Sunday, October 30, 2011

It's Halloween, Who You Gonna Call?

Fall is here in the Truckee Meadows and we have been blessed with wonderfully warm weather for the holiday weekend. Halloween is a busy time for our paranormal community, most groups have some sort of event planned. It seems to me that it is a common thought is that Halloween is a perfect opportunity to gain exposure, promote the field of paranormal investigation and educate the curious.

So why, on the eve of Halloween am I not out there hanging with my para buds converting the masses to the cause of seeking answers to age old questions? Because it's Halloween...and I am not willing to slap a "Kick Me" sign on my back for some drunken, snickering revelers seeking a little spooky thrill to take a swipe at. Really, take a ghost tour and you will inveribly hear references to proton packs and ectoplasmic slime.

Think about it...we are not taken seriously by most people. It's not so much that people find what we do ridiculous - I myself admit there are elements of the ridiculous in ghost investigating, BUT, for most of us within the paranormal community, the search for answers is real. Personally, for me, this is not the time of year to try and convince anyone else of the validity of paranormal investigation.

Maybe I'm judging a little too harshly; I'm sure that there are those few individuals who are sincerely interested in what we do - some investigators will give the arguement that, it is exactly for the sake of those few that they are willing to put up with a few drunken partyers at Halloween. If you, dear reader are among the aforementioned, please, forge on with your plans - but keep it in perspective. Be okay that you are, for this weekend, the means by which the masses can indulge a primal urge to face the spooky things that hide in the dark beyond the protective light of the communal fires. Have fun, laugh at their fear and walk bravely into the night.


Me? I would just as soon avoid the weekend wannabes and stay home handing out candy to the costumed little bast...uh, cherubs who will descend upon my doorstep like raging, mindless zombies in search of tasty brains. And if I want to don a grey jumpsuit and strap on my proton pack, I'm not going to feel ridiculous about doing so.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

American Flats

Just west of Goldhill Nevada on State Route 341, lies American Flats; and the remains of the Comstock Merger Mines cyanide mill. Time and wind have reduced the mill to strangely beautiful skeletal remains. The crumbling reinforced concrete monoliths (there are eight of them), rise out of the desert like post-apocalyptic temples, whose clandestine devotees leave cryptic messages and painted images as offerings to the silent, long dead gods. Some regard the ruins, complete with falling concrete, unprotected drop-offs, flooded tunnels and subterranean vaults a public hazard; others see it as an important piece of Comstock history.

History



Circa 1925, courtesy of BLM

Gold and silver mining began in American Flat after 1860 when the Comstock discoveries extended beyond the Gold Canyon ravine. By 1864 American City had become a town and its citizens tried to secure the territorial capital from Carson City. Promoters at American City offered $50,000 to the Nevada territorial government if it would relocate there. The Storey County papers backed the removal attempt, but the legislators rejected the offer. During 1864-66 American City was a thriving town with two large hotels amid other businesses, a post office and its own township officers. But the community never took root and by late 1867 American City was all but gone. In 1920, the United Comstock Mining Co. constructed a $1.5 million four-story cyanide mill of reinforced concrete on the site to process low-grade ores coming out of the Comstock Lode. Three years later the Comstock Merger Mines Inc. was formed to operate a group of Comstock mines in the middle of the lode and in 1923 acquired the mill when the United Comstock Mining Co. went out of business. A small company camp just below the mill included a store, houses, a post office and other buildings until December 1926, when the Merger Mines Company closed the mill because of the falling price of silver.

Current Issues

The building at American Flats has been the subject of much debate this past year. In December 2010, the Nevada Appeal reported that the BLM was moving forward with plans to demolish and reclaim the site; causing an outcry among those that would see the old buildings preserved. At present, the demolition is on hold until further studies to determine the sites’ historic value can be conducted.

