Games + Leisure
10:39 am
Sun December 16, 2012

Mansfield Ghost Hunt Hosted by the OPDA

My name is Justin O'Riley. I've had many occupations, but currently I'm a hosptial security dispatcher, an OSU student, and a WCBE intern. I'm also part of the Ohio Paranormal Detective Agency (OPDA).

I didn't believe in the paranormal until later in life, and I remain fairly skeptical of simple “ghost stories” and “urban legends.” My partners include my brother Josh and his best friend Sean, who are both sheriff deputies that bring a healthy dose of skepticism as well as professional investigative methods. There are several other law enforcement officers in our group, with me being one of the exceptions. The OPDA has conducted dozens of investigations, which developed a good reputation for us that led to an invitation from the Psychic/Paranormal Conference of Mid-Ohio to speak and host a hunt for novice ghost hunters. This all took place at Mansfield in early October.

 We were asked to lead several people on an investigation of two locations near downtown Mansfield: the old Eagles Club building, and the Charles Schroeder Mortuary. The Eagles Club building was once a “speakeasy” which was the mobster slang term for a location where alcohol was being produced and sold. The probable mob connection is significant because of the increased likelihood of larger emotional “imprints,” or dark energy, in the area. With the mortuary, most of the bodies arrived and left in the same manner: cold and lifeless. However, there is at least one confirmed death that occurred inside the mortuary; Charles Schroeder, Jr. (the son of the mortuary's founder and original owner) hung himself there around 1916. Knowing a location's history isn't always necessary (sometimes it's almost impossible), but it can give investigators a beneficial starting point. 

We divided into groups, and I went with several others to the Eagles Club building. A tall four-story building, it reminds me of the firehouse from Ghostbusters (but maybe it's just me). We set up the “Spirit Box” up on the third floor former ballroom/basketball court which was reportedly the site of thespeakeasy (a “Spirit Box” is an electronic device that scans AM and FM frequencies, which can pickup voices through the white noise, resulting in possible paranormal communication). The sessionyielded some interesting results during later analysis. One of the best pieces of audio evidence capturedfrom the Spirit Box, there is someone that is stating, “clean out the hooch, it's dirty.” A “hooch” isslang for alcohol and liquor that was used during that era. 

The actual speakeasy storage was in the very room we were in, which makes this evidence much more relevant. I also filmed the stairwell lobby several feet from out position, but there was no conclusive visual evidence. When I saw some shadows move, I debunked any paranormal claim because I was able to attribute the shadows to passing car headlights, which hit the windows even on the third floor. Eliminating all normal activity is part of being a skeptic.

 My group then joined another group down in the basement, and then we set up another Spirit Box session.  I utilized the surroundings here, as I noticed the bar and I asked, “Can I make you a drink.” We received a response that stated “vodka.” That first clue is sometimes the only thing needed to gain more answers. When asked how many drinks the spirit had, he replied with “five” or “six.” Over the course of our conversation, we heard the name “Phillip,” a name that was heard more than once in different locations. We asked “Phillip” a series of questions, but one that was key was when we asked him if he actually died in the Eagles Club building, to which he replied “no.” We reviewed the information that we had already, which was “Phillip” was drinking here, and had a lot to drink, but didn't die inside the building. After some more questions, we finally asked directly if “Phillip” died while drunk driving, and the response was “yes.” We also learned, by asking simple “yes and no” questions, that his wife and at least four others died in that same crash. This evidence is so unique because “Phillip” didn't die on the property, but yet “Phillip” continues to haunt the building. Of course, this just brings out a million more questions to ask, but the evidence gathered here is simply incredible. This was also recorded on camera, but again, no visual evidence was found.

 Our group set up a camcorder and the digital voice recorder on the piano so that we could possibly record any kind of Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP). Once the equipment was turned on, we stood across the room, a good ten feet away. During the session, nothing significant was heard or seen by us. However, the review produced some outstanding EVPs. My favorite one is the request made for the spirit to whistle.We were trying to ask any spirit to play just one note on the piano key. We also asked for other noises, including a knock, or a whistle. We never heard anything, other than the occasional passing car outside (which can easily be heard on audio, making it distinct from any sound that we conclude as paranormal). However, once you listen very closely you will hear a very faint whistle right after the request is made. For further proof, here is an YouTube video that shows what the camera audio heard, and then the amplified audio.

Unlike most of the other EVPs, this one can be heard on both camera and digital voice recorder. There is an EVP that sounds like a quick breath, which was NOT captured on the camera audio, and later when someone in group sighed heavily I immediately noted it audibly. This quick breath I could not debunk. 

