasy feeling while walking down the stairs looking across into the first floor office.
I have broken my previous rule of “no ghost hunting in my own house” numerous times since moving in. I mean, how could I not? Mostly in the basement and third/fourth floors. Our kids aren’t scared one bit. When things happen they usually will laugh or shrug it off saying “Oh Earnie!” or “the ghosts are at it again.”
I have been approached and messaged numerous times from different paranormal groups asking about hosting investigations in the building. I won’t say never and we would probably be open to the possibility in the future.
Our ghostly roommates don’t always make themselves known. The activity definitely isn’t constant nor is it scary. It’s actually pretty few and far between when we experience things in the building. They’re probably wondering who the heck we are and what the heck we are doing to *their* building. Generally activity will kick up when major projects are being started which is not unusual for any paranormal activity anywhere. We hope we aren’t letting down the souls who once loved our building as much as we do and are doing our best to restore it and make it our home while still trying to maintain it’s incredible integrity.