Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Gold Hill Hotel - The Investigation, Part 1

Initially, we had planned for 2 teams to investigate the Gold Hill Hotel. However, the best laid plans have a way of unraveling, and as as the investigation drew close, Paula and I were the only ones able to go. I was a little concerned about having to cover all the areas in the hotel. As we were going to be short handed, I wanted to know what we should concentrate on: video, photography or audio, and if any areas in the hotel were more "active" than others. I was also having some anxiety on a personal level. As a Native American, my early training was to treat spirits in a respectful manner, and under no circumstances "call" them if you could not send them back. I wondered if that is what we would be doing if we were inviting them to speak with us. So, I emailed Scott Truelove of the Ghost Posse team.

Scott has a lot more experience than I do, has investigated the Gold Hill Hotel, and doesn't seem to mind answering my many questions on the subject of ghost hunting. Although I've never spoken to Scott face to face, I get the impression that he thinks in a very orderly manner, has a lot of common sense, and can cut directly to the chase; which is helpful to someone like me who has numerous strings of thought going at all times, and gets bogged down with minor details.

He gave me some good pointers on conducting our investigation. Based on what he said, I decided to concentrate my efforts on trying to capture EVP with my digital recorder and try to spend a some time in as many areas in the hotel as I could. W.I.G.S. decided not to investigate the Miner's Cabin, choosing to leave that for another trip. He also allayed my anxiety about disturbing something I should not. According to Scott, I would not be invoking any spirit to travel to my location, I would simply be asking any spirits already there to respond to my questions. Okay, so shored up by all this great advice, I was ready to begin.

I had booked rooms 4 and 5 for Sunday, February 22th. I was told by the hotel clerk that a local theater troupe were having an "Oscar" night party earlier in the evening but that things would quiet down around around 11pm or so. This worked out for us, as Paula had an earlier engagement that day, and we wouldn't be getting up to Gold Hill until late afternoon. I wasn't sure if there would be any stores open up in Virginia City later that night, so when Paula swung by to pick me up, I had her stop by Carls Jr. for a $6 burger. Paula was still full from the Indian taco she had consumed earlier, but she had brought dried fruit snacks and water for later.

The Oscar night party was just getting started when we arrived at the hotel. I saw that the women were outfitted in long gowns, and the men had on dark suits, string ties, long duster type jackets and cowboy hats. "Oh, look!" I says to Paula. "They've all dressed up in Old Western costumes for the event!" ...or so I thought. After spending some time wandering around Virginia City, observing the local denizens, I realized that they weren't dressed up in period costume at all, that this was their "Sunday best". Oh dear. Anyway we checked into our rooms, made a plan, unpacked the equipment and began the set up.

We decided to set up a tripod with camcorder in each room, which would record the entire time we were investigating. We took ambient temperature readings, did a EMF sweep of each room, noted the electrical outlets and layout. Our plan was to start in room 5, which is said to be haunted by "William", move to room 4 - "Rosie's" room, then the downstairs Great Room. Since the rooms were small and we don't have that much equipment to set up, this all was done pretty quickly. By now it was about 7:30, the party downstairs was in full swing, and we were feeling a bit hungry.

We headed into Virginia City only to discover that with the exception of a few bars, this little town rolls up the sidewalks after dark. I mean, the place was deserted. I could have walked down the street naked, and the only ones to see me would have been a couple of grizzled looking old guys, too drunk to know what they were looking at. We wandered into the Delta Saloon and looked at "The Suicide Table", a historic faro table in which 2 players had lost everything they owned on that particular table and committed suicide. I wondered if they simply died of embarrassment, considering that in faro, the odds are stacked against the house. The bar was the only thing that offered anything to eat, if you consider pickled eggs and hot sausages worthy of eating. I think I'd have to be pretty drunk. Maybe that why saloons are the only place you can find this particular fare. Paula and I decided that maybe our time would be better spent checking out future sites for investigation. We headed out in search of the Silver Terrace Cemetery.

The Silver Terrace Cemetery lies on the northeast side of C St. As the name implies, the cemetery is situated on several terraces. It is open to the public, but closes at dusk. Since we have heard that there has been reports of paranormal activity there, we were very interested in having a look around. It was very dark down by the cemetery, and we couldn't see much of it, however, we did notice that the gate was open. It was clearly posted that the cemetery was closed after dark, still...we were sorely tempted to ignore the sign and go in. After some debate - I imagined us having to explain to the local authorities about wanting to see ghosts, them thinking that a psychiatric evaluation might be in order before releasing us - we decided to resist the urge to sneak into the cemetery and headed on back to Gold Hill.

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