• Classic EVP: A Ghostly Drowning at the Exchange Building

    November 5, 2019
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    There was never anything quite as terrifying as sitting alone in the middle of the night and listening to EVP episodes of Art Bell’s Coast to Coast AM. I’ve probably mentioned this before, but EVP, or electronic voice phenomena, is one of my favorite topics of the paranormal — these alleged voices crossing over the veil between life and death.

    Not only voices, though. One particular EVP has always stuck with me, and that’s because it was so much more than just a ghostly voice or a terse whisper.

    It was during the April 2, 2005 episode of Coast that a particular EVP was shared by that night’s guests, Brendan Cook and Barbara McBeath of the Ghost Investigators Society (G.I.S.). The EVP in question was recorded in a room at the Ogden Exchange Building in Ogden, Utah.

    Notably, Art Bell warned listeners beforehand that they might find the audio “disturbing.” Cook said it was “easily the oddest recording [they’d] ever recorded.” It’s certainly one of the strangest EVPs I’ve ever heard.

    As Cook went on to describe, the EVP was recorded by a laptop in an empty room near the end of the building. The laptop was placed on a shelf and left alone, while Cook headed outside along with the other members of the G.I.S. team.

    When they eventually checked the laptop’s audio, what they found were seven minutes of nothing, followed by, well, listen for yourself (3:57 in the clip).

    “I Can’t Breathe”

    According to Cook, there were no children present during the investigation, and no water that could’ve made any kind of violent splashing sound. The room was empty at the time.

    And yet, there it was in that recording.

    What we hear in the audio (and this is my own interpretation) is what sounds like a higher-pitched voice saying something in a pleading tone, followed by a gutteral and almost demonic voice. It’s hard to make out what either of them are saying.

    The two voices continue, back and forth, and then the splashing begins. This goes on for a short time, until you hear a deep grumbling sound, perhaps a thump, and the thrashing water stops.

    “My God, what are we hearing?” – Art Bell

    After the clip of the EVP finished, Art Bell and the two G.I.S. members went on to speculate about just what was going on in the recording.

    Bell read a possible translation: The first voice, perhaps that of a child, said, “Help me, can’t breathe, I couldn’t breathe.” That was followed by a much lower voice saying, “Murder.” A third voice, perhaps belonging to an older woman, might’ve been present, also saying, “I couldn’t breathe.”

    All of that, of course, is open to interpretation, as is the nature of most alleged EVPs. The consensus that night, however, was that the EVP contained the ghostly sounds of someone drowning, and perhaps being murdered.

    For their part, the two members of G.I.S. provided their own possible explanations. Cook believed the EVP may have been of a residual haunting, a traumatic event recorded by the environment. McBeath, however, questioned that possibility. Residual hauntings, she thought, would at least reflect their nearby environments, and the sound of splashing water was quite the anomaly in an office room at the Exchange Building.

    She did, however, mention a well in the basement.

    Ogden Exchange Building: A History

    Back then, listening to this EVP, I always had it in my mind that it took place in a concrete room with a single bathtub and nothing else. But that was never the case.

    In fact, on the outside, the Ogden Exchange Building looks quite ordinary, if not a bit run down (here’s a short video of some urban explorers venturing inside in 2013).

    Its story is an interesting one, though, and parts of it actually muddy the waters as far as its link to paranormal activity goes.

    Opened in 1931, the place was originally part of a stockyard. In 1971, it closed down, and then reopened as a trade school. In 1974, it became a mental health center. That lasted until 1987. In 2005 (and here’s where things get tricky), the Exchange Building was turned into a haunted house. This is when its real history became entwined with the fictional one of the very much made-up Bellshire Hospital, an alleged insane asylum. And that’s also the same year of our EVP, here.

    Rumors have it there have been multiple deaths in the building, including suicides, deaths from natural causes, and even a triple murder in the 1940s. Paranormal investigators in this video from 2007 mention apparitions of a little girl.

    Curiously enough, there’s also a claim that an 8-year-old boy once drowned in a nearby canal.

    But how many of these claims are true, and how many are simply urban legends or, worse, tales made up in the service of a haunted house attraction?

    The Dead History has probably the most detailed breakdown of the Exchange Building’s history, and answers at least a few of these questions. Simply put, not everything said about its alleged haunted past is true.

