The Black Thistle Inn

Investigated by SUPI in February

                “For our final order of business…”  Evelynn announced to the dozen or so club members of the Strathmore University Paranormal Investigators or S.U.P.I.  It was their weekly meeting and was well attended.  “… I have been asked if the club would be interested in investigating Strathmore’s own Black Thistle Tavern.”

                “The BTT?”  Robb asked.  “I love that place.”

                Evelynn looked oddly at Robb wondering how he was able to get into a bar, then again it was a college town. She continued, “The Black Thistle has been around for a long time in Old Strathmore.  The current management is interested in documenting some of the strange claims people have made that include hearing footsteps, voices, seeing shadows and having glasses thrown at employees.”

                “Yikes.” Brian commented.

                Evelynn continued. “The activity is mostly contained in the basement bar, not the restaurant above.  Carl, the manager, wishes to add the bar to the ghost tour that goes on in Old Strathmore, but it requires some sort of “official” documentation.”

                “Cool, so S.U.P.I. is now becoming recognized as an official paranormal documenter?” John asked.

                “It is beginning to appear so.”  Evelynn beamed among the sporadic claps and hoots.  Evelynn, after the room settled down, went on to explain that the Black Thistle Tavern had not always been a bar/restaurant.  It had been a home at one time in the early days of the town.  Research would have to be done on the building to see if there had been any other reports of paranormal activity or incidents that might explain the current situation.  Carl had arranged to have the bar portion close early the night of the investigation, but it would be a late start.  The team would be allowed an earlier walk through to see what the demands of the investigation would be, and the equipment needed.

                “So, the final question is; who is interested in going?”

                “When is it?” Someone asked.

                “It is Friday, before Valentine’s day.”

                “Oooo, I’m out.” Robb said, “Savannah and I have plans for that weekend.”

                “Same.” Said John.

                “With Robb and Savannah?” Evelynn joked.

                “He wishes, no, with… someone else.”  John awkwardly answered.  Several people could guess who since John’s poker face looked towards Kelly and smiled.

                “Alright.  Instead of who can’t go because of romantic involvement.  Who can go?”

                “Wow.  That sounds so sad.”  Christine started. “But I can go since I don’t have any romantic involvement.”  Several people voiced the sympathetic, “Awww….”  Brian likewise raised his hand to attend.

                “Anyone else?”  Somebody pointed out that it was a three-day weekend due to President’s day and several of the students were going home or out of town since no classes where going on Monday.  Stephen was sitting to the side and raised his hand.

                Evelynn looked at Stephen knowing that they had already discussed their plans to get away Saturday afternoon.  They had decided ahead of time that only one of them would go on this investigation in order to avoid adding to the rumors circulating among the club members of Stephen and Evelynn’s involvement.

                “Professor Davenport, good.  Anyone else?”

                No other hands went up.

                “We can make do with the three of us”. Stephen said, “It might be a little bit more work, but I have confidence in Christine and Brian’s abilities.”  Brian gave him a thumb’s up.

                “Excellent.  If there is nothing further, this meeting is adjourned.”

               

                 After the meeting Evelynn thought about the task ahead and lack of experience of Christine and Brian.  Christine Thorton had been Evelynn’s roommate up until Spring Semester.  Evelynn knew Christine very well.  While a good person that meant well, she tended to be opinionated and pushy on her religious beliefs.  Evelynn still felt a bit guilty about moving out, but it had been for the best.  She was glad that Christine was still part of her world, but it was odd that she had joined the club given her position about the afterlife and eternal damnation.

                Brian Kemp was another story altogether.  Bri-Bri, Hemp Kemp, the Hemp man; Robb had a lot of nicknames for Brian that always implied that Brian was a practitioner of the weed.  It was like having a cross between Shaggy from Scobby Doo and Jeff Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High.  This investigation was important for the reputation of S.U.P.I. and to have it fall flat could be something that the club could not recover from.  Stephen may have confidence in their ability, but Evelynn figured a little help in research would make it easier for them both.

                The research Evelynn was able to provide wasn’t an abundance.  The structure, a two story building with a basement, had been built a long time ago in the early 1800’s. Originally the family home of the O’Grady’s, a textile merchant in Strathmore, it eventually became a deli, retail store, boarding house and a restaurant/tavern which it was presently.