The remains at American Flats have been a gathering hole for dirt bikers, graffiti artists, paint ballers and partyers for decades. Although one of the arguments for its destruction is the danger, few injuries or fatalities have been reported in its 89 year history. According to an article in the Reno News and Review, soon after the 1922 operation began, at least one worker, Rodie Sheeke, was killed after an ore train failed to stop when it was supposed to and crushed him against an ore dump. In 1935, firefighter George Harris died while working a fire at American Flat. A quick internet search only produced only one mention of a more recent death; it seems someone tried to drive somewhere not meant for vehicles back in the 1990s.

Investigation

Back in April of this year, G and I went along with members of the Reno Paranormal Group and the Metaphysical Learning Center (formerly the Sierra Psychic Academy) on a daylight investigation of the building out at American Flats. G and I spent most of our time in the underground tunnels, heard some sounds of footsteps crunching gravel, had the distinct impression of a presence near us and caught an EVP near one of the flooded areas. That said; we had to throw out all our data. The wind whistling through the tunnels, along with the sounds of distant motorcycles contaminated pretty much most of my recordings. As for the “presence”, it’s creepy in those underground tunnels, and I have an active imagination. I caught nothing on film, although another investigator had some interesting light anomalies show up on her pictures.

Is American Flats haunted? Who knows, I certainly don’t. One thing I do know, I fell in love with the place. Whether one sees the mill remains as an eye-sore or a thing of beauty, there is no denying that these relics of the past will not go quietly into the night. American Flats maintains a stark and dramatic beauty and continues to attract much attention from seekers of the curious.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Haunted St. Mary Louise Hospital

As an investigator, building solid relationships with site owners and managers of old haunted places is an important part of what we do. If a team is disrespectful, or leaves a site littered, chances are, they don't get invited back. Depending on the offence, the site might be closed to other teams as well.
Angela and Ron, the caretakers of the haunted St. Mary Louise Hospital in Virginia City have been avid supporters of the paranormal scene since moving there, opening their doors to para cons, lectures, tours and investigations. When Angela asked if she could post a blog about the paranormal events offered by St. Marys, I quickly agreed. Anyone who has met this wonderful couple knows these two are dedicated to the history and restoration of historically important site.

Haunted St. Mary Louise Hospital

Currently the official on site Property Managers for the Haunted St. Mary Louise Hospital the last 2 1/2 years, we have had several personal experiences to share. This historic property in Virginia City, NV, is now known as St. Mary's Art Center and quickly becoming a hot spot for Ghost Hunters.

At 14,000 square feet, four stories tall and resting on 5 1/2 acres of active land, the old hospital staff continue to loyaly perform their duties of the day.

The building was commissioned by Bishop Manogue from St. Mary's Church in Virginia City, NV, 135 years ago this year. The staff consisted of 6-7 sisters who resided in the attic and attended to the patients in the old public wards as well as the private rooms. These sisters were known as the Daughters of Charity.

The first patient was admitted on March 14, 1876 for Paralysis. On site Property Managers who have also been investigating the paranormal for the last 6 years, experience unusual phenomena on a daily basis.

Day or night, the spirits do not have a preference. Sounds such as heavy boots walking the halls and stairs, rolling of carts and gurney's (on hard wood however, the above floors are carpeted), marbles rolling on the wooden floors, ladies conversing down hallways or in other rooms, shadow figures have been seen regularly (even during the day), class A EVP's have been captured, phantom smells of rubbing alcohol, vomit, vapo rub, sterile scents, flowers, pipe tobacco, etc. have also been lurking the hallways and rooms. All of the above have happened to us, personally. The building rarely fails to communicate with not only us, but tourists and Paranormal Investigation teams as well.

Several impressive photographs have been captured by many tourists without any explanation. Batteries have a tendency to go dead really quickly in certain rooms and light anomolies as bright as a flashlight have been captured on film (and no, it was not a flashlight). Full body apparitions have been seen by me, the Property Manager inside the building as well as on the front lawn.

This historic building is now an Art Center with 5 art galleries. 15 guest rooms are available as well with 5 communal, modernized restrooms (there are no restrooms in the guest rooms), 2 kitchens with refrigerators and microwaves.

Have a Haunted Birthday Party, Paranormal Wedding, etc. here at the old hospital:) When we have events going on, the activity tends to become much stronger.

