Hunting bumps in the night

Ty Dunham
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The wind howled as light snow pecked the windows of the Smokey Mountain Lodge. Inside the power was shut off and little light poured through the windows, flooding the room with a requiescence.

Cameras and equipment strategically lay around the room.

“Are you here with us now,” Corey Walsh broke the silence. He slowly walked around the room, the floor creaking beneath him as he held a recorder in one hand and a strange tool in the other. The device emitted white noise in rapid successions, like an old TV changing channels without a picture tuned in.

Walsh called out again. “Are you lonely?”

Tsk. Tsk. Tsk. Tsk. The tool repeated the radio static chatter.

“Do you miss your family?” He asked.

The small device makes a quick sound.

“Did you catch that?” Walsh asked the group.

“Brother!” Ashlee Burridge exclaimed. “It sounded like brother!”

“It definitely said brother,” William Woodman confirmed.

It’s one of the many short conversations Dark Hours Paranormal has shared with ghosts, and the group’s evidence on their Facebook page has Labrador West buzzing about what goes bump in the night.

The group have investigated Smokey Mountain a few times already, each time bringing new evidence for their fans to interpret.

Almost 500 local residents have joined to see the trio’s latest findings, discussing strange markings in photos and questioning the eerie words of potential ghosts.

Walsh said the group was hesitant to make a Facebook page, knowing the group could face ridicule from skeptics.

“We sat for days and toiled. But the first hour it was up was 10 members, then 20 members. Now we're up to 400. And we haven’t had one bad comment.”

With such a controversial subject Walsh expects to cross paths with sceptics, but some evidence can’t be refuted so easily.

A lot of it you can look at and say you're looking at pictures in the clouds. When people say a picture is pixally, it's pixally of a face. I mean, Jesus, it's a face!”

The evidence gathered is largely credited to the group’s heavy equipment.

A favoured tool is the K2, an electromagnetic frequency (EMF) detector, which finds pockets of electromagnetic energy which paranormal investigators believe indicate paranormal activity.

The group also keeps a REM Pod close by. Using a small antenna to radiate its own magnetic field around the instrument, it becomes easily influenced by materials and objects conducting electricity.

The most used tool is the spirit box, which the ghost hunters believe is used by the paranormal to communicate through white noise.

Critics suggest the spirit box appears to work on cognitive bias, and users will pay attention to key words after asking a question but ignore everything else scanned through the AM channels.

Walsh disagreed.

“It changes its frequency modulation every quarter of a second. How many words can you say in a quarter of a second? If you’re in a big city with 25 radio stations maybe, but not here.”

But Walsh said gadgets and tools will never measure up to the human experience.

“The best paranormal tool you'll ever get is your own body. Cold spots, peripheral vision, uneasy feeling, instant headache, nausea, confusion. That’s why it’s very important we watch each other.”

After an hour the group moved into the kitchen area, where Walsh asked more questions while Woodman recorded in night vision and Burridge paid close attention to the thermal scanner.

“Can you show us something to let us know you’re here?” He asked.

Something fell beside them, a light tink sound hit the floor.

“What was that? We need to find it,” Walsh said.

Shining the light toward where the noise came from, Burridge picked up a pen cap.

“What is a pen cap doing in the kitchen? And how did it fall?” Woodman asked.

Walsh was previously employed at Smokey Mountain, where he said he saw many strange experiences he can’t ignore as coincidences. He now wants to validate those experiences, he said.

“If someone asked me three years if Smokey Mountain was haunted, I'd say I think so. If someone asked me now, I'd say as a paranormal investigator it's our job to go in there and take all the evidence and readings try to come up with a rational answer for you. The argument over whether it's true, that's up to you to decide.”

Walsh said the group lives by the code “ghoulish equals foolish,” and wants to be taken seriously.

“We’re all normal people. We all have lives, families. None of us has a Bigfoot in the backyard, there are no UFOs. This is something very different. Paranormal encompasses a lot of things. I'm just interested in ghosts. The spiritual part of it is what we're interested in.”

Walsh said it’s no different than what others are doing in their spare time.

“If there ever was a hobby, this is a cool one. Some people sit at a bar all day, some collect hockey cards. This is what we do.”

Burridge agreed.

“Ever since I was a little girl I've had weird, unexplainable things happen around me. I'm more excited than scared now. You'll never understand it, and that's why I'm excited about it. The adrenaline keeps you there.”

Woodman also worked at Smokey Mountain, and began his involvement in much the same way as Burridge and Walsh.

“I like searching for the unknown. I've spent a lot of time around stuff like this. After all the years ignoring it, now it's time to come back and find out why. Now I'm full war face into it. Everybody has something they want answers for, and this is our thing.”

Later that evening the group took some equipment to the basement, huddling close in a small locker room. The EMF detector sat on an upside down barrel, and the spirit box chattered away with white noise as Walsh continued to try to communicate.

No voices could be heard as it quickly scanned through the AM channels.

“We really appreciated you showing us your presence by dropping the pen cap. Can you show us you’re here one more time?”

The EMF detector went from its calm green to a violent red, indicating a heavy presence in electromagnetic frequency.

The group accepts the evidence as proof of a presence, and moves back upstairs for a break.

Most of the night is spent by trying to communicate with ghosts, and the group said they can’t remove a spirit’s presence or have any intentions of trying.

And they definitely aren’t Ghostbusters, Walsh said.

“Some will tell you they're in it to disprove the paranormal. Let's call a spade a spade; we're ghost hunting.”

Each of the ghost hunters have numerous unexplained stories, including hearing children sing, small orbs of light caught on film, and photos of faces looking in through windows.

Burridge has a theory of her own.

“Are we investigating them, or are they investigating us?”

reporter@theaurora.ca

Organizations: Smokey Mountain Lodge

Geographic location: Labrador West

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  • Michael McGregor
    December 17, 2012 - 12:45

    This is interesting and a bit off the wall :) I am an old wabush resident my Brother still Lives there. I spent alot of time at the Lodge lovely place Flip Dawsons Brother Coco was the local Pro and I remember alot of apres ski parties there. In my teens I helped build the t bar lift in 30 below weather , it was a great experience and fun place to be. I do recall there was a young guy in his early twenties there, after I left that was partied up and decided to go down the run on a cafeteria tray and hit a tree and died Maybe he is still trying to leave good luck on the Smokey Mountain Ghost and Merry Christmas to all in Lab! Michael McGregor Montreal , Canada