                Evelynn found no history of tragic deaths, accidents or reports of the supernatural.  It seemed, according to records, to be an old building with a long history.  Evelynn decided to switch gears and focus on the current claims.  Most of the claims were from employees of the Black Thistle Tavern going back approximately a year.  What had caused this activity to begin?  Was there a pattern?  Most of the claims of paranormal activity occurred late at night after the bar was closed and with very little people present.  This wasn’t surprising when you thought about it.  Can anyone really notice the sound of footsteps, unexplained voices or an occasional breaking of a glass when an array of craziness and revelry of patrons was going on.  Who knew how often spirits were attempting to make contact or were present during the evening while people enjoyed their own types of spirits?

                According to Carl, the manager, employees and an occasional customer had started reporting strange happenings in the basement bar of the Black Thistle within the last year.  One employee, while cleaning up after hours, reported hearing someone walking down the stairs from the first floor when no one was there.  A patron stated they had heard voices in the men’s bathroom while he was the only one present.   A few other employees, again after close up and late in the evening/morning, stated they saw something or someone standing in the Northeast corner of the main bar room and lastly in the last month a glass was thrown at an employee from behind the bar. 

                If something was present, the team would hopefully make contact with it or document its presence.  At any rate Evelynn wanted a thorough investigation done in order to establish and build S.U.P.I.’s growing reputation.  Finishing up the research, Evelynn placed it in an envelope in order to give it Stephen and left the campus library.

               

                 “Dude.  I am totally honored to be working with you on this investigation.”  Brian said to Stephen as he placed the hard-plastic containers with equipment into Stephen’s jeep.

                Stephen smiled, “That’s great Brian.  I think if we practice proven methods then we should be able to produce some results.”

                Christine placed her backpack into the jeep.  “Professor.  Do you really think that we may experience some paranormal activity tonight?”

                “It’s always possible.  I’m a firm believer that anytime an investigation is done it produces some sort of results.  Sometimes it verifies something that can’t be explain.  Sometimes it shows that what was claimed was misinterpreted or simply not possible.  We are always looking for the truth verified by facts.”

                “Excellent Professor.  So am I.”

                Stephen knew, from Evelynn, that Christine was a skeptic of the paranormal.  That was fine, more than fine.  Having an objective, unbiased point of view was important.  If Christine was that point of view, then she was more than welcomed to participate.

                “Are we all set?”  Stephen asked the duo.  A thumbs up from Brian and a silent nod from Christine indicated they were.  “Alright, off to the Black Thistle Tavern then.”

               

                  The Black Thistle Tavern was in the oldest section of Old Town Strathmore.  The restaurant portion had the main entrance level at the street level.  The basement bar area, which could be accessed inside, was more commonly entered using the alleyway steps.  Known primarily by locals; a wooden sign of a Black Thistle hung over the stone steps that led down to a lone door.  Walking down the old steps Stephen could imagine the history, and spirits, that had taken place here decades ago.

                Entering the bar Christine convulsed as the odor of beer, smoke, and patrons assailed her.  One employee was behind the bar while another was mopping the floor.

                “Sorry, last call was thirty minutes ago.  We are done for the evening.” Said the employee.

                “Yes, I am aware of that.” Stephen said, “Were here to speak with Carl.”

                “Hello. I am Carl.” Said a man as he entered the bar area from a side room.  He shook each of their hands. “I very pleased to meet you.  We just closed a little while ago and will be finishing cleaning up shortly.  Until then why don’t I show you the areas where we have had claims made.”

                “That would be perfect.” Stephen said.

                The bar was not that large.  It was the basement of what used to be a mid-nineteenth century home.  The main area had a few alcoves with bench seats were in the corners with small tables and chairs in between.  A bar, with several bar stools, was located on the far side opposite of the door.  It was dimly lit with two small ground level windows on the street level wall.

                Carl took them through an archway into a small alcove or secondary room.  A flight of wooden steps led up to the restaurant.  Bathrooms occupied the space across from the stairs.

                “The stairs…” Carl stated, “…Go up to the ground level and main restaurant area.  I have had several individuals claim to hear footsteps either going up or coming down when no one is here.  The bathroom…” Carl turned and pointed to the male and female signed doors, “… are where some employees and a patron or two have heard voices; again when no one was present.”

                “Does one or both of the restrooms exhibit this activity?” Christine asked.

