Friday, December 11, 2009


By Doug Kimball

What started out as a typical grandmother /granddaughter bonding evening kicks off with a scare from above.

Roughly 14 years ago Denise Gentile had just picked up her granddaughter, Kristin Masker, and the pair were on their way home to enjoy each others company.

The two were traveling east on Interstate 80 in New Jersey around 8:30 p.m., everything was going fine, no traffic, and it was a fairly clear night. Then Gentile spotted something in the sky. It looked to be “a huge boomerang, a fat boomerang, about the size of a football field,” Gentile says. It made no noise, was flying fairly close to the ground, she continued.

Her granddaughter also saw the object.

“She pointed out what she thought was a plane that was flying low. We continued to look at it and it was definitely not a plane it was in the shape of a boomerang and much bigger than a plane,” Masker says adding that it had “a large number of lights on it.”

The object followed them the rest of their trip on I-80, but didn’t stop there. It continued to follow them down Saddle River Road in Fairlawn, N.J. Gentile pulls her car in the driveway, object still over head.

“It was right over the house,” Gentile says, as the two stay in the car afraid to get out. After a while they make their way into the garage and head inside. “There was no noise, just over the house and still no noise,” Gentile explains, “We were both scared.”

“We looked out the back window and we could still see it, flying low and it seemed to be circling,” Masker says, “It was absolutely not a plane or helicopter or anything we had ever seen.”

The two stay by the back door and watch the flying object until is quietly leaves. Gentile still wonders why she didn’t grab a camera, or call her neighbor. It was late when they arrived home so the two were the only ones there. Later on when she asked her neighbors if they had seen anything strange they all replied that hadn’t seen anything too out of the ordinary, but weren’t looking for anything ether.
People started to think we were crazy and would laugh at us, Gentile says “But we know what we saw.”



By Rob O’Doherty

After finally yanking out the sold sign from the worm-infested dirt on Mulberry street, Tyler Hamblen and his roommates Justin and Derrick were pumped to spend their first night in the soon to be partied in college house. Everything was to be expected as far as the first night in a new house goes. After unpacking, eating, and having a few beers, the roommates decided to call the first night quits and head to bed. Around 2:30 a.m. Tyler awoke to the sound of his blender going off.

“At first I thought it was morning and someone was just making a smoothie or something, but after I had realized the time and the constant noise of it blending for a good minute, I decided to go see who was using it,” Tyler said. “The noise grew as I stumbled down the stairs and as soon as I was about 10 feet away from the kitchen, it shut off. I walked into the kitchen to realize the blender wasn’t even plugged in.”

Tyler knew what he heard but with it being so late and with no other roommates up to hear anything unusual going on, he went back to bed. The next morning, Rob and Justin told Tyler that they too had heard the blender going off, but thought that it was just one of their roommates using it. Tyler couldn’t explain what had happened the night before, but it was apparent that something out of the ordinary was going on.

Curious, Tyler started doing some research on the former residents of the house. Other college students had told Tyler that they too had experienced strange things in the kitchen area. Whether it was a blender going off, the stove turning on by itself, or cupboards wide open. Strange things still happen in the kitchen area, but Tyler and his roommates try not to believe too much into it, he says they tend to sleep better at night without worrying about it.



By Jesse Shipp

After a long school week, finally done, it’s time to relax and have some fun. Like most high school students on a weekend, they head over to a friend’s house to stay the night, play video games, watch movies and play on the internet, among other things, much like how Stephanie McDonald did that winter evening. Like most people, Stephanie wasn’t expecting to see moving furniture.

Four years ago, when Stephanie was a sophomore at St. Dominic High School, went to her best friend’s house to have a girl’s night with Jessica Fangrow, the oldest, her sisters Brittney, 10, and Sierra Fangrow, who is 3, and their mom, Mrs. Frangrow. It was a cool Friday evening and everything was normal, for the most part. As it got later into the night, the girls decided to watch the movie “Constantine,” before they went to bed. One by one everybody went to sleep, starting with Jessica’s sisters and then their mom. As Mrs. Fangrow was strolling to her room, told Stephanie and Jessica to turn off the living room ceiling light and fan off before they go to sleep. A couple hour roll past, Jessica and Stephanie finally decide to get to sleep. Jessica, not being tall enough to reach the chain that dangles from the fan, she rolls the computer chair from the computer, a few feet away, under the ceiling fan and light. Jessica pulls the chain; it sways back and forth, hitting the light, making a clanging sound. Jessica rolls the chair back under the computer desk and hits the hay, along with Stephanie, on the cool living room floor.

The next morning, while everyone was doing their daily morning rituals, Jessica and Stephanie noticed that the computer chair was under the ceiling fan and light, they were both on.

“Jessica’s sisters didn’t do it, they sleep in the same room and their door creeks loud enough for their mom to hear and wake up, the mom didn’t do it either... jess and I stayed in the same room and neither of us got up in the night either...” Stephanie said.

Mrs. Fangrow makes her way into the living room and saw the same scene as her daughter and Stephanie see.

“We didn’t realize what had happened at first because we all thought someone else did it,” Stephanie said.

Mrs. Fangrow was upset, she yelled at and interrogated all the girls, and everyone pled their innocence. After the questioning, the girls realized that none of them could have done it.

“... We kinda freaked out after that...” Stephanie said.

The Fangrow family has reported that similar things like this have happened before, so after everyone was questioned everyone assumed it’s a ghost. They have looked into people who can contact spirits, but nothing has transpired.



