Friday, August 16, 2013

Caught on Tape!

Finally, FINALLY, I was able to catch some of our haunted house shenanigans on video.  Usually, things happen so fast and in the middle of the night that I don't have time to register what's happening until after the fact.  So I definitely never have the time to play amateur filmmaker.  But last night....

Last night it was just me and my 10-year-old, E-Man, at home.  We were watching TV in the living room, and out of the corner of my eye, I swore I saw the light in the middle room turn on.  I got up to check the light switch, verified that it was in the off position, and then returned to the couch.  I decided it was probably just some especially bright headlights lighting up the room, as we are on a main road and have constant traffic.

A few minutes later, it happened again.  My son saw it, too.  The ceiling light in the middle room turned on, then off, then flickered, then turned off again.  A couple minutes later, it happened again.  After the third or fourth time, I decided to try to catch it on camera. 

I started recording with my phone.  Nothing happened.  After about a minute, I turned my recorder off.  Quite literally the very second I turned it off, the light came on again.  I turned the camera back on immediately.  As I was explaining what was happening, my son said, "Maybe Bobby doesn't like to be caught on camera."  When he said the name "Bobby," the light turned on and then off.  And I CAUGHT IT ON CAMERA.  (The video continues for about another minute after that, but nothing else happens.)



Wednesday, August 7, 2013

In The Still Of The Night

It's been four days now since our last paranormal investigation.  Surprisingly, The Hubs and I both slept well after all of the ghost hunting gear was packed up and taken away.  Unlike times past, there was no surge in activity following the investigation.  Emphasis on the word "was."  Because holy mother of.....okay.  What I'm about to tell you is freaky.  Like, freaky as shit.  However, we (at this point) have no intention of leaving our home.  Your insistence that we do so is futile.  So don't bother.

Last night, we had all four boys overnight for the first time since the investigation.  The three younger boys slept upstairs, while The Teenager camped out on the couch in the living room.  At about 2 am, I was awoken by the sound of someone running around the house.  I got up to find The Teenager not sleep-walking, but sleep-running.  He was running in circles through the living room and middle room, his eyes closed, still completely asleep.  I gently took his arm, pulled him into my room, and got him to sit down on the bed.  I asked him what he was doing, and he began mumbling, eyes still closed, about his brother taking some "brown thing" from him, and some other nonsensical stuff.  I walked him back out to the couch, tucked him back in, and went back to bed.

Anyone who knows our family personally knows why this was beyond frightening to me.  The Teenager has epilepsy, and is prone to night-time seizures.  He also has a history of sleep-walking, although he hasn't had an episode in years.  As I tried to go back to sleep, my heart was pounding.  Did he have a seizure or seizure-like event?  Or was Bobby messing with him?  I was actually almost hoping there was a supernatural element involved.  Epilepsy is much more frightening.  Needless to say, I couldn't sleep.  I was too worried about my boy.  I took my pillow out to the couch and slept beside him (thank goodness for our ginormous sectional sofa).

When the little boys got up this morning, E-Man, my 10-year-old, had some pretty big bags under his eyes.  Apparently, CJ, the 9-year-old, sat up in bed around 2 am (the same time Austin started running through the house in his sleep, which the little boys knew nothing about because they were upstairs) and, still asleep, started banging his head into his pillow repeatedly, waking E-Man up.  He said after a few minutes, CJ stopped slamming his face into his pillow and laid back down.

So, at the exact same time, two of my children got up out of bed, still asleep, and one of them began running around the house like a madman while the other proceeded to bang his head into his pillow.  Then, after a few minutes, they both stopped and went back to sleep.  And in the light of day, neither of them have any recollection of this happening.  At all.  So...there's that.  And I just.....I don't know.

Who Ya Gonna Call?

I'm not a quitter.  When I set my mind to something, I accomplish it.  Or, at the very least, I exhaust every possible avenue and give up only when I’m satisfied that I did absolutely everything in my power to reach my goal.  Case in point: it’s been nearly a year since our first paranormal investigation, and I refuse to give up on my quest for answers as to why our house is not only haunted, but “super haunted.”  As a result, our house was investigated last weekend for the third time, by our fourth different paranormal investigation crew.

Here’s something I’ve learned about paranormal investigation companies/teams/crews (or whatever you want to call them) since delving into this world of the supernatural:  You have to find the one that’s right for you and your situation.  Thanks to the emergence of shows like Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures, there has been a boom in the number of organizations that offer paranormal investigation services as of late.  In Michigan alone, there are currently over 100 paranormal investigation firms, as opposed to less than ten just a decade and a half ago.  They all have different philosophies, business practices, equipment, ways of doing things, rules, and areas of expertise.  (One thing they all have in common, however, is that their services are free.  If anyone ever tries to charge you for a paranormal investigation, run the other way.  The good guys do this work for free, because it’s what they love to do.)  So how do you find the group that’s right for you?  You ask questions.