    However, in their article, they do drop one little factoid that could possibly be related to the EVP at hand: In 1985, a woman went missing in Ogden, and a pair of legs later turned up floating in the Weber River, not too far from the Exchange Building…

    * * *

    So, was the Exchange Building EVP the real deal? In some ways, it doesn’t matter: The question of authenticity never affected the chill I got down my spine when I first heard it. Heck, that still happens. Like I said, these things stick with you.

    The nature of this EVP also raises questions. If it’s real, is it an environmental recording (or residual haunting), as Cook suggests? An echo in space-time of something that actually happened long ago?

    Or is there something more nefarious happening on the other side?

    Sometimes, I want to believe. Other times, not so much.

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  • “I’m Sorry, Robert”: Hundreds Apologize to Cursed Doll After Viewing Photos Online

    November 3, 2019
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    A couple years ago, I noticed something peculiar happening in the comments section of one of my articles.

    It all goes back to 2013, when I first posted about Robert the Doll. This, if you don’t know, is the strange tale of a seemingly ordinary doll that allegedly holds a mysterious curse.

    These days, he can be found locked behind glass at Fort East Martello Museum in Key West, Florida. Behind him is an array of letters pinned to a wall, each containing an apology for having crossed him in one way or another.

    His curse, at least the way I’ve heard it, is a rather simple one: Before taking a picture of Robert the Doll, everyone must first ask permission. If his head tilts, permission is not granted.

    And if permission is not granted, or if the person fails to ask for permission at all, that individual will be cursed.

    Allegedly, this curse involves severely bad luck. One example can be found over at Trip Advisor, by a reviewer who managed to snap not one but three photos of Robert without asking permission. Afterwards, his camera stopped working, and all of the photos he’d taken in Key West disappeared. And, wouldn’t you know it, when he got home from vacation he began to hear “strange noises during the night.”

    At any rate, many of those who feel cursed end up sending apology letters to the museum, which end up getting pinned to that wall. The idea is that, in doing so, Robert will have mercy on them and lift their cloud of bad luck. In some ways, this is similar to the curse of Uluru.

    However, while the rules of Robert’s curse are simple and based mostly on direct contact, in the past few years it seems to have spread onto the Internet. Or, at the very least, those who dare to research or read about Robert the Doll online aren’t taking any chances.

    Like the letters sent to the museum, they’ve left comments online containing their own apologies. And that’s what brings us back to my old post.

    “I’m Sorry.”

    The first comment on my article to apologize to Robert, for nothing more than reading about him online, was posted on February 21, 2015, with a very simple “I’m sorry Robert.”

    More commenters would follow, some with a terse apology, others with both explanations and pleas that the cursed doll not turn its fabricated eyes toward them or their loved ones.

    “I am sorry I viewed pictures of you online and read your story please forgive me.” – Matt, April 22, 2017

    “Robert, I’m sorry I didn’t ask your permission. I was just learning about you. Please forgive me.” – Ted, May 8 2017

    “Dear Robert, I visited you in key west. I was so honored and amazed. Please cause no harm upon my family. I was curious about your history and was interested. I’m very sorry.” – Lauren, January 18, 2018

    “Sorry for reading about you, and looking at your photos online. I mean no disrespect to you, Robert the Doll. Please forgive me.” – Joseph, September 17, 2019

    All told, over 200 comments have been left on that post, most of them apologies. But there are far more out there.

    In fact, we might have to upgrade that “hundreds” to thousands. It seems everywhere someone has posted about Robert the Doll, be it on personal websites or YouTube, people can be found apologizing for viewing his pictures and doing even the tiniest bit of research.

    And yet, despite all of these apologies, I’m unsure if anyone has actually been cursed simply for viewing photos of Robert or reading his story.  His curse, after all, involves taking a photo, not looking at one.

    Perhaps one person decided to apologize, and others followed just to be sure. It’s a fair bet, a cursed doll’s version of Pascal’s wager. Or, perhaps there’s more to this curse than I originally thought.

    I guess I’ll leave you with one final question: Have you apologized to Robert, lately?

    If you’d like to read more about Robert the Doll, you can of course check out my original post, or head over to his official Facebook page. He just turned 115 years old, by the way.

    Oh, and just one more thing: I’m sorry, Robert.

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  • Can Ghosts Speak To Alexa?

    October 31, 2019
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    Throughout the history of spirit communication, people have used a variety of unique tools and methods to contact the deceased.

    From automatic writing using planchettes, to mediums channeling the other side during late night seances, we’ve managed to develop quite the number of alleged ways to speak to the dead. The Ouija board, too, is an immensely popular form of attempted communication. In modern times, paranormal investigators have turned to radios and recording devices, like so-called Ghost Boxes, to capture electronic voice phenomena.