                Carl thought for a moment. “I don’t really know but having males and females both making claims I am going to assume they both have had voices talking in them.”

                “What do the voices say?”  Brian asked.

                Carl shrugged. “Sorry, but again I don’t know.  I think most of the time people can’t make it out but hear some sort of talking and knowing no one is in the bathroom, freak out and leave.”

                Walking back into the bar area Carl pointed to the actual bar.  It was a simple wooden worn piece with shelves of liquor behind it, a set of taps and racks of glasses.

                “The bar area is where we have had the most bizarre experiences.  I know of one employee who has had a glass thrown at them.”

                “Really?”  Christine said in a doubtful voice. “How do you know it wasn’t from a drunk?”

                Carl nodded and reached for his cell phone.  Swiping the screen, he said, “Because we have video of one of the incidents.”

                Stephen was intrigued.  “Really? I would love to see that.”  Carl pulled up a video that depicted the bar from the corner of the room.  In the screen was a female bartender and two customers siting at the table nearest the door.  A glass on the rack behind the bar tender suddenly flew towards the bartender’s lower back and after striking her fell to the floor and shattered.

                “Wow! That is so cool.” Brian exclaimed.

                “Can we talk to that bartender?” Stephen asked.

                “Sure, if you can track her down.  She quit the following day.”

                “What about this shadow person people have seen?”

                “Ah, yes.”  Carl said, “People have said they have seen a shadow, in the form of a person, standing in that corner there…” Carl pointed towards the far corner where the camera was. “… as well as in the alcove in front of the bathrooms near the stairs.”

                “Alright.  Is there anything else Carl?” Stephen asked.

                “No. At least that I know of. Do you really think you can document whatever is haunting this bar?”

                “While we never make any guarantees; We will try.”

                Carl and the rest of the staff finished and left the property.  Even though the team had access to the entire building they were going to focus their night’s investigation on the bar area only.  Walking through the area Stephen suggested to place a camera in the bar area, at the foot of the stairs and in the corner, opposite were the shadow person had been seen.

                “I’m concerned about where to put the command post.” Stephen asked looking around at the small space.

                “Why not in the bar?”  Christine replied.

                “I thought about that, but it’s a little tight space wise and may contaminate the area.”

                Brian then spoke up, “What about at the top of the stairs?”

                Stephen thought about that and asked, “Do we have enough cables to reach down here?”

                Brian informed Stephen that John had always taught him in the tech club that you could never have too much cable.  “Alright then.  Let’s get set up and start investigating.”

                After about thirty minutes of laying cable, taping it down, setting up the cameras and connecting everything to the command post the group was ready.

                “It is a small space overall, so I’m torn between having one person go at a time or a team.  What do you all think?” Stephen asked.

                Christine and Brian looked at each other then to Stephen.  “I dunno.” Brian said. “I’ve never done this before. Only seen it done on t.v.”

                “Same here.” Christine said a little embarrassed.

                “That’s okay. Why don’t we consider this a learning experience? You can’t mess up anything.”

                Christine smiled and said, “I don’t think Evelynn would say that.”  Brian laughed.

                Stephen chuckled a bit as well, “Why don’t we try solo runs.  Go with your instincts.  I’ll be here to guide you.”

                Brian and Christine both nodded but didn’t seem confident. Stephen smiled, “Okay how about this; I will instruct you, give you a task; you come down here do that task and then come back upstairs? Twenty minutes or so.  Sound good?”  This time the nods were much more confident.

                Christine was first.  Stephen suggested she take a digital recorder and perform some electronic voice phenomenon sessions or EVP sessions.  The belief being that the recorder can pick up sounds, including speech, not heard by the human ear.

                “Christine you good with this?”  Stephen asked as he handed her the recorder.

                “Yes, I believe so.  We have talked about it in class and I have seen the technique performed on television, so yes I’m good.”

                Stephen smiled, “Great, but just remember that what you see on television is after days of investigation.  Don’t get frustrated if nothing happens.”

                “Got it.”  Christine said taking a radio with her.  “Wish me luck.”

                “Good luck Christine.”  Brian said as she opened the door to the basement bar and began to walk down into the darkness.

                Christine wasn’t one to just be afraid but walking down the steps into the dark basement was a little unnerving.  Ambient light came in from the two small windows at street level and the small window on the door to the alley steps was more a glimpse to the outside than a source of light.