By Melissa Morkus

Numerous reports have been made over the years about paranormal activity happening in cemeteries. Seeing apparitions, orbs or hearing voices are common things that people experience in these particular locations.

Brian Wiemann, 22, has first hand had one of these paranormal experiences. One night Brian and two friends decided to head to the Blue Springs Cemetery located in Blue Springs, Mo. With them they brought a video camera to record any paranormal findings.

As Brain and his friends walked for a few minutes through the graveyard, they came across three tombstones places closely together. As they were about to read what was on the tombstones they were suddenly startled by a red vintage car, estimated to be made in the 1950s.

“I couldn’t hear a sound until the car pulled up right next to us,” Brian said.

Shocked by the sudden appearance of the vehicle, Brain and the two other males ran back to their car, still with the video camera capturing footage. Later that night, Brian looked through the video they captured and found something they had not noticed once before. Three orbs, very clear and noticeable, were visible in the footage they captured when they approached the three tombstones. The three orbs also appeared to follow Brian and his friends as they ran to their car.

Brian wanted to copy the tape for evidence of his paranormal experience, but the second time of viewing the tape, no footage was found.

“Everything had been cleared without any reasonable explanation,” Brian said.

Some consider ghosts to be a figment of the imagination; something fictional. But with so many reports and sightings of unexplainable findings, such as Brian’s, it’s hard not to at least consider the paranormal not being so abnormal after all.



By Kiley Swopes

Every summer, Mia and her cousins would visit her aunt’s farm in Iowa and look more into the haunted property that the house was built on.

Their investigations always started out in the barn and for some reason the horses that were kept in the barn always freaked out.

Every time they walk into the barn they can tell something is there with them. They have seen shadow people, white mists and glaring eyes. But, the barn is not the scariest part of the property.

Mia refuses to sleep in the guest bedroom unless someone else sleeps in there with her. The room has what the family calls a crawl space.

“It is a door that is raised about three feet off the ground and if you open it and look in, you feel lost in the darkness,” Mia said.

So they decided to spend the week in the room.

“My aunt told us that if we didn’t bother Michael he would not bother us,” Mia said. “I asked her who Michael was and she said she that he was the lost spirit that lived upstairs.”

Shortly after they fell asleep they felt breathing on their necks. The breaths then became light touches and those touches became heavier to the point where Mia woke up with bruises all over her torso.

The next night one of the cousins, Sarah was choking in her sleep. She had handprints on her neck. Mia told her aunt that Michael was mean but she would not believe her.

One night Mia’s aunt decided that an Ouija board would be a good idea. Mia was scared out of her mind as they sat around the kitchen table. No matter what they were not allowed to break the circle, which is kind of hard when, a kitchen knife flew out of a block of wood and missed her by mere inches.

They ended the board but Mia thinks the portal never closed. Every time she goes back there is always something bad that happens to someone in that house.



By Joel Epley

At this point the footsteps and muffled conversations had become annoying.

Cole McKinely, 23, had decided to stay in Columbia for the summer and get a job. He had just moved into the Grindstone Canyon Apartments in Columbia, Mo. For the past few weeks Cole had been hearing squeaking footsteps and the faint vibrations of conversations taking place in the apartment above his.

“I could mainly hear it above my kitchen and living room,” Cole said. “It never really bothered me until I stayed up late to finish a paper for my summer class.”

Cole waited until the next morning to go upstairs and say something to his upstairs neighbors. As he walked outside he was greeted with an attractive women holding a box full of random items.

“I had it all planned out in my head what I was going to say and her looks kind of made me forget,” he said.

Assuming it was her making all the noise these past few weeks, he asked if she was moving out and if she needed help.

“She kind of looked at me weird and said ‘can you take this upstairs for me?’” Cole said. “I carried this box full of weird books I’d never even heard of and asked how she knew the people upstairs. That’s when I got the ‘GO AWAY CREEPO’ look.”

Cole pretended like he had somewhere to be and said a friendly goodbye, getting an awkward one in return.

Two weeks later on the first of the month, Cole was dropping off his rent money and he decided to ask about the people living above him. His landlord said that two students (boyfriend/girlfriend) sharing the apartment had left after graduation mid-May and this new girl Kelly had just moved June 12th.

“My heart dropped and I asked him if he was sure that the previous couple had been out of there that early,” Cole said. “He was sure so I asked if he knew anything about them now, like if anything had happened to them recently but he didn’t know anything.”

The squeaky footsteps and conversations upstairs continued throughout the summer, but there was a new tenant after all.

“Dude, I still don’t know what I was hearing but it weirded me out a little bit,” he said.

He hasn’t said a word to the attractive girl living above him or asked if anything paranormal was happening upstairs for fear of coming off even weirder. They pretend not to notice each other when crossing paths.

“She seems kind of stuck up,” he says. “If there is something up there, let her deal with it,” he laughs.



By Ashley Hartford

Calling all paranormal believers and skeptics of the subject: willing to test your views? Take a trip to Freeman, Mo. Previously known as Morristown during the Civil War battle, Freeman occupies roughly 500 people, at least in the human form. Add up all the apparitions, voices captured on tape and sites of mysterious activity and you’ll be surprised at how lively it is near this neck of the woods.

If you happen to drive in by Gravity Hill, you’ll experience a ride no theme park can offer. According to Northwest Journalism major Kylie Guier, if you park your car at the bottom and put it in neutral, it will travel back up the hill.

“Last time we got up to 30 mph,” Kylie says.

Locals believe a bus crashed on the railroad tracks leaving behind the ghosts of children to push the cars, but Guier isn’t so sure.

