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  Columnist: Kimberly Phillips

Image credit: Kimberly Phillips

Paranormal investigating in Virginia City

Posted on Saturday, 24 July, 2010 | 5 comments
Columnist: Kimberly Phillips

[!gad]It's the 4th of July and eight members of Central Valley Paranormal Searchers have descended on Virginia City, Nevada. Our wonderful member Becky Smallwood and her husband Lee rented two rooms at the famous Silver Queen Hotel and invited the rest of us to join them. The rest of us being Crystal Scudder, Kimberly Phillips, Lisa Gottschalk, Marie Oswood and Sherry Andersen.

Arriving at the Silver Queen, your first impression is you are flashing back in time. First stop when checking in, not the lobby or the front desk. No, you head over to the saloon. The hotel has no lobby or front desk, just hallways with doors that lead to quaint little old fashioned rooms. Oh, and a couple of steep stairways that give a definite fun house effect.

We check into rooms 11 and 13, the two oldest rooms in the hotel (and most famously haunted). On a side note, as we are walking to our rooms we find out that about a month and a half ago a man came to the hotel, checked into room 7 and committed suicide. He left a note promising not to haunt the hotel. It's still to be seen if he has kept his promise.

Back to rooms 11 and 13. The first thing that jumps out at you as you enter, the bath tub that sits in the room next to the bed. And the door marked "water closet" that houses just a toilet. The rooms are small but neatly kept. They are sparsely decorated and house a bed, the bath tub, a small table with two chairs and a dresser. No televisions and no telephones. A sign on the door states that if you need a phone, you will have to go next door to the saloon.

The other most notable feature of the rooms are the high ceilings, the doors between each room, the paper thin walls (you can literally hear someone sneeze in the next room) and the windows above every door. At one time these windows were used to let in light and let out the smoke of the pot belly stoves.

As we checked in we ran into the local paranormal group in town. They were doing a quick visit before guests came. They told us a few stories of hauntings. They stated that one of the spirits who plays in rooms 11 and 13 is that of a little boy around 8-10 years old. Our sensitive Marie picked up that his name is Timmy. Another story was that from the housekeeper. She was making the beds one day, bent over to tuck in the sheet and saw a pair of legs at the end of the bed. When she stood up, no one was there.

We got settled and set up our cameras and DVR. We set out some change on the dresser hoping Timmy may play with it, and left do to the tourist thing.

Our travel through the streets of the old mining town led us to Mark Twain's Museum. As we were wandering around the gift shop, Crystal and Becky mentioned to the cashier that we are paranormal investigators. She then said that their basement is haunted and that they sometimes allow investigations. In fact, the Ghost Adventure TV show is set to film there in October. She was kind enough to ask if we would like to come back the next day and investigate. We jumped on the opportunity!

After touring, eating dinner and watching the fireworks (a great show by the way) we headed back to the room. Timmy apparently didn't like the coins we left out for him, they were exactly as we left them. Wanting to have some fun pictures to look back on, I decided it would be funny to get into the bath tub for a picture, as we were all joking about sleeping in it. I got into the bathtub and leaned back, and all of a sudden the water turned on and the shower hose flopped around and doused me! Now, I don't recall hitting any of the faucets. Did Timmy or another spirit decide to play a prank on me? I'm not sure, but I have a feeling it wasn't my fault the water turned on!

Before fully settling down for the night to investigate our own rooms, we all began to wander around the hotel. A few of us made it out to the back patio. Myself (Kim) and Marie were sitting and looking at the building across the street from us. It was dark and locked up, vacant at the time. Both of us (even though Marie is the sensitive) felt as though we were being watched from the 2nd floor window. Marie confirmed something was up there. As we continued to watch, we noticed that the 2nd floor middle window's curtain moved! As we watched, subtle movements could be seen behind the window. At this time the rest of our team had wandered out to join us. Lisa began filming the window with her night vision camera. Crystal, Sherry and Becky made their way across the street with a KII meter. As soon as they got near the building the meter began lighting up. Lisa and I made our way across the street with Lee following right behind us. Becky informed us that this building was once a "gentleman's club". At this time Crystal (who is also sensitive) began to feel as though someone was touching her back. We began asking questions hoping the KII would react, but nothing happened. However, the feeling did not leave Crystal. In fact, it began to intensify.

As we watched, filmed, and snapped pictures we could literally see Crystal's shirt pulling away from her body on it's own. She was standing perfectly still. At one point we straightened her shirt back out and asked the spirit to do it again. As we watched, her shirt on the right side began to wrinkle. At this time, Sherry who was recording for EVP listened to her audio and stated that she could hear heavy breathing that was not one of us.

A few minutes into the event, the spirit seemed to take an interest in Becky. She was standing very close to the doors of the building and suddenly felt her back began to tingle and felt as though someone was touching her between her shoulder blades. Becky is our newest member and not quite accustomed to what was happening. Though in reality, who is accustomed to being touched by a spirit. Crystal, being the great leader that she is, felt Becky was uncomfortable. So Crystal told the spirit to leave Becky alone and come back to her. It complied quickly. And this time it was even more visible what it was doing. At one point you could literally see the outline of a hand and arm moving under Crystal's shirt at her back. We captured this on film. Now it was Crystal's turn to start to feel uncomfortable. Things were getting a little intense, and as Crystal put it, the touch of the spirit is nothing like the touch of a human. And it was beginning to feel like a violation not just a touch.

