The McCormack Williamson Winery
Posted on Sunday, 7 February, 2010 | 0 comments
Columnist: Nancy Bradley
[!gad]An interesting investigation was held by GOLD RUSH GHOSTS INTERNATIONAL PARANORMAL INVESTIGATIONS for the television show INVESTIGATING THE UNKNOWN on December 27th, 2009. We had been invited by the staff of the McCormack Williamson Winery to come and see what was going on, as strange things seemed to be happening in the building that they could not pin-point. As the Celebrities Psychic, I had been on a recent television investigation at this winery this last Halloween with KMAX GOOD DAY SACRAMENTO Channel 31. At that time I found the building to be rather interesting and exploratory in the true ghost/spirit sense. And so we jumped at the chance to take a second look.
The winery was originally built in 1868 as a granary, but in the early 1900’s it was converted into a winery. It was as recent as 2001 that the owners began producing Dancing Coyote wines, good, tasty stuff for those of you who like a great glass of wine on occasion. Located in the little town of Acampo, California, about 20 miles out of Sacramento, it is well worth the trip to enjoy the tasting room, even if you don’t encounter a ghost.
Today the facility boasts of having over 14,000 square feet of temperature controlled case storage areas holding up to 85,000 cases of wine, 10,000 square foot of temperature and humidity controlled barrel storage for up to 5,000 barrels, as well as 750,000 gallons of stainless steel tank storage capacity, allowing the organization to increase their production each year. All interesting information found in their brochure.
But back to the investigation! We are more interested in the unused upstairs rooms that were rumored to have been a living quarter for an old owner or manager of the winery. It is a rather spooky place that we were told was likely where he could spy and keep tabs on the workers. A hole in the wall to the vats below gave credence to that theory. There were strange EVP and EMF readings when we were there with KMAX, and I was able to identify a large vortex near an unused stairs access. Interesting!
Joining us on this current investigation would be Robert Reppert who owns and runs GRG, along with seasoned investigators Cat Noble, Bob King, Judy Cooper, Liz Harrison, Laura Martucci, Wayne Peterson, and new investigators to our group, Jen and Scott. Rookies yes, but very intelligent people willing and fast learning. Everyone on the team of GRG is scientifically minded as we are not a fun and game group taking a lot of people around making a mockery of the spirit world. Our five letter word is PROOF! When we arrived at our destination I was particularly disturbed by someone on the premises who spoke of a ‘psychic type’ who showed up at one point and said there were ‘evil’ spirits about. Because there was clearly nothing of the sort there, I disregarded that assessment for what it was, and made it known to him that I was not interested in games by amateurs and wannabees or anyone who cannot PROVE such things. I do not know why those that can’t always want to find and report ‘evil’! I assume it is out of stupidity, lack of education generally, but always a clear cry for attention, perhaps bringing them their one minute of fame.
Anyway, the week before we had scheduled this night for our full on investigation, Reppert and King had gone to the winery and completed the customary preliminary investigation, setting up the lay of the rooms, identifying all electrical, water, and other sources in the walls and floorboards so that we would be alerted to false readings should the meters play off them. They secured the areas where it would be best for us to set up our equipment for maximum accessibility. They were assisted on both investigations by Denny Freeman, a delightful man who pretty much runs the place, helpful, a joy to work with, not to mention his big black friendly love of a dog, Jack. Enclosed is the floor-plan so that I can take you through room for room.
We started the investigation in the downstairs Tasting Room about 6:00 p.m. Little was felt from this section, so we decided to set up ‘shop’ here, all equipment would be monitored from this location, and we would drag the cables and equipment up the stairs to the second landing where most of the activity was associated. Equipment used this day would be EMF and Temperature meters as well as Reppert’s newest invention for condition and motion detection. The invention also detects humidity, temperature, and of course anyone moving around. I had asked seasoned investigator Cat Noble to couple with Scott as this was his first investigation with us, and I knew she could expertly show him the ropes. Noble is one that cannot be fooled or confused, so she was a great crash course teacher for him as he explored the unknown. Peterson would take Jen under his wing. It was obvious from the start the Scott would be a real asset to our group as he is analytical and clearly an intellect not given to foolhardy nonsense. He will be one to watch. Jen’s story on the other hand is that she had recently left another paranormal group asking us if she could join ours. She wanted to be a part of something that was NOT on any occasion foolhardy nonsense. This would be Jen’s first investigation with us, so it was hoped she had at least gained a little knowledge as far as what goes on in investigations from being associated elsewhere. This proving not the case, she came under our wings quickly with a logical mind and a willingness to learn. She had left her other group because she wanted to be a part of something more real, accurate and professional. She found it here and fit in with us immediately.