                Stephen had suggested she conduct an EVP session to record some response to questions asked or capture a phrase or word.  Christine walked up to the bar and sat down on a stool.  She turned on the recorder and began to speak. “Hello. Is anyone here with me?”  She paused and listened. “What is your name?”  Walking about Christine began to become nervous.  It was dark down in this area and her eyes had not really had time to adjust to it.  Holding the recorder out in front of her, Christine asked in a shaky voice.  “If you wish to speak to me… please talk into this device.  What happened to you? Why are you here?”

                Christine was standing near the bathrooms by now and looked back into the bar area.  It was dark, but she could make out objects from the ambient light.  As she began to turn to enter the female bathroom she stopped and peered back into the bar room.  Had she seen movement?  Not sure, and not wanting to sound like a novice, she entered the female bathroom, but quickly stepped back out.

                Stephen’s voice suddenly spoke through the radio startling Christine.  “What’s wrong?”  Forgetting she even had the radio attached to her belt she fumbled for it and responded.  “Nothing… It’s just really dark in the bathroom.  I can’t see anything.”

                After a moment Stephen responded, “If need be use a light source.  Just be aware you will create shadows.”  Taking her cell phone out Christine turned on the flashlight app and entered the bathroom.  It was clean which was a comfort.  Nothing unusual, mirror, two stalls, sink. “What was that children’s game… Bloody Mary?” Christine thought and then decided to think of other things.

               

                  Brian sat next to Stephen looking at the monitor.  Even though Christine was down in the “haunted” basement bar; the rest of the restaurant upstairs was just as spooky.  The lights had been turned off and sitting near the top of the steps just seemed awkward and exposed.

                “Brian,” Stephen said, “Can you make sure we have plenty of batteries charged up and ready to go for the cameras and all the other equipment?”

                “Sure.” Brian remarked.  Going over to the wall where several duffel bags and containers with the team’s equipment was stored, Brian grabbed all the unused batteries, the charging docket and a power cord.  Not seeing an outlet available near their command post, Brian informed Stephen he would have to go in search of the nearest one.  That was easier said than done.

                Being an old house, electrical outlet where not as readily available as one may have thought.  Walking into one of the dining rooms Brian felt a chill, but dismissed it as being nervous about the investigation.  He scanned the walls, looking under and around chairs and tables.  It would have been much easier to turn on the lights rather than look for a dark square shadow against a wall further encased in shadows, but Brian didn’t want to be “that guy”.  “That guy” was the one who opened the door to the dark room while someone was developing film or entering a studio while recording.  He had been “that guy” before and didn’t like it.

                Finding no outlet in the small room he was in; Brian went into the next one.  The restaurant had transformed many of the old house’s rooms into small quaint dinning rooms.  All of them had a sort of Eighteenth century feel due to the décor and were connected by French doors if privacy was needed.  Looking around at the walls Brian heard a floorboard creaking which made him stop suddenly.  “Dude.” Brian said in an anxious low tone and looked about the room.  Light from outside illuminated the entire room making visibility possible, yet it made the shadows move anytime a car or something from outside impacted that light.  Not seeing anything Brian went back to his task and located an outlet near a heating grate.  Plugging in the power cord he went about his work nervously glancing up every so often feeling as if someone or something was watching him.

               

                 Stephen had been monitoring Christine’s progress and was impressed.  She had patience, which was a lacking attribute in a lot of students and asked good questions in hopes of obtaining an EVP.  She had finished in the female bathroom and was about to enter the male bathroom when something on the bar area camera caught Stephen’s eye.

                There had been movement near the bar.  He wasn’t sure what it had been, just that something had moved in that area.  Not wanting to freak out Christine on the radio as she entered the other bathroom, he wrote a note down for later review.

               

                  Christine went into the men’s bathroom.  Seeing the two urinals against the wall she was momentarily distracted thinking it was strange that guys did that side by side.  Where was their modesty? Focusing on the task at hand she began asking questions again and believed she heard a noise.  She closed her eyes and listened.  It sounded like rustling or movement.  It   was faint and barely audible, but it was there.  For a horrifying second, she thought it could be a rodent of some sort but dismissed that thought when she heard a louder “thunk” noise and what she believed was a voice saying “ooth”.

