by Paul Dale Roberts
What is the day today? Oh, yeah...March 17, 2007, Saturday. I'm sorry if I seem sort of discombobulated. I feel like I just came back from Disneyland. "Disneyland of the Macabre," that is. There was so much to see, so much to do and the added bonus is the fact that this art studio is truly haunted! On this night I went out with H.P.I. (Haunted and Paranormal Investigations) in Northern California. We all met first at Starbucks and had a quick briefing and I sucked down my Venti Caramel Macchiato. Let's take a roll call for the H.P.I. Paranormal Investigators, (the time is 8:45 p.m.): Shannon McCabe/Lead Investigator, President; Tim Hawkins; Michele Stump; Brian Colbert; Kristen Sheley/Researcher; Mary Casiano; Alicia Perry; Tech Supervisor, John Wachter; Lead Investigator Michelle Paykel; Julie English, Paul Dale Roberts; Ghost Writer. After the briefing at Starbucks, we convoy to the art studio.
The resident tells me that the place has been around since the 1930s. She is an artist and has all kinds of stories about this place. I will tell you why I call it the Disneyland of the Macabre. I'm not saying this in a bad way, believe me, the place is like a museum; there is so much to look at. But again, let me not jump ahead of myself. The resident, a very elegant lady, sits comfortably and explains to me that one time around 10pm on some given evening, she saw a dark shadowy figure of a man in one of the rooms. He just stood there, then glanced at her and walked away. During her first month at this art studio she was painting and listening to her music, not having a care in the world and then all of a sudden she heard footsteps coming up the stairs. The footsteps became louder...a clonk, clonk, clonk! It was very pronounced and startled her. She went to investigate and there was no one there. She has witnessed activity in the kitchen, bathroom and living room. In the kitchen, objects have flown off the wall. Full size apparitions have been seen by her guests in the living room area. According to the resident, one guest saw someone in her bathroom and thought nothing of it, then came to realize that there was no other guests present. The person she saw in the bathroom was a 55-ish year old man, who looked Italian and had dark hair. When she went to the bathroom again, he had vanished. Another guest was sleeping on the couch and saw a man's face (the Italian male ghost/spirit) staring at him, face to face. Another story was of a plant that moved on its own accord. There have been hot spots in various parts of the dwelling. Yes, I said 'hot spots', not cold spots. Another artist, who was a guest of this studio, had dreamed that there were thirteen entities surrounding him as he laid on the couch.
The history of this elaborate studio is that there was a restaurant downstairs and a nightclub upstairs. At one time this place was a "speakeasy" during the Prohibition period equipped with it's own escape route. During the 50s, it was a jazz club. It has also been a brothel and a Japanese Gambling Parlor. This studio has a lot of history. You can even see where the stage was for the band and a fairly large dance floor for patrons of yesteryear.
Now let's get back to that Disneyland thing I was talking about. The studio is like eye candy filled with relics. A guest of the studio tells me that she describes the studio as an "eclectic mixture of religious icons which represent Catholic and Buddhist religions, with a variation of rebellious punk rock added." Yes, I would have to agree with her, this art studio is all that and more and delivers a bag of chips! As I surveyed the studio I saw various pieces of artwork, such as decrepit dolls, maniacal dolls, candles, dried flowers, voodoo type of dolls, skulls, disco balls, old photographs, beads, religious paraphernalia; plants, circus material, Gothic material, X-mas lights and other assorted pieces of art. In fact the studio itself is one big art piece!
While the investigators were in awe of this studio, they walked around with their video cameras, walkie talkies, EVP monitors, temperature gages, while the TV monitors displayed what was being recorded. Did we see orbs? We saw orbs flying around everywhere, inside the studio and outside of the studio.
Another guest at the studio, along with his girlfriend lead me and another investigator to the cellar. In the cellar, we didn't discover any ghosts, but we found some old relics such as a cat's skull, tax forms dating back to 1942, an old jug, old bottles, light fixtures and a broken down chair. The cellar was treacherous to walk through, as there was mud and huge gaping holes in which we could easily fall into. The resident even found some mummified feral cats in this cellar. I discovered a nasty black widow and I knew it was my time to leave.
As we headed back into the living room, one investigator's Electro Magnetic Field meter starts to fluctuate like crazy. Another EMF meter does the same thing. There is activity in the living room and two investigators feel a presence behind them. The presence is sort of ominous. The video camera records an orb that floats over to one and settles at her torso area and dissipates. About a minute later, she hears a rustling sound near her and jumps up from the couch in a fright! Was this the Italian ghost that the resident affectionately calls "Tony?" The two investigators capture some gorgeous orbs on their video cameras and are delighted to show me their photos.
Around midnight, we started rounding up all of the equipment and were headed for home. When everyone works as a team and we all experience something out of the ordinary, it brings a closeness to the H.P.I. team. A closeness of all sharing similar experiences, which leads to a feeling of being part of a family. A family that greets and departs with warm hugs. We all know that we braved through another investigation and we survived this adventure into the unknown.
As I drive away, headed for home, I put on some mood music and one of the songs was "Sail Away" which picked up my spirits and the next mood song was the theme from the Exorcist. Oh no, let me pull out this CD! I don't need to hear that!