The first report of strange activity (and yet not unexpected to paranormal investigators), was reported by Wayne Peterson. “I was with Jen and we did not have any immediate EMF readings or Thermal Identification” he reported. “However, when I went upstairs, the battery went dead in my EMF reader.” It had been checked before coming on the investigation, and it was a new working battery. This happens all the time. Spirit and ghostly activity drains batteries and electrical equipment. Peterson continued with his story,” I came back downstairs and replaced the batteries and then went back upstairs where the meter worked fine.” Checking later when he got home he noticed, “The battery that went dead was ok when I got home.” Jen went on to take some pictures that produced orbs in them that was clearly not dust or particles in the air. Wayne told us, “While sitting upstairs in a circle, someone asked out loud if the spirit we felt was here with Scott and I heard a definite’ yes’ response.’ This spirit voice was later confirmed on the EVP recorder. “I did feel chills a couple of times” he noted, “but I don’t know if it was a breeze from one of the many openings in the walls or something else.” This is a perfect response from Peterson or anyone in our group. We look for the obvious first.
Jen was then to give us her assessment. “For me the areas I felt the most activity was in the main room, upstairs rooms 3 and 4. There was clearly a ‘chill’ in the air when Wayne and I investigated room 4, which is the room that is in the far northwest corner. We suspected it might have been the drafty windows, because there is a definite 4 or 5 degree drop in temperature around the windows, but we couldn’t seem to find a way to re-create the ‘chill’ that we got when we first walked in, making me feel that there was someone waiting for us in the room.”
After observing from our television in the downstairs tasting room what was going on upstairs for about 45 minutes, Reppert asked that I should join the group upstairs and get things moving forward, which usually happens with my psychic energy. I climbed the dusty old stairs and found the group sitting in a circle. Sitting down with the group, I asked the spirits if they were there. At first there was a male voice that was heard, and then his energy left as the form of a woman appeared behind Scott. The energy was not flowing as well as I would have liked it, so I started an exercise I use in making conversation with spirits through the alphabet. “Let me know when to stop” I asked, and I began, “A (no response) B (nothing) C (nothing) D (nothing) E…and then I heard a woman’s voice respond, ‘yes’. Listening to the spirit now, the energy was raised. I could see that she was clearly staying close to Scott, putting her hand on his left shoulder. All meters showed activity around him at this point, and that part of the room was increasingly colder.
Directly behind where Scott was sitting was room number 3 and because it was set up with Infrared cameras and temperature meters, I asked the woman in spirit if we could move to that room instead. She clearly accommodated and I asked the group to follow me into room 3. We again sat on the floor, and the woman in spirit still went to Scott. I re-arranged the placement of some of the investigators so that we created the best flow of energy for the spirit to respond, which meant putting those in our group with psychic energy apart from those with healing ability. Clearly at this point I knew that the spirit we were dealing with was not with the building at all, but was someone Scott knew personally and who wanted to communicate with him. I asked her again what her name was and did it start with an ‘E’. She shook her head and gave me her name. I asked Scott “Do you know someone who has passed away by the name of Elizabeth.” “Yes” he said, “She is my grandmother.” As best I can recall right now she gave him a little message, and then he asked about another family member by the name of David. David then came in next to the grandmother and spoke for a minute. All and all, to this point, most spirit activity was not associated with the building at all, but with our new investigator and his loving deceased family. Later we were able to review the VIDEO from room 3 and saw the orbs and the spirit form of his grandmother standing behind him. To me this is beautiful, especially for a new investigator on a first investigation. I was delighted that she chose to come with him this day.