                Christine’s pulse quickened.  She had the digital recorder on and knew that if she did hear that it would have been recorded.  She reached for the radio, “Professor.  I think I heard something, something really faint in the men’s bathroom.”

                Stephen’s voice came over the radio, “Do you think it was picked up on the recorder?  I didn’t hear anything on the camera?”

                Christine spoke up on the radio. “I’m pretty sure I did.  I’ve been recording since I came down here.”

                “Alright,” Stephen replied, “Why don’t you come up and we will review it.”  Christine nodded and then exited the bathroom.

               

                 Once at the command post, Stephen demonstrated how to download the audio from the recorder and started reviewing it on the laptop.  The microphones of the digital recorders were very good and as Christine was in the men’s restroom asking questions, a scuttling noise of movement could be heard.  It sounded “echoey”, like coming through a spirit box.

                “Is this it?” Stephen asked switching from headphones to the laptop’s speakers.  Christine listened and then exclaimed, “Yes! That’s it!”

                The noise almost did sound like a mouse or rat rummaging through trash or other debris. 

                “Where was the noise coming from?” Brian asked.

                “I don’t know.  I couldn’t pinpoint it before it stopped.  Keep listening. It almost sounded like a voice saying something.”  The noise continued until a definite “thunk” was heard followed by a voice saying very faintly “ooth”.

                “Wow.”  Stephen stated, “That is a voice.  Let me hear that again.”  They listened to it a second time and Brian chuckled.

                “What?”  Christine asked, “What’s so funny?”

                “I think ‘that person’ is saying smooth.”  Brian said extending the word out.

                Christine and Stephen both looked at him untill Stephen asked, “How do you know?  Is that what you hear?”

                Brian grinned, “I know the word is ‘smooth’ because it is me saying it.”

                Brian explained that when he went to the other room to plug in the charging dock and batteries, he was getting nervous being alone.  As he fumbled with the various batteries, he recalled dropping one of them and chiding himself by saying “smooth” out loud.

                “How is it I heard that?” Christine asked.

                “Don’t know, but that’s me.”  Brian replied.

                Stephen suggested that there had to be a logical explanation for Christine to have picked up Brian’s voice an entire floor away.  “Brian.  Go back to where you were; we will go back to the bathroom.  Take a radio.”  Stephen urged.

                Brian reluctantly went back to the area in the dining room knowing that now there was no one on the same floor as he.  He used a flashlight this time which lessened his anxiety.  Stephen and Christine went to the bathroom and entered.  He keyed the radio and said, “Brian.  Start talking.”

                Brian responded, “About what?”

                “Anything, anything at all.”

                Brian thought for a moment and then started rambling about various musical artist he enjoyed listening to.  Stephen and Christine were silent and listened.  It was difficult but eventually they both started to hear Brian’s voice.  It was low and fragmented but they both heard “Post Malone”.  Stephen pointed and smiled.

                Speaking into the radio Stephen said, “Brian.  You can stop.  Meet us at the command post.”

               

                 Once all three were back at the command post, Stephen addressed them, “A claim was made by a patron that they had heard a disembodied voice in the men’s bathroom.  This type of claim is made a lot in paranormal investigations.  As investigators never assume but be aware not all claims are paranormal.  Come with me.”         

                Stephen walked through the dinning rooms to where Brian had plugged the charging dock up.  “What you did when you were setting up the charging dock in here was to help debunk that claim.”

                Brian looked at Stephen not understanding.  “What were you doing when you said, smooth?”  Stephen asked.

                “I was fixing up the docking station, getting everything plugged in and then I dropped one of the batteries.  It made a lot of noise.  That was when I said “smooth” because, you know like… it wasn’t.”

                Stephen asked Brian, “Look at where you were.  What do you see?”

                Brian looked with a flashlight that clearly illuminated the area and then saw the answer right in front of him.  “The heating grate in the floor!”  Brian exclaimed.  Christine smiled.

                “Yep.  Your voice or parts of it, went into and through that grate and then was heard by Christine, where another grate is.  It’s faint but if the conditions are right, such as no other noise and somebody standing up here, then you can definitely hear someone talking in that bathroom.”

                “I’m sure that patron was probably a little intoxicated as well.”  Christine added.

                “That may have added to it.  So that claim is debunked.”

                Christine grinned.  “Is that bad?” Brian asked.