After two paranormal investigations by three different groups in less than a year, I know what I want.  I’m not looking to establish “if” my house is haunted.  I want to know why.  The Hubs and I also want to be included in the investigation process.  We’re tired of just sitting on the couch in silence and darkness while the ghost hunters (and ghosts) have all the fun.

So I started combing through the overabundant listings for paranormal investigators in Michigan until I found one with an emphasis on historical research.  Grimstone Inc. to the rescue.  Founded in 1999, they have been investigating the supernatural since before such a thing was cool, and have a historical research department.  (Jackpot!)  I emailed them and heard back within 24 hours.  I told them our story and our history of past investigations, and expressed our desire to focus on the history of the house and to be a part of the investigation process.  They told me they could work with that.  A few days later, I had a long phone conversation with the lead investigator, Kara, about everything having to do with our house.  She was familiar with our case, having heard the radio broadcast of the investigation last fall.  She and her team were excited to come out.  And we were excited to have them.

On Saturday, August 3rd, with the kids and dogs all gone and the house clean and cobweb free (they were videotaping, after all), a caravan of paranormal investigators arrived at The C Fam estate with case upon case of equipment.  They took a tour, conducted interviews, took “baseline readings” and set up their surveillance cameras (nine, in total) and other equipment.  By about 9:00, it was lights out.  For the first hour or so, they investigated on their own while The Hubs, our two houseguests and I watched the surveillance monitor with one or two members of the team.  After that, they invited us to participate.  We got to join them in different parts of the house during EVP sessions, and learned about the equipment and what the different things do.  The Grimstone team was professional yet fun, and it was almost like spending an evening with friends.  While the evidence review process is a tedious one, we’ve been in regular contact with Grimstone since the investigation, and have been given a timeline on when we can expect information.

Surveillance video feed during the investigation

Color me impressed.  I think we’ve found “our guys.”  But I’m sure what you’re more interested in than how much we like our new paranormal investigation crew is exactly what happened during their investigation, right?  Overall, it was a pretty quiet night.  I actually fell asleep at one point towards the end of the investigation because, well, it was late and I’m old.  But there were a few moments.

Legit ghost hunting gear

The first real “wow” thing that happened came early in the evening, when I was watching the surveillance monitors with Grimstone founder Chris Bailey, a tall, ruggedly good looking fella (that’s what you told me to say, right, Chris?).  He informed me that we have a very “unique” property.  He explained that normally, an EMF detector will pick up a high-level reading if there is a spirit present, or sometimes if there is electrical wiring that isn’t properly shielded, but it’s usually in a very concentrated area.  As it turns out, our ENTIRE PROPERTY is one gigantic EMF field, from the road to the tree line at the way back of the back yard.  The house, the yard, the marsh, all of it.  And that’s highly unusual.  Chris did say that it’s quite possible that the EMF field is man-made, but that he can’t for the life of him figure out what would be emitting one quite that big.  Strange, no?

Later in the evening, I found myself cooped up in the bathroom with Chris, Kara, and my dear friend Marina (who is terrified of my bathroom, btw) for an EVP session.  At one point, while Kara was introducing herself to whoever might be in there with us, we all heard a very distinct child’s voice say “Hi.”  We were unable to get whoever or whatever it was to say it again, but I’m interested to see what the EVP recording turns up.

A reminder to anyone needing to tinkle- shut the shower curtain to cover the video camera, or everybody will see your business while you do your business!

After our bathroom investigation, we headed upstairs to the younger boys’ bedroom for another EVP session.  After asking a few questions, Kara requested that anyone present in the room with us “finish the clap,” and then proceeded to clap out “Skunk-in-the-barnyard” (or “Shave and a haircut,” whichever you prefer), leaving only the last two lines unfinished.  Now.  Anyone who’s seen The Conjuring or even just a preview for The Conjuring knows how terrifying the thought of a ghost clapping out twice in the dark is.  I swear on all things holy, if it would’ve happened, I would have bolted from that house and never returned.  True story.

While a couple of investigators were out back by the chicken coop, they heard a large branch snap just inches from them, followed by a footstep.  They took off running.  (Which is sort of funny, since the backs of their shirts say: “Paranormal Investigator- If you see me running, try to keep up!”  Now, that very easily could have caused by the wildlife that roams our property at night, but it will be interesting to see what the evidence from that time frame reveals.

All in all, our night with the folks from Grimstone Inc. was awesome.  It was an interesting and very positive experience for us.  We’re feeling hopeful about getting some answers for the first time since this all began.  (I even slept well after the investigation was over, and that’s pretty much unheard of.)  Now we wait.  Care to wait with us?