On further evaluation Jen stated, “I could definitely feel spirit energy or ghostly presence around us when we first started the séance in the main room. There was a drop in temperature that seemed to envelope the investigators & while the temperature seemed to go up and down to my right side, it remained lower on my left side. Come to find out, after proceeding with the séance in Room 3, where most of the activity was felt by Nancy & the other investigators, we found out that Scott’s grandmother, who passed away in the 90’s was around him. That explained the reason why the temperature remained low on my left side during the first part of the séance in the main room…because Scott was sitting to the left of me. The last area in which I felt something unusual was in a small room off the 3rd floor. As Wayne and I were taking pictures on the 3rd floor, I turned my back towards this small room and heard a definite male breathing sound coming from there. I turned & took some pictures.”
Liz Harrison, who runs the INVESTIGATING THE UNKNOWN television show, and certainly not someone new to investigations, reported the following: “The McCormack Winery was an interesting investigation as the energy seemed to move rather quickly. Laura and I investigated the upper level and the area with the catwalks seemed to be different. I had an additional infrared attachment that was added to my camera that worked in the first location but then did not seem to work in the other areas.” (There we go again!) We noticed orbs as we took pictures and you could feel the difference in the thickness of the air and temperatures from one area to the other.
“We then were asked to go to one of the rooms with the camera in it. We could feel the energy so we started to ask questions out loud. While standing in the room I had the feeling of someone picking up my hair in the back and was later informed that it showed up on the camera and television screen that there was an orb and it had traveled up the back of my legs, stroking my back and the back of my head, and then go over me and across the room. This was very interesting and upon looking at the area around me there was no living person or any vents that could have created this abnormality or feeling. We then tried sitting on the floor (in a circle) and you could feel the energy and the temperature change in the area in the center of us. There were several times when the temperature changed and moved about. All focus soon went to Scott who seemed to have a big connect with a particular spirit as the temperature was very different around him.
“We were then instructed by Nancy to go into the closed room and we all sat in a circle and again found the energy circling around Scott. We experimented with the spirit wands and they also seemed to go to Scott or between Scott and myself. I had a very noticeable temperature difference from the side Scott was on and the side that Laura and Judy were on. Nancy identified the spirit of his grandmother around him by name, and another come in as well. We separated at this point and walked around the upstairs of the winery a little more looking for spirits that were perhaps a part of the building. We then met back downstairs and compared some findings of orbs in pictures and on the video.”
From the records of Cat Noble, “Scott and I didn’t get any significant readings with the temperature gauge and the EMF meter at first. We both took photos with Laura’s camera. We briefly looked at the photos, but didn’t see anything strange or unexplained – just a lot of dust in the warehouse. I used Wayne’s EVP recorder and I listened to the recordings later, but didn’t detect anything with the ‘naked ear.’ Nothing but the temperature reading on the FLIR when I used it. The following is my complete impression:
“The massive brick building housing the winery was imposing in the dark, but there was a welcoming yellow light pouring from an open door. I entered to find a lovely tasting room and the rest of the investigators waiting there. Scott and I collected the tools of our investigation: EMF meter, voice recorder, flashlight, temperature gauge, and clipboard with a diagram of the building’s layout.
“We headed upstairs to the second floor rooms on the south side of the building. Circling the rooms with our instruments, Scott noted readings and I recorded them on the diagram. We headed up a small flight of stairs and then another –the building was like a labyrinth. On each of the three floors, we read the instruments and took a recording, asking for some cooperation from any unseen entities, but we were not obliged. Nevertheless, I was still hopeful as I stepped into the vortex that Nancy had identified in that area, and I felt as though I was falling forward. I reached out to brace myself on the nearby wall and I wondered how many and what type of spirit energy had accessed that vortex. We crossed to the north side of the building, climbed a narrow set of stairs and found ourselves on a catwalk in the warehouse, high above the oak and stainless steel casks of wine. The catwalk swayed as we stepped, and I tried not to dwell on how far down the concrete floor below us seemed. While on the catwalk in the warehouse Scott and I heard Roberts MOTION SENSERS GO OFF and there was no living person in that room. I believe Scott took photographs while on the catwalk, but the only thing he caught were particles of dust.” (Spirits move so fast that often we have to slow film down to get an image.) “We then carefully retraced our steps and returned to the ground floor to report.
