Posts Tagged ‘spirits’

Date: May 14, 2016

Location: Knox United Church

Investigators: Noelle, Paul, Holly, Rowan, guest investigator Pastor Dave (minister)

Claims: woman in blue wearing pink hat in Pew #23 (back pew in Sanctuary), footsteps, male child playing

Noted contaminants:  building acoustics; outside noise (traffic, people); dust; creaking floors/pews, floors; ceiling fans; air conditioning through flooring, walls, and ceiling vents; shadows across interior walls from outside movement (people, etc. going by); dust; contrast between dark wood/light wall creates impression of seeing things from the corner of the eye.

Background

Knox United Church is one of Calgary’s oldest buildings. It owes its existence, in part, to a grocery store. Before the first Paskapoo sandstone cornerstone was laid in 1912, the Presbyterian congregation that would one day fill the pews of the church met at the I.G. Baker in Inglewood, where Reverend Angus Robertson preached to a small crowd of 30 or so parishioners. In 1883, those same parishioners built their first wooden church. The 7 by 11-metre structure took 10 days to build, at a cost of $1,000. (NOTE: That church was eventually mounted on skids and moved across the iced-over Elbow River near where the York Hotel once stood.)

As Calgary grew, so too did church attendance. A second church was built in 1886, and then a third in 1905. Eventually, in September 1913, the church was completed. Since then, the bones of the building have remained more or less intact. From its Gothic arches to its exterior buttresses and even its pews and hand-blown glass lights, most of the church is exactly as it would have been when it first opened.

Designated both a municipal and provincial historic resource, there are only a handful of additions that can be made to the church. Most notable among them is a meditation maze painted on the original Douglas fir floors in 2005, based off a similar labyrinth from a cathedral in Chartres, France. Other spectacular features include the organ, which is an original feature of the church – and one of the largest pipe organs in western Canada – and the stained-glass window, installed in 1921.

Knox United Church has been an important part of the Calgary and Alberta community for 130 years. It has been in its present location for 100 years. In addition to being a place of worship, music and spiritual development, Knox is also a home to community justice groups, events and concerts.

The Investigation

In order to cover as much area as possible, the group split up into two teams.  One team would cover the main floor; the other would cover the basement. It was also decided that in order for everyone to investigate every area, the teams would work for approximately 20 minutes in their designated section and then meet back in the main floor Sanctuary for rotation to a second team. To start the investigation, Rowan and Holly went to the basement to investigate the Theater and the Parlor. Paul, Noelle, and Pastor Dave – who requested to be present for the investigation – remained in the Sanctuary.  The entire team noted noise contamination from outside the building: traffic was loud, and people could be heard talking as they walked by the building.

The Theater: Rowan and Holly

The Theater is a large gymnasium-sized space with a small stage at the west end of the room. Rowan and Holly noted several noise contaminants that could potentially affect audio readings: acoustics (creating echo), wall, floor, and ceiling vents, and air conditioning, which was on. They also noted light-and-shadow play from outside moving across interior walls, and dust particles floating around and being caught in beams of light coming through the windows.

No unusual EMF changes occurred during their investigation, but both Rowan and Holly did hear what they described as heels walking on the hardwood floor. Holly also noted that while she was attempting to video near the stage, the camera began to malfunction. When taking still photos, the images came out distorted and blurry. When attempting to run video, the stage appeared to jerk on the screen – as if overlapping itself – despite the camera being steady.  Holly noted that the camera did not malfunction in other areas of the building.

The Parlor: Rowan and Holly

In an effort to replicate the camera problems, Rowan and Holly decided to leave the Theater and investigate the Parlor. Upon entering the room, they immediately noticed both noise and light contamination factors: Outside noise (traffic, etc.), light coming through the windows and creating shadows on the walls, creaking floors, and air moving through vents on the walls and and floor from the air conditioning, which was on.

To prevent contamination from handling, the voice recorder was placed on the keys cover of an old piano at the south end of the room. Rowan placed a dime on the floor and asked that it be moved to indicate that there were energies present. Due to the acoustics of the room, which allow for echoing of even the quietest voices, neither Rowan nor Holly spoke much.  When it was time for them to meet up with the rest of the team, however, Rowan asked one last time for a sign of the presence of energies.  Both she and Holly heard three distinct knocks. They immediately retrieved the dime and the voice recorder, and tried to find the source of those knocks. Their search led them back to the Sanctuary, where the rest of the team was just wrapping up their investigation.  Rowan asked if anyone had knocked, and the other team said no.

At no time during their investigation of the Parlor did Holly or Rowan experience any unusual problems with the camera.

The Sanctuary: Paul, Noelle, and Pastor Dave

While no unusual events occurred during their investigation of the Sanctuary, Paul, Noelle, and Pastor Dave did report unusual EMF fluctuations near a rocking chair. A careful examination of the area revealed there are electrical cables and wiring under the floor, as well as wall vents just above the floor. After running several tests, it was found that the EMF fluctuations were caused by the wiring and temperature changes from the air conditioning.