Group rentals are the best way to go however, on occasion we are able to rent guest rooms out to couples.

Private 2 hour Guided Ghost Tours are available by appointment only. The cost is $25 per person and our Property Managers will walk you thru the building utilizing some of their equipment, provide some history of the building and then let you explore on your own or with them. The Property Managers will always be on hand as they stay in the building during the tour. For more information on booking a Guided Ghost Tour of the old hospital, please email us at booksmac@att.net.

Please email us at booksmac@att.net for more information and book your haunted room.

Angela

For more information visit their facebook page at:
http://www.facebook.com/hauntedstmarylouisehospital

Monday, January 17, 2011

An Evening At The Haunted St. Mary's Art Center

As hobbies go, paranormal investigating probably doesn't quite fit into the same category as, say, knitting. But as with any hobby, sooner or later, a person wants to share their interest with others, maybe encourage others to join in the fun, start a knitting circle, or something.


While I don't tend to broadcast the fact that I spend my free time ghost hunting, sooner or later, my penchant for haunted places leaks out to friends, family and acquaintances. On the surface, I get raised eyebrows from most, but given the opportunity (and nobody within hearing distance), these same scoffers will seek me out to learn more. See, I believe everyone harbors a guilty curiosity in the unknown, how else to explain the popularity of all those paranormal show out there? So, with this in mind, here's something for all you closet investigators:

Women Investigating Ghost Sighting (W.I.G.S) has teamed up with VC Paranormal to offer "An Introduction To Paranormal Investigating". Come spend the night with us at the St. Mary's Art Center in Virginia City. We will have equipment on hand and will guide you through your first investigation of the paranormal.
Cost: $40

Where and when:

St. Marys Art Center
55 North R Street
Virginia City , NV
Two nights are offered, February 19 and February 20, 2011. Check in at 3pm. Check out at 11am.

What to Bring:

A sleeping bag and pillow (these are going to be overnight investigations)
Camera (preferable one with "night shot")
Camcorder
Voice recorder
Flashlight (We do it in the dark)
KII or EMF meters, dowsing rods (if you have them)
Personal toiletries (there are bathrooms on every floor)
Food, drinks and snacks (you will have access to the kitchen, coffee maker and microwave)
Warm clothing and soft soled shoes.

Some rules:

St. Mary's has 4 floors and no elevators. You must be able to climb stairs.
Wear cotton fabrics, sheer fabric tends to disappear in IR lighting, so unless you want to be photographed in your bra...
There is no smoking in the building, bring a jacket if you need to step outside.
Please refrain from wearing perfume or cologne (If we can smell you before we see you, it's too much).
Be prepared to sign a waiver form to have your pictures posted online, as well as releasing W.I.G.S and St.Mary's of responsibility in case of injury.

So there you have it, come join our knitting circle.

For more information, contact: Paula at 775-322-4314

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Nevada State Hospital Cemetery

Today I received an update on the memorial dedication of the Nevada State Hospital Cemetery. Anonymous wrote: "A new monument with 767 names (and acknowledging that there are likely up to 400 more unknown) has been installed in the hospital cemetery. It will be dedicated this Friday, January 21, 2011 between 2-4 pm. This event is open to the public. After the outdoor dedication there will be refreshments and historical displays inside the new Agriculture Building adjacent to the cemetery".

This cemetery is a vital piece of Nevada's past; from 1882-1947, approximately 1000 patients from the nearby State Mental Health Institute lie buried on an adjacent piece of property with little or no ceremony to acknowledge their existence or final resting place.

The memorial is a result of a tremendous effort by the Friends of Northern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services Cemetery.

I'm hoping the weather holds and the day of the dedication is clear. If not, I'll bundle up and bring along a thermos of hot coffee. The cemetery is located on 21st Street and Frazier in Sparks; next to the Nevada Adult Mental Health Institute.

To learn more, visit: http://friendsofnorthernnevadaadultmentalhealthservicescemetery.com/ You can access maps, photos, newspaper articles and other related items about the cemetery at this site.