“Later, in another room where the other investigators sat in a circle on the floor, I held the FLIR camera between Scott and Liz (who was sitting next to Scott), to detect a temperature reading of about 61 degrees, whereas it was higher everywhere else.” (As you know, temperature drops where spirits are as they do not have blood for heat in their bodies.) “Nancy then described the spirit of Scott’s grandmother as being in that location between Scott and Liz. Colder temperatures can indicate the presence of spirits when there is no other explanation.”
It was time to go back downstairs and see what Reppert had seen and observed from our cameras and television screens. Research from Robert Reppert was to acknowledge there was visible activity in both rooms and also Orbs in the main room. With photos of Scott’s grandmother, and orbs in room 3 and EVPs saying “Yes” and singing was recorded on the ground floor storage room.
Robert Reppert, after reviewing the material from his vantage point and watching the television camera from all the rooms upstairs gave us his evaluation;
“Upon arrival, I established the Tasting room as the command center. Robert King and I unloaded the equipment from the truck and started to unload the meters from their cases. We, along with Scott then ran the infrared cameras and the Motion detectors to the upstairs rooms and locked the area down as to get a clean video of the area. We observed several Orb activities as well as recording an EVP of a female, someone singing. When the crew assembled, we divided the teams into two separate areas for investigation. I was directing the crew from the central area and monitored the cameras for activity. From my vantage point in watching the equipment I observed several Orbs and at different times, a shadow on the video. Upon review the crew pointed out several places of activity and movement while they were in the different rooms. The newest equipment I placed in the rooms was measuring not only temperature but relative humidity and high and low points of both as the camera recorded the place being measured. The most discernable meter spikes were when the motion detector was set off and there was no living person in the area to set it off. The camera clearly shows this and the audio of the camera recorded the alarm. The meter also picked up a 10 degree difference in room number 3 as well as the alarm. The newest additions to our arsenal seem to have performed to task and will be very helpful in future investigations.
Martucci was to later tell us “I did have a feeling of not being alone in that building. We DID have company!” She thought she had seen a thin blond woman in spirit on the property, a farming woman and working hard. She was unfortunately unable to actually access or provide prove of the existence on camera or voice recorder, so the information had to be discarded. She wondered if this person came with one of the investigators or with the property or area. However, again we did not pick up this person in spirit on camera so we cannot prove this assessment. However, she did testify “The first time Liz and I walked the catwalk we heard no sensor. The second time when Cat, Scott, Liz and I walked it we heard Robert’s sensor go off several times. Something was in the other room.” (The room was empty of LIVE people when they walked the catwalk.)
For investigator Judy Cooper, the energy at the winery was light and ‘fun like’ and she noted, “Maybe because of the dogs running around it made it more pleasant. I did get a little bit of an eerie feeling upstairs in one of the very back rooms. I was able to pick up a lot of orbs in the upstairs rooms, and it seems like the spirits were traveling in groups.”
For me, any investigation that included live animals about, cats, dogs, happy animals of any kind, makes for a good investigation. They bring in wonderful energy. I was delighted to meet DAISY DOG on the first investigation I did with Good Day Sacramento KMAX, and she was here this night as well, as was big and beautiful friendly JACK! We enjoyed sharing our snacks with them, and noted what a friendly place this was. ALL places that cater to animals is a good place.
But spirits are elusive. They come and go. On another investigation we likely would find more, OR less spirit or ghost activity, you never know. We were happy to wrap this one up as interesting and on the eventful scale of 1 to 10, maybe a 5 for actual resident spirits or ghosts. But we will be back. Fun and adventures with GOLD RUSH GHOSTS.
This investigation will be featured on the February 2010 television show INVESTIGATING THE UNKNOWN with GOLD RUSH GHOSTS INTERNATIONAL on Channel 17 out of Sacramento, Ca. the 4th Wed. night of the month at 8:00 pm. Besides watching the show live, you can access it on the web by going online to: www.accesssacramento.org, click on the Watch Channel 17 button. The show will repeat at 4 am and NOON the following THURSDAY. The DVD will be available soon with all the activity on it.
Copyright@ Jan 1, 2010 NANCY BRADLEY. All rights reserved.
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Article Copyright© Nancy Bradley - reproduced with permission.