Most of my Saturday was filled ghosts. Talk of ghosts. Pictures of ghosts. EVPs of ghosts.
My friend Wendy from work had expressed interest in meeting my friend Evonne, who has had a boatload of paranormal experiences. It runs in her family. So the three of us met Saturday afternoon and had one of the most intense, goosebump-springing conversations I’ve ever had in the back of a Starbucks. At one point, I found myself crying a little. It was overall a really positive meet-up and I left there feeling very calm. Plus, I hadn’t seen Evonne since last July, when she stopped by during Blogathon to ply me with a green tea frappucino and zombie hand sanitizer. (Which never fails to cause a commotion when I use it at work because of the lingering bouquet of marshmallow it sends wafting through the air. That stuff is the shit.) We’re planning on meeting up again soon to work with the Psychic Circle (think Ouija Board but way more positive) in Evonne’s haunted house.
Later that night, I had an after-investigation meet up with the ghost hunting group to go over evidence that was culled a few weeks prior from Broughton Elementary. I was really excited to see everyone again and have more awesomeness to rub in Henry’s face. When I was leaving the house that night, he said something to the effect of, “Have fun with your new lame friends.” BECAUSE HE IS JEALOUS.
Everyone from the investigation, minus Tiny, was at Panera in Monroeville, prepared with laptops to display their blown-up photos of orbs and spectral images and digital recorders containing their EVP treasures. George’s girlfriend Kim (the one who refused to go back to the school after feeling the murder in the parking lot) was also there, along with another member of the group–Dwayne–who missed the investigation because he was drunk at the Steelers game and met some chick to go home with. (Seriously, that’s what he told George.) In order to differentiate this new Kim from my friend Kim, I will refer to the new one as George’s Kim, even though that’s practically setting the women’s movement back fifty years. Oh wellz0rz.
It became apparent to me within the first few minutes that George’s Kim is the brawn behind G&K Paranormal. She’s outspoken, organized and no-nonsense. I was sort of scared of her.
While we waited for Kim, Chris and Jimmy Wenger (who were wining and dining at Olive Garden without me because I had my ringer off all day like a dummy), George passed around his camera so we could all see the image he captured from the bottom of the steps by the gym. At the top, there was clearly a face peering in through the window of the doors to the second floor hallway. It was eerie enough to make me scrunch my shoulders.
“What does that look like to everyone?” George asked.
“Honestly, it looks like an alien. Like ET,” I laughed, and Joel said that he agreed.
But George’s Kim, along with some others, pointed out that it looked like a miner, and when I looked at it again I could totally see it and got even more freaked out. What I thought was an unusually large ET-cranium actually appeared to be the outline of a hardhat. And miners were killed there, you know!
Once everyone arrived, the first order of business seemed to be staging a coup on the group’s founding organizer, Lynn, who was not at the meeting or the investigation. Chris said that whenever she did attend a meeting, she never spoke and was severely lacking in leadership skills. I have not met Lynn yet, but was still fascinated and highly entertained by the dissent happening right in front of me. I sipped my coffee and sat back.
“I’d like to get her to a meeting so we can be direct with her, rather than make it seem like we’re talking behind her back,” George’s Kim suggested. I liked this suggestion, because that meant CONFRONTATION.
“Well, we don’t want to come at her with torches lit,” Chris said, causing me to flash him a look and say, “Yeah we do. I want that very much.”
“You would,” he sighed.
I want to witness a hostile takeover! I want it to come to blows, like a real barroom brawl. I saw that Lynn RSVPd for the next meeting and I am so amped.
“I think the core of our group is really beginning to gel,” Chris added to the discussion, and I found myself wanting to hug everyone. I have friends now, you guys!
Rather than merge our group with G&K Paranormal, it was decided that we will remain our own entity, with George and Kim’s continued guidance. Then a long and boring treasury discussion went on, and I sat there thinking, “Holy fuck. Things are getting legit. I AM A PART OF A REAL LIFE CLUB, YOU GUYS.” Yes, even in my head, I talk to you guys.
“Erin can be our reporter,” Jimmy Wenger tossed in, causing everyone to look at me. Yeah, and what a reporter I’d be!
“No, he’s just kidding,” I said, waving it off and feeling my face getting red. Then I turned around and called him a dork for doing that. But then he said he liked my cicada ring, Chiodos tattoo and yellow-striped flats, so he’s back to being awesome in my book.
Finally, Brittany pulled out her recorder and we all listened to the EVP she picked up when she was in one of the classrooms with Nick and Lynette. In the recording, we could hear Nick talking, but behind his voice was definitely the cadence of a child, either singing or chanting. It was fucking chilling, even for a Panera Bread meeting room, with hot coffee in my belly. She played it back, over and over, and none of us could come up with any logical explanation. The rest of the groups were nowhere near that room when they were in it, and obviously none of us sound like a child. (Right now, Henry is sitting somewhere with that smug look on his face, saying, “ORLY? You don’t sound like a child??”)
Christine had picked up quite a few EVPs herself, and most if not all seemed to originate either from the upstairs classrooms or the hallway. In one recording, you can hear someone whisper “I’m sorry.” She confirmed that it was when she, Tiny and myself were exiting one of the rooms. She played it back several times, and Chris even pulled out his headphones so we could have a better listen, and I was relieved to discover that it was not actually me saying it like I had anticipated. But then my relief turned to fear as I realized that some dead person was whispering their apologies to us while we were walking in the dark. WHAT WERE THEY SORRY FOR? Oh my god, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. Did they do something to me? Is that why I’ve been spouting off recalcitrant obscenities and bleeding from my eyes ever since that night?
Another EVP presented us with someone whispering “This way,” also from the hallway. It might have been the creepiest one of them all, with the way the whisper dragged itself out.
There was one from the room where something was finishing Tiny’s succession of knocks on the desk. I excitedly told her that I had captured the same audio when I was recording from my point and shoot camera and as usual, she seemed unimpressed with me. I will win this broad over yet.
I’ve been checking around online and there are some other paranormal investigation teams who have EVPs from that school and they are chockful of the sounds of children. It makes me feel like the giggle I heard in that first floor classroom was real.I also found this one recording of an investigator commenting on how some of the rooms have been vandalized and desecrated by kids breaking and entering (hi, Blake). You can hear this faint and gruff voice of a man saying, “Little bastards” right as the investigator mentions it. (Some of the EVPs on that site were really questionable, but that one was almost crystal clear.) A janitor died in that school. JUST SAYIN’.
Anyway, I feel like I’m learning a lot from these people. Plus, Joel is really big into photography so I’m hoping to learn some shit from him about that, too, instead of just bumbling through life completely ignorant to f-stop and aperature.
Before the meeting officially ended, George asked, “Well, would anyone like to have t-shirts made?”
His words had barely made contact with the atmosphere before I found myself lurching forward and shouting, “YES!” Everyone looked at me, and George said, “Ok…” with a laugh.
Fuck yeah, I want a motherfucking t-shirt. I want everyone to know about the awesome club I’m in. It better have my fucking name on it, too.
Then I went home and started word-vomiting on Henry because I was just so overwhelmed by the evidence. He listened, but his lips were twisted in that haughty tight-lined smile of his.
“I feel like it was the missing piece in my life,” I said about ghost-hunting, and my unsupportive, myopic boyfriend tried to stifle a laugh.
Last night, I watched “Death of a Ghost Hunter” and I pretty much can say with full certainty that I am scared forever. There was this weird religious helmet in it that I am now obsessed with.