Another EVP sounds like someone sinisterly saying “let's scare them.” It goes really fast, and is very guttural sounding. You may hear something slightly or completely different (as is normally the case with EVPs). 

This next EVP is interesting because it sounds incomplete, but that's not necessarily the case. It sounds like someone is saying, “knock on ____,” but the last word is very obscured, even with the audio amplified. The phrase “knock on wood” seems plausible, but no hard “d” sound is heard at the end. Please tell me what you think it is. 

Some of these EVPs are out of any context with anything verbal that we said, including this next one, which I have not concluded as being either paranormal or not. It sounds like “they like it” or “they like you,” but it's so garbled and quick. During my analysis, I tried to slow it down and speed it up, but that didn't help. I'm very curious to hear what you think it is.

 You can listen to additional EVPs captured during the session at the bottom of the article.

Our final session at the Eagles Club building took place in what appeared to be a makeshift kitchen on the second floor. This Spirit Box session also yielded some good results. Much of what we heard in person sounded different in the analysis, but there were several clear phrases and words spoken, including some intelligent responses. One audio capture is a voice that states, “the merch is good.” I don't believe the term “merch” had any meaning during the Prohibition era, but I don't know what time period the voice was coming from. 

Keep in mind that a Spirit Box is scanning radio frequencies so fast that even short words like “yes” almost never come through, and this is an entire sentence. The next evidence clip appears to be a direct response to a question that we asked, which was if there were other people in the building last night (which there was, as another group did a hunt there the previous night). It responded to us by saying, “there's more people here,” which was not only relevant but accurate. 

Finally, here is my last audio clip from this session. This is another Spirit Box phrase, but it sounds completely sinister in tone. A single voice comes over and says, “we look evil.”

There isn't really any direct context, but it doesn't seem to make much sense. However, it could be a part of a phrase that didn't come over, since it's very possible to misinterpret spirits just as easily as other humans. While I was filming, I kept seeing very odd shadow movement down the hallway. There were no windows or natural sources of light, so I'm not sure what caused it. It's possible that I was “matrixing” these (this is where the mind subconsciously creates or projects things audibly and visually that aren't there). For evidence sakes, eyewitness accounts don't mean much without anything to back it up.

Finally, we spent the last couple of hours in the mortuary. The first hour was uneventful, otherthan all the possibly intoxicated sports fans at the nearby bar celebrating the Buckeyes' victory overNebraska a little too hard. However, the last half hour was extremely active. I did manage to capturewhat is defined as a “visual anomaly,” which is something that we cannot conclude NOR debunk asbeing paranormal. It's a strange shape that materializes, moves in a strange pattern, and thendisappears. It's not a bug, as a bug wouldn't simply materialize and vanish, and it's not dust, as dustcannot zig-zag like this “thing” did. See the video and judge for yourself.

The Spirit Box session was very telling, which featured a possible interaction with a dark entity. I will update this blog post with the evidence once the final analysis has been finished.

 The ultimate joy that comes from being a paranormal investigator isn't really the thrill of thehunt, but the joy that comes from finding convincing evidence and building friendships among fellow investigators. Ghost hunting is a lot like hunting deer, as you'll spend 85 to 90% of the time waiting around, and there could be a chance that you don't capture anything. Apparitions don't always want to communicate, especially when there are large groups. Should you decide to try this for yourself, alwaysbe sure to be safe, be prepared, and most importantly, get permission for wherever you go. Happy Holidays, and to all the ghost hunters out there, happy hunting! 

 Additional EVP Evidence

Here's a good EVP, but it's hard to determine the context, and one of the possible words is difficult to interpret. It sounds like “no, it ain't ______ over here,” but the phrase itself could be completely different. I think the missing word sounds like “Brock” or “brought,” but one thing that I don't often consider (and I should) is dialect, as certain times and cultures can be reflected in any EVP.
One of the most sinister EVPs we captured here stated very threateningly, “you're gonna die.” There was no context for this, but considering the mob connection to this location it's possibly residual. The “who are the outsiders” EVP is another one that I am not concluding as paranormal, but I can't debunk it just yet either. I am curious what you think about it.
This next EVP is incredibly bizarre, as it's saying something that sounds very incoherent. The most sense I can make from it is “dunk me with water,” which may sound completely different to several others.

Finally, after starting with an intelligent response it was only fitting to end the same way. Once we said good night and thanks to the room, this EVP was captured that replied “thank you kindly.” I initially thought that the EVP said “goodbye” instead of “kindly,” but that hard “k” sound helped my analysis develop a nice piece of convincing evidence.