“Personally I think it’s just a freak thing.” Kylie admits, “It works every time.”

Putting Gravity Hill to the test may save you a couple bucks on gas, but unless the site tests for magnetic interference before slapping a ghost tale on the record, you can let the experience speak for itself.

Once you enter Freeman, however, you might not be able to explain the paranormal so easily.

Just a few houses down from Guier’s residence rests a lonely house that realtors had quite some trouble selling.

“It’s haunted by an old woman my grandma knew,” Kylie says. “She would throw phones at the men who came to look at the house.”

Kylie wanted to witness the house with her own eyes, so she and her mother contacted a family friend: the realtor.

“You could feel someone there as soon as you walked in,” Kylie says. “It would be super hot out and then freezing when you walked [through the door].”

This isn’t the only experience the mother and daughter have shared. Let me introduce you to a little boy they like to call, “Timmy.” Timmy has been spotted in the rearview mirror by Mrs. Guier, as well as playing outside, in the basement, the living room and Kylie’s brother’s room; and he is noted for being mischievous.

“Once he tugged on my ponytail,” Kylie says.

Kylie isn’t spooked by these experiences, but sometimes feels annoyed when he turns the faucets on or turns the volume all the way up on the TV and then just shuts it off.

But like any pesky brother, Kylie laughs, “[we] talk about him like he’s part of the family.

Timmy seems to be enjoying himself as well. One day Kylie’s sister and a friend were laughing and recording themselves, but when they played back the tape they picked up an unfamiliar voice.

“He was laughing with them and said, ‘this is fun,’” Kylie shares.

At first Kylie wasn’t sure of the boy the family kept seeing, recalling only quick flashes recognizing his hair. About a month ago, however, she witnessed a detailed view.

After asking her brother to shut the TV off, Kylie spotted the legs of the boy in the reflection.

“I saw the old style Capri type pants with the stockings that boys would wear,” Kylie says, “and the old shoes with buckles.”

Kylie has no problem taking about the paranormal, finding most experiences to be playful. She notes that since moving in the house a few years ago, her mother and her have become extremely interested in supernatural shows.

“I’ve learned a lot about it,” Kylie admits, but the dark side scares her.

“People that play around with the occult and do not know what they are doing freak me out.”

Kylie Guier is a journalism major at Northwest Missouri State University.

Friday, November 27, 2009


By Kiley Swopes

Seven-year-old Ben lived in an old two-story house in Holton, Kan., with his mother, Susan, and father, Rick. When they first moved in Ben told his parents a few nights later that there was an old couple in the house with them, but his parents never believed him.

One night Susan went to check on him while he was sleeping, but she discovered that he was gone. In a panic, she went downstairs and noticed the front door was unlocked and standing open.

She immediately called the police and the search for the little boy began.

Hours later they found him at a local park swinging all by himself.

Both the police and his parents asked him why he was there and how he knew how to get out of the house and to the house.

“I was talking to the older couple,” Ben said. “They told me I would have a lot of fun there and showed me how to unlock the door and walk to the park.”

A few weeks later a great nephew of the older couple, Martin, came into town for a class reunion.

He had not seen the old house in years so he decided to stop by and see if it was different. His sightseeing drew attention to Susan and Rick, so the three began to talk.

Susan and Rick told Martin about Ben seeing an older couple in the house and gave a description of how Ben described them.

“The little boy described my family members to a T,” Martin said.

Years ago, Martin’s great aunt had died in the house and both Martin and the current family living there believe that is why the house is haunted.



By Karra Small

It was snowing as Bryan and his seven friends pulled up to the house. Upon arriving in Villisca around three o’clock that afternoon they had taken a tour of the house, been told all of its stories, and had signed all of the liability waivers, but no consent form could prepare them for the experience that would happen that night.

The group brought many pieces of equipment with them including a digital voice recorder, pendulum, digital camera, black mirror, which is used to see the past, present, and future, and a Ouija board, which Bryan, a practicing Wiccan priest cleansed himself.

“We really didn’t find much on the EVPs,” he said. “The Ouija board was what was really interesting.”

An avid Ouija user, Bryan, like many people, wanted to use this tool at Villisca. After the ghost hunt yielded less than exciting results, the group decided to give Bryan’s board a shot.

The whole group of them wanted to use the board, but had to take turns of about four at a time.

“You could feel the connection on the board,” he said. “Some people had good connections, some did not and the board would stop when Stacie would touch it.”

As the night went on, Bryan, who had his eyes closed the whole time, got one pulled over on him.

“They did something that I would have never wanted to do,” he said,” which is let me be on the board alone.”

He stated that from what he was told, his movement on the board sped up and then dramatically slowed down. From what he can remember (Bryan was in a trance) he felt like he was talking to a child and when the board changed pace, the child was getting scolded by a parent for talking to a stranger.

The dramatic change in pace frightened his cousin, Dani, to pull him out of his trance and away from the board.

Bryan, a firm believer in the spiritual realm, is OK with the trance wiping out most of his memory from that Ouija session.

“I don’t want to know what happened,” he said. “Because the less I know, the more secure I feel.”

Despite the initial search not turning up any overwhelming evidence, there were a few unexplained happenings. Dallas, a friend who claimed to have a connection to the spirit world would sit in a room for thirty minutes at a time, but avoided the attic. “He didn’t stay up there very long,” Bryan said. Another friend described a bone- chilling cold.

