Fast forward to present day – it is the night of February 26, 2011, which just happened to be my birthday as well. [Interesting present, huh?] After a scrumptious dinner at Pisces Rising, a local bistro and the subject of my next article, I was on my way. When I arrived, the Ghost Chasers already set up their arsenal of ghost hunting gadgets and gizmos throughout the museum and the investigation was under way.
Who are the Florida Ghost Chasers? Well, first and foremost, they are a friendly and unassuming bunch of folks from St. Augustine and its surrounding areas. Their team of nine members includes: Mike and Tabby Newcomb – founders, Jeff Saults – team leader and his wife Shannon, Sandy Ringer, Tracey, Joe, Carla Brown – demonologist, and finally nine-year-old Brandon, the youngest ghost hunter of them all. After our meets and greets, they introduced me to the specialized equipment that was set up and monitoring at the time in search of paranormal activity. Among the measurement devices were night vision video cameras, digital recorders, K2 meters, “Jacob’s Ladder,” dowsing rods and pendulums, spot thermometers, blue-light illuminators and more! I was quite amazed to see all this equipment firsthand because my experience has been limited to seeing it on “Ghost Adventures” or “Ghost Hunters” and the like.
Investigation begins! First up, Team Men! I follow the men inside while the women wait for their chance later on during the night. With their sights set on the jail cells at the back of the museum, the manly team checks monitoring equipment and begins to engage our other worldly guests. It’s pitch black and cameras are rolling; “Jacob’s Ladder” emitting electricity for spirits to draw upon for manifestation; blue light boxes illuminating the cell with an eerie blue glow; and believe it or not, apps on the iPhones to measure electro-magnetic energy. We all wait in silence. Suddenly, Joe, armed with dowsing rods, calls out for spirits to identify themselves. Suddenly, there is movement witnessed in the bathroom, formerly one of the prison cells. It’s a coat hanger and it’s vibrating on the cabinet on which it sits. Although I could not see it directly myself, it was caught on the night vision video recorder Jeff was operating. Darn – where are my night-vision glasses when I need them? Needless to say, this was a little spooky and chills were running up and down my spine.
After the men’s investigation was over, it was time for changing of the guard and Team Women took up residence throughout the museum. Initially, they went into the back jail cells because of all the activity that occurred moments ago, however, we all moved to the front of the museum shortly thereafter, which as it turned out, was the nerve center for the activity that followed. First, we sat in total darkness while Tabby and Sandy called out to spirits and asked them to complete knocking phrases for us. This is where, I believe, I witnessed otherworldly phenomena. Not once, but twice I heard the “response” to those knocking phrases. Now, the hairs on the back of my neck were standing up but at the same time, adrenalin was coursing through my body because this was getting really exciting! Then, Tracey brings out the pendulum and questions from all of us followed to whoever was listening. We asked about the spirits in the museum and through a very specific set of questions, we determined that there were seven spirits in all, some firemen, someone named Jake, and brace yourselves, Calvin Calhoun! That’s right, the notorious moonshiner who died on those very premises. After our questioning was over, Tracey’s hand was ice cold. Did the spirits speak through her? I am not sure but I want to believe they did!
After four hours inside the Mount Dora History Museum, it was time to be heading home. While bidding my farewells to the team, Sandy warned me about spirits attaching themselves to people and that before I left the premises, I should demand emphatically that ALL spirits from the other world remain at the museum and not follow me home. Unnerved just a little bit, okay a lot, because I knew I had to walk home at midnight – all alone. Although I live only a short distance from the museum, I knew I would be wondering if those spirits heeded my commands. What if they follow me home? What if during my walk they decide to manifest themselves? Oh my God! So, with a nervous quiver in my voice, I told Jake and Calvin and all others, that the museum was where they belong and they were not allowed to follow me home. Thinking to myself, are these apparitions now laughing at me? I wasn’t sure. But the team told me to remain focused on my destination and not to look over my shoulder. “Yea right!” So with a little trepidation, I said goodnight and goodbye and started on my journey home all the while thinking, “I ain’t afraid of no ghost!”
Read Part I.