The Basement: Noelle, Rowan, and Pastor Dave

Noelle, Rowan, and Pastor Dave headed for the basement to investigate the Theater, the Parlor, and the Kitchen areas.  Holly and Paul remained in the Sanctuary.  Noelle took the camera with her and Paul used the video and camera feature on his Tablet for still photos and video.

Noelle, Rowan, and Pastor Dave found nothing unusual in the Theater or the Parlor.  Pastor Dave took the team to the old part of the building, where the basement area is nothing but gravel and drainage pipes.  Noelle was holding the voice recorder and talking with Pastor Dave while Rowan quietly stood by and occasionally requested signs of presence.  During later analysis, a vocal anomaly was caught while Noelle and Pastor Dave were talking just before leaving the area to go to the Kitchen.  Although we could hear it fairly clearly, we were unable to determine whether the anomaly was English or French.

Just before entering the Kitchen, the voice recorder captured another vocal anomaly but it was too faint to decipher.  No unusual EMF fluctuations were detected and no vocal or light anomalies were captured.  The team spent about 15 minutes in the Kitchen and then returned to the Sanctuary to meet with Paul and Holly, neither of which had anything unusual to report.

It was decided that the remainder of the investigation would be conducted with all team members present.  We began in the Sanctuary, where Holly started humming a hymn. In an effort to invite communication, she asked for help remembering the words to the hymn.  After a few minutes with no results, the team invited Pastor Dave to begin asking questions.  At that point, the team noted temperature fluctuations occurring on the Mel Meter.  However, these fluctuations were attributed to the change in air flow as a result of the ceiling fans moving as well as the air conditioning coming through the vents.

The team worked in the Sanctuary for approximately 15 minutes before Paul suggested that he and Noelle work in the basement while Rowan and Holly remain in the Sanctuary. At this point, Pastor Dave took his leave, citing other responsibilities that needed his attention.  Rowan and Holly decided to place a recorder in the Labyrinth room, which is directly across the hall from the Sanctuary, and keep that door closed.  Then, they went up to the choir boxes on the balcony and worked there.  No unusual light or vocal anomalies were captured, nor were there any unusual EMF fluctuations.

Paul and Noelle returned to the Sanctuary approximately 15 minutes later. At that point, the team decided to spend some time in the Library before heading for the Labyrinth room to finish up the investigation. Before starting the investigation of the Library, Rowan retrieved the voice recorder from the Labyrinth.

The Library

The lights were off in the Library when the team entered the room.  While no vocal anomalies were captured during the investigation of the room, Paul reported seeing a shadow on the mirror in the bathroom door.  Examining the bathroom itself, it was discovered that there is no electricity; the bathroom light did not work.  In an effort to explain what he’d seen, he asked Holly to stand against the mirror so he could take photos. Holly did as he asked, but nothing unusual was captured.

While discussing the situation, Noelle noted that the room temperature had risen.  Paul went to the bathroom mirror and stood against it so Holly could take photos. Several unexpected light anomalies were captured that were not illuminated in the camera’s flash when the shutter was depressed.  Holly immediately began shooting more photos in an effort to replicate the event, but no further anomalies appeared, and nothing was illuminated in the flash.  During this time, Noelle stated that she saw what she described as a human shadow figure standing behind and slightly to the right of Paul while the photos were being taken.

Because we believe that most light anomalies are dust motes, clothing fibers, hair dander, and etc., we normally don’t pay any attention to them when they are caught on film. However, several efforts to replicate these occurrences failed, including taking pictures of Noelle, Holly, and Rowan in the same position.  We had been working in the room for several minutes prior to Paul going to the mirror, and nothing was captured.  After the second round of photos was taken and nothing was found, we continued working in the room for several more minutes. Had we been stirring up dust or carpet fibers, those motes would have appeared in most of the photos right up until we left the room.

Another point of interest about this is that Noelle noted a rise in temperature at the same time as these anomalies appeared around Paul.  Despite every effort, we have been unable to debunk them.

The Labyrinth

The team headed for the Labyrinth to finish up the investigation.  One voice recorder was placed on a table at the west end of the room; a second recorder was placed on a table near a door that leads to the Conference Room, which was locked.  Holly sat on a chair in the west corner; Rowan sat on a bench near the locked door.  Noelle decided to walk the Labyrinth, and Paul followed her lead.  It was suggested that the process of walking the Labyrinth might encourage communication.