One photo Bryan took of the pantry had a shadowy human figure in it, but of course Bryan discounts this piece of evidence, because he wasn’t positive if there was a window in the pantry that would allow for light or reflections to be lit in.

Perhaps the most mysterious occurrence the group experienced, besides the Ouija board of course, was the mist in the attic.

“There was a huge mist that settled up there, almost like a fog,” he explained. “I thought it was from the kerosene lamps that we blew out after we had finished our tour, but it didn’t have any smell to it and I don’t know why if it was just a draft or something, it would have only settled in that one part of the house.”

Despite the somewhat uneventful night at Villisca, Bryan is a believer that spirits remain there.

“I do believe that there is something there,” he said. “I do not believe it to be bad, I do not believe it to be good. It’s just there. Whatever is there needs resolution,” he said. “If it’s people who were hurt there, they need to move on.”



By Jesse Shipp

Among the things that Northwest Missouri State University is known for, such as its historic football team, trees, being one of the first electronic campuses and it infamous wind, the haunted female dormitory, Roberta Hall, is along there with them.

Roberta Hall got its name after the tragic accident that involved a female resident named Roberta Steele. In 1951 a gasoline storage tanker behind what is now known as Roberta Hall exploded, injuring her and many or her fellow female residents. Roberta was critically hurt and died of her injuries about a year later.

Roberta Hall is not the only haunted building on the Northwest campus, but it gets more recognition because more chilling stories come out of this building than the rest. These stories include Roberta trying to climb into bed with a resident, moving objects, turning up and down the volume on audio devices and playing the piano in the basement of Roberta Hall. Mollie Hotchkiss, a current Northwest student, resided in the building her junior year, where she encountered Roberta for the first time.

“I only believed few of the stories, sometimes not even the whole thing, I believe Roberta does haunt the building, but only for fun, not to harm anyone,” Hotchkiss said.

It was early January, the dead of winter, Mollie starts her day off by taking a warm shower, the kind that steams up the bathroom instantly because of how cold it is. Coming back into her room to get ready she draped the aqua towel over her closet door and this is where it hanged all day. That night when Mollie came back, she returned to her room alone. Mollie was the Student Assistant on the third floor, so she got a room to herself.

“The building felt empty, but nothing out of the ordinary,” Hotchkiss said.

Mollie jumped into her bed late that night. The clock struck Midnight and she was still awake, waiting to fall asleep. Mollie was lying on her side, looking at the green and blue towel that she draped over the closet door earlier that day, she rolled over and now Mollie’s back was facing the closet.

“I felt a little weird, so I turned back over and the towel was moved, I thought I was crazy so I closed my eyes and when I opened them the towel was back,” Hotchkiss said.

A few days later after Mollie got her bearings and being on edge after the encounter; she finally realized that it was Roberta who was messing with her. Mollie only told her closest friends and family members of the encounter because she didn’t want strangers to think that she has gone crazy.

“I think it was strange, but cool that she chose to pick on me, ha-ha,” Hotchkiss said.

This is just one of many encounters that female residents have at Roberta Hall. Even though none one is harmed during the encounters, residents are still weary of her presence to this day, but some find it cool to be visited by Roberta, like Mollie.



By Melissa Morkus

Numerous reports have been made about paranormal activity at Clarinda Academy in Iowa. Clarinda Academy is a residential foster home for delinquent males.

Keaton Alexander, 22, was working one snowy night at the academy with his friend Brice when they saw four terrified students come out of there room.

“My first reaction is that they were trying to escape, but instead they just stood there,” Keaton said.

When Keaton asked the boys what the problem was, they told him there was someone outside their window. This wouldn’t seem too strange if they weren’t on the third floor. Brice tried to tell the boys that one of them probably just had a nightmare and was just trying to scare the others. The students refused to go back in their rooms until someone would check it out. Keaton and Brice checked the window and nothing was there.

They gave the boys the clear and headed back to the hall they were monitoring. Not more than 10 minutes later the boys came out screaming that the man at the window was back. Keaton and Brice searched the window again. After not finding anything for the second time they agreed to let the boys sleep in the foyer with them. In the morning the boys still would not go in the room until someone checked the window. What wasn’t clear last night but visible now was a single set of footprints leaving the building straight down from the window.

After seeing the footprints, Keaton and Brice were startled but lied to the boys saying there’s nothing to worry about.

“I informed the staff so we could search the area to figure out how the footprints got there,” Keaton said.

No one could explain the set of footprints or where they came from.



By Stratton King

Old houses have a history of making you feel uncomfortable. Houses can settle and creak but they are also popular amongst paranormal sightings and reports.

Meghan “Sis” Shultz was house sitting for her friend Melissa Srawly in her 100-year-old St. Louis home.

“I was alone in the house and standing in the kitchen when I heard a small boy cry out ‘Mommy’ from the top of the stairs. I went upstairs and looked for the source of the scream but I never found anything,” Sis said.

After Melissa returned from her trip, Sis asked if she had every experienced something similar.

“Melissa told me when she was living there as a child she would hear crying and sometimes see what looked like a young boy,” Sis said.

Sis returned to Melissa’s house three years later to babysit Melissa’s nieces.

“I was standing in the hallway at the top of the stairs when I heard a kid crying. The girls had been fighting all night so I thought they had hurt each other but it wasn’t either of them. The sound seemed to be coming from the nursery down the hall. The crying got louder the closer I got to the nursery but once I entered the room the crying stopped,” Sis said.

Melissa and Sis are not the only ones who have had paranormal experiences in the home. Melissa’s nieces have told their parents they have heard and seen a small boy crying upstairs.



