For any of you who still follow this website, you are probably wondering why our evidence has come to a complete halt even though we are now living in one of the most haunted places in America. I was a PI (Paranormal Investigation) junky until our bad experience at Baker City (described in the post The Unsettled Souls of the Geyser Grand). Soon after Baker City, the holidays came and winter set in. Then we had to focus on getting the house ready to put on the market and all the subsequent craziness that followed as we moved and found a place to settle.
We arrived at Gettysburg stressed and apathetic about ghost hunting. We went out to Sachs Bridge only to find busloads of people out there “investigating.” How can you investigate when there are a hundred people milling around?! We went on a couple hosted events and didn’t turn up anything. It became alarmingly clear that any evidence collected on a hosted event, in which 10 to 20 people are all trying to collect evidence, would need to be thrown out from excessive contamination. Even if I was by myself in the basement of a four-story house, which supposedly served as a Civil War Hospital, all EVP evidence was contaminated by the people stomping around overhead and talking loudly. So we stopped going on hosted investigations, which is okay anyway since they are very pricey!
Since we have been doing our own investigations, we have attempted to go to as many haunted places as we can. We always do our research and stay in the most active room of a B&B or Hotel. I am loath to admit, however, that we haven’t collected any evidence since our visit to Gettysburg in the summer of 2012.
I have a theory, and I would be interested in knowing if anyone in the paranormal community agrees with me. Is it possible that some places have been hunted too much? Gettysburg Battlefield, Eastern State Penitentiary, The Ax Murder House of Villisca, Iowa, every McMenamins in Oregon and Washington, the Lizzie Borden House, etc. etc. People pay big bucks to investigate some of these places. For example, on our way east last summer we were going to be passing about 30 miles north of the Villisca Ax Murder House. For $428 a group can be locked down in the house for a whole night. We thought it would be fun to give it a try, but when we went to the website to book a night we found out every night for the rest of the summer was already booked. (I recently watched the Ax Murder House portrayed on Dead Files. The owner said she would not, under any condition, stop opening the house to paranormal groups which only angered the spirits. I can’t say as I blame her. Not counting daytime tour groups, if she sells out every nighttime lockdown during the summer she will gross over $13000 per month!)
Very few people seem to get any really conclusive evidence in these places. Considering how often they are hunted, and how active they supposedly are, I would assume there would be a mountain of evidence. What if the resident spirits are tired of people trying to make contact with them? What if they find it insulting? It has become more and more apparent to me that ghost hunting the places that everyone goes to may be a waste of time and money.
I was recently exploring the world of Paranormal Podcasts and came across one called Stirring the Cauldron by Marla Brooks. In one of her episodes she contemplates the question, “Do haunted locations have a shelf-life?” During that episode, she tells of an experience she had in which she asked medium David Wills the reason the famed Winchester House was devoid of spirit activity. His answer is quite enlightening. He told her the spirits were still in the house, but they were bored with the endless parade of paranormal investigators. They aren’t impressed with us or our attempts to get in contact with them. Her guest Brian Patrick implied they may not want to perform for us like monkeys endlessly beating the drum to our endless inquiries: “Are you there?,” “What’s your name,” “Do you know you’re dead?” etc.
Now don’t get me wrong,if you sat in on one of my EVP sessions I would be asking similar questions in hopes of getting a response, because almost every EVP I have ever gotten have been in direct response to a question I had posed. But I have usually gotten EVP’s after I have made an effort to connect to the area I am in. I have endeavored to mentally reach out to whoever may be in the ether, and empathize with them in the hopes they feel moved to speak to me. I am not a psychic. I may be sensitive, but my self-doubt is stronger than most paranormal entities, so I just do the best I can.
I think part of the reason I haven’t gotten an EVP in a year and a half is because I don’t try very hard any more, and my mind has become too cluttered with other things (i.e. moving, finding a job, breaking my ankle, etc.). There is nothing remotely appealing about me that would attract the attention of a resident spirit because I have lost my enthusiasm and love for the paranormal hunt.
Like any relationship, if you fire off the same questions every day to the people around you and never get emotionally invested that relationship will suffer. The spirits on the other side need to know we actually care about them. They need to know they matter to us. So, why are we out there gathering evidence? To get answers to the cosmic questions regarding an afterlife? Or is it just an easy path to fame? We need to treat the spirits on the other side as courteously as we treat the person standing next to us. They were once human, and may become human again. They aren’t there for our entertainment.
In a hosted event in which 10 or more people are milling about with cameras flashing and spirit boxes blaring, it is almost impossible to sit quietly and absorb the energy of a room or reach out to the spirits. I would be interested in finding out just how much real evidence is obtained in group investigations. It seems such investigations are for paranormal tourists rather than people really interested in paranormal investigations. I am reminded of my infamous investigation in Baker City in 2012. A middle-aged couple, who seemed inebriated, decided to join the investigation of an area brothel. The man kept “feeling” spirit touch him and would whisper this to his wife (never whisper on an investigation!), while she clicked around in high-heeled boots. I actually felt bad for them because they probably thought it would be a lark, not realizing every other person on the team was going to be glaring at them every time they opened their mouths or took a step. They finally left with some complaints that they were tired of people yelling at them.
So, the logical explanation to this enormous blog (sorry about that) is to avoid group hunts and do our own thing. This is easy to do in open places like battlefields and cemeteries, but not so easy if someone wants to investigate a house, hotel, or asylum. Big bucks must be laid out and a group must be endured. I am constantly threatening to trespass on abandoned places (I would never break and enter–just enter), but my husband’s cooler head prevails and stories of incarceration inevitably discourage me from the adventure. It has resulted in us not doing very much paranormal investigation anymore. I’m just not interested in investigating a place that is frequented by huge crowds with digital recorders. I can see why evidence is sparse in such groups. If you were a spirit, would you be willing to perform for people demanding your response? While paranormal investigating is such big business, I don’t believe things are going to improve. For those of us interested in the answers and the evidence rather than the money and fame, we may have to find our own places–or wait till the craze dies down.