Sunday, October 26, 2008
My friend Paula and I share a mutual interest in history of the Old West, ghost towns, ghosts, and the paranormal. Recently, a paranormal conference was offered by the Truckee Meadows Community College(TMCC). It sounded like a lot of fun and a chance to act like real "ghost hunters", so I called Paula up and armed with our cameras, flashlights, digital recorders, an ambient thermometer, and a cheap EMF detector, off we went.
The conference was held at the Cal Neva Lodge in Lake Tahoe. The program was nicely done, with a lecture portion in the afternoon, followed by a light dinner, and then ghost investigations that evening.
There was a local historian and author turned ghost hunter who spoke about the history of the Cal Neva. The Cal Neva was once owned by Frank Sinatra, and it is said to be haunted by his spirit. Marilyn Monroe was a frequent guest and supposedly, her spirit has been seen by visitors too. According to some historians, she tried to kill herself up at the Cal Neva a few weeks before she was found dead in her home in Brentwood, California.
The next lecturer was Bill Brown, a local news reporter that became in involved in paranormal investigation last year after he did a news report on ghost hunting He discussed a couple of investigations he has been a part of.
Two women gave a talk about ghost photography, which was very interesting; especially the benefits of cameras with infra-red capacity.
Finally a local medium gave a talk about communicating with the other side (yawn). I don't go to mediums; don't really have a lot of faith in them. I was ready for dinner by then.
During dinner the group was divided into smaller investigating groups. If there was one complaint I had about this conference, this was it. There were over 80 participants. We were divided into 5 groups of 16 plus our guides. 16 people investigating one room? Yikes! It was crowded, to say the least, and let me tell you, those cabins are small.
The places we were going to investigate were: Frank’s cabin, Marilyn’s cabin, the underground tunnel connecting the celebrity cabins to the casino, room 101, and participate in a séance conducted by the medium. The schedule gave each group about 50 minutes in each location.
Our group's first stop for the evening was Frank's cabin. We all squeezed into the cabin and five of us were sent into the closet to do EVP work. I really didn’t expect to get anything and I didn’t. Marilyn’s cabin and room 101 weren’t much better. The tunnel was interesting, although there was a wedding reception going on above us in the Indian Room, so it was pretty loud. No one wanted to stay around for very long down there. Paula got the one and only EVP from the tunnels, but ironically, she had left the group and headed outside for a cigarette because she thought it was a waste of time. The séance was pretty benign. Again, I'm very much a skeptic when it comes to mediums. Over all, we had a great time and it confirmed what we already knew: it doesn’t take any real training to do this, just an interest in the paranormal, an open mind, and willingness to learn. We are looking forward to continuing our exploration of the unknown and haunted places.