By Rob O’Doherty

On 421 W. Seventh St. in Maryville, Mo., there is a house that may have an extra resident lurking in the walls. Alex Bryant, lives at this house on West 7th and reports a number of strange occurrences each year. Alex’s parents bought the house around six years ago when his sister Veronica first started school at Northwest. They kept the house in the family for Alex after his freshman year.

Alex witnesses a number of strange occurrences all the time, the disturbance in which he calls, Ms. Hess. Looking back to who owned the house before they Bryant’s purchase, they found out that a woman named Ms. Hess lived there for a number of years before passing away a few years before Veronica first moved in. Alex calls the spirit Ms. Hess because he still gets her mail at the house frequently. He doesn’t believe it to be anyone else and given the history of the past resident, Alex put the dots together and decided that the activity in the house from the former resident was the best explanation.

Alex and his sister Veronica have witnessed a number of strange things such as radios turning on by themselves, strange noises, slamming doors, and his dog Scout barking at what seems to be just an average corner in the wall. While not seeing a full body aspiration or experiencing any hard evidence, Alex is still convinced that he has an extra resident living with him. He believes she’s not a bad spirit and if something ever gets misplaced or a strange noise is heard, Alex is always the first to blame it on his former resident Ms. Hess.



By Joel Epley

We talked golf, girls and booze until a previous float trip came up and I saw the mood drain from Riley’s face.

He controlled the conversation with his hilariously simple viewpoints and contagious laugh. With an almost permanent ear-to-ear grin, Riley, 22, has a hard time not enjoying a conversation. He broke eye contact and his hands crept into his pockets. I had found a seemingly impossible remedy for wiping a smile off Riley’s face.

“Dude…I don’t believe in that kind of stuff, but something was there,” he said. “It’s almost like I was forced to pay attention. I’ve never been that receptive of my surroundings.”

At the Huzzah Valley Resort, two hours southwest of St. Louis, Riley was on his second float trip of the 2008 summer.

Riley and two friends began to walk to the creek about 150 feet from the campsite. Beers in hand they sat on the trunk of a fallen tree anchored to the bottom of the creek. During the conversation the ambient sounds of frogs, cicadas, and flowing water played in the background until a foreign noise grabbed everyone’s attention.

“We were sitting there and it sounded like someone down the creek from just started walking into the water,” he said. “They weren’t stepping though. The were just wading and not picking up their feet.”

“We just froze to see if we knew the person,” he said. “The wooshes or whatever were two legs! Not like a deer or anything.”

Trying to figure out what was making the noises Riley and his friends sat in silence.

“I couldn’t stop listening if I tried. I didn’t even breathe because I was so focused,” he said.

As the wading sounds came closer Riley noticed the frog noises in between them and the wading sound had stopped. Looking down the creek, none of them saw anything.

“Those noises were close enough to be able to see somebody,” he said. “So I just threw a beer can at it and took off,” Riley said, laughing.

When Riley and his friends returned to the campsite they noticed everyone was sleeping and accounted for.

“We still don’t know what it was but now I’m just kind of curious instead of scared. It kind of pisses me off.”

Riley did not attend their annual float trip this summer.



By Danny Thompson

It’s a warm night in mid July. Brett Johnson and some of his friends are playing flashlight tag in the woods behind the Methodist church in Bonner Springs, Kan. For them, the night was nothing out of the ordinary.

“We had been playing for hours. Just a bunch of kids having fun,” Johnson recalls.

But something wasn’t right. According to Johnson, around this old oak tree there was a cold unpleasant feeling.

“It was weird. I would run to the tree and climb up it and I just felt uncomfortable. And I’m not one for superstition, but I think there was something there with me. Though, I was younger then so I didn’t know what it could be,” Johnson said.

As Johnson grew up, he began to research a possible conclusion to what it may have been.

“My only conclusion was that there was an unsettled spirit around that specific tree. I personally think that it was a shadow person. It didn’t physically do anything to me, but I know it was disturbed by my presence so eventually something may have happened,” Johnson said.

Johnson has since revisited the tree, but nothing else has ever happened.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Paranormal Journalism -- Week 2


By Joel Epley

Still groggy from a five-hour drive, she didn’t bother to ask why her brother was playing his guitar at four in the morning.

Carly McAdams, 25, had just gotten off work and drove the five hours from Chicago to her brother’s apartment in St. Louis. She arrived around one a.m. and wanted to rest for a family reunion the next day.

“I walked in the door, gave him a hug, and went straight to bed,” she said. “I was so tired I didn’t even bring my bags in.”

Carly was sleeping in the bedroom while her brother slept on the couch in the living room. Around four o’clock in the morning, she was woken up by the faint strumming of a guitar in the living room.

The guitar was a Fender Stratocaster with a 3-color sunburst rosewood finish, and it hadn’t been touched in over two months.

“When I walked in and gave my brother a hug, I didn’t even notice he had a cast on his hand,” she said. “I think he was drunk and punched a wall or something.”

The strumming had no particular rhythm and wasn’t from any song she had ever heard.

“It sounded like a cat or something was brushing against the neck of the guitar,” she said. “It wasn’t like it was power cords or a G or something.”

Carly walked into the living to get her brother to stop playing only to find him sound asleep on the couch. The guitar was in its stand in the corner of the living room.

“I was too tired to be freaked out. I just turned around and went back to bed,” she said. “I thought I was just hearing things.”

Moments before closing her eyes to sleep again, she heard the guitar noises again. Convinced it was her brother messing with her she shut the door to silence the noises and slept throughout the night.