While Noelle made her way around the circle, the temperature rose briefly, then dropped nearly two degrees, and then held steady. This occurred several times during our investigation of this room, and we attributed it to the air conditioning coming on and turning off.  When she reached the center of the circle, Noelle sat down on the floor.  Paul joined her shortly after, and for several minutes, no one spoke. Holly got up and walked directly across the Labyrinth pattern instead of walking the circle, and suddenly, her camera shut off.  Then, the entire team heard what sounded like a door scraping across carpet.  Noelle got up and went to the entrance door to test the sound of it opening. The hallway is carpeted; the door opening onto the carpet made exactly the same sound. No one was near or in that area at the time the sound occurred. We were unable to explain it.  Shortly afterwards, the investigation was wrapped.  Later analysis of our data showed that no light or vocal anomalies were captured in the Labyrinth.

Conclusion

While we did capture some interesting anomalies that we were unable to debunk, we cannot say conclusively that Knox United Church is haunted. The building is very old; structural changes, settling, and ongoing renovations may be causing many of the sights and sounds being reported.  The building’s acoustics are phenomenal, in that they can easily disperse whispers from living people to other areas, effectively creating the idea that ghosts are being heard. We must also take into account the fact that many of the hardwood floors are uneven; although it is soft, the resulting creaking can be heard by anyone in the basement area, and misinterpreted as being something ghostly in nature.

Having said this, we still do not have an explanation for the light anomalies we captured in the Library, nor can we positively identify the source of the vocal anomalies caught on our recorders.  However, we are not saying that these anomalies are paranormal. We are saying only that, as yet, we have been unable to explain their occurrence. Because of this, we are deeming the status of this case as being inconclusive, and closing it.

On behalf of the entire team, we extend our gratitude and appreciation to our liaison, Bob, for allowing us to explore and investigate this beautiful, old building and experience its living history, and for taking the time to meet with us to go over our findings.  We hope the building continues to stand for many years to come and that its original structure can be maintained and protected.

Case Status:  Closed

Location Status:  Inconclusive

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Date:  Mar. 27, 2015

Location:  Copperfield district, Calgary – 2 private residences

Claims:  Residence One: full-bodied apparitions, sounds of keys jingling, swaying bed, lights found on after being turned off, feeling watched/uneasy/unsafe, dog acting strangely, doors and cupboards opening on their own, hearing heavy footsteps upstairs when no one is upstairs, doors unlocking on their own, difficulty sleeping

Residence Two: difficulty sleeping, vibrating/shaking bed, smoke detector going off without cause, family picture being overturned, feeling watched/uneasy

Investigators:  Holly, Christine, Megan, Paul, Jill

Remote Reading by Michele

“Clock sound or heavy ticking.  Male energy who gets annoyed with present owners figures they are in his space.  Walking up stairs but not all the way up. Testing. Smells. Something around a car.  The color blue.  Older woman who sits and hums either needle-point or quilting. Rocking chair back and forth.  Being followed.”

Our clients offered to leave their residences for the duration of our investigation. After they left, teams were organized, and the investigations began. While the rest of the team waited outside, Holly and Christine, along with Scott, the cameraman, met with the clients of both residences.  The majority of the activity seems to be occurring in the first residence (hereafter known as “Residence One”).  Two different, full-bodied apparitions have been seen in the home. One is a figure of a man approximately 5 feet, 6 inches tall, with black hair and dark eyes, wearing a black coat and black top hat and carrying a large set of keys.  This apparition has been seen going up the stairs with loud, heavy footsteps, jingling the keys it’s carrying.  The second apparition has been seen at the patio door.  The apparition is described as male, dressed all in black and wearing some type of hood, and its appearance has caused spontaneous opening of at least one cupboard door, as well as the pantry door, which is right beside the patio door.

The Investigation

The investigation began with Paul and Megan in Residence Two, and Christine and Jill in Residence One.  Each team would investigate for a total of 20 minutes, and then switch out. Holly remained behind to take still photos of the surrounding area.

Residence One, Investigation One – Christine and Jill

Christine and Jill began their investigation on the top floor, in the master bedroom. Christine set up the video camera to face the top of the stairs, opposite the master bedroom. Jill brought out a K-II meter for the EVP session.  Fluctuations did occur on the K-II meter, however, because the camera was facing away from the master bedroom, the results could not be visually documented. While attempting to reset the camera to face the stairs, the camera began malfunctioning in a very strange way. Efforts were made to explain and correct the issue, but no resolution could be found. The camera was subsequently taken out of service for the remainder of the investigation.  However, unexplained, very loud bangs that could not be explained were picked up by the voice recorder on the main floor, as well as the camera’s audio while it was malfunctioning.

Residence Two, Investigation One – Megan and Paul

Paul and Megan began their investigation on the top floor, in the master bedroom, where the client claimed his bed shakes rather violently at random times.  Paul volunteered to remain in the room alone and conduct an EVP session. Megan went to the spare room, which is attached by a firewall to the master bedroom in Residence One, and conducted an EVP session. After several minutes with no apparent results, Megan and Paul ended the investigation of the upper floor and went downstairs to the garage.  No vocal or visual anomalies were captured.