Crystal demanded the spirit to stop. It did and we all decided it was time to go back to the rooms. As we made it to the middle of the street Crystal felt the touching begin again on her back. We stopped and demanded the spirit stay where it was. We told it out loud that enough was enough and we were leaving, that it was not to follow us. And if it did, we would bring out the sage and force it away. Weather it was afraid of that threat or not, it did not continue to follow us.

We made it back to the room and let everyone take some time to relax from the encounter. Crystal began to watch the video of it so she could see what we were all seeing happening to her. During the video we heard Sherry stating that she could hear heavy breathing on her audio recorder, and right after that the video recorder picked up an extremely loud almost growling noise with heavy breathing. It was actually a very disturbing noise.

With the night already starting out with a bang we decided it was time to get down to business in our rooms. We set out our audio recorders, KII meter and EMF detectors. A few of us settled on the bed while Lisa, Kim and Crystal camped out on the floor. While we were conducting an EVP session Lisa went through our pictures from the earlier events. She was amazed at what was in them. In one picture we noticed Becky's husband Lee. He was leaning against the building, and it looks almost as if there is another face over his. He does not look anything like himself in that picture. In another picture it looks as though a face is peering around the corner of the building watching us. And in the best picture of all, we captured a strange looking face directly behind Crystal, and in the middle of the street (which was completely empty at the time) we saw a group of people that weren't there at the time!

During the night in the room, we got a few KII hits. At one point Lisa brought out her IPad touch and used the application that is similar to the Ovulas. We picked up on a woman's voice who was talking about a mile a minute. We picked up on many words, but a few caught us by surprise. She mentioned Lisa's name twice. And at one point she said the words "spirit Timmy". Was she speaking of the little boy at the hotel?

During the night both Crystal and I felt someone tickling our feet as we lay on the floor, and a strange vibration. One of the stories of the hotel is that guests will hear loud banging on a door and then an argument between a man and woman. Around midnight we heard just that. Loud footsteps, banging on a door and then a man's deep voice yelling at a woman and a woman's voice responding in kind. We could not make out the exact words, but there was no one in the hallway. Did we hear the infamous spirit argument? We can't be sure.

Eventually we finally fell asleep. The next morning we got up and enjoyed breakfast and headed over to the Undertaker, where the local paranormal group has set up shop. We shared with them our pictures from the night before and our creepy EVP of the heavy breather.

From there we excitedly hurried over to the Mark Twain Museum for our investigation. Just to toot our own horn a little, we were thrilled to be investigating the basement even before the Ghost Adventures Team!

The basement of the Mark Twain Museum is a treasure of history. Old typesetting machines, stuffed animal heads, newspaper clippings, Mark Twain's Desk, Virginia City memorabilia, old telephone operating machines and more fill the room taking you back to the olden days of the city. The basement is lit only by the lights and the smell is musty and old. The floors creak above and below you. The perfect setting for an investigation!

We began our EVP session and set the KII meter and EMF detectors out also. And just for laughs, we had to do a little skit of the Ghost Adventure guys. I think our parody was quite funny.

We got a few KII hits but no EMF fluctuations. To be honest we really didn't think there was much activity there. We stayed for a little while and then decided that maybe it wasn't as haunted as everyone thought.

We left Virginia City feeling completely thrilled by our experiences and couldn't wait to do a full review of when we got back to California.

Upon reviewing the evidence we discovered many of our pictures had strange images in them. Of course there is the picture of the strange face (we all agree it looks almost like a troll) behind Crystal and the people who showed up in the middle of the street. There is the creepy picture of Lee with someone else's face over his. We discovered a similar picture of myself. The team agrees that it looks like something has settled over my face making me look as I would if I were in my sixties instead of thirties, and the rest of the pictures of me were perfectly normal. We caught a picture of an orb in room 13. Now ordinarily we don't pay much attention to orb pictures. However, when you blow this picture up there is the face of a little boy smiling back. Is this Timmy? We believe it just may be. Perhaps he was posing for us.

Sherry (who happens to be a professional photographer) also caught some photos that are very creepy. One photo in particular was taken of the glass doorway of the vacant building. It appears as though there is a skeletal figure in the doorway, with one arm up looking out at us. Also, following our picture timeline of the 2nd floor window of that building, you can see how the curtain started out in one position and then ended up more open with each picture.

Along with the video of Crystal's shirt being pulled, our DVR cameras caught a strange orb. We have analyzed it and found that it is not a bug or dust. This orb appears in room 11 sporadically, but seems to have a set path, and hovers once in a while. We cannot say this is a spirit, but it was definitely nothing explainable.

As for EVPs, we have the heavy breather, and to our surprise we captured one from the Mark Twain museum! It is a perfect, class A EVP of a high pitched female voice saying "Please leave this room".

All in all, Virginia City was no disappointment. It was a thrilling adventure and we have plans to go back as soon as we can. We also stopped in at a little lodge in Gold Hill to find out if they have spirit activity. The lady running the office said they have lots and lots of activity and would love to have us come back to investigate. You can bet we'll be going there too!

Article Copyrightę Kimberly Phillips - reproduced with permission.

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