The next morning Carly teased her brother about his failed attempt to scare her throughout the night. When she told him about the noises, his face turned white and the smile ran away from his face.

“I’m selling that thing,” said her brother Patrick McAdams, 27. “I heard the same thing the other night when I got up to go to the bathroom,” he said. “I haven’t played it in over a year and I think it’s mad at me.”

Three days later Patrick sold the Guitar on eBay for 800 dollars.

“It was a sweet guitar but I had kind of been losing interest in it anyways,” said Patrick. “I racked up a nice little bar tab that night as well.”

Since selling the guitar there have been no more mysterious strumming sounds throughout the night. Carly still refuses to sleep at her brothers apartment when she is in town.



By Rob O’Doherty

Her parents had just left for the night, the pizza money was on the counter and the movie selection sat on the television in the basement. Lisa and her friend Abby we’re going to spend the night alone while her parents were out for a Halloween party. After the pizza was gone and the credits started rolling from The Exorcist, boredom set in between the two friends.

Lisa started thinking about what they could do to pay respect to the holiday and also about what they could get away with since her parents were going to be out for the night. The clock struck 11 p.m. and Lisa had an idea. She told Abby that there use to be a Ouija board in the game closet. Lisa hadn’t seen it in years and didn’t know if it was still there, but she told Abby she remembered seeing it when they first moved in. It was left behind from the people who use to live in the house. The door to the game closet swung open and the two friends began to dig.

“Once we finally found it, we opened it up and the amount of dust from this thing literally covered both our faces,” Lisa said. “It wasn’t your typical Mattel game either. It looked like it had been handed down for a while. It was really old and looked like an antique.”

The two friends cleared the table and placed their fingers on the center object. Both ended up swearing that they wouldn’t freak each other out by moving anything. After a few questions being asked and getting nothing in response, the friends got bored and leaped back onto the couch. After talking for a few minutes, Abby’s eyes began to get big and her jaw started dropping slowly. The board began trembling a bit and the center object flew off the board and slammed against the wall.

“We both ran out of the house crying,” Abby said. “I’ve never been so scared in my life. We didn’t know what we were messing with and we had no possible explanation for what had happened. People to this day don’t believe us, but Lisa and I know what we saw, we just aren’t sure what we experienced.”

The two friends have never played with another Ouija board again. To this day they still remember that specific Halloween night and keep trying to piece together a logical explanation of what could have happened. They have no explanation of the events that took place. As for the Ouija board, Lisa says her parents wouldn’t throw it out. It still lies in the bottom of the dusty closet where it possibly could be waiting for someone to play with it again.



By Melissa Morkus

Many ghost stories are meant to scare people, but then some of these experiences have a different purpose. What if the purpose of these spirits isn’t to just scare people, but to simply say goodbye?

Born and raised in the Philippines, Russell Canobas, 23, has had one of these experiences. One night, Russell was awakened by someone standing besides his bed. Relieved when he saw that it was just his grandfather, he laid back down. He could feel his grandfather softly pat his head as he fell back to sleep. Later that night he awoke again and could see out his window of what seemed to be his grandfather standing in front of the house. As he looked at the figure, he could see a hand waving.

“I felt like he was trying to say goodbye, but I was confused why he was doing that,” Russell said.

The next morning, Russell was told by his family that his grandfather had passed away in his home the evening before. His grandfather was never actually at Russell’s home, but Russell believes his spirit was. Maybe this was a way for his grandfather to finally say goodbye to his grandson.

“The experience I had almost made it easier for me to deal with my grandfather’s death,” Russell said.

Sometimes a spirit just needs to say goodbye to the ones they love.



By Jesse Shipp

On Halloween, going to a cemetery is relatively common and one of the top things to do to get scared, sometimes people go voluntarily or they are dared to go. seven years ago on Halloween night, as a tradition, Tara Smith and her friends gathered to play games and watch movies. After the fun was over she was asked by Trey Rexroat and Hollie Lyons for a ride back to their homes in Keytesville and Glasgow. All three jumped into the 1996 turquoise Plymouth Voyager mini-van and was headed to Hollies’ home in Glasgow.

Right before Hollie’s home is a cemetery next to a Lutheran Church. Even though Hollie lives close to this cemetery, she has never been in it and so Hollie asks to stop so they can around the cemetery. After a few reluctant looks from Trey and Tara they both comply with Hollie’s begging. They pull up in the cemetery; Hollie jumps out while Tara and Trey sit in the van. As Hollie moved ahead she noticed that they stayed in the van and begs for them to come out. Tara turns off the van and leaves the headlights on to make the experience less creepy. Since it was a breezy night, Trey and Tara crossed their arms to keep warm as they climbed out of the van.

“The van headlights turned off and on three times, they didn’t dim; they were turned off and on every four or so seconds it seemed like, the van has never done anything like that before, that’s fucking creepy,” Smith said.

Hollie kept going deeper into the cemetery, Tara and Trey stayed next to the van and the van did it again.

After about 15 minutes or so, Hollie came back and they all hurried into the van and took off to Hollie’s house and then to Trey’s. On the way back home Tara was listening to country music on the radio.

“A mile after I dropped Trey off, it got awkwardly silent,” Smith said.

It just went silent, the radio stopped, Tara went to turn it up and something behind her yelled out “NO,” real loud. Tara stopped the van, turned on all the lights to see if anybody was there, which there wasn’t.