In the garage, Megan experienced an unexplained coolness around her ankles, which appeared to be consistent with an earlier comment by the client that they felt as though someone was trying to grab at their ankles.  Megan decided to stop her voice recorder and go into the main part of the home to take some still photos, and Paul remained in the garage to conduct an EVP session.  Two times, when he asked for a tap or a knock, he received what appeared to be a direct response.  Only one of the taps was captured. It was captured by the voice recorder and the camera’s audio. When Megan returned to the garage, Paul said he was experiencing a sense of apprehension that was not present earlier. Megan was also feeling unusually uncomfortable. However, no vocal or visual anomalies were picked up to validate these sensations, so they are considered to be personal experiences only.

Residence One, Investigation Two – Holly, Megan, and Paul

Paul immediately went to the garage to conduct an EVP session. Holly and Megan began their investigation on the main floor of the home.  Megan heard a sound she described as someone sitting on something made of leather.  Holly did not hear this sound, and neither the voice recorder nor the camera audio picked it up.  Megan asked that the hanging light over the dining room table be moved as a sign that there was someone there, and both Holly and Megan saw the light move. However, the movement was so slight that the camera could not “see” it.  Then, Holly went to the counter and knocked out the “shave-and-a-haircut” theme, asking that it be finished.  To both Holly’s and Megan’s surprise, there were two response knocks that came from near the patio door.  These knocks were captured by both the voice recorders and the camera’s audio.  No further audio or visual anomalies were captured, despite efforts to encourage communication, so Megan and Holly went upstairs to the master bedroom to conduct an EVP session.

A few minutes into the EVP session, Paul emerged from the garage and called up to Holly and Megan.  It was time to switch out again.  Holly got one step on the stairs, and was suddenly overcome with inexplicable dizziness, pressure on her throat – as if someone was squeezing her windpipe – and feelings of anger.  Holly told Paul she wanted to yell at him, and Paul moved out of her way and told her not to yell at him.  Holly said she felt “pissed off” and Megan said that Holly’s eyes looked angry.  Holly sat at the top of the stairs for several minutes trying to get herself under control while communicating to Megan and Paul what she was experiencing.  When she felt able to, Holly made her way to the main floor and told Megan that she was feeling very agitated and she needed to get outside.  Megan agreed and she and Paul followed Holly outside.

Residence Two, Investigation Two – Jill and Holly

After Holly felt more like herself, she and Jill went into Residence Two.  They began their investigation on the top floor, in the spare room, and then, on the smoke detector, which the client said goes off at random times despite having new batteries in it.  The placement of the smoke detector in relation to the bathrooms is such that it should not be triggered by steam. However, the smoke detector’s tendency to go off at random is not being deemed as a paranormal event, as it could be a wiring issue causing it to go off.  In the master bedroom, it was noted that the bed was extremely heavy and it would require a tremendous amount of strength to move it.  During the initial interview, the client had stated that he had tried moving the bed to different spots on the room; based on the weight of it, the perspective was taken that the client would have had to dismantle it before moving it to a different spot in the room, or he would have had to have others helping him move it. It was just that heavy.  An EVP session was conducted, but after several minutes with no results, the investigation was moved downstairs, to the living room.

During the EVP session in the living room, Jill experienced a sudden vibration under her feet.  Holly did not experience this.  No explanation for the experience could be found, and there were no vocal or visual anomalies to validate it. The EVP session was suddenly cut short when both Jill and Holly heard a very loud yell.  It was discovered that the clients had returned and were having some fun outside.  The investigation was then wrapped up.

Conclusion

During the investigation in both residences, investigators heard unexplained, very loud knocks and bangs that could not be recreated or explained.  It was noted that some of the floorboards were very creaky, but at the times the odd sounds were heard, no one in either residence was moving around.  Also, although the audio equipment picked them up, not all of these sounds were heard by the investigators.  However, we do not believe they are paranormal. The human ear tends to tune out certain types of repetitious sounds, and it is our opinion that most of the sounds probably were the floorboards.  Conversely, the taps and knocks that occurred when they were requested are more difficult to explain.  It is too much of a coincidence that they occurred when they were requested.

While we cannot say that either of these locations are haunted, our experiences in both locations have definitely left us with more questions than answers.  We did not capture any vocal or visual evidence to validate the claims of the swaying and shaking beds, but we remain very curious about the claims, because we could not find any possible explanations for those occurrences.

At this time, we are deeming both of these locations as “inactive” (meaning: not haunted) and closing the files, but we have reassured our clients that if the activity increases or becomes more negative, we will return for a second investigation.

We extend our thanks and appreciation to our clients for their hospitality and for allowing us to conduct our investigation without them being present, and we hope that things settle down for them.