Reality: Stranger Than Fiction Part III

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(Okay, guys, this is the third post about this. If you’re unsure what this post thread is about, please refer to parts I and II, thanks!)

Here’s a fun bombshell for those who don’t know me terribly well:

My husband and I are team members of a ghost hunting/paranormal investigation team. Or we are for now anyway. Unfortunately, with our move in the next month back to my home state, we won’t be able to be a part of it anymore but I will treasure my shirt with its glow-in-the-dark logo for HOT (Haunted Operations Team) forever! Growing up, I begged my parents to take me to “haunted” places that were near us in the state. In the metro area of Oklahoma, my options were nill, the only one within driving distance was the Skirvin Hilton Hotel in downtown Oklahoma City. The hotel has been there since its opening in 1911 and has been the prime stay for celebrities, sports stars and teams, and even me and John for our wedding night. My grandmother loves to joke about how she stayed there when she was younger the same night Liberace stayed. I’m not sure how she figured that he was in the room above hers (maybe she just knew he was staying on the floor above hers rather than the exact room) but to this day she still insists she slept there with Liberace “right on top of her all night.”

giphy (5) Granny, oy.

People have claimed that they have heard odd noises in the hotel. The rumors I’ve heard since childhood is that the hotel’s original owner, Skirvin, had an affair with one of the maids, who wound up pregnant by him. To avoid public scandal, Skirvin had the maid confined to a room on the tenth floor where, even after giving birth, she was not allowed to leave or have contact outside the hotel. The maid wound up jumping from the window, holding her infant, killing them both.

Of course, there’s no evidence of this story, though people who knew Skirvin did state he was a drinker and indulged in mistresses, one of whom outlived him. Staff members claim they’ve seen objects move on their, male patrons state they hear a woman voice speaking to them or a ghostly hand touching them in their beds, and strange noises disturb the quiet night air. To me, I had to visit!

No, said parents. No, no, no, sorry, but no.

I wanted to be a ghost hunter so badly! I watched all of the shows on Sci-fi (I refuse to spell it Syfy, and this was way back then) of the TAPS team going into houses, hotels, old asylums and hospitals all notoriously haunted and filled to the attics with restless spirits. I had no idea how I’d react if I really did get to hunt ghosts but I was more than eager to try it at least once!

Is being a ghost-enthusiast nerdy? I just think about Danny Fenton’s parents from the Nickelodeon show Danny Phantom.

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No, I never pictured using plasma packs to actually hunt ghosts, btw.

So fast forward to the story here of my very first investigation. Okay, technically it was our second because the first one we were run off the property of an overly concerned neighbor sporting a holey, stained white t-shirt, a few missing teeth, and a thick Southern drawl that could perfectly say “You gotta purdy mouth.” However, because we weren’t run off the second one, we like to just say that it’s our first. Doesn’t everyone wish their first time was different?

It was a small two-story building located in one of the oddest places, right beside a public park with a playground and a random petting zoo (they had this donkey that I swear would start randomly screaming and yowling throughout the investigation and we caught it several times on our EVP sessions). Now the area was nice enough, save for the creepiest ice cream truck that drove by on the gravel-and-dust lot with an odd, rickety lullaby chiming away from its rusty-cornered shell with light-faded ice cream stickers. One of members, Crystal, was so certain a clown was going to be inside offering us chocolate pops.

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With our evening off to a good start, we went over the agenda sheet which listed different rounds of run-through times with different pairs of people. Only one pair could go into the site (in this case, this Freemason-named hotel that’s been kept standing for historic purposes and only used for show and is mostly empty along with a one-room schoolhouse that sits beside it) to perform EVP recordings, pictures, and navigate the downstairs and upstairs for any eerie happenings, lights all off. Now we arrived there with plenty of light so we could familiarize ourselves with the building before walking in in the dark. Flashlights are required for each member along with a personal recorder and each team of two spent about half an hour or so inside the building and could roam to wherever they felt would provide the best evidence.

You had to be careful not to make too much noise and if you did (say you stepped on something that cracked or made a loud noise, like creaking floorboards you) you were required to say “That was me, I did this noise.” No whispering, either, which is easy to forget, and it’s very easy and quick to learn who breathes the loudest. Before investigation, shy away from wearing any noticeable perfumes or colognes because everyone wants to focus on all senses, which includes smell. Wearing religious tokens (such as a cross, pentagram) are okay so long as they’re not meant to drive away spirits (these are just the simple ghosts we hope to contact, not demons, nothing malevolent hopefully).