The following day Tara asked her parents about problems with the van. They said that they have never experienced anything wrong with the van. Bill, her dad, said that if it was a shortage in the wires then the lights would be doing that all the time, which they haven’t. According to Tara the van has never done anything like that again.



By Karra Small

Most people with vision problems, myself included, actually had bad eyesight a lot longer than they realized. They think they’re vision, blurry road signs and all is natural. Heather Talpers, a current Truman State University nursing student was no different. But Heather’s sight issues are much more intriguing than your average person with less than 20/20 vision.

Heather has synesthesia, a condition where a person’s brain interprets or even sometimes mixes the five senses. There are a few different types of this phenomenon, but Heather has lexical synesthesia, mostly dealing with letters and numbers.

“I never really realized that what I was experiencing was not normal, I just thought that everyone saw colors like I did” Heather said. “When I was in kindergarten I was at KFC with my dad and I just kept trying to describe how the box was different colors, but he just thought I was making it up or something.”

The stories of her synesthesic youth don’t end there.

“I remember this one time in first grade when the teachers showed this video about the numbers and I got really upset because I didn’t feel like they were being portrayed right,” she continued. Heather’s numbers, unlike ours, have not only color, but also gender and personality.

It wasn’t until the beginning of high school that Heather actually realized that something unconventional was going on.

“One day we were in math class and I kept telling my friends that the problem on the board was ugly and none of them understood what I was talking about” she said.

Frustrated, Heather blogged on her Zenga, telling about what had happened in class that afternoon. A friend later commented on the blog saying that she had read a book about synesthesia and implied that that sounded a lot like what Heather was going through.

Upon learning this news, Heather started researching the topic and realized that this indeed was what she was experiencing.

And Heather can do a lot more than just see normal colors with letters. A dog’s bark, for example, is a grainy red descending into the air. Sweat is a sharp neon green shaped like chicken wire. The water in the shower also has color. Julie, a mutual friend of ours has a laugh that “ was yellow, with butterflies.”

People also have colors associated with them.

“I remember being in elementary school and wanting to be friends with all the blue kids and I would shy away from the red ones” Heather stated.

Although she sees colors around people, she has to know them personally first, and admits that if she saw a stranger on the street she would have no clue what their color was.

Some paranormal researchers might say that these encounters sound like auras, but Heather insists that a person’s color has nothing to do with their personality.

“My best friend is red. I hate red, but that’s her color” she said.

But with every gift, there is a downside. “I have a really hard time concentrating, especially with math,” she commented.

Unfortunately, Heather’s abilities are fading with age, which is common for people with synesthesia, but don’t think Heather isn’t grateful.

“I consider it a blessing” she says.



By Bethany Rowell

Roberta Hall on the Northwest Missouri State University campus has been a hot spot for paranormal activity for decades. The dormitory was named after Roberta Steel, a student who attended the school in the 1950s. In 1951, an explosion of a gasoline tank located behind the hall caused a piece of steel to fly into the building, setting it on fire. Roberta was one of the critically injured students and passed away a year later due to complications from her injuries. Roberta is said to haunt the dormitory which is now specifically for sorority members.

Brooke Mansfield has lived in Roberta Hall for over a year and has had her share of ghostly experiences. Mansfield, an active member of Alpha Sigma Alpha, lives on the north end of the hall on the second floor. Both her and her roommate, Danielle, have encountered numerous unexplained happenings around the hall and attribute them to Roberta.

“On just about an every other week basis she flickers my desk light and knocks over Danielle’s books on her desk. Neither of us will be sitting there or anywhere near the desks when it happens,” Mansfield said.

While the occasional flickering light does not bother either girl, Roberta has done a few things that have made both feel uncomfortable.

“One night my roommate and I were sitting in our room just working on homework, doing whatever, and we hear this crashing noise in the bathroom. We go in there and the bowls on our rack had been thrown to the other side of the room and they were all face up in a line.”

Mansfield says Roberta has turned on their shower in the middle of the night while they were sleeping and has heard many stories about girls getting pushed out of their own beds. Another story entails a girl witnessing her window blinds open and close rapidly on their own. Roberta is also known to move things around rooms.

“We have also had incidents of Roberta messing with things in our room while we are gone. My roommate and I always lock our door and we were both gone at the time. We came back and my roommate’s container of puppy chow had been tipped over sitting directly in the middle of the floor. It was left sitting upright on the coffee table about four feet away.”

The activity does not stop Mansfield from living in Roberta Hall since it never appears threatening. The presence has been reported on each floor, but has never been seen. Roberta Steel may have left this world physically, but her spirit seems to live on within her old residence hall.



By Danny Thompson

It was the night of the Halloween dance at Clark Middle School, located in Bonner Springs, Kan. A group of students, Brett Johnson, Willie Wilson, Cassity Mitchell, Jarred Harrington, Sara Stephens, Christina Delladio, and Justin Moulin, had been preparing for this evening for weeks. All of them went to the dance as the gang from Gilligan’s Island.

“I had a lot of fun being the millionaire’s wife,” Mitchell said, recalling the evening eight years later.

After every dance, it was custom for someone in the group to have a post-dance party. This time around, it was Mitchell’s turn. It had been a typical evening for them, but the event that was to follow was anything but typical.

“We all decided to go outside and play tag in the field. It was a crystal clear night with no wind, and a full glowing moon. As we sprinted to through the field, all of us saw what looked like human-shaped shadows walking. There were two of them. We all stopped in our tracks to get a better look. Then, one looked at me, or, what I assumed was it looking at me. It had red beady eyes. We all screamed and ran back to house,” Mitchell said.