                “No, not at all.  Remember we are seeking the truth.  To explain, if at all, what is happening.  In this case a rational, plausible reason has presented itself.”

                “Excellent dude.”  Brian replied but after noticing Stephen’s look added, “ I mean Professor.”

                Christine was happy with herself in debunking a claim of “ghostly voices” in the bathroom.  She had been Evelynn’s roommate for a couple of semesters and knew that she believed in the paranormal.  Christine, on the other hand, wasn’t sure about the whole trapped spirit, ghost thing.  She had her faith in God, a lot of other things she wasn’t sure of.  Disproving some of the hype of ghost gave her some bit of pleasure.  She wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or not.

                Professor Davenport surprised Christine in his response to her disproving the claim.  She had thought that he might have tried to rationalize the facts to a more favorable position of paranormal beliefs, but he didn’t.  Christine’s measure of respect for the Professor had definitely gone up.

                Having reasonably disproved one claim, Stephen was now interested in the claims of glasses being thrown and of a shadow person in the bar area.  He had not mentioned the movement he saw on the video; he didn’t want Christine or Brian to have any preconceived notions.  “Brian, you up for some investigating?”  Stephen asked.

                “Yes professor.  What would you like me to investigate?”

                “Well…”  Stephen began while opening a hard-plastic container and withdrawing a strange piece of equipment. “… I would like you to try out the SLS camera.”

                “Cool… What’s it do?”

                Stephen smiled.  “It is a camera, of course, that allows the viewer to see images that are not visible to the human eye.  SLS stands for structured light sensor.  A SLS camera uses a infrared light projector with a monochrome CMOS sensor and then displays what it is seeing as dots in a 3D formation.  It will see people; their joints and their movements.”

                “Ah, okay.”

                Stephen thought about how he could put it in easier terms.  “Brian, do you play video games?  Some of the Xbox Kinect Types?”

                “Yes Professor.  I like the snowboarding games?”

                “Okay.  Same sort of technology.  When you play that sort of video game the Kinect device is picking up “you” and relaying movements onto the game screen.  A SLS camera simply displays to the viewer what it is picking up.  It has the ability, because of the sensors, to display objects that are not detectable with the human eye.  What we are interested in are when those shapes are moving, interacting and are human shape.”

                “Too cool.  Can you show me how to work it?”

               

                  For the next thirty minutes Stephen gave Christine and Brian a quick tutorial on how to operate the SLS camera.  With the success of the Crimshaw Manor investigation and a few others after that; Stephen had been able to precure funds for equipment for the program and the club.

                Armed with enough knowledge to not break the camera, Stephen instructed Brain and Christine to investigate the bar area.  Brian would operate the SLS camera, Christine would operate a spirit box and digital recorder.  Stephen would monitor the command post and if they were lucky would document some additional evidence.

                Christine and Brian entered the basement bar.  Brian was in front walking extremely slow and cautiously with the SLS camera out in front of him.  “It is a little difficult looking at the screen and walking in the dark with this.”  Brian commented.

                Christine suggested they just walk into the bar and then he could begin using the SLS.  The “light bulb” came on for Brian and lowering the camera he proceeded to walk into the bar area.  Brian began to scan the area with the camera, slowly turning about taking in the entire room.  Christine turned on the digital recorder and placed it on the bar.

                “Hello.  Is anyone here?”  She asked.  “If you want to communicate with us, please speak into the device with the red light on the bar.”  She waited before continuing with more questions. “What is your name?  Do you like the people here?  Please make a noise?”  Christine paused in between questions listening for a response.

                “Woah.” Brian suddenly said in a low voice.

                “What?”

                “I’m not sure.  I see you, or I should say stick you, in the view finder… just one stick person standing near the bar.  But, for a brief second, it seemed like there was another stick figure near you.  It’s gone now. Not sure if it was a spirit or you… weird.”

                Christine got a chill not sure if it was because of Brian speaking about something standing near her and her not knowing or because she was cold.  Without thinking she moved away from the bar towards Brian.  Looking over his shoulder at the view finder she asked, “Is it me or is that picture getting darker?”

                Brian looked at it and then replied, “It is.  The battery is starting to drain.  I’m not sure how long a battery lasts, but we have several.  Here.”  Brian handed the camera to Christine, “Let me get another, I’ll be right back.”  Brian left leaving Christine alone in the dark bar.  She heard him walk up the steps, open the door and then closing behind him.  She was alone, in the bar, in the dark.