My first round went alright, though I learned quickly to keep my questions or “provokings” a little shorter than a full speech (sorry, I talk a lot when I’m nervous and meet people for the first time, ha!) but I did feel like I was able to get a true encounter out of the entire night. It happened around the second go around I had with our lead investigator. Upstairs, where all of the summer heat rose and made the air foggy like humid cloud, we spent time in a middle room, right by the balcony door where orange light from the streetlamp made the dark rooms somewhat dimly lit. I asked Felix, the team lead, if I could try something and he said go ahead.

“Okay, to anyone who’s here,” I called up. “I’m going to play a little game here. I’m going to do this knock.” (Here I did the ‘shave-and-a-haircut knocks’.) “I’m going to knock the first five knocks and you finished with the last two. Okay?”

No one responded of course.

“Here we go!” I did the first portion of knocks and Felix and I both held our breaths, waiting, listening.

Knock, knock.

It was distant but very real, very there, the source sounding as if it were from a far corner across the floor or downstairs.

Felix and I met gazes. I asked, “You heard that, right?”

He nodded. “Ohh, yeah. Hell, yeah. I hope we caught that!”

We poked around in a few more rooms, and the only other activity that occurred was when a human-like voice screamed through the still, heated air, making my body constrict each muscle and my heart ram painfully against my sternum.

Felix was caught between cursing out the “stupid jackass” at that inconvenient petting zoo next door and laughing at my stricken expression. After that, they said there was no way I could leave the group. I was their “Aaron.”

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If you don’t know, this is Aaron from Ghost Adventures, a popular show where he almost craps himself every episode. This is evidently the face I made and it would occur often. I’m definitely not as steel-nerved as I hoped to be but it made for some wonderful comedic relief among the team.

The rest of the night passed quietly but quickly. We spent half of the night exchanging different rounds. Since this was our official night as trainees, the team wanted to make sure John and I had plenty of time to get a feel for the tasks. We had many sessions in the barren hotel and the one-roomed schoolhouse next door. At one or two AM, we called it quits and went home to wake groggily the next day.

See, these are the parts that make it clear that the TV shows are just as real as reality shows; in other words, not even close to the real thing at all. Most of ghost hunting involves sitting outside the location, waiting for your turn, all the while trying to be quiet so your noises from outside cannot be picked up on a recorder inside. You’re seated on a curb, swatting away mosquitoes or snacking on cracker packs because everyone voted snacks are most needed for ghost hunting. Nothing jumps out at you every two minutes nor do you really see any objects move on their or hear voices. You just hope that maybe you will on your recorder. If anything significant does occur, it’s very rare. I wasn’t disappointed not to see anything of large stature (those answering knocks were enough!) but it definitely levels your expectations.

At home over the next few days, we listened to our recordings carefully. Unfortunately, the knocks were not loud enough to catch on my recording (Felix will later say that his didn’t catch it either) but I know for sure they happened and we both heard them without a doubt. We were able to catch a very clear EVP that sent a small chill through me.

While in the schoolhouse, which wasn’t our main target but we decided it was worth going in to ask questions and see, you hear Felix talk a while, asking any spirits that are inside that it’s okay to talk to us. We hear the following:

Felix: We aren’t here to make trouble or to scare you off. Do we seem threatening to you?

A distinctive male voice answers, lowly: No.

It was an amazing thing to hear, knowing I was right inside the building and no one had said anything or even moved to make a noise. Our evidence was small but anything that you can capture is an abundance in itself.

People hear that I do this and immediately think “Oh, god, here’s another white woman about to start a horror movie.”

Their reaction: giphy (6)

 

I don’t blame them. We go into houses at night with only flashlights, recorders, and cameras. It’s a regular Paranormal Activity film ready to be produced, but probably with a better story plot. I can’t say of any other extraordinary things that have happened. We investigated the same site again but since have not been able to find a new place or unveil anymore evidence. We definitely believe that the house has activity and I hope wherever John and I wind up, we can continue our roles as paranormal investigators. If not, hey, it makes for some good right, do you agree?

Here is the website for the HOT investigation team. If you’re in the NC area and believe you do have a haunted site that can be legally investigated, be sure to contact! Or if you’re near the area, maybe contact for membership! Only serious inquiries, not those just wanting to do one ride-a-long and if you plan to attend meetings and investigations (these are not optional but certain exceptions can be made):

http://hauntedoperations.com/

 

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