To this day, Mitchell still isn’t sure about what exactly was with them in the field that night.



By Logan Campbell

Every little child’s nightmare is to look up and see a figure in their room that wasn’t there before.

When Kasi Stoner was 14 years old she went to bed like any other night. She laid down in her bed in her parent’s Maryville house. She felt like something wasn’t right in her room so she opened her eyes. She quickly pulled the blankets over her head from the sight of a dark figure in her doorway. She peeked out to see if the figure was still there or if it had moved away. The figure looked like an older man who leaned against the doorway like the cowboy cut-out in people’s yards. She pulled the covers back over her head because she was scared that it might be a burglar. She fell asleep and woke up the next morning and the figure was gone.

The next night, Kasi layed down in bed and right before she was asleep she looked over to her doorway and saw this manly figure again. She was petrified.

“I pulled the blankets over my head because I didn’t know what else to do,” Stoner said.

She looked up to see the figure still in the doorway.

The next few nights Kasi saw the same figure each night in the doorway to her room. She finally mustered up the courage to run down and tell her parents what she was seeing. When she told her mom about the dark figure she said that she had already seen the figure in her daughter’s room. The only thing her mom could think it would be is a demon spirit sitting in her room.

“The figure would just sit in the doorway and not move at all,” Kasi said.

She said the figure would not move toward her or prevent her from leaving because she was able to go tell her mom in the night.

Stoner’s parents didn’t do any research on the house to find out if there was one of the previous owners that was haunting the house. Instead they didn’t feel comfortable living in the house anymore and moved out within a couple of years to a different house in Maryville. They didn’t know what the shadow figure could have been but they didn’t want to stay around to find out.

Kasi said once she talked with her mom about the shadow figure, she stayed in her parent’s room from then on. They didn’t want anything to happen one night with what they thought was a demon spirit.



By Stratton King

Holland, Mich. is no stranger to paranormal activity, from half-lizard/half-woman creatures on Lake Macatawa to urban legends of a suicide apparition hotspot on the Chicago and West Michigan Railway.

Tom and Meghan “Sis” Shultz have been visiting Holland every summer for their entire lives. Every night is a new adventure walking along the beach between Macatawa Lake and Lake Michigan. This past summer they were attending their annual family vacation but this time had some strange experiences one night on the beach.

“It was a clear night, full moon and perfect visibility. My sister and I were hanging out at the beach around two in the morning when we heard a person, almost like a small child running through the water on the beach. We were the only people on the beach and at one point there was the sound of a big splash as if someone through a big rock or jumped into the water,” Tom said.

Tom and Sis tried to find the source of the noises but were unsuccessful.

“We walked towards the where the noises were coming from but whenever we got closer, it would change positions and all the sudden be behind us, we would turn around and it would flip sides again,” Sis said.

The experiences scared the hell out of both of them.

“It was really creepy, this strange feeling of not being alone when in fact we were all alone,” said Sis.

While telling the story of what happened, Tom was still confused by the experience and at first even had trouble explaining what had happened.



By Kiley Swopes

Before last week I had never had a paranormal experience. I had never seen a UFO, Bigfoot, been abducted by aliens or had ghosts come into my house. The most I could possibly say had ever happen was a street light has gone out a time a time or two as I drove by, but I just assumed the light had burnt out.

Going into the Axe Murder House in Villisca, Iowa, I was close-minded. I thought all day that nothing was going to happen. I admit I am afraid of the dark, so I was more afraid of not having electricity than seeing a ghost or hearing the dead speak.

When we got there we received a tour of the house, and heard the story of how and where the killings took place. The tour guide showed us the exact locations of original axe marks from 1912, where the most activity from the ghost is, and the rooms where set up the same as they were when the people were killed.

We walked around for an hour or so and then finally I settled down in the kid’s room with a group of students to see if we could get the spirit of the children who were killed to come out and “play.”

Hours went by and nothing had happened to me. But of course others in the class were experiencing things like getting EVPs, feeling people touching them, seeing shadow people. But me, nothing. But I just felt like I was talking to myself.

There was about an hour and a half left in our stay and Aaron brought an Ouija Board along with us. He had tried it in the living room and attic while I was sitting in the children’s room.

When he came into the children’s room he had asked if anyone wanted to do it. Since I never had before and nothing else was happening to me I thought why not. So I did.

I was so unsure how they worked so Aaron described to me on how light to touch to device. I practice the placement of my fingers on his hands to make sure I did not push too hard or too soft. Then Melissa and I used the board.

We first introduced ourselves and I asked all the questions. Our first few questions were, Is there anyone in here? How old are you? Are you a boy or girl? Are you here? Are you with us? Then we said what is your name?

The device started moving. Very slowly and hesitant, but it was moving.

As it moved I thought to myself, “I am not the one moving this thing.”

I very lightly lifted my fingers off the device just a little to prove to myself mainly that it wasn’t me. As I placed them back on it I stared at Melissa’s finger’s to see if she was pushing it.

Her fingers were shaking so bad because she was so cold. They kept lifting off the device.

She wasn’t pushing it.

The device traveled very slow to the letter “R” and then stopped.

The room fell instantly started asking what letter it went to and everyone started asking questions, did you move it Melissa? Did you move it Kiley? Who is here? Is it the Reverend? Some is here aren’t they? Are you mad we are here? Do you want us to leave?

At that point we had no more activity on the Ouija Board. We tried a few more questions but then we signed out.

Today, I still wonder how the Ouija Board moved and it still creeps me out. Was it really the Reverend in the room with us?