                Christine raised the SLS camera and looked into the view finder even though the batteries were fading fast.  Scanning the room slowly she stopped suddenly.  A stick figure was standing at the end of the bar twelve feet away from her.  It startled her seeing it so close, moving back she asked. “Hello.  What is your name?”  The figured moved its arms in a frantic motion in response to her voice.

                “Okay, I’m taking that as a sign you don’t like me.”  The camera was getting darker by the second.  Christine heard steps coming down the stairs behind her, she didn’t want to lose the figure on the screen and remained stationary.  “Brian, hurry up!  I have something on the screen, but it’s going to … well it did.  It’s gone, the battery is dead.”  Christine lowered the camera and turned towards Brian.

                Brian was not there.  “Brian?” Christine said, “Brian?”  She had heard him walking down the stairs, didn’t she?  Where was he?  A cold chill suddenly went past Christine making her back up against the bar.  Bumping into a bar stool the sudden pressure made her gasp.  At the same time the sound of glasses “tinkling” together was heard right before the door opened and Brian came down the steps with two batteries in hand.

                Brian came up to Christine who was still standing against the bar.  “I brought two sets of batteries just in case.”  Brian began and then realized Christine was not moving. “What happened?”

                Christine regained her composure and looked at Brian in the ambient light of the outside.  “I’m not sure what just happened.”  She said and continued, “I was looking through the SLS and saw a figure at the end of the bar.”

                “No way… There?”  Brian pointed.

                “Yes, right there.  It seemed upset with me looking at it and began to wave its arms about.  The camera was dying, I heard… what I thought was you coming down the steps; then the camera went out.  Something then went by me… I’m not sure what but… I felt it move past me.”

                “Too cool!”  Brian exclaimed.  “It should be on the video.  Let’s check with the Professor.”

                Christine and Brian went back upstairs to the command post and Christine relayed her story to Stephen.  He apologized for not watching the camera at that moment due to speaking with Brian.  They reviewed the video together, however and saw Christine reacting to something right before Brian came down the steps.

                A review of the audio recording did pick up on what sounded like footsteps coming down the steps prior to Brian opening the basement door and coming down them.  The digital recorder, that had been sitting on the bar during this time, was also checked.  Checking the time when Christine reacted to something in the room the team could hear Christine gasp, stumble into the bar stool and then something low and vocal right before the sound of wine glasses clinking together.

                “Woah!  What was that?”  Brian said.

                “I’m not sure, hold on.”  Stephen rewound the audio, enhanced it and played it again.  It was an EVP that sounded like two syllables.  Christine jumped.

                “Oh my!  I think it said Get Out.”

                Stephen smiled, “I think your right.”  Playing it again it did sound like the voice saying in a low guttural voice, “Get Out.”

                “Oh man, that is too cool.” Brian was excited.

                The team downloaded the data and images from the SLS camera and where able to see what Christine had seen before the camera had shut down.  All were very happy with the evidence they had acquired.

               

                  Brian and Christine went back to the bar area for about another hour but did not have any further success.  It would have seemed that the spirit of the EVP either did get out or had chased away any spirits there.  Having the morning quickly approaching and plans for the remainder of the weekend, Stephen called it for the night.  They would review all the video and audio more thoroughly and put together a “Results of Investigation” report for Carl sometime during the week.

                While Brian was disappointed that he did not experience anything “major’ he was happy for Christine’s experience.  Christine, on the other hand, wasn’t sure what to think.  Seeing a “stick person” on a camera was one thing; it didn’t prove anything.  The EVP was interesting but while Brian and Professor Davenport believed The Black Thistle Tavern was haunted the jury about ghost being real was still out for her.

                Stephen explained that more would need to be done to really do a professional investigation.  If Carl was willing then the club would do more research, interviews and investigations.  For the time being Stephen believed that there was a presence here if not more than one.

                “So, what do you think about your first paranormal investigation?” Stephen asked while packing the equipment into the jeep.

                “Way cool.”  Brian responded.

                Christine only nodded and Stephen took it as her being tired.  He was too, however, he perked up after texting Evelynn and informing her he was on his way home. She replied, “Good.  I’m waiting.”  Stephen smiled as the dawn was beginning to break and thought, “Happy Valentine’s Day to me.”

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