Home for Aged Women
In March of 2002, we investigated a former "Home for Elderly Women" in Port Jervis, NY, and many bizarre things occurred that night. One inexplicable phenomenon involved a video monitor. We had Mike’s camcorder in the basement, with cables running upstairs to a monitor. Three times the monitor went blank for no reason, and only came back on when we returned to the basement.
…This time Mike and I headed down the stairs, and as soon as we reached the basement, Bob yelled that the picture had returned. We yelled back that we hadn’t done anything, yet. We were still fifteen or twenty feet away from the camcorder, which was in the furnace room off to our right. When we reached the camcorder, everything was running and recording just fine. As we were trying to solve what we thought was a technical problem, there was a sound behind us that made us freeze in our tracks.
Back by the staircase we had just come down, there was a loud scraping or dragging sound. Mike said it made his hair stand on end, and I could feel the goose bumps springing up across both of my arms. There we were in the darkness of the basement of a house where many elderly ladies had probably passed away, and something unseen was dragging a heavy object across the floor just a few yards away from us…
Later on that night, we were upstairs and I recorded a strange voice.
…Marie (the owner) had told us an interesting story about one of the large bedrooms on the second floor in the main section of the house. For some reason, every time she brought her little daughter to the house, the girl would run up to this bedroom and close herself in the closet. She wasn’t interested in any other closet in the house, just this one. She would spend long periods of time inside laughing and playing by herself. When a friend brought a small boy to visit, he also ran upstairs and closed himself in this same closet. What is the attraction here? When the children are laughing and talking inside, are they truly alone?
We photographed the closet in infrared and in regular light, and we took EMF readings and the temperature. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. With a complete lack of any physical evidence, I came to the conclusion that sometimes a closet is just a closet. Then in August, as I prepared to write this story, I played back the audiotape from the tape recorder I had carried around the house. I hadn’t listened to it sooner because I usually rely on video for both images and sound, and just use the tape recorder as a hands-free way to keep notes during an investigation.
On the tape, Bob, Mike, Marie, her mother, and I were speaking about the closet in that room. As Bob took some digital photos, Mike left to get his camcorder. We are all speaking in normal voices—if anything, a little louder than normal as we were not standing close together. Marie was about fifteen feet from me (and the tape recorder), and just as she is commenting, "If there is someone in the closet, it must be someone friendly," there is a whispered voice very close to the tape recorder. It sounds like a female voice whispering, "There she is."
I was startled when I first heard it. I played it back over and over again, and tried to reconstruct the scene of who was where at the time. Bob, Marie and her mother were near the closet. I was at the other end of the room, and Mike was in a different part of the house. No one was whispering, and no one that I could see was near me.
A popular trend in ghost hunting in recent years is EVP, or Electronic Voice Phenomena. I think of it more as Erroneous Voice Phenomena, as computer-enhanced hisses and scratches on audiotapes are interpreted as coherent sentences. There are many web sites on the Internet that contain examples to which you can listen, and they not only give the sound, they provide their "translation." Feel free to knock yourself out and listen to a few hundred examples, but I have yet to hear a single one that sounds like legitimate spoken words. Like computer-enhanced images, my feeling about EVP is that if you don’t get a clear voice on tape that doesn’t require any manipulation, you don’t have valid evidence.
That being said, could the whispered voice that I think is saying, "There she is," be the result of brushing the microphone of the tape recorder against something, or just some static or inconsistency in the tape itself? Possibly. However, in all my years of ghost investigating, I’ve never recorded anything like this. Without any enhancing or manipulating, and doing nothing more than hitting the Play button, it sure sounds to me like a woman’s voice whispering.
If, then, we go on the premise that this was a voice, and it did say, "There she is," it begs the questions who is she, and where is she? Not to mention who was it that spoke the words. The fact that Marie was talking about the possibility of someone friendly being in the closet, tends to make me think that the voice and the closet are connected. Was a helpful spirit pointing out a woman or female child in the closet, one that we were unable to see? Or was the voice pointing out one of the living women in the room, which at that point was either Marie, her mother, or me...