I remember my first investigation event like it was yesterday. Although I had been “investigating” for many years, I had never been to an event that was specifically set up around catering to the guest experience. Face Your Fears was the name of the event and Chad Lindbergh was the host along with Haunted Orange.
For weeks leading up to the event, I organized my equipment, re-organized my equipment, checked batteries, cleaned my equipment (who does that??), re-checked batteries, bought new ones, purchased new equipment, re-packed that, made meticulous notes about the location... The mere thought of spending the night with great friends in a seriously haunted old asylum was almost too much anticipation to bear. Finally, the date arrived.
I packed my car full of things I would never even unpack. Drove six hours to Winchester, IN and there it was, The Randolph County Infirmary - an ominous building set among the vast open farm fields of the Midwest with stately oaks framing the property that only added to its mystery. My heart raced as I approached the building and I couldn’t wait to step foot inside the doors. The paint chips on the walls, the sprawling institutional hallways and the squeaky front screened door, until now, were things I had only seen on TV and dreamed of investigating for decades.
Finally, I was here. This was real. And, it felt good. Really, really good.
As I stepped in, I took a deep breath, looked around and realized this is truly where I belonged. Of course, many of my friends might argue that I have belonged in an asylum for years now. But, in my defense, I have always been unapologetically drawn to the strange and unusual. Connecting with the “feel” of the building and knowing I was experiencing not only the history of the location, but also the paranormal aspect of it is what connected my soul to the moment. Stepping back in time to experience something like this was nothing short of amazing. Investigating with Chad Lindbergh, in and of itself, is a real treat. But this event was everything to me in this moment.
I spent 20 minutes alone in a basement while my fellow BABs awaited their turns and watched on a flat screen from the floor above. The thrill of walking down that dark and creaky set of wooden stairs, then the sudden grip of fear I experienced as I watched Chad leave me there to go upstairs, was both terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. What was I thinking? Was it too late to turn back? What if something jumps out of the shadows and takes me away? Wonder if there will be any Wick’s pie left by the time I get back upstairs. What was that noise? Well, I’m knee deep in it now. May as well go for it. Needless to say, I made it out alive and stress-ate a really big piece of Sugar Cream Pie to calm my nerves afterwards.
And I’d do it again if I had to.
Perhaps the most memorable experience was connecting to a child-like spirit in the attic with my friends Shannon and Beth, which made our hearts absolutely melt. Getting validating responses and feeling the distinct difference in temperature around this spirit object like a thermocline is something I will never forget. Experiencing it with close friends was nothing short of priceless.
What brings me back time and time again is experiencing that same rush of anticipation each building yields as I cross threshold after threshold. Every spirit encountered and the different “personalities” of each. The history. The tragedy. The triumph. The good. The bad. The just plain icky. The post-Investigation banter with friends that typically ensues over Red Bulls or coffee. The camaraderie. It’s all a part of it.
I think my favorite thing is investigating with different teams. Somewhat of a lone wolf without a local pack in that regard, I enjoy meeting up with new teams to experience their methodologies and share in their experiences. Folks in the Paranormal are some of the closest-knit people I have met. I honestly have yet to meet a stranger in this community. Every single time, every single location, every single event, every single team is like experiencing it for the first time all over again. And now that I am leading investigations at events, I get to share in those “moments of firsts” for the folks attending. It’s magical. Challenging what we know about life after death. Searching for the unseen. Knowing we may never have the answers we seek, but still wanting to try time and time again regardless.
THAT is what keeps me coming back. All of it.
What keeps YOU coming back?