    Perhaps there’s something else we can add to that list of tools in our supernatural toolbox: Alexa.

    Amazon’s plucky virtual assistant inhabits nearly everything they make. Their Echo smart speakers, their TV sticks, their Fire tablets. Personally, I’ve never used Alexa, but apparently Amazon has sold over 100 million of these devices as of January 2019. That means Alexa can be found in many, many households, fielding many, many spoken commands.

    But here’s a question: Can ghosts also speak to Alexa?

    If we are to believe that they can speak through recording devices and radios, as they allegedly did with Konstantīns Raudive in the 1960s, there’s no particular reason ghosts can’t also speak through modern smart speakers. I’d imagine any spectral transmitting stations are already well-equipped to handle such technologies, wouldn’t you?

    Check it out: Are Ghostly Transmitting Stations Our Bridge to Parallel Universes?

    After all, Alexa’s no stranger to strange things. For example, in 2018, there were several reports of Alexa spontaneously laughing, which Amazon dubbed a simple “malfunction,” though a creepy one.

    That said, can everything be explained away as simply a glitch or a misheard command?

    One Echo user experienced a number of odd activities surrounding their device. On one day in particular, after the passing of their grandmother, they truly began to wonder if spirits beyond were conversing with Alexa:

    “My grandma passed away around that time. A couple of days after her passing, the Echo turned on (when I was alone) and started playing ‘Mandy,’ by Boston. I had never heard that song before and had never played it on the Echo. My grandma was the only one who called me Mandy.”

    Is it possible that ghosts might be giving Alexa commands? In another case, a user’s recently deceased grandfather may have asked Alexa to play a song:

    “My grandpa passed away a few months back, leaving my grandma to live by herself. She has an Amazon echo. One night when she was alone getting ready for bed, she heard a song start playing in the living room, in a house that was completely silent. Alexa was playing the song Lucille by Kenny Rogers (a song she shares a name with). The song was my grandparents’ favorite song to dance to together.”

    Perhaps it’s an odd coincidence, but I stumbled across multiple instances, including the above, of Echo users hearing very specific songs playing after the passing of a loved one, almost as if their ghosts were trying to send messages through these devices.

    One Redditor shared an account of an Amazon Dot randomly playing a song that had helped them deal with the loss of their father. Another report of paranormal activity after a recent death also involved Alexa playing a specific song over and over again.

    Is there anything to the idea that ghosts are reaching out to certain individuals through Alexa and other smart devices? In one final example, an Alexa command seemed a bit more specific:

    “Today my mom was on her house phone with my grandmother (my mom left her cellphone at work, an hour away) . While she was talking, her Alexa came on, lit up green, and said “Dad wants to talk. Dad wants to talk” and she repeated it again two more times. My grandfather/moms father, passed away last Christmas.”

    Of course, none of this proves anything supernatural. These are, after all, just anecdotes, and sometimes weird things just happen.

    But consider this: Amazon reportedly employs thousands of people who sift through thousands of Alexa conversations every day to improve its voice recognition. That’s a lot of data. Now, if otherworldly entities can communicate through recording devices, including Alexa, just how many of those conversations may have been with ghosts? Is it possible that some Amazon employees have actually listened to EVPs captured by these devices?

    They’d probably never even notice.

    How about you? Has your smart device, if you have one, ever done anything you’d consider unnatural?

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  • The Area 51 Situation: Will Naruto Lead Us to UFO Disclosure?

    July 23, 2019
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    So, who’s going to Area 51 in September?

    What started as a joke on Facebook has turned into some kind of actual movement, with nearly 2 million people (1.9 million at the time of this posting) pledging to converge out in the Nevada desert on September 20, 2019, at the very witching hour of 3:00 a.m.

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  • What Is the Hollow Earth Theory?

    July 23, 2019
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    The Hollow Earth Theory proposes that the interior of our planet is hollow.

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  • Why Ghosts Wear Clothes: A Matter Of Residual Self-Image?

    April 12, 2019
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    While finishing up my post about the ghost of Stow Lake, I got to thinking about just how many ghosts are named after the clothes they allegedly wear.

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  • The Ghostly White Lady of Stow Lake

    March 1, 2019
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    The first known appearance of the ghost at Stow Lake was reported in the January 6, 1908 issue of the San Francisco Chronicle, right on the front page.

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